Technology is everywhere and anywhere. Everybody has a cell phone, tablet, and/or laptop. It often feels like there is no escape. People are ditching their home phones and handing kids cell phones for safety and convenience. However, although cellular phones do add a measure of safety to your life--without proper supervision--they can lead to dangerous consequences. Gone are the days of parents listening in on phone calls to monitor friends and behavior. Texting is private, quiet, and potentially harmful when left unchecked by a parent or guardian.
Sexting is a danger that can effect anyone with a cellphone, tablet, or laptop and the statistics are staggering. Here is some information you need to know:
Teenagers pushing the boundaries of sex is not a new thing. Over the years teenagers have always pushed the sexual boundaries of the generation. However, sexting can push the boundaries of the law. The law becomes involved when minors are sending racy images or texts to those who are legal age. When the pictures are shared, according to the law they are disseminating child pornography.
Child pornography is a serious crime and is dealt seriously according to the laws of your state. Sexting with a minor in Indiana is a crime, whether or not images were sent back and forth. However, if images are sent back and forth there is stiff penalty by the state who charges these crimes harshly.
You have to communicate with your child, monitor their phone usage, and talk openly about the dangers of sexting-- solicited or unsolicited. You should have a plan in place to encourage them to communicate with you about if this does happen and how you will handle the situation. It will make your child feel they have a safe place to communicate without judgement and fear. Don't assume your child is using discretion. Do not give trust too prematurely. Investigate software and phone apps to help monitor the activity on their devices. It could save your child's life!
Did you know that "approximately 9% of high school students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months before surveyed"? (source)
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and we want to help get the word out, inform parents and help put an end to this harmful cycle.
All relationships are different, but the common denominator to most abusive dating relationships is that the violence escalates over time. It tends to become more and more dangerous for the young victim. According to the CDC, "victims of teen dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school, and report binge drinking, suicide attempts, and physical fighting. Victims may also carry the patterns of violence into future relationships". (source)
It is very easy for parents to assume that their child would never do something like this nor would they be with someone who would. Unfortunately, this is simply not always true. Communication is key. It's very important for parents to discuss healthy relationship patterns with their children and teens and what dating violence can look like.
Dating Violence can take on several forms:
You can also help your teen understand what signs to look for if they are in a relationship:
Be in the know! Protect your kids! Help your kids protect themselves!
February is Teen Dating Violence (DV) Awareness Month! Teen DV Month (sometimes called TDVAM) is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it during the month of February.
Dating violence is more common than many people think. One in three teens in the U.S. will experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with before they become adults. Help us spread awareness and stop dating abuse before it starts!
Who is at risk for dating violence?
The ultimate goal is to stop dating violence before it starts. Strategies that promote healthy relationships are vital. During the preteen and teen years, young people are learning skills they need to form positive relationships with others. This is an ideal time to promote healthy relationships and prevent patterns of dating violence that can last into adulthood. Many prevention strategies are proven to prevent or reduce dating violence. Some effective school-based programs change norms, improve problem-solving, and address dating violence in addition to other youth risk behaviors, such as substance use and sexual risk behaviors.
Other programs prevent dating violence through changes to the school environment or training influential adults, like parents/caregivers and coaches, to work with youth to prevent dating violence. (source)
For more information about teen dating violence, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 219-254-2678
A Positive Approach to Teen Health (P.A.T.H) is a 501(c)3 organization that reaches seven counties throughout Northwest Indiana. Since 1993, A Positive Approach to Teen Health has been working to empower teens to make healthy choices regarding drugs, sex, alcohol, and violence.