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Teen Safety Week
Teen Safety Week (2023) - May 8 - May 13
As part of our teen safety initiatives, the SSPD, in collaboration with local agencies and non-profit organizations, is hosting a Teen Safety Week from May 8 - May 13.
Teen Safety Week will include various outreach and education initiatives at our local schools, online, and within the community. Each weekday will highlight a different safety theme and offer information and tips for teens and their parents.
- Monday (5/8) - Driving Impaired
- Tuesday (5/9) - Driving Distracted
- Wednesday (5/10) - Substance Misuse & Abuse
- Thursday (5/11) - Mental Health & Sense of Belonging
- Friday (5/12) - Teen Dating Violence, Sexual Pressures & Sexual Assault
Monday - Driving Impaired
Driving while impaired, or under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, can have disastrous results. The SSPD is spreading additional awareness about these dangers as local teens get ready to celebrate prom and graduation.
Each year, many students across the Yampa Valley look forward to attending prom and graduation, These memorable moments become devastating when a child is injured or killed in a car crash. Unfortunately across the country, this happens all too often. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, and drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are nearly three times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash that those 20 and over.
Tuesday - Driving Distracted
We know how easy it is to get distracted while driving, but teens are more likely than other drivers to be invovled in a motor vehicle accident due to distracted driving. Factors including inexperience, technology, and speeding all put teens at risk behind the wheel. Peer passengers, talking or texting on a cell phone, changing the music, eating, or applying makeup are all dangerous distractions.
There are three main types of distraction:
- Visual - taking your eyes off the road
- Manual - taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive - taking your mind off what you're doing
Distracted driving is preventable, and proven strategies can significantly improve the safety of young drivers.
Wednesday - Substance Misuse & Abuse
Hey, Teens! As your brain matures, it becomes more focused on rewards and taking risks. At the same time, you are pushing your parents for greater freedom as you explore your personality.
This time can be a challenging tightrope to walk for both teens and parents. Your brain is developing in ways to set you up to be an independent adult, but there are still a lot of ways your parents/guardians and community want to support you in developing strong skills for successful independence.
The CDC reports that 15% of high school students report having used illicit or injection drugs, and 14% of students have misused prescription opioids. Teens who experiment with drugs and other substances put their long-term health and safety at risk.
Thursday - Mental Health & Sense of Belonging
Everyone can feel isolated, alienated, or like we don't belong. While the Yampa Valley is a beautiful community, sometimes (or maybe all the time) we don't feel like we fit in or feel numb. Finding belonging and creating spaces for each other are also very possible in this community. Most of us can feel this way, we just need to work towards making connections with each other.
This week we focus on teen safety, but in the end, it is not just teens who struggle with these feelings. This is a connection for all of us, no matter our age. Specific events like prom and graduation, can create feelings of further isolation and alienation. But you are not alone.
As parents and a community, if we can help support positive mental health in our teens, we'll also be preventing or limiting other negative actions such as violence and drug use. Helping our teens build strong bonds and relationships is key. These relationships with friends, adults, family, and teachers provide a sense of community, connectedness, and belonging. Having these connections in their lives lets our teens know that someone cares about them and provides them with a critical lifeline if they are experiencing mental health struggles.
Friday - Teen Dating Violence, Sexual Pressures & Sexual Assault
Dating violence is more common than one may think, especially among teens and young adults. 1 in 3 U.S, Teens will experience abuse from someone they're in a relationship with before they become adults. We are not immune to teen dating violence in the Yampa Valley.
Dating violence can take many forms, physical, sexual violence, psychological aggression, intimidation and isolation, and stalking. Additionally, dating violence doesn't just happen in person, but also digitally via cell phones, social media, and other technology.
Teen dating violence greatly impacts lifelong health, opportunity, and wellbeing. Unhealthy, abusive, or violent relationships can foster anxiety and depression, cause teens to engage in unhealthy sexual behaviors, use drugs and alcohol, develop eating disorders, and exhibit antisocial behaviors.
In addition, teens are often faced with pressure to have sex, sometime during their adolescence. Some teens engage in sexual relationships to keep pace with their friends or because they think "everyone else is doing it". Some engage in sexual activity because they feel pressured by their partner, or because they simply want to feel loved or accepted.
Patty Oakland | 970.457.7414 | Email Patty Oakland