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Is Social Media a Danger to You?

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Social media is extremely important to many of us. We use it to develop careers, stay in touch with friends and family, learn new hobbies, and make life altering connections. As much as we love social media, there are times when we find ourselves wondering if the channels we’re using could be potentially dangerous to us.

The truth is that there are some times and some circumstances when social media is a danger to you. The good news is that once you’re able to identify the signs that social media is potentially becoming dangerous allows you to tweak how you use your social media accounts so that you can restore them to the safe escape you previously enjoyed.

Over Sharing Information About Your Location

Honestly, the biggest way that social media becomes a danger to you is when you share information about your location. While letting friends and family members know exactly when you’re dining at a your favorite café and instantly sharing holiday pics might seem like a great idea at the time, they also provide criminals with a great deal of insight into your life. Doing share any information that lets people know when you’re not home, where your exact location is at a given time, or provides valuable insight into your daily routine. You simply don’t know when a criminal will be paying attention to your posts or how they could decide to benefit from the information.

Not Thinking How a Post Could Hurt Your Career

Before you post a cutting comment about your manager or an inappropriate photo of you at work, remember that you simply can’t trust your privacy settings. Assume that there are was your boss or co-workers could gain access to your social media account. Before you post a picture, comment, or share an article, take some time to think about if the social media post could negatively impact your career or even get you fired. If it could, resist the impulse to share the post.

Losing Track of Time

The biggest danger connected to social media is that if you’re not careful it can quickly take over your entire life. More than one person has logged onto their social media account with the idea that they will only spend a few minutes responding to a few comments only to lose track of time. This can result in negatively impacting your relationships, professional life, and even lead to a deterioration in your health.

Set a time each time you log onto your social media accounts and log out each time that timer goes off. This will do wonders to limit the impact the negative impact social media has on your life.

Bullying

There is something about social media that makes some people think that it is okay to engage is cyber bullying. This behavior has resulted in all sorts of psychological problems for the person who is being bullied. If someone’s online behavior is having a negative impact on your life, it’s time to block them from your social media accounts. If you’re unable to block them, delete your accounts and dedicate the time you had spent on social media to self-care. You’ll be amazed by how much this improves our overall attitude towards life.

What steps have you taken to make sure social media doesn’t become a danger to you?


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Trick-or-Treat Safety

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Finally! Halloween is here. Not only does that mean cooler weather, pumpkin spice coffee, and an excuse to snuggle up with a good book rather than going out, kid will tell you that it’s time for free candy.

While kids love trick-or-treating, parents often have mixed feelings about the popular activity. Yes, it’s great to see how excited your kids get each year. The problem is that each year, parents worry how they will keep their child safe while they go from one house to another.

The good news is that there are things you can do to insure trick-or-treat safety while also allowing your children free rein to enjoy the holiday.

Make sure your children are visible, even if they’re out after dark. This isn’t complicated. Simply arm your child with a flashlight, and incorporate some flashing lights and reflective strips into their costume.

Remind your child about the rules of the road. Kids are so excited about being dressed up and obtaining as much free candy as possible, that they can easily forget things like watching for traffic. Before they head out to trick-or-treat it’s really important to remind them that they have to be respectful of motorist who are driving along the streets.

Trick-or-treat as either a family or friend unit. Instead of sending your child out on their own to trick-or-treat, make this an opportunity to make some excellent family memories and go out with your children. If work or life makes it impossible for you to join in the trick-or-treating fun, arrange for your child to go out with friends or other family members. Your child is far safer in a group than they are by themselves. Make sure a responsible adult will be watching over your children the entire time they are trick-or-treating.

Your children will want to eat their candy right away, but encourage them to wait until you get home. Waiting gives you an opportunity to inspect their candy and make sure it hasn’t been tampered with, plus it means your child isn’t potentially stopping in the middle of intersections in order to snatch a sugary treat.

Covid-19 is still a concern so make sure you keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on you and frequently apply it to your child’s hands. Remind them not to touch their face until they’re home and able to thoroughly wash their hands.

What steps are you taking to keep your child safe while trick-or-treating this holiday season?


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How Serious is Road Rage

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The first time the term “road rage” was officially used was during the 80s when a team of broadcasters decided the term perfectly summed up the cause of a highway shooting. Since that broadcast, road rage has become a regular part of our working vocabulary. At the same time, it has become a serious problem for every single driver.

Road rage is a burst of strong, negative emotion that is triggered by some incident that happens while a person is driving. In most cases, we’re able to clench our jaws, hang onto the steering wheel, and wait for the emotional vortex to pass.

