Families Drop In to Prevent Drop Outs: PTA’s 2014 Take Your Family To School Week

Take Your Family to School Week takes place February 17-21, 2014.

2013 TYFTSW_Blog BannerThe numbers are alarming:  according to the National Center for Education Statistics, a student drops out of high school every 26 seconds.  However, research shows that strong family-school involvement is a major factor in overall student success, and interventions as early as kindergarten can reduce the risk of dropping out later on.

The National PTA created Take Your Family to School Week (TYFSW) to encourage family engagement and demonstrate the importance of communication and partnerships among parents, teachers, and school administrators.  The AXA Foundation, a proud national sponsor of PTA since 2005, is again sponsoring TYFSW.  This year, TYFSW is focusing on the theme of “Supporting Student Success” by addressing risk factors associated with dropping out of high school and reducing these risks through family support.  AXA shares PTA’s commitment to parental involvement in schools, as it is this increased family support and engagement that is the cornerstone of student success.  Research shows students with involved parents are more likely to earn higher grades, have improved self-esteem, graduate, and go on to pursue a college education.

The AXA Foundation is dedicated to furthering student success by increasing educational opportunities through our philanthropic program, AXA Achievementsm.  The program awards more than $1.3 million a year in college scholarships to students in every state nationwide.  In addition to scholarships, AXA Achievementsm provides tools to help families plan for their children’s education, including comprehensive information to help with the process of college selection, application, and financing.

This year’s TYFSW theme of drop-out prevention perfectly aligns with our AXA Group flagship Corporate Responsibility theme of Risk Research and Education.  At AXA, we feel that we have a responsibility to use our skills, resources and expertise to empower society to better face risk through initiatives in both research and education.

We are committed to helping people build more secure futures, and this year’s TYFSW theme does just that by advancing student achievement.  We’re proud to once again make this outstanding program possible.  Inspiring students to have the courage to forge ahead through obstacles because of the support they receive from their families and educators will be the biggest success of all.

“AXA AchievementSM” is a service mark of the AXA Foundation.  The “AXA Achievementsm Scholarship” program is not associated with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s “Achievement Scholarship®” program.

 “AXA” is the brand name of AXA Equitable Financial Services, LLC and its family of companies, including AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (NY, NY).  AXA S.A. is a French holding company for a group of international insurance and financial services companies, including AXA Equitable Financial Services, LLC. GE-91492(02/14)(exp.02/16)

Active Kids Are Doing Better at This Rhode Island School

Walking School buses are a great way for parents to promote healthy and safe habits, while spending quality time with their children. And with volunteer shortages at many schools, it is the perfect opportunity for PTAs to step in and make a difference.

The following post is reposted from the Safe Routes to School Blog.

This South Providence Elementary School Had a Chronic Absenteeism Problem. Then They Started a Walking School Bus.

At first, the maps didn’t make sense. Why would the kids who lived closest to school – all within one mile – have the most problems with chronic absenteeism?

That’s the question staff at Providence Children’s Initiative (PCI), a Family Service of Rhode Island program working to address chronic absenteeism in the low-income area of South Providence, Rhode Island, asked themselves after mapping out the homes of families in the district that had the most problems with attendance.

Then, PCI figured out that Providence School District doesn’t provide school bus service to families living within one mile of school. For low-income families who aren’t eligible for bus transportation, not owning a car, having parents that work morning shifts, or having children attend different schools meant that transportation was an obstacle to attendance. The students lived close enough to walk to school, but with ages ranging from five to twelve years old, families weren’t comfortable letting them walk alone. That’s when the team at PCI came up with the idea of starting a walking school bus program with volunteer adult chaperones to accompany the kids to school, explained Allyson Trentrseaux, then an intern at PCI.

Students walk with volunteer Audrey.

Students walk with volunteer Audrey.

The first step was reaching out to the families to explain the idea and get them on board. PCI sent home papers with the students announcing the walking school bus, but there was not much of a response. Then they tried calling homes, but found that many of the numbers were out of order. Finally, Allyson and her team decided to go door-to-door. After visiting with the families and explaining the walking school bus program, PCI found that there was solid support for starting a program that would allow students to walk to school safely.

Bus2

The “Blue Line” with volunteer Erin.

The first walking school bus started in September 2012 with one route – the purple line – and six students walking to and from school every day. Now, the program has expanded to two schools, four routes, and 30 kids who walk to and from school every day. Since the program started, 100 percent of participating students have improved their attendance at school.

