Harvey Weinstein, Brett Kavanaugh, Bill Cosby, Louis CK, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer… the list goes on and on. But how many of us know about Lysette Anthony, Christine Blasey Ford, Andrea Constand, Julia Wolov, Daniel Beal, and the many other strong individuals who have been victimized? How many of us can say #metoo? With changing social norms, consent is a topic that we need to discuss. The earlier we start this discussion, the better. Consent is needed for more than just sex – consent is multi-tiered.
When most teens think about sex, they often forget the events that need to happen beforehand. Many teens view consent as simply not saying no, but there is much more to it. Consent is enthusiastic, coherent, freely given, and ongoing. Enthusiastic consent means that it is a clear YES. The absence of no does not equal consent. Only “yes” means yes, and “no” means no (loveisrespect.org). Coherent consent means that the people involved have a clear understanding of what is happening and are able to give their enthusiastic consent. Being under the influence of any substances or in any position where one is incapacitated and unable to comprehend what is happening means that consent cannot be given. If someone cannot answer “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, “why”, or “how” questions about the situation, they cannot give their consent. Also, if someone is under the legal age of consent, it does not matter if they say “yes” because they are unable to give consent. The age of consent varies from state to state, in Michigan it is 16. There are laws that delve deeper into the nuances of age gaps, however the age of consent is still 16. Freely given consent is given without the use of force or pressure. If you ask 37 times and receive “no” as an answer 37 times, receiving “yes” as an answer to the 38th time does not mean you have consent. It means you have pressured this person and wore them down until they said “yes”. Also, after true consent has been received, it is important to understand that it is ongoing. Consent is needed for each step taken: just because consent is given for one act does not mean it is given for all acts. Consent can also be revoked at any time – if someone gives their enthusiastic, coherent, freely given consent, they are allowed to change their mind. Once consent is taken back, continuing to engage in the (physical) situation is assault.
Now, back to consent being multi-tiered: consent does not only apply to physical, sexual acts. Consent is broader and is important for all ages. Talking with children about the factors of consent is important for growth. The younger we talk about consent with children, the better we prepare them to navigate the world. Teaching our children about consent helps them establish boundaries with others and helps them understand what behaviors are and what behaviors are not okay. Consent is not only important for adults and teenagers: children also have the right to say no to harmful touching and interactions. “We should never assume anyone is okay with anything, whether that’s a sexual act, a group activity, a conversation, or a financial decision that affects them” (Weiss). Non-sexual consent can refer to topics of conversation, not giving away personal information, getting everyone’s opinion before setting up group activities, asking before taking photographs, and before non-sexual touching (Weiss). Non-sexual touching can include hugging, nudging, kissing, and other seemingly innocuous acts. Just because you might be okay with kissing in public or nudging someone who’s in your way, it does not mean that others who are involved are okay with these acts as well. It’s important to discuss boundaries before interacting with others– set up a baseline of things that are okay to discuss and things that are not and communicate things you are okay with and things you are not. Communication is critical to all types of relationships, whether new or old. Overall, consent is vital when interacting with others. Consent must be given by both parties and must follow all the criteria. Watch this video and then think of it this way: if you wouldn't force someone to drink tea, why would you force someone to engage in other acts?
Do you ever forget to take care of yourself? Sometimes every day to-do lists and a tendency to put others before ourselves can leave us feeling exhausted and emotionally spent. As life becomes more packed and overwhelming, the things that make us happy can be marked “less important” and fall through the cracks. However, the more stressed life becomes the more important those acts of self-care are. Self-care is not only critical for your happiness, but also your physical, mental, and emotional health.
Here are some options to get you started:
(submitted by Intern Shayla – August 2018)
According to dictionary.com social media are websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. Social
media has its pros and cons when it comes to development of teens. Statistics
say that 75% of American teens have social media profiles. 51% of teens visit
social media sites on a daily.
Using social media can be a good experience. However, some aspects may not be beneficial while our teenagers are developing. Even as an adult we can experience the negative influences of social media, so we can only imagine the impact that can have for teenagers. We should find ways to discuss the effects of social media with our teens. They will begin to understand the pros and cons and find a proper balance for the use of social media.
**For additional information on apps, follow this link:
(Social media changes daily so this link could change details.)
Social networking helps with connections and learning valuable technical skills.
Having people listen to you through your post. Getting retweets andmaking statuses can raise in confidence and self esteem.
When someone shares positive things such as working out and eating well, that can influence and motivate others
to follow trends.
