Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Halloween Candy: Is it a dangerous trick or is it a delicious treat?

All across the country, police departments are busting drug rings and labs run by everyday people.  This is not something new or surprising.  As soon as one drug dealer is put out of business, two to three more pop up in their place.  But what may surprise many parents, is the increasing number of drug busts that include candy made to look like candy popular with children.

Halloween is just a couple of weeks away, and children and parents are out shopping for their costumes and stocking up on candy.  Parents should take these ordinary moments to inform their children that not all people give away 'good' candy.  It shouldn't be a scary "the world is ending" type of talk.  But, each child should understand at the end of the talk, that they are not to eat ANY candy before a parent or trusted adult has checked it.

Parents, here are just a few pictures from different drug raids to give you an idea of just how difficult it is becoming to tell the drug laced candy, at first glance, from normal candy.

(courtesy of Houston Police Dept.)

Here is an example of Star Wars and Batman themed candy laced with Meth that has been molded to fit on lollipop sticks.  Also, here are some photos of other kid friendly shapes of butterflies and flowers also laced with Meth.  This candy may be innocent and unassuming in appearance, but once ingested can lead to very deadly consequences.

(courtesy of Greenfield, IN Detectives)

Police are also reporting an increase in the number of drug busts with drugs that look like Sweet Tarts, but are laced with everything from Xanax, Molly, Heroin, THC and Methamphetamine. Some people call them "Xanie" Tarts.  These 'tarts' have even been confiscated at middle and high schools.

Police said even though the candies are being shaped like candies, there isn't any indication that it's being done for the sole purpose of targeting children.  According to most of the dealers who have been arrested, the candy shapes make it easier to transport and less conspicuous to the average eye.  They simply see it as a bonus when it gets into schools, because they see the kids as future customers.

So parents, please take a moment and have a pointed discussion with your kids now.  Don't wait until you are walking out the door on Halloween night, and the kids have their minds on other things.  Pull up pictures, let them hear some of the news clips if necessary "because an informed kid is a safer kid."

Remember.... "If you fail to prepare them now, Prepare to fail them later."

#safeandunafraid #mvacaunited

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Disturbing and harmful trends affecting children worldwide

How many of you are aware of a couple of new games children worldwide have been participating in with sometimes deadly results?  Have you heard of the "Letter X" game or the "Blue Whale Challenge"?  If you haven't, don't feel bad because many parents are in the dark regarding these deadly games.  It is imperative that you have a talk with your children, and warn them against participating in this type of activity.

The Blue Whale Challenge involves a student signing up for and agreeing to perform 50 tasks assigned at random by the game administrator.  The tasks may start off small like: listening to the radio for a certain song, watching a TV show and gradually progress to more sinister tasks like cutting themselves.  In order to win, the student must complete the 50th task which is committing suicide.

How does a student get involved? Another student usually tags them through an app called Snapchat and challenges them to play.  The student then downloads another app, The Blue Whale, which then goes through the student's personal information on their phone like a computer virus.  This app cannot be deleted once downloaded, and it gathers all of the student's personal information and as much information about their family as it can.  Once the game administrator has gathered all of this information, they use it to control the student and threaten to release info about their family or to physically harm them.  They lead the student to believe that the only way to save their family is to commit suicide.

The Letter X game also uses Snapchat.  A student send the letter "X" to another student.  The recipient is then supposed to respond with another student's name.  Once the originator has a name, they send it out to their friends to begin a campaign of cruel texts and videos about the student picked.  The students use Snapchat because the messages are generally deleted within 24 hours.  Even so, the taunts can be so cruel and overwhelming, the student may feel so embarrassed that they want to commit suicide.

As students are receiving cell phones from their parents at an earlier age, parents need to reinforce strict guidelines for their child's cell phone usage.  Cyber bullying is becoming most school bullies' weapon of choice to beat down those that they perceive to be weak.  Let your child know that tomorrow, that same bully could turn around and target them.  Ask them how it would feel to be subjected to that type of vile behavior. Lay out clear consequences for violating any cell phone or Internet rules.  These rules need to be reviewed on a consistent basis so your child is very clear about your expectations.

Do not feel you are invading your child's privacy by monitoring their cell and Internet usage.  There are too many programs and apps that give parental control lock outs and monitoring for a parent to claim ignorance if their child misuses their privilege. In most phone setting, you can control by using a different pass-code, the amount of freedom your child has with their phones.  You can cut their camera off so their cannot be enticed to upload inappropriate photos.  You can restrict what websites they are able to visit.  You are not there to be their friend.  They have enough friends!  Be the parent when they're young and then you can be their friend when they're grown.  Spend a little time today, to avoid potential heartache tomorrow.

Remember - "If you fail to plan, then plan to fail!"

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Easy methods for kids to escape zip ties or duct tape if they are ever kidnapped

It is a parents worst nightmare.  You are sitting at home waiting for your child to walk through the door from school and they never arrive.  Or perhaps you get a call from your child's school saying they never arrived.  What do you do?  What would your child do if faced with the scenario of someone grabbing them and using zip ties or duct tape to detain them?  What would you do if someone broke into your home and used zip ties to bind you and your family while they burglarized your home?  Would you be able to escape?

Here are a couple of quick videos that show methods to escape zip ties duct tape. Why zip ties and duct tape?  These two items are easy to conceal and transport for criminals.  Handcuffs are bulky, suspicious to others and make noise.  I mean think about it...If you saw a man walking around with handcuffs (especially around children) and they were not in law enforcement, wouldn't that raise red flags with you.  Zip ties can be thrown in a pants pocket out of sight, are quiet but effective.  Criminals are counting on parents not knowing how to escape from the ties themselves, much less teaching their kids how it's done.

The first video posted by Trendy World, shows a little girl using just her shoe laces to escape from her zip ties in less than 60 seconds.  This would be a good video to show your child so they have this information stored away in the back of their mind.  Most children wear sneakers so this method will be very easy for them.  Have them show you and try it themselves so they are familiar with the steps to take in the event of an emergency.  Maybe make it competition between you and your child.  As the parent, you should be familiar with these methods also.  How to escape from a zip tie in less than a minute

The second video posted by Unboxedchild.com, shows three little boys escaping from zip ties in the front of their body and the behind them.  They also escape from duct tape after watching their Mom demonstrate how it's done.  This is a good video for Mom and kids to watch.  In this video the boys use just their strength and positioning to break the tie holds which may come in handy if the child isn't wearing sneakers.  How to escape from zip ties and duct tape for kids

There are several other videos available on Youtube about escaping from various ties.  It is a good idea to be familiar with different methods because you never know if you will be faced with this type of scenario.

Remember - If you fail to prepare, Prepare to fail!