PARENTS BEWARE - Social Media Apps

    SnapChat  SnapChat allows you to send pictures or videos to a friend through the app for them to view for a set time (1-10 seconds), then the Snap “disappears” from the screen. This does not prevent screenshots being taken of the picture that was sent or received. Please read the terms and agreements in full.  These pictures do not “disappear”. Everything that you post     through the app belongs to SnapChat, however they are not legally responsible for any illegal activity that could rise from the app or it’s content. Again, I urge you, read the terms and conditions.

    Kik – This is a private messaging app in which you can share text messages, photos, or videos. It is next to impossible to determine the true identity of the person with whom you may be chatting or messaging. Just by simply reading the “reviews”, you will clearly see that this is a sexually charged app promoting secrecy, anonymity, and sexting. Again, please read the terms and conditions of this app.

           Instagram – While seemingly innocent and safe, this is a potential venue for pornographic websites to prey on you and your children. It’s important that your profile be set to private in order for them not to gain access to your account. Beware of the “explore” section of this app, as it has been known to feature explicit content. Also, watch who your child follows. This is an app that’s purpose is to share pictures and, as we all know, not all pictures are appropriate. – The purpose of, both the app and website, is for users to ask other users questions, with the option of anonymity. However, anyone…and I repeat anyone, can ask the user anything, even if they do not have an account just by clicking the option to be anonymous. is an incredibly dangerous app and website. Between 2012 and 2014, this app and site became associated with numerous instances of cyber-bullying, some of which led to suicides, particularly in teens.

     Twitter – Use caution, set all accounts to private, and do not open any direct messages with a link. Many pornographic websites and fake profiles troll this app and website. Change your password often, as accounts are easily hacked.

     Facebook – Check and reset privacy settings often, as they can be changed without the users being notified.  Be aware that an individual can have more than one account.

      Vine – Vine is a video sharing app where users can view, create, and share videos that are no more than six seconds in duration and run in a loop. This site is infamous for pornographic and explicit content, and has very little privacy and protective setting capabilities. 

    Pinterest – Description via app “With Pinterest you can:
     -Plan projects—home decor overhauls, car restorations, garden redesigns and other DIY efforts
     -Dream up your next travel outing—outdoor adventures, road trips with friends, family outings and exotic travel
    -Collect your favorite things—illustrations, ideas for tattoos, hilarious quotes, jewelry designs, the latest technology and inspiring art and architecture
    -Save great ideas—articles to read, movies to watch, gifts to buy, art for your home, fashion and beauty how-tos, food and recipes to cook, fitness tips and great hair looks
    -Get organized for a party—wedding decor, birthday themes, dresses for the dinner party and recipes for game day
Use Pinterest today to discover things you you’re interested in, and let Pinterest inspire you to do those things. How it works: You organize all your ideas into collections (called “boards”) of visual bookmarks (called “Pins”). When you find something that looks interesting, all you have to do is Pin It!” While this app and website can hold much benefit, it is riddled with pornographic images and links. Many off these images are feigned “workout” pictures, others are just “in your face” porn.

           YikYak – Via the app description: “YikYak acts like a local bulletin board for your area by showing the most recent posts from other users around you. It allows anyone to connect and share information with others without having to know them.” This app allows you to send updates that anyone in your area, set by GPS services, can see in a Twitter-like timeline or newsfeed. These updates are allowed to be no more than 200 characters. YikYak is an anonymous site. Basically, other users can know where you are but not who you are. 
     Poof – This app has currently been pulled from itunes, google play, and other android app services. However many apps like it are popping up daily. These apps make text messages “disappear” or make apps “disappear” from parents. What the person doesn’t want others to see on their phone, they can make “disappear” or hidden, using these apps.