Special talents and skills can be discovered through
social media. Teens may also gain access to valuable local information like job postings.
Study shows that four hours per day of online time is more beneficial than no screen time.
Provides unlimited information to keep informed on different things going on in the world.
Too many hours spent scrolling through social media
can lead to losing valuable sleep.
This can lead to grades dropping and over eating.
Can cause envy when dwelling on what someone else has possessed or has experienced that they, themselves have not. Remind teens that people tend to post only the
positive things they experienced.
When writing online you can not see facial expressions or hear tones of voice.These can cause problems with people being misunderstood.
UCLA’s brain mapping center states that teen’s brains become activated from getting “likes”. It releases dopamine in the brain, which is equivalent to winning
the lottery.This causes a craving for more and more
access to social media.
Makes teens vulnerable to sexting, cyberbullying and
Can take a toll on mental health! For some teenagers it can become addicting. Depression, anxiety and loneliness are negative behavioral symptoms due to decrease
in social activities and social pressures.
Try to have a healthy conversation with your child about the different apps they are exploring. Also ask them to keep a log of how much time they are actually using while exploring social media. We encourage you to make your own pros and cons list with your child to help them better understand both the positive and negative impact social media can have, and how to use social media responsibly.
Posted by: Katlyn
Globally, the average cost of a slave is $90
Lately, I have been seeing a lot of articles in the news involving human trafficking. I have even heard it mentioned a few times at my internship at Care House. I have not been personally affected, but this is something that can happen to anyone and anywhere. My goal is to raise more awareness about the topic. Human trafficking is such a big problem today, even in the South Eastern part of Michigan. As being a resident in the South Eastern part of Michigan here are some safety tips and resources that you and your family should know about.
The Department of Homeland Security defines human trafficking as modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.
There are three types of human trafficking:
Every year in the United States THOUSANDS of human trafficking cases are reported, but many more go unnoticed. Human trafficking is a hidden crime.
Safety tips for kids:
There are many risks of child sex trafficking. According to an article from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, “Child sex trafficking experiences can lead to sexual, physical, and emotional injuries and severe lifelong health, social, educational, legal, and economic problems for survivors. Survivors experience significant traumatic stress symptoms, as well as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, unplanned or forced pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, malnutrition, suicide and self-injury, incarceration, social isolation, school drop-out, unemployment, and re-victimization”.
Right around the corner we have an agency that helps women and children who have been affected by human trafficking. In Wayne County, there is a place called Vista Maria.
Vista Maria is a place where women and children are able to go to when they have suffered the effects of human trafficking.
Through Vista Maria, there are specialized treatment programs, community based programs, schooling, and foster care options available.
According to the website, “Perpetrators prey on the weak including teens that have dropped out of school, are in the foster system or have run away from home. Human trafficking is a highly profitable ad low risk crime. Traffickers target anyone, including children in their own communities.”
If you are homeless, have aged out of the system, or if you have nowhere to go, Vista Maria has connection to the Shepherd Hall Transitional Living Program. The program helps individuals that are in need of housing for an affordable price. They provide 12-18 months that encourage the individual to become independent and financially stable.
Angela Aufdemberge, the President & CEO of Vista Maria is sitting down to discuss the topic of Human Trafficking. The link is https://youtu.be/Fd1AfsrakxM
You are also available to volunteer at this center. There are one-on-one opportunities, group/corporate volunteering, support or host an In-Kind Drive, student internships and field placement, and holiday programs.
I encourage parents to be knowledgeable on this topic. If your child is ready, discuss this topic with them and make sure they are aware of the dangers.
To report suspected human trafficking: 1-866-347-2423
To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733)
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-531-5151
Wayne County: firstname.lastname@example.org - 1-800-7.VISTA.6
Address for Vista Maria: 20652 West Warren Avenue, Dearborn Heights, MI 48127
If you are using a computer, here is one way you can get involved without even moving! On the Polaris Project’s website you can go look for the tab that says “Get Involved”. After clicking on it you will be lead to a petition. It is to pass “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Today” act. https://act.polarisproject.org/page/16100/action/1
I signed it, will you?
Posted by: Mina
With October brings fall colors, Halloween and thoughts of the upcoming Holiday season. Something not everyone is aware of is that October is also domestic violence awareness month. When people think of domestic violence they tend to consider the effects on the individual being abused, but there are many effects on the children involved as well, and the effects on the child may last a lifetime. It is important that parents and trusted adults know what to look for and how to start those difficult conversations to help protect our youth. Approximately 1/3 of the youth in the United States will witness domestic violence (Schreiber,2017). It is astonishing how many children can be affected. Even if it isn't your child you may be the person that child reaches out to for help therefore, it is important to know what to look for.
