Ethics Surveys – Resources by Business Ethics Speaker Chuck Gallagher

March 2, 2009

As a business ethics speaker I am often asked if there are any tools available to evaluate business ethics.  So, realizing that I can be a resource, I am providing four links below that might help.

Take the quizzes – look at the results and see how you measure up.

As always I would love to have your comments!

Message To My Son – Every Choice Has A Consequence! Hear My Voice Speak from A Painful Prison Experience!

October 6, 2008

Tonight this blog entry is very personal for me.  I have debated whether to write it and share.  It is easy to talk about other people’s issues and problems, it is even easy to talk about my own, but when they come home to you it often brings up pain that seems, at times, best supressed.

I spent time in Federal prision for stupid choices I made, now some 23 years ago.  As a speaker today, I share with audiences from coast to coast the valuable lessons I have learned from the consequences that followed the painful mistakes I have made.  I am not proud of my past.  I am not proud of having served time in Federal prison.  I am not proud of the shame and financial hardship I have brought on my family.  I am not proud that I was a poor husband and did not live up to my commitment to my wife.

A wise man, however, once told me, “You have made a serious mistake; however, YOU are not a mistake!”

Those words, spoken to me in a phone conversation in Boise, Idaho, saved my life.  It was then that I knew, whatever the consequences I must face for the actions I had made, if I could somehow teach my children and lead them to make better choices – it would be worth it.

Tonight one of my son’s shared with me quite innocently, that he had taken (stolen to be clear) something insignificant from a local store while a freshman in college.  Even as I write this I am having trouble coming to grips with the depth of emotion I feel.  The joy that we experienced just moments and hours earlier was shattered with this revelation.

Consciously I tried to pass it off as a simple college prank, a dumb choice.  I thought to myself, “Surely everyone has shoplifted once in their life.”  But in reality, no matter what I thougth or tried to think, there was no way to describe the depth of sadness I felt knowing that my child who I saw through innocent eyes, was marching down the same path that I walked some many years ago.  My heart ached.

As we parted tonight I needed time to collect my thoughts.  Here I was a motivational speaker – addressing groups on business ethics, on choices and consequences, and yet the greatest audience that I needed to address was my son!  Perhaps the greatest speech I will ever give will be to him.

While I can’t speak for you who read – if anyone will read this entry – but at times I can more powerfully speak after I have had time to write as writing to me brings clarity.  God knows I have to have clarity of message if I am to help my son learn from my mistakes.  Therefore the following is an e-mail I wrote to him, hoping that it will pave the way for a frank and loving discussion tomorrow.

It will be just you and I having lunch tomorrow.  I feel that we need some time together – just us two.

Tonight was a bit of a roller coaster for me.  I was so happy to see you.  You don’t have any clue just how special you are to me and how loved you are by me.  I may not say it enough or show it enough, but it doesn’t change the fact that the feeling is there.  Dinner was great as was the conversation.  It always is with you.

I know it was not intentional, but the bombshell you dropped on me that you would willingly steal something sent shock waves through me.  I may poke fun at my experience in prison, but it was a very real and painful experience.  I poke fun to mask the true pain and shame I feel from the choices I made.  And, yes, today I still pay the price for those choices.

In my wildest dreams I would never have thought that you would do (yes, I know it is not the magnitude of what I did), what I did – knowing the painful price we all paid.  I am sad, angry and disappointed.  I am disappointed that you would, either by desire or peer pressure, do something that (I assume) you know is wrong.  I believe that in your youthful stupidity, you have no clue the significance of taking that first innocent step.

What I did was wrong, but understand I didn’t start by stealing a bunch…it started by stealing a little and finding out that I didn’t get caught.  Whether you want to admit it – you have done the same thing.  There is no difference and there is no justification.  It takes three things to commit a fraud and you proved to me tonight that you, just like I, can use all three and that makes me deeply sad.

Tonight the joy I have with you as my child has turned to a deep concern for you as an adult.  Every choice has a consequence and you have yet to see or experience the consequence of your choice.  Do not follow in my footsteps.  I can hear you now saying to me, “Dad, I won’t.”  But your actions tell me that you are capable of doing just that and, trust me, prison as a result is not worth any stupid choice.

As your father, allow me to serve as example of what not to do.  If I can do that, then the painful consequences of my past choices will be worthwhile.

If there has ever been a time to listen to your dad – now is that time.  Please read these words more than once and know that my love for you doesn’t change.

See you tomorrow.


