Momma says “It’s not a toy!”

By: Hannah Stewart and Megan Hauser

To all the guys out there: Have you ever been caught playing with yourself, adjusting yourself, or just plain keeping your hands warm and your Momma or someone else said “It’s not a toy!”. Being a mother of three boys myself, I assume that at least once in your life someone has said “It’s not a toy!” or a similar phrase to you. The truth is that while your penis is not a toy, it can be used for fun. The problem comes when it’s used for fun in the wrong way.

So I got to thinking, most toys come with instructions on how to use them safely and appropriately, so I put together some rules to live by when using your “toy” alone or with others. When you don’t follow the rules, that “toy” of yours can get you into a lot of trouble.  Although I encourage all young people to wait to have sex, I also understand that it is ultimately your choice.     So to keep you off the sexual predators list and off the maternity ward, below are some basic instructions for using your “toy”.

  1. It’s a one player game until you and your partner are at least 16 (preferably out of high school). This is not just a rule, this is WV law (Article 61-8B-2)
  2. When it becomes a two player game both players must use forms of protection (condoms, birth control pill, IUD, etc ) to keep from landing in the land of little people(AKA Parenthood) or the land of STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases).
  3. You may go directly to jail for using cameras and other devices to document these events.   Sending pictures, receiving pictures, being in possession of a video of an individual under 18 is child pornography and can carry a hefty sentence…don’t do it, it’s not worth your future.
  4. The safe word is NO…even if your partner did not verbally say “no”, pay attention to clues that mean “NO”.
  • Clues that mean NO are:
    • If your partner doesn’t clearly say yes
    • If your partner has had even a sip of an alcoholic drink
    • If your partner has smoked weed, snorted cocaine, shot up, snorted or smoked heroin or meth or is under the influence of any other drug(s);
    • If there is any doubt in your mind of your partner’s intentions, then your partner is saying NO

Here’s the deal guys, telling you “it’s not a toy” isn’t going to keep you from being curious and wanting to explore your sexuality. But what we want you to hear is “wait to have sex and if you don’t wait, this is what you need to know: Be Safe, Be Respectful, and Consider the information above and PLEASE talk to a trusted adult before having sex.  If you don’t have a trusted adult, send us a Direct Message on Twitter @Keepitrealmc. You can also contact the Morgan County Health Department 304-258-1513, Morgan County Partnership 304-258-7807, or Morgan County Starting Points 304-258-5600. For more information check out some of these awesome sites:

http://www.safeteens.org/man-cave/

http://stayteen.org/

http://www.cdc.gov/std/

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Safety Apps

By: Katie Spriggs and Rose Jackson

circle of 6

Circle of 6

“A free safety app that prevents violence before it happens” Available for iPhone & Android

This student app allows users to create a group (circle) of six contacts of their choice. If you lose track of your friends, are traveling alone, or want to alert someone that you are in a dangerous situation, this app will send a message with a map and GPS location of where you are to your circle and the local emergency units.

Guardly

Guardly

“The fastest way to connect to authorities, family & friends, when you need help.” Available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry & Windows Phone

This safety app provides real-time emergency incident monitoring and communication. It acts as an instant two-way communication with safety groups, local authorities and nearby security. One special feature that this student app offers is that it allows you to set up specific types of emergency situations such as allergy emergencies or traveling alone situations as well as accompanying contacts to be notified for each type of incident.

bSafe

bSafe

“Turns your cellphone into the ultimate safety app.” Available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry (beta)

This safety app is a mobile-based safety alarm. Upon downloading the app, a red button will appear on the phone screen. When the red button is pressed, a siren will go off, a video recording will start, and the emergency contacts that you chose (which can include 911), will be alerted with a message of your GPS location and the recorded video

Panic guard

Panic Guard

Safety fast.” Available for iPhone & Android

Similar to the bSafe app, this student app also tracks your location, alerts police and your previously selected contacts, and secretly records your attacker. This app differs in that it can be activated through tapping and also shaking the phone. It also continues to track your location so that if you leave the original scene, emergency authorities will know your current location.

my force

My Force

“Never walk alone.” Available for iPhone, Android & Blackberry

This safety app acts as a personal safety service that connects you to a live security team that instantly starts communicating with you, recording and tracking your activity, and contacting local emergency services.

on watch

On Watch

“The award-winning personal safety app for college students.” Available for iPhone & Android

This safety app was created specifically for college students. It offers six customizable alert options that allow you to notify friends, family, local police or 911 via text, email, phone call or Facebook. This app also offers a “watch my back” service that allows you to set a timer for a certain amount of time. When the allotted time is up, if you do not turn off the timer, your chosen contacts will be alerted of your GPS location.