The problem is that some of us aren’t able to ride out a burst of road rage. Some of us are can barely think during this period of emotional upheaval and subsequently, make some incredibly poor driving decisions that can put both our lives and the lives of every other person on the road at risk.

Data collected by Carsurance provides an alarming insight into how common road rage is. The site reports that eight out of every ten drivers will experience bouts of road rage while they’re driving. Even more alarming is how the same report indicates that road rage is the main reason behind a majority of car accidents in the United States.

It’s estimated that approximately two-thirds of the fatal accidents that occur in the United States are linked to road rage.

Road rage incidents are quite common. Triggers include crowded driving conditions, slow-moving traffic, frequent stops, and starts.

The driver will likely receive tickets for moving violations which could include reckless driving, speeding, improper passing, etc. If the person has a firearm in their car, and/or uses the firearm during the road rage incident they could face serious legal charges.

Considering the potential consequences of a single road rage outburst, it’s in your best interest to explore techniques that will help you keep your cool while you’re behind the wheel.


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The Difference Between a State and Federal Warrant

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Most of us know that the police can’t simply walk into our homes and start searching it unless you’ve given them permission to do so, or if they’ve gone through the correct legal channels and acquired a warrant.

The same is true when it comes to arrests. While there are some exceptions, such as drunk driving, you usually can’t be arrested unless the police have an actual arrest warrant.

What you might not know is that there are both state/local arrest warrants and federal arrest warrants.

The biggest difference between a federal and state/local warrant is the law enforcement agency that is involved in your case.

If a federal warrant has been issued for your arrest, it means that you’re a suspect in a federal crime. To obtain a federal warrant, the agency working on the case must present a federal judge with sufficient evidence that you potentially committed the crime and that the crime is indeed a federal matter.

In some situations, trying to determine if a case is federal or state can be complicated. When this happens, a joint task force that consists of both federal agents and state officers is formed. The joint task force not only allows the different agencies to pool talent and resources but also makes it easier to obtain warrants.

How you should behave if there is a warrant for your arrest depends on how you learn about this information.

If you have heard (or suspect) that an arrest warrant has been issued, but the police haven’t actually knocked on your door, don’t even think about trying to run. Bolting will only make the situation worse.

The first thing you should do is contact a lawyer. Tell them what you know and ask for their advice. They will likely encourage you to turn yourself in. By contacting a lawyer before you’re formally arrested, you can keep them by your side throughout the entire process and make sure that none of your civil rights are violated.

Since the police aren’t currently hauling you to the police station, take a little time to get your personal affairs in order. This is a good time to contact a bail bonds agency and alert them that you’ll likely need a bail bond. If you have children or pets, take steps to make sure they’re properly cared for if you have to remain in jail for a few days. Lock up your home, and make your way to the police station.

If the police show up at your home with an arrest warrant, read the warrant and make sure all the information is accurate. If the information is accurate, calmly and quietly go with the officers. Don’t even think about trying to resist the arrest. Don’t answer any questions, take a plea deal, or discuss the case with anyone until your lawyer has arrived.


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Littering Consequences in California

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You already know that you’re not supposed to litter. It’s common knowledge that you shouldn’t throw things out your car windows, leave trash scattered around a campsite, or drop food wrappers while you’re walking.

What you might not know is exactly what happens if you fail to do the right thing and clean up after yourself.

California’s littering laws are some of the toughest in the country.

California lawmakers created California Penal Code (PC) 374 specifically to deal with the issue of littering. The great thing about this law is that not only does it create clear-cut consequences for littering, it also helps define what is a waste product, which helps clear up some of the gray areas other states struggle with when dealing with littering cases.

The law defines littering in California as, “littering means the willful or negligent throwing, dropping, placing, depositing, or sweeping, or causing any such acts, of any waste matter on land or water in other than appropriate storage containers or areas designated for such purposes.”

The law goes on to clarify that the following items are considered waste and that improperly disposing of them is considered littering:

  • Lighted or nonlighted cigarette, cigar, match, or any flaming or glowing material
  • Garbage/trash
  • Refuse
  • Paper
  • Packaging/construction material
  • The carcass of a dead animal
  • Any nauseous or offensive matter
  • Any object that’s likely to injure any person or create a traffic hazard.

While the law does a nice job of stating what litter is, it’s not as helpful when it comes to the consequences associated with getting caught littering.

