Category: Growing Up

Top Dangers for Today’s Teens and How to Stay Safe

As a teen, it’s important you take responsibility for your own safety and security. This is an essential part of life where you’ll be working on transitioning into adulthood. As you grow away from your parents’ care, you will be faced with more and more choices. Your response will determine a lot of your future. A life of new privileges, including driving and going out without your parents, leads to new responsibilities. Read about these top three dangers and work to make healthy choices in your own life.

Alcohol Use and Abuse

Teens are not legally able to purchase or possess alcohol, but many find it easy to obtain, whether it’s from their parents or friends. Drinking has many negative effects on the body, and early use can lead to a greater chance of alcoholism in adulthood. Binge drinking, or drinking heavily in one sitting, can lead to serious health problems and even alcohol poisoning. Over time, it can damage your liver and could lead to cancer. Each year, 5,000 people under 21 die due to underage drinking.

Prescription Drugs

Teens need to know the true dangers of prescription drug abuse. It is never okay to take someone else’s medication. Parents should keep all family prescriptions in a secure location for everyone’s safety. Prescription drug abuse can lead to dangerous drug interactions and even death. It is also a gateway to other drugs such as heroin.

If you are offered a friend’s prescription or something they have taken from their parents, make sure you tell an adult in authority, or your school resource officer.

Unsafe Driving

According to this article by Cloud Media News, dangers behind the wheel kill more teens than any other cause of death. Driving unsafely doesn’t only happen when under the influence of alcohol. 33% of all deaths between ages 13 and 19 were caused by motor vehicle accidents. Distractions, such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, or too much talking with passengers, can be extremely dangerous. Teens also need to make sure they do not drive impaired by drugs or alcohol, and that everyone in the car wears seat belts.

With a little thought and caution, teens can protect themselves from serious dangers. Talk to your parents or a trusted adult for help and don’t be afraid to ask for advice when you need it. Make sure you are a good example to your friends and younger siblings, and avoid becoming a statistic yourself.

5 Stupid Things Teens Do That They Might Not Realize Are Crimes

Remember that house you toilet-papered with your friends last Halloween? Or maybe the nude photos you sent to your boyfriend? How about mooning that annoying teacher in the school parking lot? All potential crimes. These are the top 5 stupid things that we see teenagers doing that are potential crimes with real, punishable consequences. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that these activities are “harmless” or “something everybody does in high school.” You don’t want to find yourself in court.

#1: Mooning

This might be one of the oldest, dumbest pranks—so you’d think it would be considered harmless. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong. Today, mooning is considered indecent exposure, which is a kind of “lewd act”. Lewd acts are illegal because of the exposure of genitals. Summit Defense explains that “For example, if a woman ‘flashes’ her breasts at her boyfriend in a [public area], and her intention is to sexually excite herself or her boyfriend, then she could be charged with committing a lewd act in a public place. It would also be an offense for a man in a car to flash his buttocks – usually referred to as ‘mooning’ – at a lady driving another car with the intention of offending her.” Whether or not you intend to sexually harass someone, the case can be made that sexually offending someone was your goal. As a result, a criminal case can be made against you for indecent exposure. Public indecency is considered a type of sex crime, and it isn’t worth the risk for a gag.

#2: Toilet Papering and Egging

Halloween prank or not, technically, toilet-papering and egging someone’s home is a crime. If the police are called, the crime will be considered “vandalism” or “criminal mischief.” In both cases, fines and potential jail time are on the table. In fact, in 2015 a story broke about 13 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17 who were arrested and charged for egging cars and houses. Skip this prank; come up with something more original and something that isn’t going to land you in trouble with the law.

#3: Sending Nudes

This one is straightforward: sending nudes as a teenager is considered criminal. Why? As someone who is under the age of eighteen, your nude photo is considered to be child pornography. Sexting laws vary by state, but all states agree that it is a crime to own or possess a “sexually explicit image of a minor.” It is also a crime to photograph and send a “sexually explicit image of a minor”, because it is considered the creation and distribution of child pornography. This cannot be emphasized enough: do not sext your boyfriend or girlfriend. Do not ask your boyfriend or girlfriend for nudes. Both acts are a criminal offense, and if charged and convicted, you will be required to register as a sex offender. The consequences of breaking this law will follow you for the rest of your life. It’s never worth it.