 

Summer Party Safety

By: Tanya Feigley and Hannah Stewart

Remember all of these tips are for Guys AND Girls.

You don’t have to use alcohol or other drugs to have fun. Its actually more fun to not use, because you can remember what happened.

Know where you’re going and how to get back home from there.

Stay together with friends and look out after each other. There is safety in numbers.

Trust your own judgment. Don’t do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Your friends won’t look down on you for saying “no” and if they do, they are not worth your time. Respect & protect yourself!

Remember to use sun screen it’s essential for skin cancer prevention and nobody wants lobster tan lines.

Stay cool in the sun. On a hot summer day you run the risk of dehydration or heat stroke.  Remember to drink plenty of water.

Don’t leave beverages unattended & don’t accept a drink from someone you don’t know. Don’t take your eyes off your drink and don’t let someone make you a drink.

When the evening gets cool & the party has a bonfire never use flammable liquids to help start a bonfire. The singed eyebrow look is not flattering on anybody.

Never drive or ride with anyone who has been under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you’re under 21, WV has a zero tolerance policy. It can take as little as one drink to be sited for DUI resulting in fines, revoked license, & possible jail time.  You don’t want to spend the summer walking.

Don’t go off with someone you just met. Stay at the party, if they’re interested in you, get their phone number.  If there is pressure for it to go further they don’t respect you. Remember this goes for GUYS and GIRLS!

Remember the best way to stay safe is trust your gut and don’t do anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable having to explain to your parents/guardians.

Have a safe summer Morgan County!!

Ready to Have a Baby??

By Momma Duck (aka Kim Khuen)

Think about…

  • … that kid you couldn’t stand in second grade….
  • … the brat from sixth grade….
  • … the teens who are the complete opposite of you now….

Your kid will, at some point, act like one or all of these kids….and you have to love them anyway….

If you are 16 now and have a baby….you will be 21 when your child starts kindergarten…..most 21 year old people are close    to finishing college…..their first tour of duty….gaining seniority at a job (becoming a manager, supervisor, or team leader), you will be busy with letters, numbers and naps…

 When you turn 28 your child will begin middle school…..many people are getting married or buying a house at this time in their life…..you will be hoping your car keeps working so you can work and try to afford all the things a preteen kid needs and dealing with all the drama middle school brings….

 By the time your kid is in high school and turning 16 you will turn 32, while you are barely hanging on yourself, trying to keep up with all your parental responsibilities many of your high school friends will just now be having their babies…..they will have had almost two decades to go to school, start and build a career, get married, do many things in life they wanted to try, like traveling, sky diving, going to concerts and races…you will be sacrificing all you have and resenting all you never got to do, to help your kid go to prom, learn to drive, get good grades and just try to fit in and make friends…

 Some Facts

  • Babies need adult parents
  • Babies are stressful and needy
  • Babies demand ALL your time…ALL your money and ALL your energy
  • Babies DO NOT keep a couple together
  • Babies DO NOT make you grown up

 The Best Time to have a baby is when

  • You have graduated high school
  • You have accomplished MANY things you’ve wanted too
  • You are HAPPILY married
  • You have a home, a safe home, your own home!
  • You have supportive family & friends
  • You are emotionally stable
  • You have a positive self image
  • You are able and willing to live on one income

 We talk about and think about so many things each day; what to wear, what to do, who to hang out with….Don’t let the BIGGEST decision of your life be an accident…..think about and talk about becoming a parent…know what will be best for you and more so for your future child….the child you bring into this world will need you, ALL of you for 18 to 20 years so unless you are ready to give up EVERYTHING for that long talk to an adult you trust about your options…..know how to say NO….not having sex puts you in charge of your body and your feelings…..you are in control and should feel good about being in control…not having sex shows respect for your beliefs, values, and your health…respect not just who you are now but who you will be in the next 15 years…..you deserve those years, to do and try anything and all things your heart desires and your future child needs you to have those years too so when the time IS right you can be the best you and the best parent you can be!

