Tips For Teens

Internet, Social Media and Cell Phone Safety

The internet, social media sites, gaming systems and cell phones are all great tools to connect with friends, family and learn so much about this wonderful world we live in.  However, if you are not careful, these tools can create dangerous situations and may even get you in trouble with the law.  Here are a few tips to keep you safe when using these devices...

Before you post anything online, ask yourself whether you would share the information at an all-school assembly.  Once you post something online, it is there for everyone to see.

  • Be nice and polite to everyone you contact online.  Avoid contact with strangers.
  • Do not share your passwords with ANYONE other than your parents - not even your friends.
  • Do not provide information regarding your whereabouts online without a parent's permission.
  • Never meet someone face-to-face who you meet online.
  • Do not forward any photos or images that contain nudity.
  • If you receive a message from someone that makes you feel upset or worried, show it to your parents or a teacher.
  • Think before you text or post because your words and images can impact your reputation and can damage your future success.  Remember, nothing is ever truly deleted!
  • Conduct yourself online the way you conduct yourself in the real off-line word.  If you would not say something to someone's face, do not say over email or by text.
  • The internet is a wonderful place to find information and connect with people and friends.  Surf safely and remember the three C's...avoid contact with strangers, consider the content of your message and conduct yourself responsibly online.

     Dating Violence

1 in 5 teens that have been in a serious relationship report being hit, slapped or pushed by a partner.

1 in 3 teens report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, slapped or pushed by a partner.

Dating violence can take many forms, including psychological abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse.

Sexual Violence is wrong and it is illegal!!!

Signs of a healthy relationship:

Your boyfriend or girlfriend

  • respects you and your individuality.
  • is open and honest (and you can be too).
  • supports you and your choices even when they disagree with you.
  • shares equal say and respects your boundaries (and you respect theirs).
  • understands that you need to study or hang out with friends or family.
  • allows you to freely communicate your feelings without being afraid of negative consequences.
  • feels safe being open and honest (and you do too).

Signs of a problem:

Your boyfriend or girlfriend

  • pressures you to become serious or to have sex.
  • is extremely jealous or possessive.
  • tries to control you and forcefully make all the decisions.
  • verbally and emotionally degrades you by yelling, manipulating, and/or making you feel guilty.
  • uses alcohol or drugs excessively and refuses to take responsibility for their own behavior.
  • threatens physical violence.
  • has a history of abusive relationships.

If you recognize any of the above signs in your current relationship, trust your feelings and seek help.

Your boyfriend or girlfriend does not have the right to tell you what you can or should do, wear, or the kind of friends you should make.


Dating Guidelines/Prevention

  • Clearly define and communicate your physical limits and personal values.
  • Respect the boundaries that your dating partner sets for themselves and your relationship.
  • If you are feeling pressured, you have the right to say “NO”.
  • Be assertive in setting boundaries in a relationship and act immediately.
  • Any contact that is unwanted should be firmly discouraged.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs to keep your judgment clear.
  • Stay in public settings.
  • If your date does not respect those limits and values or their behavior is weird, trust your feelings!

Always remember you have the right to say NO!

If you are in a violent or potentially violent relationship, seek help. Tell an adult you trust such as a teacher, parent, or guidance counselor. Our local domestic violence shelter can also provide assistance.

Friends may also be in an a abusive relationship, some signs could be:

  • Change their style of clothing or makeup.
  • Lose their confidence or have difficulty with decision making.
  • Stop spending time with you and other friends.
  • Poor school performance, failing grades and decrease participation in school activities.
  • Increased drug or alcohol use.

What Should I Do?

  • If you or someone you know is involved in an abusive relationship, seek help.
  • Talk to an adult immediately about your concerns - it is not wise to carry the burden by yourself.
  • If you feel safe, perhaps speaking with the person about seeking help for their abusive behavior. Refer them to the local domestic violence shelter.
  • If you are hurting someone else, have the courage to get help!!
  • Remember, physical and sexual violence is illegal and can land you in jail.

Work to educate other teenagers about dating violence.

  • Use your voice. Do not condone jokes about rape or violence. Speak up and know it is wrong. Confront the individual on his/her abusive behavior.
  • Respect women and treat them as equals.
  • Write a letter to your local paper to educate the public on sexual violence.
  • Start a sexual violence awareness club at your school.
  • Volunteer your time with an organization that strives to educate the community on issues of sexual violence.
  • Know you school policy on sexual violence.
  • Listen. If someone tells you they have been a victim of sexual violence…BELIEVE them and seek help.