Capistrano Valley High School Town Hall Highlights: 8 Key Takeaways

To continue spreading the cyber behavior awareness message, the ZABRA team headed to Los Angeles this week for a town hall event at Capistrano Valley High School.  We partnered with Lifetime’s Josh Shipp, Phil Greer of The California Treatment Advocacy Foundation (CalTAF) and the Capistrano Unified School District to discuss addressing treats to teens’ online safety and the pertinence of digital parenting today.

Our panel of news and television personalities, social media experts and teen behavior specialists shared important insights on online safety. Here are a few key takeaways for parents:

  •  “Setting up a framework for a child to be a good digital citizen starts with the parent and [that includes] explaining to them what that means.” – Paul Adkison, founder of ZABRA
  • “Lecturing is going to train your kid to tune you out. Therefore, parents, when there is something you want your kid to do, you have to focus on questions because questions evoke critical thinking.” – Josh Shipp
  • “It’s never too early to start talking to your kids about drugs, bullying, eating disorders and self-destructive, maladaptive coping mechanisms.” – Jamison Monroe Jr., Founder of Newport Academy & Leading Adolescent Addiction Expert
  • “You never want to bail your kids out of a situation that they can struggle through themselves with your support.” – Josh Shipp
  • “So much happens in the news that you can use it as a starting point for a conversation with your family.” –Kimberly Cornell, KTLA Executive Producer & EMMY Award-Winning Journalist
  • “There are real-life consequences to every action and it is important [for teens] to understand that.” –Phil Greer
  • “I would recommend not putting anything on your social media accounts that you would not do in a crowded stadium. And if you wouldn’t get on a crowded football field and do it, [then] don’t post that picture.” – Jerrod Menz, President, American Addiction Centers
  • “Authenticity trumps polish any day of the week. It’s not about a magic word or phrase, but just authentically letting your kids know that you care.” – Darren Kavinoky, Network Television Personality & CNN Analyst

Thank you to all of our panel experts for participating, also including Anna Bryson, CUSD Board of Trustees Member.  For additional parenting resources and advice, check in on the ZABRA Facebook Page.  Remember to talk to your kids about online safety today and download our good cyber citizen pledge here.

Tagged in:

Online Behavior and Your Child: Parenting in the Age of Social Networks

ZABRA and Lifetime TV host and teen behavior expert Josh Shipp have joined forces with Phil Greer, Executive Director of The California Treatment Advocacy Foundation (CalTAF) and theCapistrano Unified School District (CUSD) to host a powerful and critical town hall event to educate parents on the dangers of teen online behavior and the importance of digital parenting. ZABRA and CalTAF’s highly anticipated community town hall event will begin promptly at 7:00 p.m. on Nov.19 at Capistrano Valley High School’s state of the art performing arts center.

“Monitoring your child’s social networks, while teaching cyber responsibility is a requirement of parents of the digital age,” said Paul Adkison, founder of ZABRA. “Our upcoming town hall event will educate greater Orange County area parents on the importance of knowing their child’s social interactions online, the direct influence and potential dangers presented within these mediums and specific solutions, like ZABRA, that can empower them to increase communications and openly discuss issues with their families.”

The town hall event will feature a powerful panel of nationwide personalities, leaders and behavior experts, including:

Each panelist will give their perspective about the topic at hand, what they are doing to make an impact, and what the community can do right now to get help and make a difference. After a brief presentation by each panelist, Darren Kavinoky will then open the floor for questions, while also accepting remote audience engagement via Facebook UStream and Twitter.

ZABRA, CalTAF and CUSD are aligning to start the conversation and give California communities a chance to be heard, while learning how they can make a difference right now.

In addition to the information discussed during the event, additional resources regarding online safety, cyberbullying and more are available at

ZABRA exists to provide support and guidance to parents with children who are active users of social media networks. ZABRA monitors a child’s activities and communications while using popular social media sites, and provides parents guidance on how to discuss difficult issues with their children. Parents don’t allow their children to talk to strangers, or go to places they aren’t familiar. ZABRA helps parents exercise the same precautions in the online world by placing a halo of digital protection around children while they are interacting with social media. For more information, visit

Tagged in:

Parenting versus Policing

Guest post from Josh Shipp

Let’s discuss the important difference between parenting and policing.

Here’s the uncomfortable truth: most parents either tend toward being too permissive (and lose authority because they don’t enforce rules) or being too authoritarian (and lose authority because they’re not loving enough).

Every parent I’ve ever met (myself included) tends toward one of these two extremes.

Here’s how to navigate that minefield.

I. POLICING PARENTS: Advice For Parents Who Tend to Be More Authoritative.

If you want to be more effective as a parent, you’re going to have to do something that’s not always easy. You need to spend time intentionally ENCOURAGING your child and being PATIENT and LOVING WITHOUT PERFORMANCE CONDITIONS.

Not by barking orders at them.

Here’s how most kids spell love.  T-I-M-E.

They need time with you. I call it: The “Be With” Factor.

