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If you are a parent of a teen, chances are your kid is
addicted to their smartphone. It's in their hands all hours of the day. That
goes from simply annoying to dangerous if they are checking their phones while
driving. A new study by Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive
Decisions reveals this potentially deadly behavior is the result of a teen's
constant fear of "missing out" on something.
It's certainly easy to understand why. Because of texting,
Twitter, Instagram and other forms of social media, they are constantly plugged
in to everything that is happening around them. They don't have to wait until
they get home to check messages or reach out to friends. Though, the study also
revealed some surprising news about teens and technology.
Nearly half of all the teens interviewed reported that the primary reason they text while driving
is to respond to their parents. That's right – we are the reason our kids
are not paying attention to the road. According to the research, teens feel
that their parents expect immediate replies – much more so than their friends.
It's a frightening considering there were 3,000 fatal crashes caused by
distracted drivers in 2013.
So what's a parent to do? When my son enters that
oh-so-scary driving age, I plan to tell him the following:
1. Only respond to calls and or texts (even mine)
after you have arrived to your destination or right before you leave.
2. That I will cut him some slack if he does not
get back to me right away. I won't be mad if he is being safety conscious.
3. I will keep reinforcing that phones should be
put away while he is on the road. And I will do the same and lead by example. Ultimately
that is the strongest message a parent can send.
Do you think your kids text and drive? What have you told
them about it?