“The kids love it. Our volunteers are on a consistent schedule so the students can get to know them, and they also get to meet local “celebrities” who walk with them sometimes, such as the Providence Police, the State Police, and even the Governor. Plus, with recess time getting cut, walking to school gives them a chance to get more exercise and be outside,” said Allyson.

And Providence Police sometimes accompany students on the walk to school.

And Providence Police sometimes accompany students on the walk to school.

The program is so successful that there is now a waitlist of students who want to participate. The only thing holding PCI back from adding more routes is a shortage of volunteers. Some of the walking school bus chaperones are PCI staff, but most are volunteers – including teachers and physical education instructors volunteering their time, members of a local community service organization, and nearby college students. With additional volunteers, PCI hopes to expand the program to reach more kids at Fogarty and Bailey and to serve additional schools in the area.

Rhode Island Governor Chafee gets ready to walk.

Rhode Island Governor Chafee gets ready to walk.

Congratulations to Providence Children’s Institute for launching a walking school bus program that makes sure kids are getting to school AND getting active. Does your school or community have a similar story to share about active transportation? Submit your success stories about increasing opportunities for physical activity through Complete Streets, shared use agreements and Safe Routes to School and we might spotlight your story nationally next!

Read more on Margaux Mennesson’s blog

Founder’s Day: Celebrating Our Advocacy Legacy

FoundersDay2Today, February 17, is National PTA’s Founders’ Day. It is a time for us to celebrate our 117 years of existence, to remember the hard work and determination of the women who created the association to promote child welfare, and to look toward the future as we carry their vision forward. As we approach our founding day, it is important to take a moment to reflect on the history of PTA as an advocacy association, determined to speak for every child with one voice.

Our History

In 1897, Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst organized the first gathering of the National Congress of Mothers in Washington, D.C. Mobilizing at a time when women did not have the right to vote, the two nevertheless knew that mothers would respond to a mission meant to bolster child wellbeing. Nearly 2000 people, made up of mothers, fathers, teachers, labor leaders, and legislators, convened in Washington, D.C. on February 17, far exceeding the attendance that the two women expected. The National Congress of Mothers soon became the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, and began founding state affiliates across the country. President Theodore Roosevelt was the first Chairman of the Congress’ Advisory Committee and represented the group at both national and international functions.

Seeking to find a way to get African American parents more involved in their children’s education at a time when schools were segregated, Selena Sloan Butler formed the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers (NCCPT) in 1911. The NCCPT began in Atlanta, Georgia, and quickly spread across many other states, advocating for better conditions for African American students. When the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, called National PTA by this time, merged with the NCCPT in 1970, Butler was named an official founder of the association and is recognized alongside Alice Birney and Phoebe Hearst as such.

Our Legacy in Leadership

As we remember PTA’s history, it is important to recognize the association’s rich legacy of advocacy. The association was founded as a vehicle in which families could promote policies protecting the best interests of their children. Since its establishment, National PTA and its affiliates have, among other things, been instrumental in successfully getting policies such as child labor protection laws, mandatory kindergarten, and school lunch programs implemented, and have fought for protecting arts education, passing fair juvenile justice laws, and crafting safe school policies.

For more information on PTA’s history of advocacy, you may view our PTA Advocacy: A Legacy in Leadership video.

Today’s PTA

PTA’s legacy of advocacy is not simply in the past. We continue our work today, seeking to promote family engagement through federal and state laws, as well as local school policies. We believe all children deserve a quality public education, support in special education, and a strong start to their academic learning with early education programs. Our state and local units do vital work every day, ranging from efforts to improve the safety of their schools and the routes to get there, to ensuring all families are welcomed and supported into the school community , to promoting healthy lifestyles by protecting recess and physical activity during the school day.

Today’s PTA continues the legacy of advocacy began by our founders over 100 years ago. Annually, PTA advocates gather in DC at the Legislative Conference to speak with their members of Congress on topics important to child welfare. State affiliates across the country host similar conferences so that PTA’s voice can be heard at the state level as well. But advocacy does not just occur at the federal and state levels once a year. Every day, National PTA, its affiliates, and its thousands of local units and millions of members work with students, families, and local communities to promote effective policies for all children. PTA members truly seek to speak up for every child with one voice.

This Founder’s Day, take a moment to consider the advocacy activities of your unit. What are you doing to carry the founders’ mission forward?


Want to advocate on behalf of every child? Consider attending the National PTA Legislative Conference, March 11-13, 2014. Attendees learn new skills, meet other PTA Advocate, and end the conference meeting with their members of Congress.