#4: Hazing

College hazing stories have taken over the internet. We see stories every year with new sorority and fraternity pledges who have succumbed to injuries from these initiation activities. Teenagers and high schoolers are also on board with the hazing trend, especially teens involved in clubs or sports teams. Maybe you pulled down someone’s pants at school, or forced them to eat something disgusting, or beat up someone who wanted to join your club. Maybe you taunted someone or sent threatening messages. If you are bullying someone as a form of “hazing,” what you are doing is criminal. Hazing classmates, whether or not the victim goes along with it, is a criminal offense.

#5: Stealing

This last one might seem obvious, but many teenagers think they can get away with stealing from grocery stores and supermarkets and retailers with only minor consequences. They try to swipe a pair of shoes, a tube of lipstick, or a candy bar. Maybe you might feel like the price isn’t fair; maybe your friends are doing it; maybe you’re tempted because it’s a rush of excitement. But the few moments of thrill you might get from shoplifting aren’t worth the price of being caught. It doesn’t matter how big or small or cheap or expensive the stolen item is; stealing is stealing and it can land you in court with a criminal charge PLUS getting a hefty bill from the store’s lawyers for damages. Being charged with a misdemeanor or a felony for stealing will affect your chances at getting hired for a job that you want, and for getting into the colleges you’re applying for. And here’s one last thing to consider—according to NASP,shoplifting affects more than the offender. It overburdens the police and the courts, adds to a store’s security expenses, costs consumers more for goods, costs communities lost dollars in sales taxes and hurts children and families.” Shoplifting hurts everyone. Find another way to entertain yourself and get that thrill you’re seeking.

Living as a teenager is stressful and dealing with peer pressure can be daunting, but don’t give in. If your friends are engaging in any of this behavior, remind yourself of the potential consequences. Fines, jail time, and criminal records are not worth the few minutes of fun. Be adventurous and take chances, but not with these activities.

Develop These Skills and Start Your Writing Career

If you have a way with words, writing is a fantastic and diverse career choice. You can get into writing web copy (such as this very article), news writing, fiction writing, and more. The world really is your oyster. However, like all career paths you’ll need to develop some skills in order to kick start that dream career. Here’s what you need to have in order to be a good writer.

Research Skills

No matter what you want to write about, you’ll need to have the research skills in order to do it. For example, as a freelance writer, you could be asked to write about multiple topics in one day. You might write one piece on mountain biking, another on home repair, and a third on resume writing tips. You need to be able to find the information you need in order to write well.

The best thing to do is learn how to perform advanced Google searches.

Ability To Generate New Ideas

You’ll need to come up with new ideas constantly as a writer. You’ll be looking for new business all the time, and you’ll be asked for ideas that you can sell on to companies. You won’t have time for the dreaded writer’s block here.

A good way to generate ideas is to think about who your audience is, and what they want from you. For example, say you write for a filmmaking blog. Sit down and brainstorm as many ideas for blogs that their audience would want to read. You could write about camera techniques, how to find the best actors, and how to storyboard a film.

When you’re generating these ideas, you’ll need to communicate them well with prospective clients. You need to refine your ability to pitch. They key is to get straight to the point.

Self Reliance

Writing is a unique job as you’re often alone with your laptop and your thoughts. You need to be fiercely motivated in order to be a writer and actually make money.

‘Many people think they want to be a writer, until they realise how much they need to motivate themselves’ says recruiting consultant Peter Davies from UK Top Writers. ‘However, once they find themselves having to work alone, they find it very difficult.’ You’ll really have to be motivated to get everything done on your own.

Good Editing Skills

Good writing doesn’t happen when you put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. It’s in how you edit what you’ve written to make it really shine. You’ve got to be able to come back to your work and not be afraid to make changes, to make it better.

You’ll also need to have the knowhow to edit and correct grammar when needed. Good grammar is the cornerstone of good writing, so you’ll need plenty of knowledge and online references to make your writing excellent.

