What You Need To Know About Identity Theft

We know how to secure our physical valuables, such as our money and gadgets. However, many of us don’t know how to protect something more important: our identity. In the US alone, identity theft affected more than 16 million people in 2017. These people collectively lost more than 16 million dollars, and that doesn’t include intangible costs, such as damaged reputations and lost time. Indeed, identity theft can sometimes be worse than physical robbery, so you need to make adequate preparations for it.

Identity theft can be a confusing matter to understand. Why would someone claim to be you, and how do criminals do it? Learning more about this brand of crime will help you prevent yourself from being an easy target by these criminals. As long as you follow the best practices for avoiding this type of theft, you can rest assured that your identity will remain secure for years to come.

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Stealing Someone’s Identity

You might be wondering: why would someone impersonate you? As a productive citizen, you already have precious assets such as social security benefits or the salary from your employer. You have access to one or more bank accounts, many of which hold substantial amounts of money. You also have friends and acquaintances that have their valuable assets. Someone who pretends to be you can seize all of these.

Impersonation can take one of many forms. For instance, thieves can intercept your connection when you access the Internet through an unsecured connection, such as public Wi-Fi spots. When you try to access banking sites or log into social media accounts, they can retrieve your credentials and use them to access your accounts. They can withdraw your money, lock you out of your accounts, and use your online persona to trick more people.

Another common technique used by identity criminals is phishing. They can create websites that look like login pages for legitimate sites. When you enter your credentials, you’re left with a useless site while they get to steal your data. Other digital forms of theft include sending you emails laden with malware, which scours your device for passwords and other private data. 

Less sophisticated approaches also exist. Some criminals will sift through your garbage for documents from which they can glean information, such as credit card billings or tax forms. Sometimes, they can use public data about yourself, such as your home address or phone number, to gain access to your other accounts. This method is possible because many security questions ask for personal information that they can obtain, such as your mother’s name.

Identity theft can cost you a fortune, damage your credit score, and ruin relationships. Even when reported, it can take years to reverse the worst effects. Hence, prevention is of utmost importance.

Protecting Your Identity

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One quick way to prevent identity theft is to limit the amount of personal information that you share online. When creating new accounts, use the least amount of information you can. Don’t share sensitive information such as your birthdate, complete home address, or phone numbers.

You should also secure the login credentials you use. Activate two-factor authentication whenever you can to make it harder to access your accounts. Use a secure network for your connections. Use long, alphanumeric passwords, and use a password manager to keep them safe. Finally, shred any physical documents before disposing of them.

Always remember that your identity is one of your most precious belonging. Protect it at all costs.

Ways To Discipline Your Child When Caught Cheating In School

No parent desires to be called by the principal due to cheating. However, this is common in the school setting. While your kid’s offense may upset you, you still have to think of strategies on how to discipline your child to avoid problems like this in the future. Hence, here are some ways for parents to remedy the situation.

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Listen To All Sides

As a parent, you might have the instinct to defend your child from the student or teacher who accused your child of cheating. However, this should not be the case. You should be neutral in these cases and seek the stories of all those who are involved.

The best way to start this is to set a meeting with the educators alongside your child. Ask for their version of the story. How did the teacher know of the cheating? What’s the story behind the classmate’s accusation? If you cannot understand what they are saying, calmly ask for clarification and patiently listen.

You also have to understand that cheating nowadays goes beyond looking at someone’s paper or copying their classmate’s homework. The rise of the digital age also gave way to more sophisticated means of doing this act. Some examples of this include wearing smartwatches with answers on them or hacking the principal’s computer to have access to the tests. With this in mind, you should always be open when listening to all of their accounts.

Give Out Punishments

Once you have verified that they indeed cheated, you have to hold them accountable for it and punish them for their wrongdoing. However, it is essential to tailor the consequences depending on the gravity of their situation. For example, his or her punishment for copying homework must be lesser than for cheating on an exam.

Some disciplinary actions include the following:

  • Welcome school consequences. If the teacher decides to give him detention or a zero on his paper, let them be. Do not stick up for your child since this might only give him the idea that cheating is acceptable for you.
  • Encourage him to apologize. He should make amends to those people involved. It may be with his classmate he copied his answers from or to the teacher whom he tricked.
  • Create a schoolwork plan. As a parent, you should also help your child cope with the stresses of school. To avoid copying and cheating, you can create a plan for schoolwork. It ensures that he does his homework or reads his assigned readings. The program can include establishing a fixed study time in the house, reading several pages of a book every day, or assigning a tutor for your child.

