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Sponsored: Tips For Teaching Kids Not To Text and Drive

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for a campaign with AT&T.


 For today’s teens, texting is their natural and persistent form of communication. I realized just how deeply integrated texting is to my older son’s communication when he went to a friend’s birthday party at age 12. The kid’s mom had pre-arranged a great scavenger hunt in the back yard, the excited boys searched for hidden toys in silence, texting each other as they discovered treasure.
I soon realized that I needed to not only teach my teen texting etiquette and safety rules but also role model appropriate technology use. As my son approaches the age of driving I decided that one of the most important places to demonstrate texting safety is in the car. Especially when recent studies show that 75% of teens say texting and driving is “common” among their friends.  Here are some of my tips for texting safety, please share yours!

1. Create A Routine: I create a routine for what I do with my phone in the car and I share it with my teen. For example, there are some days where I hand my phone to my teen and he places it somewhere out of my reach.. I always say “look where my phone is – out of my reach while driving!”. Or there are some days where I turn on the AT&T Drive Mode and show my teen that I have it set so I can’t text until I turn drive mode off. ”When the app is enabled and the vehicle is moving 25 mph, the app automatically sends a customizable auto-reply message to incoming texts*, letting your friends know you’re behind the wheel and will reply when it’s safe.”

2. Show Them The Dangers of Texting And Driving:  My son not only watches YouTube videos but also films and edit videos. So I decided that another step in his education would be to watch some of the videos from the “It Can Wait” Campaign that show the dangers of texting and driving. Seeing those stories on video really helped him visualize why texting while driving is 100% not acceptable.

3. Simulate The Dangers of Texting and Driving: The “It Can Wait” campaign has a game simulator that allows you to experience the dangers and consequences of texting and driving.  I had my son try the simulator at home and he was surprised because he thought (like many other teens) that he could text while also concentrating on all the various visual cues required to successfully drive.

How do you teach your kids not to text and drive? I am looking for new creative ways to add to my list!


9/11 Tribute And Apps For Emergencies

Today is 9/11, a day to pay tribute and to make sure we are prepared for emergencies. I started my day by showing my kids the news filled with touching remembrances and then also showing them the 9/11 Memorial website. The 9/11 Memorial website has a guide that not only shows the memorial but also provides a section that lists the names on the memorial.



A dear friend who is bravely fighting a medical condition shared an app on Facebook that is a good reminder that we all need to be prepared for emergencies that may come up. The app is called ICE Standard (In Case of Emergency Standard). Their is an ICE Standard iPhone and also the ICE Standard Android app on Google Play.


The In Case of Emergency standard also has a website that explains the goal for everyone to prepare by having : “Easily accessible medical data in critical care circumstances”.  The apps offer a way to gather that information and then have it available in an emergency. Of course, it is also good to carry a printed emergency form in your bag, briefcase, child’s backpack and car just in case of another familiar not so emergency (that feels like an emergency): low Battery on your phone! To be fully prepared in the modern world, it is always best to also have a mobile charger (there are even models with batteries so they can be kept separate until needed).



Another app that is in the emergency category is the Lots Kidz app, which helps you gather important information about your child then share to others in an emergency.


What emergency apps or procedures do you use?




Beta Launch of Kazaana – Family Friendly Social Platform (was PixyKids)

As my 9 year olds become more interested in sharing media with family and friends, I have started to look into family friendly social platforms that are appropriate for 9 year olds. Just recently I received a brief demo of the family centric social platform called Kazaana (was called PixyKids). I appreciated the beautiful graphics and the ability for everyone to create their own space – and then share with family and friends. But most of all, I appreciated that the parental controls would allow me to approve every friend (or family) that my 9 year olds would invite into their space. Now that the Beta is live I can’t wait to take a test drive with my 9 year olds to learn more about Kazaana.


Below is the press release I received with more info:

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First of April – My Favorite Things

Today is April 1st and here are my favorite links of the day:

Think Geek finally has a tee shirt about the computer overlords, edible gummy iPhone case, Angry Birds Pork Rinds and De-3D glasses. I know Cool Mom Tech agreed with the good finds at Think Geek.

Cool Mom Tech also covered Smart Starterz – learning language in the Womb (darn, why didn’t I do that?).

@JeffElder found a data dock that is also a toaster!

Finally – Google Motion (motion controlled email) is in beta and ready to goooo (as in jump around instead of typing).

And best yet, now my kids can pretend to wait in line at the Apple Store with the Playmobile Apple Store:

Happy April 1st!


Oprah Winfrey’s “No Phone Zone” Campaign – Take the Pledge!!

After I dropped my kids off at school I headed to the bakery to buy some muffins for a school meeting. At the red light, I checked my phone and saw a text message from a friend who wanted to take a walk this morning. I thought it was a great idea to take a walk, so I promptly replied by texting that I can take a walk as soon as I go home to write my post in honor of the “No Phone Zone” campaign to help bring understanding to distracted driving.

WHAT WAS I THINKING?  Writing a text in my car – at a red light – to tell someone that I am writing a post about no distracted driving?

Even though I was texting at a red light – it was still texting in a car and it was distracting me from driving. This helped me realize how easy it was to get distracted while driving and that I NEED TO BE THE FIRST PERSON TO GET ON BOARD AND TAKE THE PLEDGE. From now on, my cellphone will be placed out of reach while I am driving. First thing I did when I got home was to sign the pledge.


Other ways to join the “No Phone Zone” Pledge:

MOBILE – Text to pledge = Text NPZ to 30644 

Project Overview Video on the “Create a No Phone Zone” = 

No Phone Zone Causes Page =

TWITTER – The Oprah Show Profile = 

FACEBOOK – The Oprah Show Fan Page = 

and No Phone Zone Pledge – 

Here is more important statistics and information from the Oprah Winfrey “No Phone Zone” campaign:

  • Every single time someone takes their eyes or their focus off the road – even
    for just a few seconds – they put their lives and the lives of others in
    danger.  Distracted driving is
    unsafe, irresponsible and in a split second, its consequences can be
    devastating. ~ U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood

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