Your Questions Answered

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Question Time

WHAT DO I DO IF MY FRIENDS ARE PRESSURISING ME TO GET DRUNK?

It’s your choice, stand up for yourself and say ‘no’.

If you’re finding this hard, have an excuse ready, such as a football match or an early start the next day.

If your mates carry on at you then ask yourself whether they really are friends?

Instead try to spend more time with people who enjoy the same things as you.

If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation involving alcohol, walk away and ring someone you trust to pick you up, no questions asked.

WHAT LONG-TERM DAMAGE DOES WEED CAUSE?

Studies have shown that if you regularly take cannabis, it increases your chance of later developing psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia.

If you have a family history of mental illness then there is an even greater risk of this happening.

Cannabis has lots of chemicals in it and is often mixed with tobacco which means that there is a risk of you developing lung and other forms of cancer.

Got asthma? Smoking cannabis will make it worse and it can lead to wheezing in non-asthma sufferers. It could also affect your chances of having kids in the future.

WHAT’S THE WORST DRUG I COULD TAKE?

All drugs are dangerous and have different effects on different people, so it’s not possible to name the worst drug.

Some drugs:

Are highly addictive (making it hard to stop using them) – such as crack cocaine, heroin and tobacco.

Can have dangerous immediate effects – you could suffer hypothermia from taking ecstasy and crack could stop your heart.

Lead to long term physical damage (such as crystal meth, ketamine and alcohol).

Can affect your brain – leading to schizophrenia and other mental health illnesses if you take khat, amphetamine or cannabis.

However, there’s no way of you knowing for sure the harmful effects that might be caused if you take drugs and how it will specifically affect you.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I RECEIVE UPSETTING EMAILS OR TEXTS?

It can be really upsetting to receive a nasty email, text or message online and the natural reaction is to want to delete it, but it is important that you keep a copy of the message and make a note of the date and time it was sent. You should then tell a trusted adult, teacher or the police.

Keeping a record will be very useful when you come to report the bullying.

Remember: never reply to any abusive messages as this will encourage the bullies and end up upsetting you more.

WHAT’S HAPPY SLAPPING?

Happy slapping is when you attack someone and you or your friends film it, e.g. hitting them and recording it on your phone. You don’t have to hit someone to be guilty of happy slapping. Filming it could get you up to two years in prison.

WHAT’S SEXTING?

Sexting is when someone sends or receives a message, photo or video of someone naked, or showing a part of their body or doing something rude.

People might try to get you to send a photo or video of yourself like this and promise not to show anyone but what’s to stop them in the future?

It only takes them sending it on to one other person for it to spread and more copies to be made. So beware! Once it’s out there, it’s out there forever!

WHO IS THE BEST PERSON TO GO TO IF I’M BEING BULLIED?

Always tell someone you can trust, this could be a friend, family member, teacher or a police officer. There are places online where you can report bullying such as your school website and Childline. If you feel you can’t talk about it, write it down, but let someone know in whatever way you can.

HOW CAN I STOP PEOPLE BULLYING ME ON FACEBOOK?

If you’ve got a Facebook account and you’re getting unwelcome contact or harassment from people you’ve fallen out with, tell them to stop. You can also block people by using the “Block People” box on the My Privacy page. If you block someone they can’t see your profile and if they search for you then you are invisible.

WHAT IS STALKING AND WHAT SHOULD I DO IF THIS IS HAPPENING TO ME?

Stalking is one of the most common abusive behaviours and it can be very frightening. You can be stalked by a current or ex-boy/girlfriend as well as strangers.

Stalking can mean all kinds of things such as:
• regularly sending unwanted flowers or gifts
• frequent unwanted contact in person, by telephone, online or by email
• damaging property
• harassment of people close to you
• physical or sexual assault

If the behaviour carries on and is making you feel scared or anxious then it is stalking and you don’t have to live with it.

If you feel you’re in danger, call the police on 999 at any time.

WHAT IS DOMESTIC ABUSE?

Domestic abuse is when there is verbal and/or physical violence towards a family member or partner, such as a girlfriend, boyfriend, wife or husband.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET CAUGHT SHOPLIFTING?

If you are caught shoplifting you will almost certainly be banned from ever shopping at that store again. You may also be given a Civil Recovery Notice – this note is from the store and tells you how they plan to get the money back that they have lost through your actions.

If you are over 16 you may also face a £80 fixed fine.

HOW LONG COULD I BE SENTENCED TO IN PRISON FOR CARRYING A KNIFE?

It’s an offence to carry a knife in public, and you can face a penalty of two years’ imprisonment and a £5,000 fine for doing so.

If you’re caught with a knife at school you could be sentenced to four years in jail.

If you use a knife and stab someone you could receive six years or more in jail.

Murdering someone with a knife could mean that person is sentenced to 25 years or more in jail.

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