How to Start a PTA at Your School Now

ChecklistYou love your school and want to make it better- we applaud you!  So now… excited to find resources or better yet, a network of people who understand your school needs, you begin your quest for things to help your school excel:

  • A strong voice to speak on behalf of every child… check!
  • Funding opportunities to grow programs and initiatives within your school… check!
  • A network of leaders and educators working together to influence local, state and federal legislation that will benefit the students within your community… check!
  • Program and training opportunities to help parents, administrators, and the community to work together to improve schools and help children and families… check!
  • Discounts and special offers for members…check!

Then the light bulb goes off- We need a PTA! And now the question arises: How do I begin the process of becoming part of the PTA voice?

PTA starts its local chapters, called “units,” through our state-level associations.   Each local unit is an independent nonprofit and is set up in accordance with state and federal laws.  The process is unique to each state, but there are general steps that all groups take on their way to establishing a unit.  All PTAs will:

  • Start the process with their state-level PTA office.  National PTA can assist.  The state PTA will set up an initial meeting and explain the process for chartering and the benefits of joining the PTA family.
    • Create bylaws that meet state and federal requirements.  State PTAs have templates and models to assist.  Bylaws provide the organizational structure of your unit.
    • Identify and elect officers, such as a President and a Treasurer, who will help run the unit throughout the year.
    • Run membership campaigns to attract supporters to their association.   These members will pay dues, a portion of which goes toward membership in the state and National PTA.
    • Create committees to carry out the work of the association;
    • Apply for an Employer Identification Number ( EIN) with the state PTA’s help; and then
    • Open a bank account in the new PTA’s name.

Having a PTA can benefit your child, school, and community! So what are you waiting for? Click here to get more info on starting a PTA now.


Stacey Rowe is Member Services Specialist for National PTA.

DIY This Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to tell your loved ones how much you treasure and appreciate them. It’s also the perfect opportunity to get a little creative and  a little  crafty! This Valentine’s Day, try out any number of fun DIY projects – from XOXO pancakes to handmade, healthy valentines. All of these ideas (and more) can be found on the National PTA Pinterest boards.

Happy Valentine’s Day from the entire PTA family!

VDay-1

Valentine’s Day Pancakes – a lovely way to start the day!

Vday-2

Gumball Machine Valentine’s Day Box

Vday3

Super Hero suckers – with a Valentine’s flying cape!

Vday4

Despicable Me “You’re One in a Minion” Twinkie Valentines Day Craft

Vday5

DIY Crayon and Waxed Paper Hearts Mobile

Vday6

For a fun craft with kids, make your own conversation heart decorations for Valentine’s Day.

vday7

“Orange you Awesome!” Free Printable Valentines

The Need for Male Role Models in African-American Communities

Blog_ECIF_FebruaryExactly 20 years ago, the Child Care Association, the Chicago Urban League, and the State of Illinois asked me to take on a non-profit project in Chicago to support a large number of African-American children who were least likely to be adopted because of age, race and negative perceptions.  The goal was to put in front of them successful and positive male role models or find men who would consider becoming adoptive fathers for this unique group of children.

Having watched a sister and close female friend successfully raise boys on their own, my first question to my new employers was, “Why are we only looking for men in our search for role-models and prospective parents?”  After all, my experience was that women usually stepped forward, and I was sure this would make my job easier.  The answers for them were clear and simple.  “In order to be a man, you need to see a man,” I was told by one staffer. Another said “young girls need to see positive examples of maleness, so they know who to choose as a life partner.”  Sounded fair, but I was sure there were many exceptions.

According to 2011 U.S. Census Bureau data, more than 24 million children live apart from their biological fathers. That is one out of every three (33%) children in America.  In the African-American community, nearly two in three (64%) of African American children live in father-absent homes.

I was blessed to have grown up in a neighborhood with so many present and great African-American and Latino fathers.  I am biased, but I have always thought that African-American and Latino fathers had to guide their children and families through a very different societal maze than other American fathers.   I experienced this firsthand during my youth when being hit with the challenges of race in America.

I praise those fathers who have survived through the winds of injustice and change and mourn those who have fallen to a variety of unfortunate and unjust circumstances; but regardless of your perspective, it is easy to recognize that this absence of men in America’s African-American communities is at the heart of the crisis.

