Not A Young Person?

Growing up is challenging – there are so many issues that young people face as they make the transition from primary to secondary school and as they go through their teen years; and with this comes a lot of questions and uncertainty.

Although it may not always seem like it, children do want advice from their parents or carers, teachers and other trusted adults that they come into contact with; and your opinions really do matter and have an influence.

This resource area has been designed specifically for parents, carers and professionals working with young people. It gives an overview to many of the issues affecting our young people today and a list of useful links where you can get further help and advice in Lancashire. There is also information and downloads that have been developed as teaching resources for lessons and workshops with young people aged 10-14 years of age. These resources are particularly useful for PSHE or Citizenship lessons, where they learn about how to make safe choices and be responsible citizens.

Alcohol

It’s likely that your child will feel pressure to drink alcohol at some point during their teenage years, so it’s important to have a conversation with them early and to keep this open.

Drinking alcohol at a young age has both short and long term problems. It can have the immediate effect of making someone sick and increase their vulnerability, as well as longer term risks with continued drinking of liver damage and impact on brain functions.

80% of parents say they’ll “deal with it when it happens”*

Research has shown that children are aware of alcohol and the effects it has from as young as seven*. We also know that their attitudes to alcohol changes as they grow up, particularly during the transition from primary to secondary school, so it’s a good idea to talk to them and give them the facts from an early age.

Armed with the facts and confident in the knowledge that it is ok to say ‘no’, your child will be able to make more responsible decisions about drinking when the time comes.

*Source: Alcohol Aware 2013

Drugs

The majority of young people do not take drugs.

In fact, 60% of 16-24 year olds have never taken an illegal drug.*

But many young people will come into contact with drugs at some point, and with your guidance you can help to make sure that when they do, they make the right choices.

How much do you know about drugs? If your child is going to take you seriously then you need to know your cannabis from your cocaine and your LSD from your Meow Meow. Talk to Frank has lots of helpful information and advice. Visit www.talktofrank.com or call their 24/7 helpline on 0800 77 66 00.

*Source: Talk to Frank

Bullying

Almost half (46%) of children and young people say they have been bullied at school at some point in their lives.*

If your child is being bullied it’s important that they know that it’s not their fault and that they tell someone who can help.

How can I tell if my child is being bullied?

There are signs that you may notice, such as:

  • Not wanting to go to school
  • Missing or damaged belongings
  • Angry, irritable and anxious
  • Bedwetting
  • Waking in the night

What is cyber bullying?

Cyber bullying is where abusive and upsetting messages about someone are sent to them by text or posted on sites such as Facebook and Ask.fm. It can happen at any time of the day and can make that person feel like there is no escape.

*Source: Childline 2013

E-safety

We all know how important it is to make our children aware of the risks in the outside world. But it’s equally as important that they know the dangers that exist online and that they know where to go if they see anything that concerns them.

What are the risks?

  • Inappropriate websites – for instance coming across website with swearing, upsetting images or videos, or pornography.
  • Sexting – where someone sends naked, semi-naked or suggestive images of themself or someone else by multi-media text message or images are uploaded to social networking sites. The image can be shared and quickly control is lost over who sees it or what they do with it.
  • Grooming – sadly there are people who have a sexual interest in children and will use the internet to make contact, often pretending to be another young person.

How can I protect my child online?

It can be difficult to monitor their online activity but there are some steps you can take to help protect your child online, including:

  • Parental controls – which restrict access to the majority of inappropriate and harmful content.
  • Privacy settings – If your child is a member of any social networking sites such as Facebook, make sure they have the highest privacy settings in place. This restricts who is able to search for them, see the information they share, and who can post information about them.

Sexual exploitation

Child sexual exploitation or ‘cse’ as it is commonly known involves offenders grooming young people and using their power to sexually abuse them.

Many young people do not realise they are at risk and will not call for help. They may see themselves as willing participants when in fact their behaviour is anything but consenting and it can have a huge effect on their physical, emotional and psychological health.

What are the signs that a child is being sexually exploited?

  • Has the young person received unexplained gifts or money?
  • Do they use their mobile phone secretively?
  • Do they have significantly older friends?
  • Have they been picked up from home or school by someone you don’t know?
  • Are they associating with other young people who are already known to be vulnerable or involved in exploitation?
  • Have they started playing truant from school or regularly going missing from home?
  • Have they suffered from a sexually-transmitted infection?
  • Are they self-harming?
  • Has their appearance changed?

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