In our lives there are defining moments, this is one for him and me.  It is true, we all make mistakes, but we are not mistakes.  I pray that the words I share in love will be heard and understood.  I pray that he will get it.  There is power in numbers so those who read with compassion…join me in praying that this message finds willing ears in my son and, too, for all the others who hear in my presentations to youth nationwide.

Child Porn Law Upheld by Supreme Court! “Protecting Our Kids” Speaker Chuck Gallagher Comments

May 19, 2008

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion for the Supreme Court in which they upheld the law aimed at preventing child pornography. Scalia called internet child porn a “threat.” He’s right. As a frequent speaker on teen ethics and computer crimes, it is clear that the internet is becoming a distribution haven for child porn and more importantly it is a playground for child predators.

A federal law, the “Protect” Act enacted in 2003 made it a crime not only to produce and possess child porn, but also to “pander” material, conveying the belief that material contains minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The pandering provision covers anyone who “advertises, promotes, presents, distributes, or solicits” this material.

According to CNN in a recent report: As part of a 2004 sting operation, an undercover Secret Service agent (using the screen name “Lisa–n–Miami”) communicated with Williams in an Internet chat room. Williams allegedly wrote, “Dad of toddler has ‘good’ pics of her an (sic) me for swap of your toddler pics, or live cam.” He posted nonpornographic photos of a young girl and claimed he had “hc,” or hard-core, kiddie pictures, prosecutors contend.

The man then allegedly posted photos of youngsters involved in “sexually explicit conduct,” according to court records. Twenty-two other child porn images were found on his home computer.

A federal appeals court upheld a possession conviction against Williams, but threw out the separate soliciting charge, which carried a five-year mandatory minimum sentence. A three-judge panel concluded the provision was “substantially overbroad and vague,” and that “non-commercial, non-inciteful promotion of illegal child pornography, even if repugnant, is protected free speech.” In other words, the judges said merely talking about child porn is not necessarily criminal.

Today’s ruling by the high Court upheld the law by ruling that a provision dealing with “pandering” illicit material does not violate constitutional protections on free speech. The ruling was 7 to 2.

Scalia stated, “Child pornography harms and debases the most defenseless of our citizens. This court held unconstitutional Congress’ previous attempt to meet this new threat, and Congress responded with a carefully crafted attempt to eliminate the First Amendment problems we [earlier] identified.”

There has been some concern that some people might be targeted unfairly when engaged in lawful, artistic or editorial free speech. Example were used among them were mainstream movies such as “Lolita,” “Traffic,” and “Titanic,” all of which depicted scenarios in which underage girls were engaging in simulated sex.

According to the AP – Justice David Souter, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dissented. Souter said promotion of images that are not real children engaging in pornography still could be the basis for prosecution under the law. Possession of those images, on the other hand, may not be prosecuted, Souter said.

“I believe that maintaining the First Amendment protection of expression we have previously held to cover fake child pornography requires a limit to the law’s criminalization of pandering proposals,” Souter said.

The reality is child porn is too easy to get and in so many ways our children aren’t protected. Odd, but the profile of a person convicted of child porn is – ANYONE. Most recently a Plano, Texas minister who was arrested in an internet sex sting operation has resigned his position as a pastor at a Dallas-area megachurch. Joe Barron was charged with solicitation of a minor. The solicitation was via the internet.

As a white collar crime speaker, unlike traditional forms of white collar crime, convictions related to Child Porn seem to carry far greater sentences and long term consequences. One of the most significant things that parents can do is become educated. Child porn is more accessible via the internet and that – THE INTERNET – is where parents need education. Social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and others are not dangerous on the whole, but Child Predators can use those mediums as a way to deceive and commit their crimes. I teach seminars and workshops on cyber-crime and what every parent should know to protect their children.

If you or your organization is interested in my newest program – PROTECTING OUR KIDS: What Every Parent Should Know About Computer Crimes – contact me at

MySpace, Sex, and 10 Years in Federal Prison! Jover Mabaet – Sentenced – Won’t See Girls For A Long Time!

April 7, 2008

He wanted to have sex with young girls. As a predator he used popular MySpace to set his trap admitting that some of his contacts were sexualized for the purpose of enticing the young girl into a sexual relationship. The young girl victim was 14 years old.

Now – really, does any one reading believe that a 14 year old is completely aware of the consequences of the actions of a predator on social networking sites? Your comments are welcome!