Social Skills

You need to be able to network if you want to get writing opportunities. It’s important that you find like minded people and start working with them. This is where social media comes in. There’s never been an easier way to find your people and opportunities. Don’t be afraid to speak up and tell your network that you’re looking for writing work. You’ll be amazed at what can come your way.

Being Able To Ask For Help

Yes, you may initially spend your time writing alone, but at some point you’ll need to be able to ask for help. Remember, the best writers improve as they’re always asking for feedback and thoughts on their writing.

Like in any job, you’ll only get better if you listen to others and get help when you need it. You can do this online, thanks to the wide range of services on offer. For example, Grammarix will help you with improving your grammar, and State Of Writing is full of writing guides that you can put to good use.

Persistence

Finally, to be a writer you’ve got to be persistent. This is especially true if you’re going to work as a freelance writer. You’ve got to keep getting out there, asking for opportunities, and looking for work. It can sound exhausting, but to the right person it can be a welcome challenge. If you don’t want to do the same thing every day and relish the challenge, writing is for you.

There you have it. Develop these skills, and you can become a successful writer, no matter what field you want to work in. Get practicing now and you’ll go a long way.

Rachel Summers is an education writer living in the UK. She works with several different institutions, including leading writing service Australian Reviewer. Her goal is to help students get the most out of their school years, and to help them get the assistance they need.

Need help tidying up? Call in a cleaning service.

What is the benefit of a home cleaning service ? Well, one of the biggest sources of strife in a family with teenagers is chores. Cleaning is especially bothersome, with seemingly few teens able to match parents’ expectations about how clean something has to be to be really “clean.” Its just not something most teens are good at for some reason.

So, what are you supposed to do. Just keep getting yelled at?

This is where a home cleaning service can help. These range from a single person who cleans houses on the side to full blown, professional operations with dozens of employees. An example is Live Clean Today, a company which serves the greater Spokane, Washington area.

Live Clean Today can be booked via their contact form or a phone call. You have to indicate how many rooms and the approximate square footage, and they will return a quote. There may be extra charges when they arrive, however, if the space is dirtier than anticipated or special techniques are required (for example, removing wine stains from a carpet–which can take several hours and special chemicals).

Here are some of the benefits of a home cleaning service:

  • They do the work for you (sweet!)
  • They bring their own supplies. Companies like Live Clean Today use natural cleaners to reduce toxic buildup in the home.
  • Most companies are licensed, bonded, and insured in the event they damage anything in your home.
  • Flexible solutions. You can hire them for for regular light housekeeping or a one-time deep cleaning.

The main negative would be cost. Expect to pay $100 and up for most services, although sometimes you can get a deal through a coupon or sale. For a teen, this might be way too expensive, so consider offering to help pay for part of the service with your other siblings and parents covering the rest.

Its worth it to live in a clean, harmonious home.

How to Teach Teens Vehicle-Ownership Responsibility

The day your child becomes a vehicle owner is going to be a glorious day for them but will probably be a frightening day for you. You’ll worry a great deal about whether your child is responsible enough and ready for vehicle ownership. But there are things you can do to help prepare them. Here are some steps you can take to ensure your teen is ready when the time comes.

 

Make Them Pay

The very first lesson you can teach your teen about being a responsible car owner is the lesson of cost. In the end, a teen will appreciate the car more if they have to work and contribute to it. Even if you only make them pay $500 of the overall coast of the car, they will understand how to work hard and pay for something so essential to daily life.

Introduce Them to the Local Mechanic

Introducing your teen to the local mechanic will start them on the path of better caretaking of their own vehicle. You can have your teen take it in for maintenance tasks like oil changes or spark plug wire replacements. Here they’ll get used to seeing and doing things that are necessary to keep the car running well. Those car-healthy habits will carry over into adulthood and will extend the life of every vehicle they own.

Clean the Car

Taking the car to get regular repairs is only half of proper caretaking. Your teen also needs to partake in cleaning the interior and exterior, so it will be better preserved and look less aged. You can talk to them about the importance of keeping up with the cosmetics and having an organized interior. This also helps them get to know the vehicle and where important things inside it are, like the spare tire, chains, or first aid kit.