Working with youth in a shelter I have seen first hand, youth who have witnessed domestic violence. Many of them have even witnessed greater traumas such as shootings and homicide. These teens have heightened reactions to their surroundings, get nightmares, have higher levels of anxiety and depression as well as lower levels of trust for adults. For example, a young man I worked with needed to sit with his back against a wall and be able to see all of his possible exits because he had witnessed violence in his home. If this young man was unable to see his surroundings he would become so anxious he couldn’t focus on the task at hand. Other teens I've worked with also had similar reactions, some even had increased anxiety when they heard sirens, when people walked into the building or at night. Some things to look out for are changes in behavior, angry outbursts, nightmares, anxiety, bed wetting, change in eating habits, self-harm or unusual cuts or bruises. It is heart breaking to see these young souls so troubled by what they witnessed in their homes. The very people that are supposed to love, protect and care for them are the same people who have caused them to have distrust, fear, anger and anxiety. Working with these teens has also helped me to understand the importance of knowing what to say and when to say it.
The teens I work with typically have great levels of apprehension towards me, since I'm basically a stranger to them, but generally they will start to open-up. When they do open-up they begin to share their traumas and what they experience at home. When these teens share about violence at home they don't want pity or someone to feel sorry for them, they want understanding and acceptance. It is important that whoever a teen or child talks to about abuse is actively listening to the youth. The listener should be open and non-judgmental. The next step is to remind the youth that they are not to blame and make sure they are safe. Safety with our youth is top priority. As a trusted adult we can also try and come up with a safety plan for the youth. This could include coming up with a safe place to go, someone to call and reminding them not to get involved in the violence. If safety can be re-established for the youth they will be able to feel more at ease and relaxed. Knowing they are safe can actually be a spring board for the youth to share more information and seek out further help at home.
Domestic violence can be a difficult topic to approach, with anyone of any age. It is important to be supportive of the youth involved because they are experiencing it too. Most importantly, be available for them to talk to and never judge or blame them. Remember that youth are strong and resilient so with support they can overcome domestic violence and stop the cycle. Be the support net they need, the bigger the supportive net the less likely they are to fall.
Help and Hotlines
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453
National Crime Victim Helpline: 1-800-394-2255
Turning Point: 1-586-463-6990
Schreiber, E. (2017). CDV domestic violence and the children in its shadow. Retrieved from http://www.rawhide.org/blog/infographics/cdv-domestic-violence-and-the-children-in-its-shadow/?gclid=CIfavZXItNYCFQ6RaQodHkcFvA
By: Jaylen G.
It seems like nowadays, everybody uses YouTube. To describe it simply, it is an online sharing space to upload videos. People of all ages use YouTube in several ways; to get laughs, to figure out how to do something (DIY or cooking for example) and even to entertain young children etc. To combat inappropriate videos reaching young children, YouTube has introduced YouTube Kids. In the Apple AppStore, YouTube Kids is “designed for curious little minds to dive into a world of discovery, learning and entertainment. This is a delightfully simple (and free!) app, where kids can discover videos, channels and playlists they love.” The app allows parents to turn off the search engine, and set time limits on how long their child can watch the app. While YouTube Kids strives to be suited toward children, suspicious material still makes its way onto the video platform making parents question whether it is safe for children to watch.
My personal experience dealing with YouTube Kids started when my 3-year-old niece got an iPad for Christmas. She soon became consumed with videos and even started talking like the kids she watched on the site trying to gain subscribers and thanking them for watching their videos. It was cute (but sometimes annoying) to hear her mimic the videos, so nothing raised my suspicions…at first. One day, as I was watching my niece as she was on her iPad on YouTube Kids when I heard an ear-piercing and eerie rendition of “Let It Go” from the children’s movie Frozen. I quickly took the iPad from her to check out the music video and saw that it was NOT a Disney video, but an edited version which looked like something out of a horror movie! After this incident, I wondered if other inappropriate videos made their way onto the YouTube Kids, so like any curious person, I took to Google to find out.