THE FACTS: Jover Mabaet, 22, of Southeast Portland, Oregon plead guilty to enticing a young woman under the age of 18 to engage in sexual activity. He was sentenced to serve 120 months in prison. Likewise, Dennis Keomoungkhoune plead guilty as well. Keomoungkhoune is a registered sex offender who has spent time in Oregon’s prison system.

Mabaet came to the attention of state and federal authorities when, during the early morning hours of November 30, 2006, he and a companion were found sleeping in the bedroom of a fourteen-year-old girl by her father. According to reports filed by Washington County District Attorney and agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the defendant and his companion awoke, gave false names, addresses, and phone numbers, and then departed. Only after the young girl’s cell phone was examined did Washington County Sheriff Deputies discover that the young girl had been in contact with the defendant for quite some time after meeting him socially. Most of their contact was online through the social networking sites MySpace and Friendster, and through phone calls and text messages.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

As a speaker, I often address groups on issues of teen ethics and safety. More times than not I find that parents – even those who are internet familiar – are not fully connected with how predators use the internet and other media to lure their unsuspecting prey. The unfortunate thing is that many times the damage is done before one becomes aware that the predator is on the prowl. I highly advise groups to become informed about the dangers of sexual predators and how to prevent or deter their efforts. After all, if we can’t become educated about how to protect our children – who will protect them?

Your comments are welcome!

The Power of Giving – Jada Carlson, Hannah Montana and The Rest of the Story!

March 20, 2008

The other day I received a wonderful e-mail from an unexpected source – Jada Carlsons mother – Faith.

As a reminder and for a little background, many months back there was a story about a young girl in Garland, Texas who (with the help of her month) created a fictious story to win Hannah Montana tickets. When uncovered it took the news media by storm. As a teen ethics speaker through the Choices Foundation, I wrote a blog about the lesson that this young girls mother taught and the consequences that followed.

Soon after the story broke another that was 180 degrees opposite captured the attention of the media. This story was filled with love, compassion, giving and helped to restore faith that our youth can have ethics and morals – knowing that doing the right thing is the best and will produce positive results.

Faith’s e-mail stated the following:

Mr. Gallagher,

I just wanted to send you a quick thank you for highlighting Jada Carlsons gift and the concept to so many that giving does not have to have expectations in the least. I am Jada Carlsons mom Faith and she is the little girl that at 5 years old “gets it”.

I was not sure if you heard the back story but after givng the Miley Cyrus tickets to Gabby, Jada recieved 4 front row tickets to that concert, backstage passes and 3 hours on the tour bus eating lunch and sifting through all the tour bus treasures all gifts from the Miley Cyrus group that saw her deed on ShowBiz Tonight.

I, like yourself, understand life is not about getting ahead or how much money you make but about positive choices and more importantly making the choices to help others. Some people get it and some people do not but I hope your book coming out can help a few “Life has no purpose” individuals. I truely think we all have a calling and I like yourself have also published a book but by choice have not really publicly promoted it yet. If you have chance to peek at it the title is ” My Life My Story” on Dorrance Publishing”s website. 🙂 long story short I wanted to let you know that has you mentioned in your article the rewards were yet to come from Jada”s gift…What comes around came around and she was delighted to enjoy the concert from her front row seats.


Recently as she has begun to read (she is only 5 and in kindergarten) we have made it a choice to visit a local nursing home and “adopt a grandma” to read to on Fridays. This recently has been the next big “adventure” and she has met a very friendly elderly resident “Margaret Kamping with a K” Jada now calls her Grandma Kamping…they have only met 2x so far.

With hopes your success continues and again thank you for the pleasant article about Jada, we printed it and placed it with the photos from the concert. God Bless and keep up the great work.. as Oprah Whinfrey said The Universe can dream a bigger dream then you ever could imagine when you are of service to one another!

Well Faith…I know that you didn’t send this to me to be published, but I think others need to know the rest of the story about Jada and her giving perspective. It is true – if you plant the right seeds you will have an abundant harvest. Jada is living proof that you reap what you sow. I hope you forgive me for letting the world know about your story as well and the book you’ve written. For Faith’s book information click here.

My best to you both and as you have time drop me a line and let me know how Jada is doing. Perhaps she might find it in her heart to be a part of the Choices Foundation – an organization dedicated to helping youth understand the power of choice in their lives.

For any readers – your comments are welcome!

Child Sexual Predator – CBS Technician Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison!

March 4, 2008

As a teen ethics speaker, I have found that over time, more and more presentations are centered on sexual predators, the internet and how to protect our youth from folks who mean them harm.