Give Them the Manual

The last tip is extremely valuable. Get your teen an owner’s manual so they can learn the ins and outs of the car. You may find they become highly interested in repairs and having a part in overall maintenance. There’s something about working on one’s own car that gives that person a sense of pride.

Take all the steps mentioned above to give your child the best advantage at being a responsible vehicle owner. You can decrease the amount of worry that you experience if you follow that advice.

4 Things You Should Never Do When You’re Home Alone

The day has finally come: your parents trust you to stay home alone! As exciting as this newfound freedom can be (like raiding that “secret” hiding place where all the good snacks are!), there are a few things you should definitely not do.

Post to social media

If you have a Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or other social media account, don’t let slip that your parents aren’t home in your next status update. By posting a status revealing you are home alone, you make yourself vulnerable to predators and other unsavory characters who may do you harm. Along these same lines, avoid using tagging or mapping applications which declare your home’s location when you post.

Tell a caller that your parents aren’t home

Most kids are taught this lesson from a young age: If your parents are unable to come to the phone, don’t tell the caller that they’re not around. You may be older now, but it’s still good to remember this lesson when you’re home alone.

Chances are that you have a cell phone, and most people will call you on that number if they want to reach you. As with social media, don’t tell the caller that your parents aren’t home. If the home phone rings, tell the caller that your parents “aren’t available at the moment.” Lie if you need to — say that they’re in the shower, on their cell phone, or changing your baby sibling’s diaper. If you’re not comfortable picking up the phone, it’s okay to let it go to voicemail too.

Open the door to strangers

If there is an appointment to repair anything, this will be scheduled for when an adult is present. If the person at the door say they’re a member of the police or other emergency personnel, use the peephole to look for their badge. Most home security systems have some kind of doorbell camera or at peephole so you can do this without exposing yourself. If you can’t see one, don’t open the door. If they say they’re here to deliver a package, let them leave it on the porch.

Investigate strange noises

Remember what happens to characters in horror movies who go to investigate the strange noise: it’s nothing good. If you hear something unusual going on outside, suppress your curiosity. If you show your face in a window, it can inspire action against you. If there is someone trying to break into your home, this can also put you at risk. The safest thing to do is to call the police if you think there’s something suspicious going on.


Finally, doors and windows should be locked, and your home security system should be armed while you’re home alone. It may seem like overkill, but by following some basic safety rules, you can feel safe and enjoy yourself while the parents aren’t around. But *do* watch Home Alone. Always watch Home Alone.

How Can I Understand Politics? Tips for Teens

Today’s political landscape is combative, to say the least. Members of all political parties, all tout their opinions and solutions as definitive and deliberately speak out against those of other politicians and individuals. Those same political parties also fight amongst themselves about major issues. This has created a political atmosphere of confusion and finger-pointing, which can make it very difficult to understand what is actually going on.

Advocating your political position is commendable enough, but this very process of advocating is what makes understanding politics nearly impossible for many teens. Moreover, there are more ways than ever before for teens to invest their time today, and partially because of the mentioned overwhelming nature of politics, it’s common for young adults to turn their attention elsewhere to something they do understand or to just parrot the beliefs of the parents or friends.

But that’s not to say that learning about politics is impossible for teens who wish to do so—or even for those who think they might like to know a little bit more about the functions of government. Let’s take a look at some tips that are sure to make the process as easy and straightforward as possible!

 

Review the Basics

The loudest and most vocal political advocates—those who let everyone else know how they feel—usually focus on the hot-button topics, the things that are most likely to rile others up and provoke an argument or emotional reaction. But that isn’t where you need to start if you want to understand how things work.

The best way to figure out what is going on is to figure out how everything works. Do you know how our government functions? Do you understand the different branches of the government and what the responsibilities of each of them are? Do you know what the different levels of government are? If you can’t answer yes to these questions, it might be a good idea to start there before you move on to the current issues.

