Info for Students
When you think of the word boundaries, what words come to mind? A lot of students will give me answers such as, “fences, walls, limits, restrictions, and etc.” The typical feel around this is rather negative, but boundaries can actually be a positive thing. It’s important to set healthy boundaries early. Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt uncomfortable about someone else’s behavior toward you but could not figure out why you were uncomfortable? If you think back on that time, perhaps someone was crossing an unspoken boundary of yours without your consent, and that felt unsafe. Boundaries exist to protect us and let us know what to expect and to stay in control of your situation. Perhaps you can start by discussing the following examples, with your parent(s)/trusted adult and write down your plan so you are prepared before you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation:
- Alcohol and Drugs
- Cell Phones
- Physical Self Control
What’s trending? What makes someone popular? What is that famous instagram star doing? What shows are everyone watching on Netflix? Where’s the cool new place to eat/hang out at? These may be questions that you or your friends ask yourselves, because community, peers, and popularity tend to be very important during this time of your life! There is nothing wrong with this, but there can be risks if an unconscious drive such as FOMO (fear of missing out), or fear of falling behind drive you to make decisions that are not healthy. We encourage students to be aware of what is driving their decisions, and take an honest look at what the hierarchy of importance is in their lives. Is what your peers are saying, driving you to do things that you may not normally do? Is popular opinion affecting your physical or emotional well-being? Friendships with peers is very important now, but each of us can make a change to who we allow to influence our lives.
Everyone wants healthy relationships, whether it is in their family, friendships, romantic, or future employment, and etc. The starting point to having healthy, thriving relationships in your life is often taking the time to get to know yourself first. Whether it is your personality type, ways that you connect with those that are safe in your life, or understanding the various facets that lead to whole person health, knowledge is power. It can be very valuable to take the time now to take courses, attend presentations, or do some self-learning to get to know yourself. When we begin to understand ourselves, then we can better connect with those around us in a healthier way. We also provide these types of lessons in our RealTalk Presentation, feel free to connect with us to see if there is a presentation near you!
As students, there are many activities that can lead to risks, and you may place yourself at the frontlines of those risks because there is a belief that the worst case scenario would never happen. However, the stats and facts show that, that is simply not true. According to the World Health Organization, health is defined as a "state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." The Risk Avoidance approach is extensively researched and scientifically proven. It encourages avoiding risk behaviors and abstaining from all associated risks to achieve optimal health. We want to see students go beyond just not being diseased, but thriving and living lives full of purpose. Risk-avoidance life skills are important, and the approach is holistic because it is considerate of the whole person’s well-being.
Consent is defined as “permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.” It is never ok for someone to force you to do something without your consent. As a human being you deserve basic respect for the boundaries that you have. If someone brosses those boundaries and disrespects you, that can be considered as a form of harassment. Make sure to let a trusted adult know to get help about the situation. There are also multiple public phone numbers that you can call to get assistance from authorities.
With the explosion of the internet, social media, smartphone devices, and etc. it is no longer a matter of “if” but “when” someone can get exposed to pornography. Pornography is the portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual arousal. It acts like a magnet, drawing viewers in for more and more. It can spark curiosity in pre-teens and teens, both boys and girls, who are naturally curious about sexual things. But there are researched unhealthy effects of pornography. Did you know that you can get addicted to pornography just like you do with hard drugs? Pornography rewires the brain, changes the viewers perspective and reactions to real relationships with real people, and begins to shape the way people view each other in culture at large. If this is something you are struggling with, just realize that you are not alone, the average of exposure of 8 years old. The good news is that the brain is plastic, and it can rewire itself back if the porn use stops. And there are lots of resources to help, such as the informative sites like fightthenewdrug.com, the Fortify app, and specialized counselors. Maybe today is the day you take the time to evaluate your choices and reach out for help with someone you trust. There is always hope.
For more facts and research, take a look at this website:
- Teens ages 15-24 are at higher risk for contracting STDs, especially teen girls
- You can get an STI the first time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex.
- Some STIs have no cure, while others can be treated through medication.
- Most people infected with an STD are unaware unless they are tested
- You can get an STD from someone who does not know he/she is infected.
- You can’t tell who has an STD by looking at them.
- Some STDs can be transmitted to a baby during pregnancy or birth.
- For women, untreated STIs, even if they are asymptomatic, can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, infertility, or pregnancy complications.
- STDs like HIV/AIDS can have lifelong consequences
- Look here for more facts about common STDs
Social media can have some potential negative effects such as addiction, social isolation, depression/anxiety, poor sleep, and etc. However, it can also be a good thing if used in the right way. Sexting and Cyberbullying are two examples of how harmful social media can be.
Sexting is the sending of sexually explicit texts, pictures, or videos in a text message or through a social media app. It is something that happens very often among High School students. This is a dangerous trend as it can lead to serious emotional, physical, and legal consequences. Students may sext, thinking that you are safe or getting what you want, but it places you at risk because your private content is no longer in your control once it is out on the internet. Most of the time sexting is done between couples who are in a relationship. Unfortunately, only about 2% of school sweethearts marry, so that means 98% of the time, for people who thought they were just sexting with their boyfriend or girlfriend, someone now has sexual images of you that you are no longer with. A momentary decision can lead to a lifetime of consequences.
Cyberbullying is bullying with technology. When someone uses the internet or technology to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another person. Examples could be: sending mean text messages, sending photos to embarrass someone, spreading rumors, sending or posting harassing comments, and etc. Students who would not normally say mean things or harass others in person can sometimes feel safe doing online due to the anonymity and lack of realistic consequences (they don’t see the pain they are causing someone). However, cyberbullying can have dire consequences on both the bully and the victim. Victims can exhibit feelings of depression or anxiety, begin to fail in school, start to develop addictions, and etc. Bullies can also face legal consequences if serious situations occur due to the cyberbullying. If you see this happening, don’t just be a bystander, be an upstander instead, do something about it! Tell a trusted adult, tell the bully to stop, or advocate for the victim. Demi Lovato has a great personal story and message about this:
Demi Lovato: https://www.bystanderrevolution.org/v/Demi+Lovato+%7C+Cyberbullying/KNwM9tgvuiY
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