Thursday, January 29, 2009
By Anthony Policastro, M.D

About 5 years ago, I wrote an article on internet predators. In the interim My Space and Facebook have increased the ease of access to many more individuals than could be done through regular E-mail in the past. So I thought it might be a good idea to update that article. There are many individuals who use the internet to prey on children. Parents should be aware of some of the warning signs that could suggest this is happening to your child. When you are using My Space and Facebook, there are many different people that you can contact. You should know who your children are looking up. One good way of doing that is to check on them. You can see what kinds of sites are being visited. The easy way to do this on most computers is to hit the Control button plus the H key at the same time. This will create a directory of previously viewed sites. You can check which sites are being seen frequently. You can click on them and see what the site looks like. Thus by clicking on your internet icon and then clicking on Ctrl+H, you can see where your computer has been. You should expect to see the names of your child's friends. You should expect to see the names of some of your relatives. You should expect to see a few strange names for one reason or other. You should not expect to see names that there is no reason to be looking at. You should have an idea about how much time your child spends in these activities. The best way to do that is to remember that a maximum of two hours a day total is recommended for TV, computer and video game time for any child. Parents should enforce that two hour limit. It is probably a good idea to have the computer used for the internet in a very public location in the house. That will allow you to see what is happening just by passing by. If you notice a closing of the current window when you pass by, it might mean that there is a reason for that. A computer in the child's room will limit your ability to get a feel for this. If your child has a very good friend on line, ask about having that friend come over to visit. There are several reasons why meeting the individual in person is a good thing. The child's reaction to such a request might suggest something more than just an on-line friendship. Another thing that predators suggest to children is the purchase of a web cam device. This is a camera attachment for the computer. It allows the person at the other end to view what is happening. It allows them to encourage and view inappropriate behavior. Adding a web cam to a computer in a child's bedroom is especially dangerous. One good way of avoiding some of these things is to spend time with your child on the internet. The best way to teach them the correct use is to set the example. It may provide significant quality time in more ways than one.

Autism Delaware opens office in Milford to extend its services Autism Delaware announces the opening of its new office in Milford, answering a growing need for services in southern Delaware. The new office extends the services of Autism Delaware to those affected by autism in Kent and Sussex Counties. Autism Delaware will provide mentoring and training programs for parents, coordinate social events and support groups for families, organize groups for teenagers with Asperger's Syndrome and lead social skills classes for children. Dafne Carnright, downstate coordinator of the Milford office, will be responsible for overseeing the office, representing Autism Delaware at public events, recruiting volunteers and raising public awareness about autism. "The Milford office will really help families in Kent and Sussex Counties who formerly had to utilize our New Castle County office for assistance and services," said Autism Delaware Executive Director Theda Ellis. The new office will give Autism Delaware an increased presence in the two southern counties, where the number of children born with autism is rising each year. In 1999, there were 85 autistic children in southern Delaware's public schools; in 2007, the number increased to 216 children. Autism Delaware will offer support to about 200 families in Kent and Sussex Counties, providing services for them in their own communities. For more information, contact Theda Ellis or visit

Cancer Networking Support Group The Wellness Community of Delaware offers a "General Cancer Networking" support group the third Monday of each month from 4:30- 6:30 p.m. held at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Cancer Care Center second-floor library, Seaford. The support group is a free program of hope, understanding, and caring for people with cancer and their loved ones. Professionally led cancer support programs offer hope, education, and emotional support for adults with cancer and their loved ones who want to fight for recovery and the quality of their lives. Learn how to feel less isolated and more in control. All programs offered through The Wellness Community of Delaware are free of charge to people affected by cancer. For further information, or to register, call 645-9150.

Cholesterol screenings Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will be offering cholesterol screenings on February 11 & 14 from 7:00 - 10:00 am at the Seaford Golf & Country Club, located at 1001 W. Locust Street, Seaford. The Lipid Profile test requires a 12-hour fasting and reads the HDL, LDL, and triglyceride blood levels. Cost for the Lipid Profile is $15. There is no need to pre-register. Results will be mailed within 3 weeks along with information to evaluate the results and follow-up if needed. In addition to cholesterol screenings, Free blood pressure checks will be offered. There will be health information and interactive displays. For additional information, call 629-6611 extension 4536.

Aging program planned Peninsula Regional Medical Center's 55+ membership program, Peninsula Partners, and the Wicomico Public Library will present a free program entitled, "Living and Learning: An Educational Experience - The State of the Aging on Delmarva." The program will be held at the Public Library in Salisbury on Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. Guest speakers include Memo Diriker, director of BEACON at Salisbury University; Peggy Bradford, executive director, MAC, Inc.; and Jason Hafer, director of admissions for Salisbury Rehabilitation & Nursing Center/Genesis Healthcare. Topics to be addressed will be "GrayShore Revisited," "The Future of Senior Services on Delmarva" and "A Baby Boomer's Guide to Long Term/Assisted Living Placement for a Loved One." Admission is free, however advanced registration is required. For more information, call 410-543-7170 by Friday, Feb. 20.

Diabetes educational program Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford, will be holding a four-week diabetes educational program beginning February 4 and continuing February 11, 18 and 25 from 5pm - 7pm to be held at the hospital. Registration for this class is required. The cost of the four-week program may be reimbursable by insurance. This four-week program includes weekly education sessions and individualized meal planning for diabetes self-management. Our goal is to give you the self-management skills to control your diabetes. Family members/significant others are welcome to attend the weekly sessions.
Program Schedule
  • Week 1 - What is diabetes: physiology and self-care skills review
  • Week 2 - Meal Planning, eating out, reading labels
  • Week 3 - Self blood glucose monitoring and management, sick day rules, traveling
  • Week 4 - Medications used to manage diabetes, stress management: coping with diabetes and lifestyle changes, summary and course evaluations, goal setting
To register and to obtain additional information regarding the course, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education department at 302-629-6611, extension 2446.

Library offers potty training help The Seaford District Library and the Sussex Parents as Teachers group is offering a free potty training program for parents and caregivers of young children. Families will learn how to know if their child is ready, what they should expect and steps to help their child through the process of potty training. The program will be held Friday, Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Seaford District Library in the community meeting room. For more information, call 856-5239 or Cris Henderson at 875-2781.

Look Good, Feel Better Women undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer can now receive free professional help to cosmetically disguise the appearance-related side effects of their treatments. Look Good, Feel Better, a program developed by the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the National Cosmetology Association, trains volunteer cosmetologists to help women with cancer, conceal loss of hair, skin problems, and other side effects that can result from cancer therapy. The program is geared towards helping people look their best even as they are undergoing cancer treatment. Although almost all of the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment are temporary, they can be very distressing. The next Look Good, Feel Better program will be hosted by the Cancer Care Center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital on Monday, February 9 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cancer Care Center's 2nd floor conference room. The program is Free to all patients in active cancer treatment. Registration is required, and space is limited. To register for the Look Good, Feel Better program, please contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Cancer Care Center at 302-629-6611, extension 2588.