The teenage years can be difficult. Some choices teenagers make during this critical stage can have an effect on the rest of their lives. A study just came out that showed we’ve made some great advances, but we still have a ways to go.
Drug/Alcohol Use: Most drugs and alcohol use is down. Unfortunately, marijuana use is up. This may be because of recent laws that make the use of marijuana seem safe. If it’s legal, it can’t hurt…yes, it can.
Marijuana is the illegal drug most frequently linked to fatal accidents. It is addictive and it causes problems in school. While a person is high they could cause a panic attack or other psychological change.
Smoking, Fighting and Risky Sex: These are good news. While it still happens, education programs and other teaching methods have lowered the numbers in these areas.
Texting: Now for the bad news. Texting is high and many teens still text and drive. Texting while driving is 23 times more likely to cause an accident. Most teens (52%) admit they drive and talk on their cell phone at the same time. 77% of teens feel they can safely text and drive. In fact, it goes into young adulthood…55% of young adults believe they can safely text and drive.
Texting and driving is against the law. It kills people. If the teen driver lives, the teen can be charged with homicide. This is an area that needs a *lot* of work.
Computer/Video Game Use: It isn’t surprising that teens spend a lot of time using computers and playing video games. Many schools use computers in classrooms. Some use digital books rather than paper books. The internet can be a great boon to education. It can also be dangerous.
The first danger is sexual predators. They’ve changed their tactics. Now they don’t hide their age or their desires. The teens who talk to them do so openly. 75% of victims meet their predator more than once. 58% of teens don’t think sharing photos or other personal information on-line is unsafe.
Lack of exercise is another danger. Spending so much time staring at screens means there is less time for physical activity. Obesity studies indicate that between 7 and 29% of teenagers are obese. While food choices and amounts are part of the problem, lack of exercise plays a role.
These problems can be taken care of. Parents are talking to their children more about on-line dangers. The numbers in the obesity department are going down in some areas. If we work together in talking about the problems teens face, we can see improvement in our current problem areas.