Teens, Dares & Dangerous Behaviors

Last week, a 15-year-old high school student drowned when he tried to make good on a dare to swim across the Patuxent River in Maryland. Strong currents swept him downstream and his friends were unable to pull him from the water in time. His death has re-ignited the conversation and concerns about teenagers engaging in risky behavior.

“Knowing what’s going on inside the teenage mind can help parents better understand where their children are coming from and why they make such seemingly stupid decision sometimes, [Dr. Lou] Aymard said…

Such lessons can help parents prevent their teens from taking dares and risks. Another way to help is to keep the channels of communication open so that when trouble is brewing, teens trust their parents enough to talk about it.” [Source: The Capital]

Karin Anstendig-Mosk is a psychologist who works with teenagers. She suggests that parents who are concerned about their teens’ thrill-seeking try to channel that energy into something else, like extreme sports. While there’s still a risk involved, it’s more manageable, and someone is more likely to be around if the teen gets hurt.

Teen Boys Need Better Info About Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Only one in four teenage boys who engage in high-risk sex is receiving adequate counseling about sexually transmitted diseases, according to a new study from the Johns Hopkins University.

High-risk sex was defined as having sex with prostitutes or while drunk, or having sex with someone who is infected with HIV.

The boys in the study who did receive counseling received it from their doctors.

This study appeared in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Teen Video Gaming Linked to Tooth Decay

Though the risks of excessive video gaming have become better understood in recent years, a new study has revealed a surprising effect of spending too much time in the company of the console.

According to researchers with the University of Iowa, the longer teenagers spend playing video games, the more likely they are to have tooth decay.

Researchers studied adolescents ages 12 to 16 years old and found that video gamers tended to eat sugary sweets and drink sweet sodas as they played their games, leading to tooth decay.

“For these kids ages 12 to 16 who are gamers living without parental supervision after school, tooth decay is huge, and they will pay for it for a lifetime unfortunately,” said Dr. Anne Stewart, vice president of the Australian dental Association. “It’s really not a surprise. These studies back up what is already known about the tooth decay process and what we have been telling patients for years about snacking.”

Michican ‘Leadership League’ Inspires Boys to Become Responsible Men

In Saginaw County, Michigan, several organizations work to encourage young men to look beyond their immediate environments and toward their potential futures. One of the Michigan organizations that are dedicated to helping troubled teens is the Kappa Instructional Leadership League.

Eric Joyce of The Saginaw Newsreported on the Leadership League’s efforts in an April 10 article:

“The teenagers in the community are not just fighting and shooting and killing each other,” Prince F. Robertson said. “We do have teenagers in the community that are involved in their schools, in sports, academics and other groups such as ours.”

Robertson is the program director for the Kappa Instructional Leadership League for at-risk high school students in Saginaw County. …

“Our main goal is to have them achieve in every field of human endeavor,” Robertson said. “We do our best to teach them how to be responsible, to be successful young men and to be leaders in the community.”

He said the Kappa “leaguers” are invited into the program and meet after school about twice a month throughout the academic year. They practice their leadership skills through community involvement by fundraising, community service and cultural events across the state.

Report Indicates Heavy Drinking Among British Youth

Teen alcohol abuse remains a prevalent problem in the United States — but a recent article in the British press indicates that other nations are also struggling to combat the problem of underage drinking.

According to a Jan. 28 article by Daniel Martin of the MailOnline news site, young Britons are consuming alcohol at a troubling rate:

A survey of 23,000 youngsters found that in some parts of the country more than a quarter of 11 to 15-year-olds said they had alcohol at least once in the past week.

The regional breakdown found the North-East to be the worst area. There, those who drank consumed an average of 17.7 units a week – equivalent to nine pints of beer or one bottle of wine.

Among boys, this rises to 20.2 units – and because it is just an average, many are claiming to be drinking far more.