Thursday, September 27, 2012


In today’s world where almost every person has a cell phone or uses some form of social media like Facebook, bullying has taken on a new name.  Cyberbullying  can be defined as when someone repeatedly makes fun of another person online or repeatedly picks on another person through e-mail or text message, or when someone posts something online about another person that they do not like.

We are familiar with bullying, even I can remember a time growing up when I was either pushed by another kid at the playground or made fun of for the way I look; but there are differences with cyberbullying.  Victims often do not know who the bully is or why they are being targeted.  Cyberbullying is viral which means a large number of people can be involved and that means more people know about it.  Finally, it is easier to be hurtful through electronics because it can be done from a distant location and the bully does not have to see the immediate response of the victim.

There are some warning signs you may be able to identify if your child is a victim of cyberbullying:
·         Unexpectedly stops using their computer or cell phone
·         Appears nervous or jumpy when a text message or e-mail appears
·         Appears anxious and uneasy about going to school or outside in general
·         Appears to be angry, depressed, or frustrated after using the computer or cell phone
·         Avoids discussion about what they are doing on the computer or cell phone
·         Becomes withdrawn from family and friends

If you feel as though your child is the victim of cyberbullying, work to make sure your child feels safe and secure with you and that you want the same goal as him/her, to put an end to it.  Ask your child to print out and keep any evidence they may have of cyberbullying so that you can help with the situation.  Report any inappropriate comments made on websites (Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, etc.).  Use privacy setting to restrict any unauthorized use on your profile page.

There are even ways in which you can prevent cyberbullying before it starts.  Educate your child on appropriate online behavior.  Monitor your child’s activities while online either informally through active participation in your child’s internet experience or formally through software programs.  Keep an open line of communication with your child so that they feel comfortable to come and talk to you.  You can create an Internet Use Contract or Cell Phone Use Contract so your child has a clear understanding of what is appropriate and inappropriate use of technology.

Bullying is no longer found just in the classroom; it has become viral and has a far greater reach.  You can do something about it now.  Spread the word in your community that bullying and cyberbullying is not acceptable.

Douglas Plaeger, MA, LPC

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How Effective Is Your Hand Washing Technique?

You probably hear constantly this time of year about good hand washing technique to prevent the spread of infection. Nurses, Therapists and Teachers normally carry or use alcohol based hand sanitizer many times per day to protect themselves and their clients. At home, you may not wash your hands as frequently or as thoroughly as you should to prevent the spread of sometimes deadly infection.
Always wash your hands before:
You eat or handle any food.
Inserting or removing contact lenses.
Treating wounds, giving medications or any other personal care.
Always wash your hands after:
Preparing food or going from raw food (meat especially) to other types of food.
Using the restroom or changing a diaper.
Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing in to your hand.
Handling garbage or household waste.
After touching animals.
**You can use an alcohol based hand gel if soap and water are not available.**

What is the right way to wash your hands?

·        Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
·        Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
·        Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
·        Rinse your hands well under running water.
·        Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

For more information and educational materials, visit:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Healthy Tips for Busy Families!

Now that school has started back up and there are afterschool activities, sports and homework, it can be easier and less stressful to provide fast food or packaged meals to your family. A good diet is essential for growth, brain and bone development, quality of sleep and stress levels.  Obesity is a growing epidemic in the US and poor dietary habits coupled with little to no exercise are to blame. Below are some helpful tips to start a healthy diet:

·         Half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables. Make sure you choose a variety of different colors and types of fruits and vegetables. Deep colored vegetables (leafy greens, avocados, etc) have lots of vitamins!
·         Half of all grains consumed should be whole. Choose whole wheat bread, rolls or tortillas instead of white or flour.
·         Vary your food choices. Try different or new foods. Go to a farmer’s market for new ideas or to find different vegetables.
·         Limit salty and fatty foods. This includes but is not limited to potato chips, fried foods or pre-packaged meals which can have added sodium as a preservative.
·         Cook more often at home. You can control what you eat and what goes in to your meals this way. You can also cut down on expenses.
·         Always eat breakfast! Skipping meals can lower you metabolism and subject you to weight gain and other health problems.
·         Only keep healthy foods in your pantry. You or your kids can’t eat junk food if you don’t have it available!

Exercise is also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is recommended that children are active for 60 minutes per day and adults are active for at least 2 ½ hours per week. It’s easier for the whole family to be involved in physical activity. Sports are a great way for kids to stay active. Talk with your kids and other family members and find an activity that everyone can participate in and enjoy such as walking the dog, jogging with a friend or pushing a smaller child in a baby stroller or a family bike ride. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

 Many resources are available at :

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Does My Child Need Glasses?

As kids get back to school this year, it is important that parents and teachers are alert for subtle signs that could detect vision loss. Often times when a child is struggling in school, it may be that a vision problem is to blame. Look for these signs in your child:

*     Squinting- This is a compensation mechanism that allows the child to see more clearly through a smaller field of vision. Squinting reduces the amount of blurriness and sharpens images. However it is only a temporary fix and can lead to further problems such as eye strain or headaches.
*      Tilting the head to one side- This may be due to an imbalance in the eye muscles or strabismus more commonly called “lazy eye.” This condition can cause double vision and tilting the head corrects it.
*      Sitting too close to the television or computer screen- We’ve all heard sitting too close to the TV will ruin your vision. However if your child starts getting closer and closer to the screen it may be a sign of nearsightedness. Covering one eye to watch TV or read is also a sign of vision problems as the child is just using the good eye to see.
*      Losing place while reading
*      Excessive tearing
*      Rubbing eyes
*      Light sensitivity
*      Complaints of frequent headaches

 If you notice any signs or your child complains of any vision problems, make an appointment with your eye doctor right away. Don’t let vision problems go untreated as they could lead to further eye damage or learning problems.