Start with Local Level Politics

The intensity of today’s presidential and congressional elections is certainly interesting, but it isn’t indicative of everything that is occurring politically, especially what is happening at the local and state levels. If you feel overwhelmed by the national level politics, it is okay to start small. By following local level politics, you can develop your understanding of how politicians respond to issues and challenges, as well as how they campaign generally.

Moreover, studying local level politics is also important in that it provides instantaneous and irrefutable feedback as to how effective (or ineffective) a politician’s particular maneuver is; this feedback comes in the form of responses from the local populace. When keeping up with local politics, it is also important to keep up with the local political news. This can give your experience understanding how politics is reported and how to form your own opinions, instead of relying on your parents.

Remember that Nothing is Black and White

Politicians on both sides of the aisle like to speak dramatically and take powerful stances on issues, but the reality is that nothing is definite in politics; the same thing is true for opinions issued by non-politicians. Grand gestures, responses to the latest problems, and more can change in no time at all, and to be sure, these things are likely to change over a multiyear period. Take every political statement and opinion with a grain of salt.

Fatal Mistake: 5 Driving Mistakes that Could Get You Killed

Every day, there are millions of people driving on our roads. While driving seems to be a normal part of life, the fact is that it actually fairly dangerous if done irresponsibly and an accident can cause severe consequences. As a teenager, you don’t have as much experience driving, which means you are more vulnerable to make mistakes that could get you killed or seriously hurt. So what do you need to avoid while driving?

Drowsy Driving

Did you know that, according to the National Sleep Foundation, there are similarities between driving drowsy and driving drunk? If you are drowsy, your reaction time will be slowed and you might not notice things you would normally see. If you think you are too tired to drive, ask a friend for a ride, call your parents, or take a nap before you go.

Being Distracted

There are a lot of distractions you might experience while driving, but all of them can put you at risk for an accident. Eating, drinking, changing the music, adjusting the heating/cooling, messing around with your friends, and texting or talking on your cell are just some of the many distractions you might be faced with. You might feel you’ve been driving so long now that you can deal with one or more of those things without a problem, but your life isn’t worth making the mistake and taking a chance.

Speeding Up at a Yellow Light

The yellow light does not mean “speed up to beat the red.” It means stop if you can in a safe manner. You don’t want to risk it and zoom through only to get t-boned in the process, especially when the situation could have been avoided. There are usually people waiting to turn left, and they may not see you coming, or you may leave them stranded in the middle of the intersection when the light changes. Just stop. You can wait a few extra minutes.

Driving while impaired

According to Alpert Schreyer, approximately every 30 minutes, someone dies in an alcohol-related crash. Drinking and driving is no joke, especially as a teenager. You aren’t legal to drink and you can seriously hurt or kill someone while you are impaired. Don’t ever put yourself in a situation where you will be tempted to drink and drive. You may feel invincible, but you definitely aren’t.

Speeding

Speeding, in general, isn’t a good idea, and it’s even worse if you’re speeding during bad driving conditions such as if it’s raining or snowing outside. Driving at an unsafe speed isn’t going to do you any good, especially if you get into an accident. We all have places to go, but the goal is to get there safely.

You can’t control what other people are doing, but you can protect yourself to the best of your ability. It may seem cool to show off for your friends, but it is much better to get to wherever you are going alive.

5 Tips for the Rookies of the Road; Teens and Driving

Nothing can be scarier for parents than the day their kids become old enough to drive a car. Keeping these kids safe on the highways is all about education, and these five tips for rookies of the road should follow them, their passengers, and other drivers out of potential danger.

1. Turn Off the Mobile Device

What may already seem like old news to these teenagers, driving while distracted is not worth their life. These kids today grew up glued to their mobile devices, and an alert from social media and they go scrambling for their device, even when behind the wheel. Turn off the phone, that text, alert, or message can wait.

2. Set the Navigation System While at Home

Fumbling around with a navigation system while en route to a destination can lead to trouble. Keep eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and program your navigation system while parked in front of your house. Most systems now have features that will not operate while the car is moving, but not all of them have this feature

3. Have Insurance and Attorney Contact Information

Inform the young driver that accidents happen, many that will not be their fault. Regardless who was at fault, these kids can quickly be taken advantage of by experienced drivers who will talk their way out of their obligation. Tell your child to call 911 after any accident and let the police sort out the details. They should also know to contact an attorney if injured behind the wheel.