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Find The Reason For Cheating

There is most likely a reason why your child resorted to cheating. It can be because he or she sees older people cheat, there’s too much academic pressure, or his friends force him or her to commit the offense. Whatever it is, you have to pinpoint the exact reason why to be able to address the root of his or her dishonesty.

Always remember that you should send the message that cheating is unacceptable. Do not focus on what punishments to give to your child. If they don’t fully grasp the importance of honesty, they will most likely repeat this act in the future.

Top Alternatives To School Detention

Most educators see school detention as ineffective and a waste of time. Admit it: this punishment does not instantly fix a student’s attitude. It then leads them to become repeat offenders in the following weeks. Reading boring books and staring at walls might not do the job, but there are other alternatives to the traditional school detention. Let us explore them one by one.

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Lunch Workshop

Administrators can hire a counselor and meet these challenging students once a week for their lunch workshop. They are required to report to the counselor’s office without having to worry about their lunch. The office serves lunch so students won’t use the long lines in the cafeteria as an excuse to skip the sessions.

The counselor will then run a series of workshops tackling various character development issues. These include developing a positive vibe, having a growth mindset, attending support groups, or overcoming school stressors. The students should be able to connect to the chosen topics, and the one leading the discussion should be genuine to make the sessions as productive as possible.

After the mini-workshops, the counselor gives the floor to the student. It can be a safe space for him or her to share some of the struggles he or she faces. This practice will help build trust and connection with one another.

Mindful Moment Room

Instead of sending the naughty kids to a bland classroom, why not cure their disruptive behavior in a room with pillows, blankets, lamps, and decorations called the Mindful Moment Room. This place can be a space for the students to go through various types of meditation to calm them down.

Research shows that meditation positively affects both the body and mind. It enhances an individual’s patience, focus, attention span, and attitude.

Robert Coleman Elementary already practices this after-school program, and they were able to reap its benefits in just a short amount of time. According to the school administrators, the suspension rates dropped, class attendance increased, and test scores were at its highest in the past year.

Reflection Papers

If a student has a record of misbehaving all the time, the teacher may opt to place them in a quiet room and have them write a reflection paper. You can assign topics that you think they can relate to. After they write it, make sure to talk to them about their piece and engage a conversation with them.

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This approach can also be the best strategy for you to know why a student is acting up. Once you know his or her struggles, it will be easier for you to create a tailored action plan.

Community Service

Rather than cooping the student in a hole, why not let him or her engage in community service? Your school can partner with several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) where they can lend their time. These include nursing homes, orphanage, environmental groups, and many more. Exposing these individuals to good deeds might help them reassess their lives and change for the better.

Do not expect students to change their troubling behaviors by placing them in a small classroom. The goal of detention is to let the students be accountable for their mistakes, reflect on these shortcomings, and improve their behavior. The four alternatives mentioned above could be the way to attain these.

Self-Help Strategies To Overcome Kleptomania

Every time we encounter someone who steals from us, we always associate them with the idea of a criminal. We do not feel sorry for these individuals since we think that they do it on purpose. However, some people are only victims of a mental health disorder called kleptomania.

Kleptomania is the inability to prevent oneself from stealing from other people and feeling guilty and ashamed after. Take note that this is different from those who steal just because they’re bored, they want a thrill, or they only wish to. Kleptomaniacs feel uncontrollable urges to do this act, even if they don’t desire to. If you are experiencing these impulses, you might want to try these self-help strategies to overcome the disorder.

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Accept Your Situation

It is essential to recognize that you are experiencing kleptomania and understand that you need help. Some people fail to address this because of their inability to accept their situation. If you keep on putting aside this problem, your disorder might escalate more in the future.

Contemplate

You should start contemplating and reflecting to understand your condition completely. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • When do you usually steal?
  • How often do you do it?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • What do you think are your triggers?
  • What do you think are its consequences?
  • Who benefits from this?

You can grasp your stealing behaviors with the answers to these questions. Do you engage in this act to escape from reality or do you steal to experience emotional high? Are you more likely to do it when you’re stressed or when you’re relaxed? There are endless answers that you can obtain from these myriads of questions. You only have to analyze your responses to see the whole picture of your situation.