I found was that many inappropriate videos are being uploaded to the site disguised as different recognizable children’s characters on the surface, but instead contain inappropriate and disturbing material, ranging from sexual content to violence. Some examples include a children’s TV show character, Peppa Pig, going to the dentist and getting much pain inflicted on her resulting in blood, an evil small Spider-man cutting off a women’s bikini top, and even real-life people pretending to be Elsa from Frozen, and Spider-man, acting out different sexual positions. It can be hard to spot these disturbing events in the videos as they might just be small blips.
While not all videos on YouTube Kids are like this, it is important to note that these videos are easily accessible, often times coming up as recommended videos that children innocently tap on because the cover photo includes characters that children know and like. Before tossing your child’s iPad or banning YouTube, there ARE many ways to help get rid of these videos and have your children still enjoy YouTube Kids and other sites under your supervision:
Posted By: Courtney M
The Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why has caused much controversy since its release. The show centers on a high schooler, Hannah, who commits suicide and leaves behind 13 cassette tapes for 13 people who contributed to her death. The tapes cycle through a lying boy who starts a rumor about Hannah, a backstabbing best friend, a rapist, and an unhelpful school counselor, to name a few. One by one, they have to listen to the reason they contributed to Hannah’s death and then pass it on to the next person on Hannah’s list.
Many people, including suicide prevention groups and survivors, have spoken out against the show. They say it romanticizes suicide and can be a trigger for someone who is going through a similar time in their life. However, the writers and directors of 13 Reasons Why speak out on its behalf to support their decision on how and why the show was created as it was. They say it needed to be shown in a way that is true to the experience that people have with suicide and was meant to get a conversation going about bullying, depression, sexual assault, and suicide. So should teens and young adults be watching this series? As a parent, you need to be aware of both sides of the argument to make the decision on whether you will let your son or daughter watch the show.
Reasons Why It Should Be Watched:
It shows how actions and words can significantly affect a person’s life. Bullying is a real problem in schools today, and this series brings to light the affects that bullying can have on teenagers. If you take anything away from this series it will be that kindness can save a life.
It portrays the pressures that young people experience at school’s that parents and adults often minimize or deny. The series brought to light the issues that teenagers go through in high school and may give parents the opportunity to start a conversation with their children about what is going on in their lives and what they are feeling.
It shows how much suicide can affect the family as a whole. When a person decides to commit suicide they often do it as a way to escape from the pain they are dealing with in their life. What they do not realize is that the pain does not go away after they are gone, but transfers over to the remaining family left without them there.
It offers hope to young people watching the show that they are not alone in their feelings. It shows that they are not the only one dealing with issues of depression or suicidal ideations. It is more common than they might believe and they should not feel ashamed for speaking up to someone about what they are going through.
Reasons Why It Should Not Be Watched:
The show portrays power being gained after suicide. Hannah did not feel as though she had control of what she was going through until after the tapes were sent to each person, forcing them to finally listen to her and do as she wished. This sends the wrong message to young adults that the only way to gain power in their situation is to commit the act.
It blames others for why she committed suicide. Many times the family and friends of someone who commits suicide has survivor’s guilt and blames themselves for the suicide whether they had reasons to or not. While some of those individuals in “13 Reasons Why” should be held responsible for their actions, it misleads people who are watching the show into believing that there is someone to blame for a suicide.
It showed a lack of options and alternatives to suicide. The show put a lot of weight on kindness being able to “fix” someone when in reality that person may need help from a professional in order to combat what they are going through. In the very last episode Hannah reaches out to a school counselor as a last ditch effort for help, but the counselor ended up not being able to help Hannah at all. This can send a message to young people in a similar situation that it is not worth it to reach out to an adult or professional in a time of need.
Experts believe that the show can lead to a contagion effect. Suicide prevention groups advise against showing specifics on how to commit suicide. When this is portrayed in the media, it can encourage copycat behavior. The final episode of “13 Reasons Why” is a graphic portrayal of Hannah’s death that shows specifics on how she committed the act. Many advised against putting this in the series, but the makers decided to keep it in the show to be real and raw.
“13 Reasons Why” is rated TV-MA which is intended for mature audiences only and has a “viewer discretion is advised” message before multiple episodes with more graphic scenes (the episodes that portrayed sexual assault and Hannah’s death). It is important for you, as a parent, to use your discretion on whether you think your child will be able to handle the serious issues presented in this series. If you choose not to allow your child to watch the show, Netflix does have the option for parental controls so that you can restrict a user from accessing this series. If you do let your child watch the series I think it is very important to also have them watch the 30 minute after show that follows the series. During this segment the cast and creators speak more about mental illness and suicide-prevention information and hotlines.