At a breakfast meeting last month with Anthony King, a Detroit PTA president and several male members of his team, we discussed the changes in our communities over the last 30-40 years.  “Back in the day,” as I have heard from so many, “fathers seem to always be around.  They were at church, school, at the park, and on the playground,” one gentleman said.  Their belief as well as my own was that if fathers were not present, they were working or a phone call away from any neighbor or other concerned parent.  We revered our fathers and worked hard not to disappoint or embarrass them.  We had great incentive to not disrespect them; including the stern consequence that might await us when we arrived home (some of you know what I am talking about).

For a variety of reasons, including the lack of jobs, equal education and crime, many of those communities are now gripped in deep violence and fear.  Strong, positive, hard working men are there, but in too many situations are not as visible or engaged with their kids or the other kids in the community.  It is as if they leave home, go to work, come home and lock themselves inside their homes in front of TV sets.  Not as many are walking the streets in the evenings, standing at the corner by the school bus stop, sitting in the church, or volunteering at the park or school.

For the sake of our children, this is the paradigm; we have got to reverse it.  The movement to get more positive fathers engaged in schools, church and in the lives of children throughout their community has to become a priority. Here is a suggested four point strategy for renewal.

Step #1 – Jobs:  African-American fathers, like all fathers do, want to provide for their families and children.  Last month, the jobless rate among whites was 6.6%; among blacks, 12.6%. Over the last 40 years with a brief exception, at the height of the recession, the unemployment rate for blacks has averaged about 2.2 times that for whites.  The lack of esteem that comes with the inability to provide for your children and family leads to a variety of challenges and ills for an individual of any background and color.  Ask anyone you know if not being able to support their loved ones would have any effect on them.  No brainer!  Implore your politicians and community leaders to have no other first priority except jobs, jobs, jobs and more jobs.

Step #2 – Education:  Very related to the first step and equally important to the future, is effective and equal education.  More than 50% of male African-American high school dropouts are unemployed, according to a new online analysis of unemployment data by Remapping Debate, a left-of-center news site in New York.

“This is an emergency, this is a catastrophe [but Washington is] not rating it as a catastrophe,” said the site’s editor, Craig Gurian.

From my perspective there is a clear role in this for PTA.  Helping African-American fathers engage in securing a fair and robust education for their children should be a top priority.  The research is clear, engaged and active fathers and father-figures can help ensure better grades in elementary and secondary environments and raise the levels of college attendance.  Their involvement–says the overwhelming research–can stem the tide of damaging social behavior that is detrimental to their futures, including bullying, gang involvement, drug use, incarceration and teenage pregnancy.

Mothers who may be estranged from their child’s father have got to understand this paternal asset.   Incarcerated fathers must also understand that their pleas and direction to their children to get educated and avoid their pitfalls is also of value.  Campaigns that create welcoming schools for fathers and programs that educate fathers and bring their influence to schools should be highly promoted by PTAs.

Step #3 – Community Involvement:  We’ve talk about this earlier with my meeting with the Detroit crew, but there absolutely has to be a renewed sense of responsibility to one’s community.  Responsible fathers and males in the African- American community have got to become more visible.  Churches, fraternities and businesses can provide guidance and establish male engagement programs that implore men to be mentors and friends.  Block clubs or Father Clubs can be re-established with a mission to man school walkways or school bus stops.  Just don’t go home and close the door!   A 15-minute walk, when children are on their way to school or a walk to the park in the evening after returning from work could go a long way.  If children see you caring about the community, they will learn to.   Any responsible male should take on the mantra that “All the children in the village are mine.”

Step #4 – Spiritual love:  I am not talking about religion, although religion certainly can play a part, but what I am talking about is the human spirit. Inside all of us are both the need to be loved and a need to share love.  This is the true meaning of humanity and charity.  Children need to see that spirit in others, to see it in themselves.  I used to tell my staff at the old Washington Park YMCA on Chicago’s south side that the children we work with won’t learn empathy for others if they never see it in us.  An educator once told me, that regardless of how cold the environment a child sees at home, a warm environment at school, church or in the community gives them a chance.  If they come from a cold home to a cold community environment, they have no chance!  Educators know this and fathers and PTAs should too!

Fathers and father-figures are and can become even greater examples of this spiritual love for our children. So much so that Joe Vitrano, a PTA member from Ohio and a member of the National PTA Male Engagement Committee, has asked that the acronym L.O.V.E. become the theme of our committee’s work for and with youth in 2014 and 2015. It stands for Listen, Observe, Validate and Embrace.  These are valuable actions and guidance that African-American fathers and all fathers can implore to ensure healthier, stronger more successful children.

