- Just be yourself and hang with friends who encourage you to be who you are, and not who they want you to be.
- Don't be too hard on yourself - you may be your toughest critic. Hang out with people who support you and be careful of people who are all about negativity.
- Steroids can cause pimples, hair loss and shrunken testicles. Seriously, they can make guys grow breasts and girls grow beards, not to mention they can cause damage to your liver and heart.
- Eating disorders, left untreated, can lead to malnutrition, dental problems and skin, hair and nail damage.
- Left untreated, eating disorders can also lead to muscle damage, ulcers, diabetes, kidney or liver failure, arthritis, infertility, seizures, heart attack or even death.
- In the United States, where a bone-thin body type is idealized by the media, the average American woman is actually 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 142 pounds.
- Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are diseases that affect the mind and body simultaneously.
- Drugs and alcohol can impair a person's judgment and cause them to engage in unplanned sexual activity. This could result in STDs, unwanted sexual advances, rape, pregnancy, and emotional trauma.
- Not everyone's having sex. In fact, less than 50% of high school students report having had sex. And the vast majority of teens (73%) surveyed don't think it is embarrassing for teens to say they are virgins.
- The national teen birth rate fell 30 percent from 1991 to 2002, the most recent year for which statistics are available.
- Forty percent of chlamydia cases are reported among young people age 15 to 19. Females in that age group also have the highest rates of gonorrhea.
- Half of all new HIV/AIDS infections are thought to occur in people under 25.
- One in five teenage girls has at least one birth by age 20.
- Marijuana is addictive. More teens are in treatment with a primary diagnosis of marijuana dependence than for all other illicit drugs combined.
- Meth can damage blood vessels in the brain, leading to strokes (which can produce irreversible damage).
- Some side effects of steroid use include liver tumors and cancer, jaundice, fluid retention, high blood pressure, kidney tumors, and trembling.
- Inhalants can kill you the very first time you use them.
- Motor vehicle crashes remain the number one cause of death among youth ages 16 to 20.
- Teens spend more time watching TV than they do in school, and by the time they reach the age of 70, Americans will have spent 7 years of their lives watching TV (Comstock & Strasburger, 1990).
- Teens spend between 4 and 5 hours a day listening to music and watching music videos.
- The average American child may view as many as 40,000 TV ads every year. Do the math... that's estimated to be hundreds of thousands of ads by the time you're in high school.
- 60 percent of boys who were bullies in middle school had at least one criminal conviction by the age of 24 (Olweus, 1993).
- Cruelty to animals is often a warning of future violent acts.
- Resorting to violence or carrying a weapon to stop being picked on will not solve the problem. In fact, it's likely to make it worse.
- Seventy-five percent of students report they have been bullied.
#ABOVE THE CROWD
Be Your Own Person
During high school you may hear your friends, parents or even a coach tell you to “just be yourself” – but what does that really mean? Knowing who you are and what you believe in is important. Recognizing the influences in your life (both good and bad) makes it easier for you to make important choices about who to hang out with and whether or not to try drugs or alcohol.
There is a complicated list of reasons why people try or use drugs. Some people do it to change the way they feel. Sometimes people use drugs to go along with the crowd and cover up their insecurities. Consider this — former users often say that drugs ended up isolating them from friends and family and made them feel even more alone.
Instead of going along with what some people are doing, you could spend more of your energy on you – your style, your viewpoints, and your own way of doing things. You can’t control what another person thinks about you. Isn’t it more worthwhile to work on what you think about yourself, and not try to shape someone else’s impression of you?