         Omegle – The slogan “Talk to Strangers” is by itself a red flag. This is an app that connects you to “strangers” to text chat or video chat with.
      Via Wikipedia:
“Omegle was initially a text-only chat that paired users at random to communicate as "strangers". However, in 2010, Omegle introduced a video mode to complement the text chat mode, which pairs together strangers who are using web-cams and microphones. The video chat also has a text window built in. 
In 2011, the beta version of a new feature, "Spy Mode", was introduced. In Spy (Question) Mode, users have two options; to be the "spy" and ask a question of two strangers, or to discuss a question with another stranger. As the spy, the user inputs any question for the two strangers to answer or discuss and is able to view the discussion as a third party, albeit without being able to contribute further to the conversation. The spy can quit at any time without ending the chat for the two other strangers. If a user chooses to discuss a question instead, as in normal text mode, the user is paired with another stranger and can discuss the question the spy has asked up until the point the other stranger decides to disconnect and/or move on to another question.
In 2012, Omegle added a special new feature to the text and video modes, the option to input "interest" tags. Adding interests lets users be paired with a stranger who has something in common with the user. A user can input as many interests as he or she would like, and if no available match is found, the user is paired with a completely random stranger instead. 
In 2013, an unmonitored version of the video chat mode was opened, leaving the original content moderator-regulated video section open to anyone aged thirteen and up as long as the content of his or her video stream is clean. Initially, questionable adult content in the video section of Omegle was filtered using image recognition algorithms only. The newer unmonitored video section allows consenting adults over the age of eighteen the freedom to view, and share with one another, uncensored explicit video streams.
In 2014, Omegle began experimenting with a "Dorm Chat" mode, which requires the user to provide an e-mail address ending in ".edu" to verify that they are associated with a college or university. Dorm Chat allows the user to chat with his or her classmates and colleagues on Omegle.”
Parents, if that alone does not scare the ever living daylights out of you I don’t know what will.

         Whisper – Via the app description: “Whisper is an anonymous social network that allows people to express themselves, connect with like-minded individuals, and discover the unseen world around us. With Whisper, you can anonymously share your thoughts and emotions with the world, and form lasting and meaningful relationships in a community built around trust and honesty. If you have ever had something too intimate to share on traditional social networks, simply share it on Whisper.” This app allows you to anonymously connect with other users through responding “whispers” or with free private messaging.

     Hot or Not Via Wikipedia: “The purpose of the app 'Hot or Not' is to rate pictures of other people. When you rate somebody as hot, and they rate you as hot, then you become connections. When you're connected, you get to chat with each other. Users also receive a hotness rating out of 10 based on the number of people who rate you as hot, vs. those who don't.” Via app description: "Hot or Not. Get in. Get seen. Get fans! Check out if you are Hot, find interesting people around you and chat with them. The hottest online community with over 190 million members!" This is clearly a sexually charged app. Parents, please, let’s all be smart about this…enough said.

      Down – Formerly “Bang with Friends”. This app is linked through Facebook. It’s slogan is “Anonymously find people in your social network who are down for the night.” Via the app description: “1. Pick your hot friends anonymously 2. They pick you 3. We send you a private email hooking you two up 4. Go on your date or get down!  Bang With Friends is now DOWN: We are the original and official way to bang your friends!” Once again, enough said.
Parents, it's time. It time to get our heads out of the sand on this one. We have got to be educated on this thing called social media and smartphones. The ignorance MUST stop! I have watched families, marriages, children, mothers, fathers, young adults, older adults, churched, and unchurched alike, being completely wrecked by this. Their lives forever altered with negative consequences that are far outreaching just them and their immediate families. I have looked in the faces of people I know and love, who have been wounded and hurt by the consequences of ignorance in this area. Knowledge is power. Get informed so that you can get involved helping not just your child, but yourself as well, set boundaries in this area. Our enemy prowls around like a lion seeking whom he may devour... don't let him in to devour your child, your family, or your home though a piece of technology that you can hold in your hand. It's YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!!! If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or sibling of a young person, or you have a young person that you care about in your life, it's your responsibility. If you own a smartphone yourself, it's your responsibility. Wake up. Stand up. Get informed. Get involved. Stay informed. Stay involved. And above all, lets love our children enough to hold them accountable and set boundaries for them, especially in this incredibly dangerous world that is social media and smartphones. It's time. 
- Sara