 

Michael Knowles is National PTA’s Male Engagement Committee Chair.

Top 5 Favorite Study Tips For Elementary School Students: Part One

HomeworkTipsAs the father of 5 children, I have certainly learned a few things about parenting—especially when it comes to homework time. The most important take-away I’ve gleaned over the years is that it is never too early to teach good study and homework habits.  Developing these skills in the elementary years lays the groundwork for success in middle school, high school, and eventually college. I’ve tested and tried just about everything with my kids—all of whom are now adults—over the past couple decades, and want to share my top 5 study tips for elementary students in this 2-part blog series.

1. Be involved (but not too involved!) Family involvement and support is critical to student success. As parents, we need to show our children how important studying is, and how to efficiently complete schoolwork outside the classroom. That being said, too much “support” can create dependency. We’ve all done our child’s homework once or twice, but making this a regular occurrence will undoubtedly have adverse affects. Be involved by providing patient, constructive guidance that will help them establish long-term practices while learning to become self-sufficient.

2. Keep a schedule. Generate a master, “month-at-a-glance” calendar at home (dry-erase whiteboards work well). When my kids were in elementary school, we sat down together and filled-in known events first, like tests and project due-dates. From there, we reserved small time blocks for daily homework, working on big projects, or studying for a quiz. Scheduling frequent (2-3 times/week), short blocks (~10-15 minutes, depending on workload) for studying and completing larger projects is an excellent way to teach your child time management, and avoid “cramming” for tests or procrastinating. This also helps ease the stress of test- and presentation-days, as your child will feel prepared and comfortable with the material. Once my kids got accustomed to using the calendar, I gave them more responsibility by letting them fill-in the calendar without my help. Once finished, I double-checked to ensure they included all the important dates and allocated sufficient time for daily homework, exam review, project work, etc.

3. Break it up. I know you’ve heard it before, but taking a break is really important for young kids during study time. Multiple studies suggest that students reach optimal performance and concentration levels during the first 20 minutes following a break, so keep breaks frequent but brief! I found that 3-5 minutes of rest for every 10-20 minutes of study worked well. Have your student grab a snack, perform a little light exercise or stretches, go outside to fetch the mail, etc.

 Stayed tuned for tips 4 & 5 in the next post!

Michael Apstein is an entrepreneur, father of 5, and grandfather of 3. As the CEO of Focus Education,  Michael has turned his passion for helping his own children succeed into a company that develops products to help all children succeed. Focus Education’s Ifocus system uses breakthrough adaptive learning technology, embedded in a video game, to make learning to focus, pay attention, and build memory skills fun and effective.

Strengthening Home, School, & Community Partnership: Improving Discipline Policies in American Schools

parent_teachers_education2In a recent address to parent leaders, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called on parents to take education more seriously and be active in partnering with schools as we seek to raise expectations for students. The week prior, the Department of Education released new guidelines around improving climate and discipline policies in schools showing how suspensions, arrests, and expulsions can lead to negative outcomes for students and contribute to the phenomenon known as the school- to–prison pipeline. Given this, the high prevalence of out-of-school suspensions in our schools – even for non-violent behaviors – is a serious concern.

As a teacher leader in New York City, I believe school discipline policy is the perfect example of an issue that allows parents and teachers to work together and prompt systemic change that can improve our schools.

The federal guidance package presents a solid argument for a long-known fact in educational communities around the country: school discipline policies and practices are in drastic need of reform – particularly in the way we work with minority students and students who receive special education services, like the students at my school. The task of improving school discipline policies and school climates provides new opportunities for parents and teachers to work together.

The guidance package outlines three guiding principles of reform and related action steps that states and districts can consider as they undertake local reform efforts.  Several of those action steps speak directly to the critical role of parents as partners in the discipline process, including the needs for:

  1. Regular communication between parents and educators.
  2. Parent involvement in school climate based teams.
  3. Parent and teacher involvement in developing school discipline procedures, codes of conduct, and positive support roles

Considering the complexity of navigating the home-school-community, there are a few noticings and thoughts I have gleaned from my experiences as a special educator in Missouri and New York City.  Hopefully these recommendations may be helpful in navigating discipline policies in schools.