On October 25, 2007, a Ft. Pierce Grand Jury returned an Indictment charging Daniel J. Barron with persuading, inducing, enticing or coercing a person under 18 to engage in sexual activity. Barron, a CBS freelance technician, was in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida covering a Miami Dolphins football game. On September 29, 2007, Barron entered an America Online chat room and began to correspond with an undercover police officer posing as the father of an eleven year old girl. During internet communications, Barron repeatedly expressed his desire to engage in sexual activity with the child. Barron made plans to meet the father and his fictitious 11 year old daughter. Barron later traveled to the meeting location in order to engage in sexual activity with the child.

According to news: The affidavit alleges that Barron said hello and wrote, “So do you and the kids all enjoy some adventure?” When the detective identified himself as an adult with an 11-year-old daughter, Barron allegedly responded, “Very, very cool. Not a cop.”

According to the affidavit, Barron asked if the undercover detective and his fictitious daughter would visit him. When the detective said he wasn’t interested in fantasy chat, Barron allegedly responded, “I am very serious. You and the dau come down here.”

Every choice has a consequence. On March 3, 2008 Daniel J. Barron was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison followed by 15 years of supervised released. At age 56, Barron will find the final years of his life marred by life in prison.

Sexual predators come from all walks of life and are all ages. One of the major issues that parents face is lack of knowledge of the playing field for sexual predators today.

Questions for Parents:

  1. Do you know what sites your children visit?
  2. Are you familiar with MySpace – Facebook and how social networking works?
  3. Would you know what to look for if your child was viewing inappropriate sites?

6 Dead in a Senseless Act of Violence at Northern Illinois University – What Provokes Such Anger?

February 14, 2008

As reported all over the news – both broadcast and internet – a lone gunman walked into a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University and wounded 18 people and killed 6 including himself.


According to CNN the shooting occurred shortly after 3 p.m. (4 p.m. ET) in Cole Hall. The class runs from 2 p.m. until 3:15 p.m., University President John Peters said.

“It started and it stopped very quickly,” said Police Chief Donald Grady. The gunman, whose identity has not been revealed publicly, was not a student at the NIU campus in DeKalb, west of Chicago, but “may have been a student somewhere else.”

Police do not have an apparent motive now, Grady said.

While at this moment little is know about the motive, as the days move forward and the investigation proceeds more will be revealed.

According to reports from A viewer who e-mailed CBS 2 said that her brother was in the lecture hall where the shooting happened. “He says that the gunmen was a white male dressed in all black. He kicked the door in and opened fire. My brother dove under the desk, and popped his head up to see the gunmen was reloading. He grabbed his girlfriend’s hand and ran to the library where they been in lockdown since.”

Katie Wagner, a student who was inside the classroom, tells CBS 2 that there were 70 students inside room 101 at Cole Hall when the shooting happened. She said the gunman entered from a side door near the front of the lecture hall and started to fire shots.

Is it just me – with too much media access – or is there a pattern of anger today that is acted out in violent ways. We seems hear of unprovoked senseless acts of violence – much like the Virginia Tech University massacre of 33 people. It’s just amazing. This grabs the headlines today, but in reality it’s everywhere you turn.

In Oxnard, California a fifteen year old student was shot in the head by an unidentified 14 year old. Police have not alleged a motive for the shooting, but said there appeared to have been “bad blood” between the teens. Police said a handgun was used in the attack, which occurred with more than 20 other students in the room.

As a teen ethics speaker, ( I often get the question from parents – where does the anger and violence come from?

As we struggle to make sense of the headlines we see weekly, the question that begs an answer – what makes kids these days more angry?

And more importantly, what can we do to stop the violence?

Your comments welcome!

Facebook, Social Networking and Bill Gates – Is it Worth It? Gates Says ‘No’!

February 12, 2008

In the business technology section of the Wall Street Journal blog, Ben Worthen posted a blog about Bill Gates – Microsoft’s Chairman – stopping his use of his Facebook account. The question is – what message does that send? The WSJ Blog is linked here.


Review: Beyond the obvious issue, receiving a lot of press, related to teens – children and predators – the larger question is adult usage and consequences that might follow. Computerworld posted a great article on The Pitfalls of Social Networking.