Create A Prevention Plan

Drafting a prevention plan can help you take control of your desire to steal. Start by identifying your stealing history. Then, determine your triggers from stealing and come up with specific steps to avoid waking up these urges. Here are some strategies for your prevention plan:

  • Observe. If you feel the urge beginning, stop what you are doing and stand still. Observe your environment, the people around you, and yourself. This action will help you calm your mind.
  • Talk to yourself. When you’re on the verge of succumbing to pressure, try talking to yourself. Remind yourself of your values, how good you are as a person, and how much you love yourself.
  • Exercise relaxation techniques. You can use relaxation techniques such as yoga or repeated breathing to calm yourself.
  • Distract yourself. Do something that you are passionate about, be it playing sports, painting, writing, or watching a movie. You should find a positive alternative to stealing.

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Aside from these self-help strategies, it might also be helpful for you to seek the help of a therapist. Remember, you don’t have to endure your problem alone. You’ll get back on track faster with the help of your family, friends, and some professionals.

How To Deal With Your Parents White Lies According To Therapists

There have been many talks, studies, and writeups by therapists about children lying to their parents. On the other hand, discussions about parents lying to their children are rare. Telling white lies to a toddler-aged kid has been normalized by many when it comes to parenting. Once you get to your teenage years or young adulthood, and your parents still do this act, conflicts tend to arise, and the gap tends to increase.

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Research suggests most people consider it socially and culturally acceptable for parents to use white lies with their children. Psychologists and therapists identify some common reasons for parents’ white lies, including the protection of their children and their interests.

Parents also cover up the truth to shape their children’s behavior and feelings. Research from two related studies on parental lying and deception in the United States found parents also use white lies as a strategy to make their children happy. 

Impact Of Parental Lying On A Parent-Child Relationship

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It has been proven parental lying damages your relationship with your parents and diminishes intrinsic motivation. As a result, you will not learn the appropriate behavior you need to demonstrate if you always cooperate when they tell you white lies. Lying also tends to exhaust parents mentally as they must always remember the story they created to look and sound consistent.

Parents are hurting their children when they lie to them. As you grow old while you get used to your parents contradicting the truth you have come to know, you end up doubting yourself. At a young age, you should already have your inner sense of right and wrong through your parents’ encouragement. You may be denied a healthy personality once you are unable to trust yourself because of your parents.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have found children can sense when their parents are lying to them. It can lead them to distrust their parents, the very people who should teach them ethical values. Children, especially those who are beyond the age of curiosity, are not gullible and know when their parents are withholding information.

A New York Times article also pointed out that psychiatrists have been seeking to determine when white lies become destructive. Moreover, they have also been studying which kinds of mental health problems can be derived consequently. Therefore, parental lying may not only negatively impact a parent-child relationship but also cause serious health and well-being issues within the family.

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Tips On Dealing With Your Parents’ White Lies

  • Always ask your parents genuine questions. Every time you ask your parents about something you would like to know, measure their truth’s consistency. Show them you are eager to know the ‘real truth’ and how it will effectively and positively affect you as their child and as an individual.
  • Sympathize with your parents. It is crucial that at a young age, you already learn how to let your parents know you understand them and their struggles. Show your parents how open-minded and understanding you have become. As a result, they will no longer deny you the truth you seek to know even if it might hurt your feelings. Make them feel you are on the same page.
  • Avoid being overpowered by disappointment. As previously mentioned, parents often lie to protect their children’s emotions. It does not mean they are already removing parental support and guidance. As their child, you might face disappointments from your parents’ white lies and suspicious actions. You must know how not to overthink everything. Find a solution alongside your parents rather than on your own.
  • Distinguish the difference between acceptable and forbidden lies. Learning about the boundaries between truth and consequences at a young age are likely to stay with us as we grow up and old. You must not be oversensitive about everything and realize the white lies created by your parents are not always about or because of you.
  • Let them know what you value as a person. It is okay to be vocal as a child, especially when you demonstrate and maintain a respectful behavior. Open communication has been a vital, fundamental key to keeping a harmonious relationship within every group or network such as your family. Tell them directly how you feel about things and what you would like to know to improve yourself and manage growth.

Therapists have been giving expert advice to parents who still use lying as a parenting strategy. Now it is time you do your part as a growing child to understand your parents’ white lies and let them know you deserve to know the truth.