Regular communication

Parents and teachers must find new ways to have clear and consistent communication about behavior outside of the usual means (e.g. back to school night, report card conferences, etc.). As our technology improves, we need a host of strategies that keep parents involved in their students’ progress. With more frequent, proactive communication, behaviors can be identified and addressed to minimize significant risks. Communication must be bi-directional. Just as schools have a responsibility to proactively communicate with parents/caregivers it is essential that parents/caregivers also take an active role in articulating how behaviors or indicators of risk, manifest themselves in the home setting. Bridging the home-school divide is a crucial step in creating plans that reduce risks and better coordinate services across the student’s primary spheres of influence.

Parental involvement in school climate based teams

Parents, families and communities must be involved in the creation and assessment of school-based discipline policies. Parent involvement has always been a cornerstone of successful schools. However, it is essential that the role of families is not purely a support role, but one of empowerment and voice in decisions. One of the key factors affecting family investment in school systems is the level of influence families have in the direction of the school. Long term plans for support for struggling and at-risk students must be co-created by teams that have vested interest in designing mentorship opportunities that bridge the home-community-school relationship.

Parent and teacher involvement in developing systemic change

The federal school climate and discipline guidance package presents a unique opportunity to approach discipline policies as an instructional system, rather than as isolated, reactive interventions. The social emotional-welfare of a school community must involve a comprehensive integration of proactive school support structures. These structures may include mentoring programs with community members, advisory systems to address well-being, and professional development for staff and families to ensure appropriate implementation. Dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline serves as backbone of a systemic approach to reforming the school environment to cultivate safe and meaningful school community for all. Understanding students’ rights and helping students learn to appropriately advocate for themselves is a crucial aspect of the work of both parents and teachers.

Parents and teachers in partnership

Parents and teachers represent the first line in reforming school discipline policies. Systemic change is more than just creating new programs or tinkering with existing discipline polices. It is time for a dramatic reassessment of the effects that discipline policies – including zero tolerance policies –  have on bolstering educational success for our most at-risk and exceptional populations. As Secretary Duncan expressed in his speech to parent leaders, our expectations of students and of our schools have to change if we are going to be internationally competitive, and our expectations of how parents and teachers work together have to change with it.


Jonathan McIntosh is a Teaching Ambassador Fellow for the United States Department of Education and serves as Director of Debate and of Special Education at KIPP AMP Middle/Elementary school in Brooklyn, New York. Additionally, he teaches Argumentation Theory and Policy Debate at New York University.

Building Better Digital Citizens

Lifelock_Digital_CitizensI fly a lot as part of my job – and I’m no longer surprised when I see a one-year-old in the seat next to me using a tablet to watch farm animals before she’s old enough to talk.

I’m a parent of teenagers, and while they weren’t using touchscreens at that age, I’m no stranger to the catch-up game today’s parents play when teaching kids to use technology safely.

Our Internet culture is dramatically shifting the behavior of our kids.

In fact, among families with children age 8 and under, ownership of tablet devices has risen from 8% to 40% in two years.* That is astounding. And the number of children with access to some type of “smart” mobile device at home, like a smartphone or tablet, has increased from 52% to 75%.**

So how do we as parents adapt to this fast-changing landscape?

In addition to my job as a parent, I’m the president of LifeLock, an identity theft protection company. At work, I often see how stolen personal information is used to commit fraud.

Here’s the thing about identity theft. You can help safeguard your personal information by adopting a few simple habits. Surprisingly, in a research study we conducted, it was the younger adults who were more likely to engage in riskier behaviors.***

We hear a lot about online dangers, from cyberbullying to hackers, but we don’t pay enough attention to the positive habits that could make a difference for our kids. Just as we teach them to say “please” and “thank you,” we should also be teaching them that “123456” is not a safe online password.

As parents, we want teach our kids to model good behavior. We should show them how the rules of life apply not just in the real world, but also online.

So I’m excited that LifeLock is partnering with the PTA to teach kids how to be good digital citizens, using traditional methods like toolkits for families and newer approaches like a smartphone app.

Let’s give our kids the foundational skills to build lifelong online safety habits. We’ll give kids the skills they need to thrive both online and off, and to give parents a navigation tool that will prepare them for whatever may come next.

Have ideas about the best ways to prepare our kids? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or #lifelock #pta.


Hilary Schneider is President of LifeLock, Inc. and was previously a Senior Advisor for TPG Capital and Executive Vice President at Yahoo!.


*“Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America 2013,” Common Sense Media, October 28, 2013.

**Ibid.

***Forrester Research, 2013.

The Kids Are Online: Safer Internet Day

February 11, 2014 is Safer Internet Day. Get the facts about families and technology as more and more kids are going digital.

lifelock-pta-infographic-v41