Creating the Paradigm Shift

Part of my summer agenda is to clean out old files, either my desk or my computer.  I ran across this today and though it was worth repeating.  
Okay, it’s summer; you may be wondering what we are doing at the office.  While the work in the schools is finished for the season, the training and programs continue.  We have been wrapping up the final numbers, entering data from the school year, reviewing program impact and assessing personal evaluations.  We discuss, how effective have we been?  Where could we, as instructors, improve?  What have we learned that will move our program to the next level of excellence, etc?  It was during one of those sessions that we had a visit from a student who had recently graduated from one of our local schools.  He stopped by unexpectedly and stayed for a couple of hours talking to our staff about the power and importance Reality, Check, Inc. had on his life.  He first began in our program in the 8th grade.  He was one of the students who slumped in his chair and acted like he was too cool, or too sleepy, for the information.  In 9th grand, he was the one with the chip on his shoulder.  In, 10th grade, he made some personal decisions that caused him to have legal consequences and spend some time in juvenile detention.  His 11th grade year, he was surprised to see Reality Check, Inc. at the alternative educational program he attended.  He even got chosen for a “Backpack” visual about how negative choices add unnecessary weight to our future.  This caught his attention and surprised him as it began to refresh his memory and bring to understanding all of the things he had learned from Reality Check, Inc. in the past.  His senior year, he was at a different alternative school to help him catch up on credits he had missed, again Reality Check, Inc. showed up.  This time he was eager to not only hear the information but also to actively gain more knowledge by engaging in discussion and seeking more information and mentoring outside the classroom setting.  The change and growth in this young man has been incredible to watch.  I think the most powerful things he shared with the instructors that day was the following:  
·      Don’t believe the student who pretends not to care.  He said, “In eighth grade you planted a seed in my heart that stuck with me.  You said I had value, and that I was special, my choices matter.  No one had ever told me that before.  I was only pretending not to listen, after all, I had my reputation to think about.
·      You change more teens than you think.  He said, “You didn’t make all the kids want to make better decisions about sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.  There are still some that may want to, but you are like a speed bump in the road.  When it comes down to it, they can’t forget the information you share with them.”  He recounted several instances of when his friends or he made the correct choice because they couldn’t shake the truth of the knowledge they had on how and why to make the positive choice for their future.
·      Don’t underestimate the power of truth combined with caring.  He shared what a powerful impact that the respect our instructors show each student has on their lives and futures.  He said, “When you teach us, you don’t put your self above us as having something we can’t obtain in our life.  You are on our level, not in a peer-to-peer way, but in an understanding way that you know where we are at.  You don’t judge us.  You want to help us by giving us knowledge and skills that help us succeed.”  He paused for a minute and said, “No, you really but yourself underneath us, and life us up to a higher standard.  You lift us up to where you know we can go.” 
You already know, there wasn’t a dry eye in the office by this time.  Reaching teens is not about having and using the latest technology.  It isn’t only about having that educational degree, or using the latest teaching techniques, although those things can enhance to experience.  It isn’t about the age or gender of the instructor.  It is about the power of giving time, a pat on the back, a simple, eye-to-eye; “How’s your day going?”, or, “I’m glad you’re here.”  Or most importantly, “Your choices matter because you matter.”  It is about being committed to care about this generation and having the passion to see them succeed.
This doesn't just apply to instructors in a classroom.  These three principals can be applied in the home, in business, and in faith-based organization. Take some time today to share truth with a caring attitude, even if it is not well received in the moment.

Social Media and Our Children

Parents, have you heard of SnapChat,, Kik, or Bang with Friends? Are your kids on them? Are you sure? Have you checked?
These are just a few currently popular, yet very dangerous social media outlets, that provide zero benefit for your child. I beg you, do your research. It's not nosy, it's protection.
If you have any questions, or would like to have more information regarding the dangers of these apps, how to protect your child and help them set boundaries in this area, or of social media in general, please message me or email me at and we can talk! Lets join together to put a protective shield around our children in this potentially dangerous world that is social media!

Little Project with Big Results

My heart is bursting…  I have been so blessed today.  How great is the Father’s love for us!

I’m not sure what any of us expected back in January, when three young men, from the Alternative School where our Reality Check office is located, tossed this idea out.  We were working in the Life-Skills program room when one of the young men said he would like to make something for someone else, since they had learned to sew during the fall semester.  They wanted to give back to the community.  The idea was decided on to make bibs for the local nursing home.  They didn’t want to leave anyone out so the goal was set to make about 70 bibs.  Somehow over the next few months the project morphed to making lap-quilts and pillows, as well as bibs.  What started out, as three young men’s idea soon became a project where all of the students became involved and had a hand in creating gifts.  Some cut material, matched up pieces of fabric, sewed, tied quilts, designed pillows, stuffed pillows, made tags of encouragement, laughed, learned, and built community and a family spirit.