Just “Be With” your kid. When they have a difficult time communicating their feelings and seem distant — taking time to be with them is pretty much all you can give. And that’s pretty much all they need. I would sit down and intentionally make a list of questions that you genuinely would like to know the answer to.

1. Who is your best friend? What makes them your best friend?

2. Who is someone in your school that you have a hard time getting along with? Why?

3. Who is your favorite teacher at school? Why?

4. What is your favorite song? Play it for me. Why does that song mean so much to you?

Being a parent means being “a student of your kid.” And for teens, it’s all about the “be with” factor.

So “be with” them.

Believe me. They need time with you and want time with you and need your approval and love more than you can possibly know. YES, even when they don’t exactly articulate it.

II. PERMISSIVE PARENTS: For Parents Who Tend to Be Less Authoritative.

Parents in this camp generally feel as though things are happening in their home that make them feel out of control. Often their teen is openly rebellious or defiant or disrespectful, and the parent is at a loss for what to do.

The key to setting boundaries is to involve your entire family in the process, getting everyone on the same page. Literally. I call that page, “The Family Contract.”

Here’s how you can make Family Contracts work for you.


First off, I want to be as clear as I can. Family Contacts, to work, must be written with all the parties involved. Kids. Parents. Everyone.

The Contract must have three sections. Privileges, expectations, and consequences.

SECTION 1: Privileges.

This outlines what kind of age-appropriate privileges parents will provide the kids. In other words: freedoms.

SECTION 2: Expectations.

Just like your kid will have not have any problems listing privileges they desire, you likely won’t have to brainstorm too long to figure out what kind of behaviors you want to see from your kid in your home.

SECTION 3: Consequences.

Simply state that the consequences for these expectations not being met. It’s important this is determined in advance, to help you follow through.

No matter which side of the spectrum you line up on, there is good news. If you take these steps to counteract your natural parenting tendencies, you’ll see your influence actually grow because your relationship with your teen will be so much stronger. And you’ll be parenting from a position of influence, love and empowerment.

Teens Are Leaving Facebook – So Where Are They Going and What Does it Mean for Parents?

Last week, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, announced a fact that many, including Pew Research, had already observed: Teens are leaving Facebook.

But don’t think for second that this means kids are getting bored with social networks. Most parents know about other popular sites, like Instagram and Twitter, but sites and mobile apps like, Pheed and Snapchat are becoming increasingly popular for teens. In addition to these sites, kids are using group messaging apps, like Kik and WhatsApp, to keep in touch with many friends at once.

Parents may be asking themselves how they can keep up with where their kids are going online, just like they would in the real world. For one, it’s probably a good idea to assume that kids are going to be exploring social networking sites − including those with which you’re not familiar. Parents can also pay attention to what kinds of apps kids are putting on their mobile devices. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the ones that ZABRA currently monitors, all have mobile apps that enable kids to share status updates, locations and pictures from wherever there’s a cell tower or wi-fi connection. If there’s an app on their phone that you don’t know about, ask them what it is. And if you’re curious to learn about what other sites are out there, here’s a great article from Mashable:

Also know what tools can keep you informed about these changes. In the growing world of social networking, a tool like ZABRA can be invaluable for parents looking to keep their kids safe. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news on popular sites kids are using.

Wherever your kids are spending their time online, it’s important to have an open discussion with them about the potential dangers of using these sites. Challenge them to be good cyber citizens – take the pledge, if they haven’t already – and come forward with anything they see online that concerns them.

Blog Roundup: Adults vs. Teens on Social Media

If this week’s contrasting headlines about teens abandoning Facebook and the platform having the most teen users told us anything, it’s that teens’ online behavior trends are as ever-changing as the daily news cycle. From around the blogosphere, we captured some interesting insights from this week on what trends teens are following online and where exactly the gap is between teens and parents:

NYT Bits Blog: Teenagers Prove Fickle When Choosing Social Networks — Teens may be fickle, but Bits says teens are taking interest in platforms that easily allow themto be open and expressive (like Twitter and Instagram). P.S. The fact that parents aren’t on those sites sweetens the pot for teens.

From the article

“…it was best summed up by a teenager interviewed in the Pew Research report: “Yeah, that’s why we go on Twitter and Instagram [instead of Facebook]. My mom doesn’t have that.”

Social With It: Adults vs Teens’ behaviours on social media [Infographics] — Here’s a visual look at what percentage of teens vs. adults use different platforms. The usage trends might surprise you!

NPR All Things Considered Blog: Raising Social Media Teens Means Constant Parental Learning — Laura Sydell addresses the balancing act parents are practicing where it comes to giving teens levels of privacy and protection on social media.

Slate Future Tense Blog: Sorry, Slate’s 31-Year-Old Correspondent Was Wrong About Facebook — Will Oremus of Slate blogged a public apology to 13-year-old Ruby Karp. Ruby blogged on Mashable months ago about the decline in Facebook’s popularity among her friends and as a result, several other news organizations later referenced Ruby’s POV as a trend. But after Facebook admitted the decline in teen activity, he acknowledged the young lady was onto something…

Tagged in: