What all teens & parents should know about Sex, Drugs & Social Media from the #jadapose incident.
These days there are many things for young people to get involved in when hanging out with their friends, trying to have fun, or simply be cool. Some take up sports. Others get into music. Many will become consumed my video games.
What happens when Sex, Drugs, and Social Media come into play?
For many teens, sex is common. Although many parents are not aware of their children’s sexual activities, their friends and partners are well informed. That is where the problem begins.
I am the mother of three sons. Sometimes, as their mom, I have to think back to when I was their age. I ask myself these type of questions:
- What was I doing that my mom had no clue about?
- How would I keep these things secret?
- Why was I keeping these secrets?
- How would my life be different if my mom knew about all of these things I was secretly doing?
It’s easy for teens and young adults to share with their “friends” about sexual activities and drug use. However, most teens do not have the type of relationship with their parents where they feel comfortable enough to open up to them about it. Because of this, they confuse what they think is peer support with peer pressure.
Are there responsible teens out there who will give good positive advice about what should and should not be done in these circumstances? Of course. However, the number is far and few. So, parents should take a more active approach to communicating with their children about such topics.
Recently, there was a teen who was the victim of rape after she was drugged at a house party in Houston,TX. The picture her abusers took of her lying on the floor helpless and unconscious spread across social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. The position her body was left in was mocked by many. The called it #jadapose. Cruel is hardly the proper term to describe the nature of these actions.
According to Jada, she attended a teen party with a few friends, and had trouble recalling what happened after she drank some punch. Jada says she was offered punch at the party by some teens who were drinking, and told them it was too strong. When they returned with the cup, Jada drank the juice. Everything after that is a blur. One of her friends admitted she dressed Jada after she had vomited on herself. This took place at another home…not where the party initially started. Jada now wants the world to know that the images that spread across the internet of her do not represent who she is.
What can parents and teens learn from this scenario?
- Know where your child is at all times. This may seem to be an impossible task. However, it is your responsibility as a parent to know your child’s whereabouts. If you are not familiar with where your child wants to go, go check it out or simple don’t allow them to go. Sometimes parents have to be “the bad guy” in order to protect the child from the real “bad guys”. It’s better to be “over protective” than sorry after something this tragic has happened to your child.
- Know who your child is hanging out with. Your child may think they have the best friends int he world. We all did at some time. Take the time to get to know who your children’s friends are. Find out what type of people they are. These are the people who are influencing your child when are not present. You should know them as well.
- Talk to your child. Open a line of communication and let them know it’s ok for them to come to you when they need advice and/or are going through something. May people say it’s not a parent’s job to be their child’s friend. However, a parent should have the type of relationship with their child that helps them to know what is going on with the child.
- Ask questions. There are some things your child will not voluntarily open up to you about. As the adult in the relationship, it’s up to you to make sure you find out what is going on with your child, and get to the truth where the questions go unanswered.
- Support your child whether things are going good or bad. Our children need a solid support system as they are making choices and decisions that will mold them into the adults they will become someday.
- Choose your friends wisely. Right now you may think all of your friends have your best interest at heart. Unfortunately, everyone who says they are your friend is not.
- Never drink anything if you are not sure what’s in it. If you are at a party and the punch tastes funny…don’t drink the punch. Especially if someone walks off with the cup and brings it back.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t go places that you are not familiar with with people you do not personally know. If you wake up in a strange place and you don’t know how you got there or what happened, tell your parents or call the police ASAP. The longer you wait to tell someone something happened, the harder it is to get down to the truth.
- Tell the truth. If you end up in abad situation, telling a lie will only make it worse. Even if you are embarrassed about what happened, the truth will help you and everyone else fix the problem faster. If you start off telling a story that is not true, and others get involved, when the truth finally does come out, you look much worse than you would have had you told the truth.
Here are a few resources to help with maintaining control over social media reputations and safety:
- A Platform For Good -designed to help parents, teachers, and teens to connect, share, and do good online!
- A Thin Line – MTV’s A Thin Line campaign was developed to empower you to identify, respond to, and stop the spread of digital abuse in your life and amongst your peers.
- Bystander Revolution – A source of direct, peer-to-peer advice about practical things individuals can do to help defuse bullying.
Whether you are a parent or teen, know that you are not alone. If something is going on, and you are not sure how to handle the situation, never be too ashamed to reach out for support.