#ABOVE THE IMAGE
Accept Yourself, No One's Perfect
These days you can hardly turn a few pages in a magazine or sit through a movie without getting flooded with images of the “perfect” guy or girl. It’s a bit unrealistic to think that life is truly like that. Sometimes girls wrongly believe that being super skinny will make them more appealing. For guys, it may be about looking bigger or stronger. Look around – there are all kinds of people in the world. And nearly everyone has something about themselves they don’t really like. So love what you’ve got. *Body image is your own idea of what your body looks like. And how you feel about yourself has a lot to do with how you see yourself and your body.*
If you want to make changes to your weight or strength, then by all means go for it – but do it safely and keep your overall health in mind. Taking steroids, diet pills, or abusing diuretics or laxatives are all very risky and after extended use, can really hurt your body and cause some long-term damage. Eating disorders (like Anorexia or Bulimia), drug use and cutting are also extremely dangerous to your body and your mind.
*Anorexia involves extreme weight loss. The individual believes she is overweight, even as she becomes much too thin to be healthy. In some cases, anorexia nervosa can lead to death.*
*Bulimia involves periods of overeating followed by purging (throwing up), using laxatives or excessive exercising. This behavior is often called "bingeing and purging."*
Not to sound like one of those outdated health class videos but… Find some comfort in knowing that everyone feels a bit weird about their bodies during high school. Sometimes you probably think, “If I could just change my (fill in the blank), my life would be so much better.” Well, it’s not that easy. Real happiness doesn’t come from the size of your jeans. It comes from personal strength, self-respect and knowing yourself.
#ABOVE THE PRESSURE
Pressure to Hook Up
Pressure for both teen girls and guys can be intense when it comes to sex. Sometimes it might seem like everyone in high school (and on TV) is talking about who “does” and who “doesn’t.” The truth is that according to recent research, not everyone in high school is having sex. Unfortunately, some teens feel that they have to hook up to keep dating someone or to be accepted. That’s pretty sad.
So whether you decide to wait because of the potential consequences, your beliefs or family traditions, or just because you choose to, you’ve made a decision and your friends should respect that.
#ABOVE THE INFLUENCE
Pressure to Use Drugs
There’s a lot of “information” floating around the Web about drugs and even some misinformation spreading by word-of-mouth. The movies, music and other media don’t always accurately portray the risks of use either. With all the hype around drugs, you may not realize that most high school students choose not to smoke weed.
There is a complicated list of reasons why people try or use drugs. Some people do it to change the way they feel, but by taking drugs, they haven't changed the situation. They've only distorted it for a little while. And since many drugs are depressants, the “escape” of drug use isn’t happy and can be quite unpleasant. Former users often say that drugs ended up isolating them from friends and family and made them feel more alone.
Remember no one “plans” to become a drug addict, and every one of the millions of people with drug dependency started out thinking they had it “under control.”
Check out these drug facts. Get informed and decide for yourself.
* COCAINE AND CRACK
* PRESCRIPTION & OTC DRUGS
#ABOVE THE HYPE
Know Who's Sending You the Message
We get hit with media messages all the time. We hear music, we see ads, we watch TV, we see clothing logos, we read and we surf the Web. Have you ever stopped to think about how many media messages you see each day? Or who's actually sending you these messages and why?
* Where is the message coming from?
* What is the song, Web site (or any message) telling me?
* What is the point of view of the person sending the message?
* How is the person sending the message trying to make me feel? What do they want me to do?
Evaluating these messages will help you understand the influences in your life. You can make up your own mind. Don’t believe the hype.
#ABOVE THE CONTROL
Why Would You Pick on Others?
There are many ways that young people tease (or bully) each other, even if they don't realize it at the time. This can be Bullying can be direct attacks like punching, shoving, hitting or maliciously teasing, name-calling, sending threatening IMs or taunting someone online, and stealing or damaging belongings. It can also include spreading rumors or encouraging others to exclude someone.many things. You may even feel guilty if you’re pressured by your friends to join in on the taunting when you know it’s not right.
If someone is encouraging you to pick on someone else, stand your ground and don’t take part. In most cases you’ll find that when a bully doesn't have an audience, he (or she) may be less likely to keep it up. If you feel up to it, you can even speak up and defend the person being picked on.