The summary is listed below:

  • Too much Bandwidth usage. Downloading and storing these files can cripple your infrastructure and make capacity planning virtually impossible.
  • Potential Legal Liability. Should employees use corporate IT resources for purposes of posting dissatisfaction with others, the company could be held responsible in any ensuing litigation.
  • Exposure to Malware. These networks are potential vehicles for introducing viruses, worms and spyware.
  • Decreased Employee Productivity. Even when networking is used for business purposes, corporations may want to limit the number of networks employees use. Monitoring many networks can become incredibly time-consuming. Moreover, interfaces among current networks don’t support robust information-sharing.
  • Disclosure of Personal Information. Companies regularly search MySpace,, LinkedIn and other social networking sites to glean information about potential hires and competitors.
  • Risk of Leaking Corporate Secrets. Companies often sanction social networking for the purpose of exchanging professional information. But take great care to protect corporate secrets. Definitions of secret may vary or be misunderstood, and critical information may inadvertently be revealed.
  • Limited Executive Use. Executive use of social networking is not widespread, however. Many executives already have substantial personal networks and rely less on new technological platforms for interaction.

According the WSJ blog – “Workers who created profiles on Facebook are horrified to find out they can’t be erased, the New York Times reports. Even if you deactivate your account, Facebook still keeps a copy of all the information you ever posted. And, the Times reports, it’s still possible to contact people through deleted Facebook pages.”

So What’s the Bill Gates Angle? According an article in The Sun:

The computer mogul got so hooked on the social networking site that he splashed out £120million on a 1.6 per cent stake in it last year.

Bill, 52, spent 30 minutes daily catching up with pals.

But he signed off after getting more than 8,000 friend requests a DAY, and spotted weird fan sites about him.

A colleague said: “Sadly the attention does mean Bill has had to close the account which got him so hooked in the first place.”

As a business ethics and teen ethics speaker, (, I routinely talk with parents about the pitfalls and dangers of social networking through MySpace – Facebook, etc. While I think social networking is the way of the future, especially among young people, it is important for parents to understand the dynamic change when it comes to child – teen safety. Likewise, it is critical for business people to better understand the issues that come with security and corporate ethics and responsibility.

Have you had an experience with social networking that you’d want to share?

Should parents know more about MySpace and Facebook?

What pitfalls do you see for employees involved in Facebook or MySpace?

Comments are welcome!

Teens and Sexual Predators – MySpace Social Networking – How Can Parents Protect Kids From Harm? (Post Two of Three) Comments by Teen Ethics Speaker Chuck Gallagher

January 19, 2008

Post one – You can’t teach what you don’t know! As soon as I finished my post, it hit me – dummy, take your own advice. So (at the time early Saturday a.m.) I set up a MySpace account. Here’s the link – although there’s more information on my web site. MySpace

Parents: What do you need to know?

Years ago, if a child was going to be the target of sexual predators, it would be in some face to face way. The predator would hang out at the school yard or play ground. Or, perhaps, the predator could be a trusted friend or adviser – such as the highly publicized incidents with priests, etc. Whoever the predator – the reality was they “fished” from small local ponds – our children were the “fish” and they had to come face to face with them in order to “bait” them into the trap.

Social networking has changed the landscape for predator fishing forever. That’s what you need to know. The pond has changed, the method has changed, the bait has changed – it’s now easier to fish and since the environment is bigger and the lures are better – it’s easier for the unsuspecting to get caught.

Consider this: With computer access, I could have set up a free e-mail account with yahoo, hotmail, etc. and been anyone I wanted. (I could have hidden my true identity). Then with that e-mail account I could go to MySpace and set up my account there providing information that was untrue. In order to have my MySpace account in working order all I would have to do is confirm my e-mail from my new e-mail account.

I refer to my earlier comment. Now, in order to catch the prey (that’s our children – don’t forget) I can be anonymous, charming, attractive, and totally unreal. Not to be too funny with this fish stuff…but in the old days you fished with live bait. Now, go to the Bass Pro stores and look at all the great (fake) bait they have to make fishing easier. Makes you wonder if the fish have a fighting chance.

The same is true with unsuspecting children. The changing environment of social networking has caught society off guard, making it easier to lure the prey to the trap and all that done under the nose of the naive parent.

Rule Two: Understand the territory, the lay of the land, if you will, so that you can be aware of what is taking place and how to train your children to be careful when using social networking.

Let me be clear…we all use social networking every day – it’s called e-mail. We surf the net (wonder if you mentioned that to your grandparents if they would know what that means), have anti-virus software and remain vigilant for identity theft predators. And yet, identities are stolen daily. We, as adults, have to be aware that there are predators out there, so why should we not education our children to that fact. The fact is, we can more easily identify with identity theft, cause it’s something we know. We are not nearly as adept at social networking as our kids are – hence teaching safety is more difficult.