The first thing you have to understand is that the consequences for throwing fast-food wrappers out your window are going to be significantly different than leaving a mattress in a ditch, or failing to dispose of hazardous waste.

At this point, littering is treated as an infraction, not a misdemeanor. Don’t assume that the lack of jail time means you can litter to your heart’s content. Fines for littering can range from $100-$750 depending on how many times you’ve been cited for littering and what type of materials were involved in the littering infraction. You’ll also be required to complete anywhere from 8-24 hours of community service.


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Making Social Media Threats in California

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Social media has had a strange impact on many people. There is a sense of anonymity and protection associated with the internet that makes us feel comfortable saying things via social media that we would never dream of saying in a real-world situation. The good news is that most of us understand that there are certain things we simply shouldn’t say or do, not even online, and we’re able to get through the day without overstepping any boundaries.

The bad news is that there are some people, even some exceptionally mild-mannered individuals who seem to develop an entirely new personality while they’re online. They don’t just become pushy and/or overbearing as they engage in online battles, but they will actually post some extremely vile threats on their social media accounts or use social media to bully other people.

In some cases, the situation has gotten out of control.

The truth of the matter is that it’s not okay to use any social media sites to post threats or to become dangerously aggressive. The issue of social media violence has gotten so bad that lawmakers and police officers aren’t just taking notice, they’re taking action.

Making social media threats can quickly escalate into cyberbullying. When it does, you could find yourself facing serious charges.

The issue of cyberbullying is dealt with in the California Penal Code 653.2 PC. When you read through the code, you’ll quickly come to realize that you don’t have to actually intend to go through with the threat. The only thing the court system is concerned with is if your victim thinks you intend to mean them harm. If the threat is designed to trigger fear, you could face criminal charges.

At this point, cyberbullying is a misdemeanor, though it’s possible a day could come when it turns into a wobbler offense. It’s also possible that law enforcement will find additional charges they can add to the cyberbullying accusation. If you’re convicted of using social media sites for cyberbullying the maximum sentence is up to a year in a county jail and a $1,000 fine. It’s likely you’ll also be asked to attend anger management classes and maybe have to do some community service.

The next time you’re poised on the brink of making threatening a social media associate, remember how much trouble you could get into, and curb the impulse.


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Fall Camping Safety Tips in California

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The fall is a great time to go camping in California. Not only is the weather a little cooler, but the bugs aren’t as bad either. Another advantage is that since school is in session, there are usually fewer kids at the local campsites which means the campgrounds and trails are a little quieter.

There are a few things you need to keep in mind when it comes to safety and fall camping.

The first is that you have to be mindful of the weather. The biggest drawback to camping in the fall rather than the summer is that the weather changes faster and those changes can be more extreme. This is especially true if you’re going into the mountains. Not only will you want to watch the weather reports, but you’ll also want to pack some additional clothing that you can change into if the temperature suddenly drops.

Always let someone know where you are going, even if you are just going on a one-night hike/camping trip on your own. No matter how careful you are, there is a chance you’ll be hurt. Knowing when you’re supposed to be back and your last location drastically improves the chances of a quick rescue. The quicker the rescue, the better the odds of making a full recovery.

Keep your phone charged. Yes, you might crave solitude and escape, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your phone home. Before leaving make sure it’s fully charged so that you can use it if you get into trouble. While you want to keep your phone close at hand during the entire camping trip, you don’t have to keep it turned on if you don’t want to deal with texts and calls the entire time you’re camping. Feel free to turn it off and keep it in your pocket.

Be mindful of fire safety the entire time you’re camping. Fall wildfires are a serious concern in California. You don’t want to be the cause of one. Always have plenty of water on hand, create a fire ring, and keep the campfire as small as possible. Douse your fire before you leave the camp and make sure the ashes are cold and that there are no remaining embers that could start a wildfire.

Be realistic about your ability. Stick to trails that you are physically suited for and don’t push yourself too hard, especially if you’re on your own. Don’t take any chances that could end with you getting hurt or overwhelmed by exhaustion. If you’ve never gone camping before, bring an experienced camper with you so they can teach you how to camp properly.

The more mindful you are about safety, the more you’ll enjoy your fall camping adventure in California.


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California Public Intoxication Laws

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MMany people assume that as long as they don’t get behind the wheel and try driving home they don’t have to worry about how much they drink when they go out. While the decision to never drive after you’ve been drinking is always wise, that doesn’t mean you can get a plastered as you want. There is always a chance that your night of heavy drinking at the bar could result in you getting arrested for public intoxication in California.

