News & Press

Child Pornography - A Parents Nightmare

Child Pornography – A Parents Nightmare

Child Pornography - A Parents NightmareChild Pornography – A Parents Nightmare

Children do foolish things, but few are as foolish as taking a compromising photo of themselves and transmitting it to someone else, usually a boyfriend or girlfriend. And while there is some debate over whether or not the mere taking of the photograph is illegal, if the picture includes images of private parts, the transmission of it, even to another minor, constitutes the crime of dissemination of child pornography, which is a felony. In fact, the person receiving the photo is, technically speaking, in possession of child pornography, which is a crime in and of itself. Further, anyone possessing that smartphone that took the photo is also guilty, assuming he or she knows that the picture is there. And if that person deletes the image, or instructs another to do so, he or she is now guilty of obstruction of justice and/or tampering with evidence.

If a parent becomes aware that an illegal image is contained on their child’s phone, what should they do? What if the phone is now in the adult’s possession?

Under no circumstances should an adult ever delete such an image. This is a crime, plain and simple. There is no way of knowing if the photo has already made its way into the cyber world. If the image ever becomes part of a criminal investigation, and law enforcement discovers that you have in effect destroyed evidence of a crime, you could find yourself facing criminal prosecution.

If you know that a device in your possession contains a child pornography image, you should never deliver that device to anyone, including the owner. By doing so, you become a distributor. Again, if the picture has been sent to another device and becomes the subject of a criminal investigation, your actions could very well result in charges being filed against you. Child pornography is always taken seriously, and the fallout of being accused of doing something illegal in this area is unimaginable. As parents, you need to contact your local law enforcement agency and follow their instructions. Doing anything else could find you on the wrong end of a criminal prosecution.

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New Laws and Fireworks Safety

Pennsylvania Fireworks Law Explained & Ways To Stay Safe

New Laws & Fireworks Safety

Each July 4th, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks – devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death. Recently, due to changes in state laws, consumers should be even more careful with fireworks and their usage this summer.

Tips to Stay Safe

  1. Read Safety Warnings. Read the safety labels on the fireworks or their packaging. Follow all instructions.
  2. Ensure Adult Supervision. Never allow young children to handle fireworks. Older children should have adult supervision. The law prohibits the sale of fireworks to individuals under the age of 18.
  3. Do Not Reignite Firework Duds. If a firework fails to ignite or explode, do not attempt to relight it. Leave it alone for 20 minutes and then soak it in water.
  4. Do Not Drink And Use Fireworks. Never consume alcohol before and while discharging fireworks. It’s unsafe, and the law prohibits the use of fireworks while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any controlled substance.
  5. Use Common Sense, Do Not Be Reckless. Reckless use of fireworks is not worth the potential viral video. Over 11,000 people were treated for firework-related injuries in U.s. emergency departments in 2016, including many who lost fingers. (CPSC).
  6. Stay Clear Of Structures And Flammable Materials. The law prohibits the discharge of fireworks within 150 ft of an occupied structure or within a building or motor vehicle. Find an area clear of structures, overhead obstacles, and flammable material.
  7. Set And Aim The Fireworks Appropriately. Do not aim fireworks sideways at buildings, or at motor vehicles. Never discharge fireworks from within your pocket or on your body. Use only the provided launch structure.
  8. Discharge One Firework At A Time. Do not attempt to light more than one firework at a time. Discharge just one firework at a time, then quickly move a safe distance away.
  9. Keep Supplies On Hand. Operators and onlookers should wear safety glasses when discharging fireworks. Also keep water (from a hose, bucket, etc.) nearby in case of a fire.
  10. Keep Pets Safe. Keep pets away from fireworks. Never allow pets to roam freely when using fireworks. Keep pets indoors in a safe, secure room.
  11. Properly Dispose Of Used and Unused Fireworks. Soak any used or unused fireworks in water and then discard them into a metal trash can; place the trash can several feet from any structures.

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summer grilling safety

Summer Grilling Safety

summer grilling safetySummer Grilling Safety

At AMSkier Insurance, we look forward to summer every year. We are also keenly aware of the hazards and risks that come along with our favorite season. An often overlooked summer hazard likely occurs in your backyard every week. Each year, thousands of Americans are injured while using backyard barbecue grills.

In order to stay safe during your summer barbeque parties, follow these ten tips:

  1. Place your grill at least 10 feet away from your home. The further your grill is from your home or portions attached to your home, the better. This includes attachments like carports, garages, porches, wooden overhangs or similar. This tip applies to both charcoal and gas grills.
  2. Make sure gas isn’t leaking from your grill. A simple way to do this is to make a solution comprised of half liquid dish soap and half water. Rub this solution on all hoses and connections and then turn the gas on with the grill lid open. If soap forms large bubbles, this is a sign that there are leaks; hoses have tiny holes or connections are not tight enough.
  3. Keep your grill clean. Grease is a major source of flare-ups. If you allow grease and fat to build up on your grill, you are providing more fuel for a flare up and fire.
  4. Keep all decorations away from your grill. Most decor today is made of artificial fibers that burn fast and hot, making this tip even more important.
  5. Keep a spray bottle of water nearby. If you have a minor flare-up, you can spray it with the water to instantly calm the fire. Plus, water won’t harm your food, so if it didn’t get scorched by the fire, you can still have dinner.
  6. Know how to use your fire extinguisher and keep it within a couple steps of your grill. Often, you only have a few seconds to act, so if you’re not sure how to use your fire extinguisher, don’t try to figure it out before calling 911. Many fire deaths occur when people try to fight a fire themselves instead of calling for expert help.
  7. Do not turn on the gas while your grill lid is closed. Keeping the lid closed while your turn on the gas can cause gas to build up in your grill. If you light your grill after the gas has built up, a fireball may explode right under your nose, and in your face.
  8. Do not leave a grill unattended. Fires double in size every minute, so make sure all your food prep chores are done so you can focus on grilling. If you must walk away from the grill, keep the cover closed and turn off the gas.
  9. Do not overload your grill with food. This is especially important for fatty meats. If too much fat drips on the flames at once, it can cause a large flare-up that can catch other nearby things on fire.
  10. Never use a grill indoors. People think it will be safe to use a small grill indoors, but this is not true. In addition to being a fire hazard, grills also release carbon monoxide, the deadly colorless, odorless gas. Do not risk the lives of you, your family and your pets.

Have questions or concerns about your home insurance? We would love to hear from you! Contact us today.


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PARENTS? INDEED WE ARE

Parents? Indeed We Are

By Norman Friedman, M.Ed.

My last B&B SKI-Way blog on texting was in reaction to an AP article in a Pennsylvania newspaper. Those who responded were in agreement with our AMSkier Partner’s position that any and all electronics should be absent during the summer camp experience for other people’s children. Please note the article below which gives details of the problem. Those of us who have raised our children or are in the process of doing so, are parents, but NOT professional parents. However, camp directors and all who serve as caregivers at camp are in fact, PROFESSIONAL PARENTS. By definition, you are expected to care for campers at a higher level than your own youngsters. No room for errors. In addition, your INTENTIONAL COMMUNITY referenced by Bruce Lipton, Jeff Ackerman, and Jennifer Edwards describes the importance of the camp experience as it should really be. YOU MAKE THE RULES…not parents. Not unless they own 51% of your program. The 100th anniversary of camp in the 2nd decade of the 21st Century needs some re-mastering. Our AMSkier camp owner/directors are ahead of the curve. You lead the way.

Parents, set rules for kids media use.

Parents should set their cell phones to “alarm”: The news out of the latest Kaiser Family Foundation study on kids’ media use is one scary wake-up call. The folks at Kaiser added up all those minutes that 8- to 18-years-olds spend each day on iPods and cell phones, video games and computers and reached one eye-popping total. Kids are spending 7 1/2 hours a day — nearly every waking minute — wired to some device. And that’s not counting the 1 1/2 hours a day that they spend texting.

With all that media consumption, the question isn’t just what are they doing — social networking, listening to music, watching television shows on their cell phones, playing video games — the bigger question is what are they missing? Unwired life? Silence? Time for creativity or thought?

Here’s a tidbit from the study that comes as no surprise: Children whose parents set rules about media use consume nearly three hours less of electronic media a day. The trouble is, it’s the rare parent who has been setting rules: Fewer than half of all 8- to 18-year-olds say they have rules about what television shows they can watch, 46 percent; video games they can play, 30 percent; or music they’re allowed to listen to, 26 percent. Fifty-two percent say they have rules about what they can do on the computer.

Well, of course, parents aren’t setting rules: Kids aren’t the only ones distracted by the shiny, jingling, urgent electronic devices. Let’s all enter this note into our cell phone calendars: set rules tomorrow.


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Before You Hit The Waves – Boat Insurance

boat insurance

Before You Hit The Waves - Boat Insurance

Summer has begun! It's time to get your boat back on the water, but have you taken the time to check your existing insurance or considered the risks of going without insurance?

From a legal standpoint, you are not required to have liability insurance in order to purchase, register, or maintain ownership of your boat in most states. However, certain states will require you to have liability coverage on certain types of boats. Often marinas and community associations will require that you have insurance. Unless you plan to operate your boat and store it entirely on your own property, then boat insurance will be an essential requirement for you. Regardless, it’s best to do your research before hitting the water. While it may not be a legal requirement in most states, there are many reasons to have boat insurance to properly protect your investment.

If you will be taking a loan out to purchase your boat, the loan company or bank will require you to have coverage for physical damage to the boat. While the state laws don’t require you to have insurance on your boat, your loan company will require it in order to get approved for the loan.

Generally speaking, if your marina, bank, or state requires you to have boat insurance, then your homeowners' insurance policy won’t be sufficient to provide the required coverage. Boat insurance is its own entity and needs to be treated as such.

Boat insurance policies that include physical damage to the boat, generally speaking, are “all risk” policies, which cover a vast variety of risks. If you have any sort of claim on your boat, including vandalism, lightning, fire, theft, grounding, or sinking, then you are usually covered.  Additionally, the coverage is all based on what you select when looking for a policy for your boat insurance, and our insurance agents can help you with selecting the right coverage to suit your needs. The more your boat is worth, the more coverage you may want to consider so you don’t experience a huge financial loss. If you have an umbrella insurance policy, it will require certain liability limits on your boat insurance policy, in order to prevent a gap in coverage.

Want to enjoy worry-free, beautiful days on your boat? Contact us today.

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