Suggestion: Set up your own MySpace account.


Trust me, it will be an educational opportunity. Just click on the buttons, follow the directions and see where it takes you. You’ll be surprised all that our children are exposed to (not all bad mind you) and easy it would be to ensnare someone who is unsuspecting. Once you’ve set up your account…you can delete it – should you desire. My suggestion – keep it up a while and see what happens. If nothing else, you’ll learn what you need to know to teach your children better.

Chuck Gallagher, Teen Ethics Speaker signing off…

Teens and Sexual Predators – MySpace Social Networking – How Can Parents Protect Kids From Harm? (Post One of Three) Comments by Teen Ethics Speaker Chuck Gallagher

January 19, 2008

“What is a parents’ roll in protecting their children from harm when they are using MySpace, Facebook or other social networking media,” asked a reporter of me yesterday. As I listened to the message on my cell phone and prepared to call him back, it caused me to think about the content of my response – after all when being interviewed one wants to sound clear and concise in response and thought.


Reality was, as I was driving, I was flooded with seemingly simple ideas about what we can parents can do to help our children – many of which were so simple that perhaps they would go unnoticed. So, while the writer of the article will likely be more articulate than I – I woke this morning with the strong feeling that I should take some time in this blog to share some ideas that perhaps – just perhaps – might help those of us who are parents with the question of how we protect our children in a social networking world that is unfamiliar territory to most of us. So here are some specific thoughts which might help:

Parents: How Do You Teach?

As a parent, it occurred to me that when I taught my children (consciously) I was teaching from a framework of what I had been taught or what I had experienced. For example, my mother taught me to be careful when talking to “strangers” – in fact, she said, “Never talk to strangers.” Her words were clear although our actions were different as she and I would talk to people we didn’t know – most of the time – as long as the person and location felt safe.

Explore that with me a second…feeling was the key word in the above sentence. We as parents and our parents had a significant benefit that our children don’t have with MySpace – Facebook, etc. — we had the benefit of face to face interaction. One of the God given gifts we have as humans is the intuitiveness to sense danger and flee. Have you ever been in someone’s presence that felt wrong? Most of us have and we left – we escaped to danger we felt.

So what do we teach? We teach our children to be cautious of strangers, etc. because that is our paradigm. Tough question for parents! So how many of you are comfortable with social networking when you are not face to face with the other person? How many of you could set up a MySpace account immediately after reading this? And, if you set it up, what would you do with it then? If you honestly answer – I wouldn’t really know what to do – then you’re teaching from your paradigm (face to face interaction) but they (our children) are working in a virtual world where there is no face to face – at least not at the outset.

Rule One: If you want to be an effective parent, you must recognize that the world your children live is is not the world you come from.

The rules that we all learned by (and I am speaking to parents here) still work – they just need to be modified for the environment. I think I am somewhat computer savvy. (Really I’m not, but I still like to think so) I am connected to LinkedIn, a business social network. Now, I have to be honest, I’m still trying to figure out how to make that work for me. On the other hand, kids get the concept and through MySpace – Facebook, etc. can live in environments that we don’t imagine. Hint: You don’t have to become an expert in social networking to understand how it works and therefore the correct advice to give your children.

Advice: Tell your children as it relates to social networking with MySpace, etc. – if they don’t physically know the person they are talking to – if they can’t identify the person (either because they have seen or know them or someone they trust has seen or knows them) then be cautious – extremely cautious.

I won’t go so far as to say, don’t talk to strangers (some would – I Know), but talking to strangers in a safe environment is, to me, acceptable. Shucks…if you didn’t talk to strangers we’d never meet anyone new. Reality is – talking to strangers is O.K. as long as the environment is safe. Our challenge as parents is, we don’t know or understand the environment.

As a teen ethics speaker, ( I have the opportunity to speak to parental groups, teens and young adults about choices and consequences. I am the father of two wonderful boys. Through my love for them, I accept my duty to help them grow and mature. With that comes the opportunity to learn to expand beyond where they are now to become what they can be – and becoming ones best generally requires leaps of faith and risk. While I encourage the risks for growth, I also help them understand the potential pitfalls so they can be protected in their journey. Perhaps as parents we can grow so we can be effecting in helping our children do the same.

Motivational speaker, Chuck Gallagher signing off…

OH…see recent blog on MySpace’s “Safer Measures