The good news is that if you simply have one too many while you’re at the bar, you probably don’t have too much to worry about. California lawmakers have made it obvious that the only time legal concerns and public intoxication combine is when you’re so heavily under the influence of drugs or alcohol that you’re unable to keep yourself and others safe.

For example, if you’re so drunk that you aren’t aware of traffic and start walking down the middle of the road, you’ll be arrested and charged with public intoxication. The same is true if you get so drunk while you’re at the bar that your normal mild-mannered nature abandons you and you start making threats or behaving in a lewd manner.

Public intoxication in California is a misdemeanor. If you’re convicted, the maximum sentence is six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. In many cases, the individual must perform a specified number of community service hours.

The good news about public intoxication is that it won’t impact your driving record. The bad news is that the charge could hurt your future. It’s possible that the charge will make it harder to qualify for scholarships, land your dream job, and be approved for an apartment rental.

The only way you can be charged with public intoxication is if you’re in a public area. That means the best way to avoid the charge is staying home when you decide you want to spend the evening drinking.


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Crosswalk Safety in California

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Walking to work means you don’t have to worry about getting caught in a traffic jam. It’s a great way to build some stamina while also burning a few calories. It also provides you with the means to start slowing down and develop a connection with the world you live in.

Just don’t think that walking to work is safer than driving yourself. A surprising number of California pedestrians are killed annually. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, there were 972 pedestrian deaths in 2019. Approximately 22% of fatal traffic episodes in California involve a pedestrian. These alarming statistics prompted California lawmakers to pass the “Right-of-Way at Crosswalks” law.

The Right-of-Way law is written up in Code, Section 21950(a). When you read through the formal law, you’ll learn that drivers are legally required to yield to a pedestrian who is strolling through a crosswalk. The law requires that drivers yield to the pedestrian in both marked and unmarked crosswalks. The implementation of the law also requires that drivers use a little additional care when approaching a crosswalk and be on the lookout for pedestrians who may be about to step onto the street. If a pedestrian is stepping onto the street, the driver will have to stop to allow the pedestrian to safely cross the road.

Another issue that’s dealt with in the Right-of-Way law is passing while driving through a crosswalk. Passing while driving through a crosswalk is dangerous for several reasons, including that the passing driver may not see a pedestrian until it’s too late.

The interesting thing about California’s Right-of-Way law is that it’s designed to protect the rights of both pedestrians and drivers. Drivers do have the right away at crosswalks that are controlled with signals, provided the signal indicates that the driver can go. In this situation, the pedestrians are supposed to yield for drivers. However, drivers do have to wait for slow-moving pedestrians who may be struggling to reach the opposite side in a timely fashion, and the driver must be prepared to take safe and evasive action if a distracted pedestrian fails to notice the sign.

Drivers who are caught failing to adhere to California’s Right-of-Way law will likely receive a traffic citation which will involve a steep fine, points, and the possibility of having the state consider revoking their driving privileges.


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Think Before Posting those Vacation Photos

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One of the best things about social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter is the ability to quickly post all of your photos so that your friends and family can admire them.

Those same pictures can also make you an easy and attractive target to anyone who is looking for a home to break into.

The problem with posting vacation pictures on your social media account is that if you’re posting those pictures while you’re still on vacation, you are literally telling any would-be burglar that your house is standing empty. This is especially true if you happen to answer a question about how long you’re going to be gone.

Don’t assume that posting vacation pictures is the only way you can get into trouble. The same is true if you make a comment about waiting for a flight, discuss an out-of-town business trip, or even a routine lunch date. Most importantly, don’t take advantage of the option some social media sites provide allow you to share your precise location with all of your friends and family.

Most people feel comfortable sharing vacation photos on social media accounts because they reason that they are all friends and that their friends would never steal from them. But take a moment to go through your current friend’s list. How many of those people do you really know and how many are people who you’ve simply met a few times at different events or through other friends?

The first thing you should do is change your account settings so that the only people who can see your posts are your friends and family. If you also use social media for a business, then create a separate account for your business and make sure you don’t include any of your travel plans on it.

The next thing you need to do is refrain from sharing information about vacation plans, weekend getaways, and more on social media. When it comes to posting the pictures, wait until you get home. When you do decide it’s time to post those holiday snaps, make it very clear that you’re already home and that life has returned to normal.

Don’t assume that just because you’re not actively posting your vacation photos while you’re away from home that you don’t have to worry. Make it very clear to anyone you’re traveling with that you don’t want to be tagged in any of their vacation photos.