Today, about seventy young people, bearing 96 quilts, pillows, and bibs went to the nursing home to deliver the gifts they had made for the residents.  What they brought to the nursing home was far more than quilts and pillows.  They brought hugs, warm smiles, and sweet faces to give and receive kisses.  They brought kindness and love.  They left with full hearts, eyes filled with tears, and a call in their soul to go back again.  They reached outside themselves, outside their generation, and found hands reaching back bridging any age difference, just people giving and receiving unconditional love. 

Stepping outside my role of Director and speaking purely from my heart.  I saw the heart of Jesus Christ on display today, and I know He was smiling.
He also has a gift for each of these people, both young and old.  His arms of love are reaching out, when we reach out to Him, we find the gift of unconditional love, acceptance, and reconciliation.  We find the heart of Jesus Christ, and we are forever changed.

Thank you young men and women for your attitudes and actions today.  Attitudes and actions that brought honor, dignity, and respect, not only to yourselves, but to your family, your school, the residents, and your community.  I am so very proud of you.

Beth Bryant

Your Teen Wants to Hear What You Have To Say!

Monday we start after-school classes for about 23 middle school students.  These teen's parents cared enough about them getting correct, powerful information that they organized a week of private Reality Check Classes in an after-school setting.  I am so proud of their tenacity to work out details to bring this about.  It is refreshing to know these teens have a strong support system that will help them navigate this important time in their development.  Not every teen has this advantage unfortunately.  
One of our presenters just finished teaching an eight day program at a high school near by. Here are just a few cards that caught my heart.  So grateful for our Instructors who unashamedly share this important message with teens.  

These three cards have shown us that most students do not have an adult in their life that has the courage to step up and talk about those "awkward" or "uncomfortable" things. The truth is, teenagers want information. They want to be "in the know." But, if they don't have trustworthy adults in their lives to talk about these things with them, they're going to look for it in different avenues.
Parents, it is important to TALK to your teenager. Don't let them be uninformed and then make decisions that they will later regret. 
Reality Check, Inc. wants to thank James Yandell with Walmart International, Brazil, for speaking to the Extended Day and Crossroads students.  He gave an excellent presentation and interesting Q&A session for approximately 120 students.  Mr. Yandell spoke to the students regarding:
"How to be Successful in Life and Business"
1: Dependability:  Be on time, keep your word and follow through.
2:  Good Judgement:  Look at your choices and consequences and developing the ability to choose wisely.
3: Trustworthy:  Building honesty in relationships.
4: Communication:  Learning effective clear communication.
5: Alignment:  Learn to align your God-given talents and abilities with available opportunities.  This involves knowing yourself, likes/dislikes, strengths/weaknesses, etc. 

Thank you for sharing from your life experiences and insight.

I am so thankful for the men and women who have taken time to volunteer when Reality Check, Inc. has asked.  It is an honor to have you come and speak to the students we work with in the Extended Day and Crossroads school. A word fitly spoken does change lives.
Today, we had the privilege of having Greg Bohannan, professional FLW fisherman, give his time and speak from his heart into the lives of these young men and women.   He shared Seven Steps to Success, using his life story. 
1.     Always add value:  Be sure to bring value into every relationship or situation in your life.
2.     Find what you are passionate about and go after that.  Don’t let the negativity or discouragement of others sway you from your dream.
3.     Be extraordinary.  Do something to stand out from the crowd.  Work hard.
4.     Find a good mentor.  Iron sharpens iron.  Choose friends that will strengthen your values.
5.     Know your finances.  Develop the habit of saving for a rainy day.
6.     Protect your integrity.  Your past will follow you, so guard your integrity.
7.     Be resilient.  Everything you do will have its ups and downs, persevere.
Thank you, Greg for challenging us to follow what we are passionate about, and that we can be anything we desire.  Appreciate these great life principles.