4. Focus Like Playing a Video Game

Kids today grew up playing video games, and many of those games required you to have your focus in a dozen places at once. This same attention can translate well as they are operating a moving vehicle. Remind them to focus like they were playing the game, glancing inside mirrors, rear view mirror, ahead of them, side streets, and cars on either side. If they can seamlessly move their attention all around the vehicle while maintaining their speed, they will be just fine.

5. Never Get Too Comfortable

Every day they safely arrive home, remind these teenagers not to get too comfortable with today’s success. The focus is necessary every time they drive, and new distracted drivers are entering the roads each day, more reason they need to be vigilant in their attention behind the wheel.

These tips for rookies on the road should help to get them off to the best possible start and keep them safe behind the wheel. Reassure them every night that they are getting better and that you are certainly proud of them.

 

How to Convince My Parents to Buy Me a Car

So you’ve had your license for a while now and you’re ready to get your very first car. This is a tough moment in life because having a car is a serious matter for both you and your parents regarding your safety and the financial status at home. Follow the steps below to see how you can convince your parents to buy you a car with ease and peace of mind.

how to convince my parents to buy me a car

Step 1. Talk about the advantages by using persuasive language

It’s about time to have a family meeting about getting you a car. You want to catch them when they’re in a good mood! Explain the benefits of having a car such as taking your siblings to school, picking up groceries, not having to nag your parents or your neighbors to drive you to school or other places and more. If you have other extracurricular activities, bring that up and show them that it will save them time and effort.

Step 2. Discuss your safety

Safety is the most important thing for you and your parents. Talk about different scenarios with your parents and how it makes you feel. Tell them it’s not safe to walk home late at night, how you never know when you will come across a crazy Uber driver and how it’s unsafe crossing the busy streets or riding a bike. Give a lot of reasoning on how much safer it is to be driving in a car.

Step 3. Negotiate politely

If you want your parents to buy you a car, you have to also understand the financial status of your home. Can they afford it? If not, are you willing to contribute some upfront cash, or work to pay off the note? Ask yourself these questions because your parents want the best for you and want to make you happy — but have to be realistic. Offer to help to pay for the car if you do work, and also offer to do things for them like running errands.

Step 4. Set up rules

Rules need to be laid out on the table. Your parents will expect you to be responsible about your choices. Set up a driving curfew, don’t disobey their general house rules, budget the gas money and limit the places you will drive to. Your parents won’t buy you a car just to take your friends out or to party.  You should not be the “Uber” to your friends. Limit these outings and use the car for its real intentions like school, work and errands. Always communicate with your parents when you’re taking the car and where you are.

Step 5. Do your research on cars and insurance

Purchasing a car is not cheap. Help your parents by comparing vehicle and insurance prices online. Be realistic with your vehicle choice — you don’t need a luxury car, you need a well-running car with great mileage and an affordable monthly payment. Show your parents that you’ve done your research and it’s in your best interest to make this a happy buying experience for all of you. Also check out discounts for auto insurances likes good student discounts. (Getting good grades has its perks.)

Step 6. Be grateful and follow through with your responsibilities

Thank your parents and follow through with the rules you discussed and be the responsible person you know you can be. Continue to do more around the house and really have this great connection with your parents. Somewhere down the road, you might forget about your parents buying you a car — but you should never forget that act of kindness nor the fact that they did it because they love you and want you to be happy.


Kristen_MarquezBy Kristen Marquez.

Kristen Marquez graduated with a B.A. in Cinema & Television Arts from California State, University Northridge with an emphasis in Television Production. She is a social media coordinator by day and a content creator by night. With her great imagination, she knows she will create the next big thing whether it’s a script, a product or a simple idea that will fill people’s hearts with joy and entertainment. She blogs for a hobby and loves spending time with her golden retriever Lily.

Instagram: @lexikris
Twitter: @krisiza10