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Cyberbullies and your Children

by Tom Stachler from Group One Realty Team - Real Est

Ten Ways to Protect Your Child from Cyberbullies

Cyberbullying has quickly turned into a pandemic on the web, causing severe emotional and psychological pain to children. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, over 40% of all teenagers with Internet access have reported being bullied online. 

Cyberbullies seek to terrorize or humiliate perceived enemies and rivals under the cloak of anonymity, and with the proliferation of social media tools and multiple points of connection to the Web, they have an ever-expanding array of opportunities to achieve their goals. This activity presents a daunting challenge to parents who want to ensure their children's safety in today's technology-driven communications environment. Simple tips that worked in the past are fast-becoming ineffective: it's no longer sufficient to block access to specific websites, messaging programs, social networks, or computer use altogether. 

Parents can gain important insights into their children's digital lives by communicating with them about this important topic, and better monitoring their web, email and mobile phone activity. Here are 10 tips for parents to help protect their children from cyberbullies and other online dangers:

1. Start by talking with your children about their online activities and the dangers of cyberbullying - set their expectations by discussing your views on monitoring their Internet and smartphone use

2. Set up Google Alerts to monitor mentions of your children's names on the Web

3. Friend your children on Facebook and monitor their privacy settings so you are able to view their profile and activity

4. In addition to Facebook, cyberbullies use other social networking sites like Twitter to post hateful messages. Familiarize yourself with these sites and set up an account to enable you to routinely search what others are saying about your kids

5. Inform teachers if you suspect your child is being cyberbullied.  Teachers are among the first to notice important changes in children's behavior, and it's possible the bully may be a classmate

6. Consider implementing parental monitoring software on your Home computers and children's smartphones

7. Many school districts also now use computer monitoring software on all classroom computers. Check with your school principal, PTA or school board to ensure these tools are in use at your child's school

8. Prohibit your children from having multiple e-mail addresses, screennames and social networking accounts

9. Prohibit your children from using geolocation tools and apps on Facebook and smartphones

10. Always be observant as your children use electronic communications tools. Changes in habits, such as frequency and timing of use, mood swings and other indicators, could be a sign that your child is being bullied or a target of other online mischief

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Understanding VA Home Mortgages

by Tom Stachler from Group One Realty Team - Real Est

If you’re a military member or veteran in the market for a VA Home loan, there are two basic things you need in order to get the process moving. One is your basic eligibility for the VA mortgage it self, the other is how much of that entitlement you have coming. First time home buyers with enough time in the service to qualify for a VA mortgage don’t have any worries when it comes to the entitlement issue; if you have never used your VA loan benefits and you qualify, you have 100% of your VA loan entitlement available to you.

To start the process, you must apply for a Certificate of Eligibility from the Department of Veterans Affairs. When the VA responds to your application, they issue qualified applicants a Certificate of Eligibility telling your lender (and you) two things:

* The borrower has served in the military long enough to earn and use VA home loan benefits.
* The amount of the borrower’s entitlement to use for the VA loan.

It’s easy to assume that because you’ve served in the armed forces you’re automatically eligible for ALL the benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs; the truth is that vets and active service members are eligible for VA guaranteed home loans only when they meet certain general rules:

* The applicant must have served on active duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard after September 15, 1940.
* The applicant must not have a dishonorable discharge.
* The applicant must have served at least 90 days or more during wartime or 181 continuous days or more during peacetime.

For most veterans on active duty today and for many who have retired or separated, the following rules also apply:

There is a two-year duty requirement for those who served

* As an enlisted member after 
September 7, 1980.
* As an officer after 
October 16, 1981.

For all who joined after these dates, VA regulations require;

* 24 continuous months of active duty military service.
* The full period for which called or ordered to active duty, but not less than 90 days (any part during wartime) or 181 continuous days during peacetime operations.

These rules mean brand-new recruits, basic trainees and recent graduates of military technical school programs are not eligible for a VA loan…yet.

New recruits and basic training graduates who want a VA home loan should begin working on their credit history between the time they join the service and the time they become eligible for a VA loan so that when the time comes the military member is completely ready to apply for a VA guaranteed mortgage.

Remember you can search for property listings in the Ann Arbor and surrounding areas by going to www.shelterquest1.com for real time MLS listings.


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Tom Stachler
Real Estate One, Group One Realty Team
555 Briarwood Circle
Ann Arbor MI 48108
Direct: (734) 996-0000
Fax: (734) 661-0102