Although “13 Reasons Why” does portray very serious issues in a raw matter, the subjects are very real and the show can be used as a way to start a conversation with your children. Open communication about suicide and depression is vital. Getting your child to talk about the reasons they are struggling in their life at the moment is not where the discussion should end though. There also needs to be talk about the reasons they should live, and the future they can look forward to.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide or needs emotional support, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273 TALK (8255), or you can visit their website suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
By: Kaitlin A
Kids are finally out of school for the summer, which means more free time. They have time to hang out with their friends and do stuff they could not during the school year! No more homework to keep them busy and occupied while at home. Being on summer vacation might mean less parent supervision. Let’s not forget about some safety precautions to keep in mind. While parents are at work it can be easy for kids to get into some mischief. Technology is something that is continuously growing and the Internet is a great resource. Going over some safety precautions on social media can be very beneficial to the safety of your child.
Find out what social media sites your child is on. If you are on the same site, add them as a friend! By adding them as a friend you will be able to see what they are posting on the site. Also, you will be able to see who they are friends with and interacting with. Being able to see what your child is posting and who they are interacting with is very valuable since you will be able to monitor who they are communicating with. Also, what is so great about these social media sites is you can engage with your child.
Having open communication with your child will protect them from the dangers of these social media sites. Something that parents should do with their children is educate them about these sites. Having knowledge of these sites and understanding that they can be dangerous will make your child more aware of what they are posting. Parents should have the login and password information to these social media sites. With parents having this information they will be able to filter through friends on the site. Once a person has added somebody they are the only ones who can defriend them. Let your child know you are protecting them and not being overprotective.
If they are on a social media site such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram talk to them about setting their profile to private. By setting their profile to private it means that only the friends they have added can view their profile. This is a very important feature of these social media sites since it is blocking the profile, so strangers cannot see what they are posting.
Let your child know to fill out only the basic information needed on their profile. There is no need for them to put their city, phone number or school they go to. This is a great safety precaution for the child as strangers would not be able to locate them or get a hold of them with their personal cell phone. Another safety precaution would be to make sure their location is turned off. When the location is turned off it means when they are posting it will not let others know where they are at.
Talk to your child about only accepting friend requests of people that they know. This is very important because once that person is added they will be able to see everything that was ever posted. Strangers should not be able to see personal information, as they can be a threat. For the child’s safety it is best to only add friends they know.
Social media sites are great for interacting with peers. Children who are out for school in the summer can still have daily contact with their friends. They can see what they are doing from the posts on the sites. Not only that, but if the parent is monitoring the social media site they can see what their child is doing throughout the day. Being able to discuss safety precautions with your child about the social media sites is very beneficial to the safety of the child.
By: Brittany M.
Do people enjoy feeling frustrated, lonely, angry, confused, or sad? Most people would probably say “no.” If you have a problem, would you rather continue to have it or try to solve that problem in some way? If you’re like me, you’re thinking, “Solve it, of course.” People can think of many ways to try and solve their problems, or at least to help themselves feel better. Some ways are healthy, some not so much so. Which ways do you choose? (You don’t have to say it out loud.) Now, was counseling on the list of what you thought of? If not, why not? Many people don’t realize that counseling can be a very important piece of the healing and problem-solving process. Don’t have time? Don’t need anybody’s help? It doesn’t matter that much? Let me ask you one other thing: If we were talking about a purely physical matter, would you ignore your body’s needs, avoid a professional who could help you? Are your mind and emotions separate from you as a person or any less important than the rest of your body?
Counseling is very important for individuals and children and their caregivers, regardless of what the individual’s circumstances are. Caregivers have many kinds of responsibilities and demands placed upon them that children don’t have, which can be stressful all on its own.
For parents/caregivers, counseling can provide:
For children, counseling can provide:
It’s important to recognize and accept that children may not always open up to their parents/caregivers about how they are feeling. Sometimes children feel too sad or worried to do so. (Yes, even though as a parent you might tell them they can talk to you about anything.) Sometimes they wish to “protect” their family by not hurting someone’s feelings or saying something “bad.” Other times, parents might not always know the best ways to respond to their children’s feelings or problem- some concerns can feel very confusing or overwhelming. This doesn’t mean that you don’t want to support your child. It doesn’t mean that your child doesn’t love you. It just means that your child (and/or you) may need a certain kind of support or resource, which is where counseling comes into play. So, to better support your child, your family members, or even just yourself, consider counseling as a way to help take care of you-all of you- in the best ways possible.