What’s love got to do with it?

By: Katherine Adams and Rose Jackson

Just about everyone in America knows that music is a huge component of our culture. As a female in her early 20’s, I can say some of the best memories I have involve music. I feel that other young women around my age can relate to this fact as well. Music acts as an amplification and later a trigger of a memory. They make things like Senior Week, driving to prom with your best friends, and going to your first concert memories that you will never forget.

But what happens when we become distracted by the music and miss the lyrics? What happens when violent and harmful messages are sung to the tune of a catchy beat? Does the message lose meaning or gain potency?

A recent example of a toxic message in a catchy song in Beyoncé’s latest hit “Drunk In Love” featuring the extremely successful rapper, who happens to be her husband, Jay-Z. Though there are many sexual references throughout the song the first issue with this song is the line that says “Drunk in love. I want you. We woke up in the kitchen sayin’ ‘How the hell did this s**t happen?’, oh baby”. This is problematic because it glamorizes and in a sense promotes drunk sex. Though many people have heated debates over this fact, drunk sex, by definition, cannot be consensual because one or more of the parties are impaired. The popularity of this song mixed with people not knowing what consent entails can lead to a toxic situation. When the idea of getting drunk and having sex is glamorized in a song that is so popular, it leads people to believe this act is sexy and common, when in fact it can often lead to decisions that are not fully consensual, hurt feelings, and damaged relationships.

The second part of the song that is problematic and has caused a stir in the media, is a line is Jay-Z’s appearance where he says “I’m Ike Turner, turn up, baby, no, I don’t play
Now eat the cake, Anna Mae said, “Eat the cake, Anna Mae!”
. For younger listeners this reference may hold no meaning but one can do a simple google search to figure out its origin. The lyric is a reference to a scene from the movie “What’s Love Got To Do With It” which depicts Ike and Tina Turner’s horribly abusive relationship. The scene shows Ike, Tina and another couple at a diner. When Ike offers Tina a piece of cake and she refuses, he becomes violent and pushes the cake forcefully into her face and then proceeds to smack Tina’s friend in the face for confronting him about what he did. The scene did not involve punching or weapons but none the less is domestic violence. When Jay-Z raps this lyric, it trivializes domestic violence and turns the line into a sexual reference. This is a dangerous message because it is these subtle messages in our media that tell people that being aggressive and sometimes violent in a relationship is sexy and passionate when in reality domestic violence is emotionally scarring, painful, and traumatic.

Though music is a fantastic element of our culture that I, personally, could never be without, I think it is crucial for us to have a more critical eye in analyzing it. It is through active listening and speaking up that we can combat issues that are much bigger than a popular song.

 

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The Committee is not responsible for choices made based upon information received. We reserve the right to delete comments or threads. We also reserve the right to block anyone who does not comply with our standards of conduct/rules for usage.

 

My Milkshake Brings All the Boys to the Yard

By: Wendy Baracka

Editor: Hannah Stewart

One of the most important jobs of a teenager is figuring out your identity. Where do you fit in? What’s your style? Who do you want to hang out with? How do you want to spend your time? Who do you want to date? This last question is on many teenagers’ minds, a lot of the time! In Kelis’ song, ‘Milkshake’, she sings:

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard

And they’re like, it’s better than yours

Damn right, it’s better than your’s

Hmmm…. Let’s think about this for a moment. Is your ‘milkshake’ (however you define this) the most important factor in having healthy dating relationships? How much thought are you putting into what will attract a healthy dating partner into your ‘yard’ or life? Is it all about how you look OR is it also about the kind of person you are; what’s on the inside?

When county teenagers were asked “What characterizes a healthy relationship?”, some answers included respect, open communication, trust, honesty, kindness, loyalty. All of these are important. Healthy relationships are mutually supportive, fun, and can help both individuals grow toward meeting their goals. Healthy relationships are also informed by values and boundaries.

Here’s something to think about…what are your values? What is most important to you? Some examples of values include adventure, service, connection to others (like family and friends), creativity, humor, fitness, leadership, spirituality, etc. Knowing your values can help guide you toward being the person you want to become.

What are your boundaries? Boundaries can be defined as limits you set for yourself. These can be physical, emotional, and/or spiritual. Our boundaries help us to define what we will and will not do as well as how we want to treat, and be treated by others. Boundaries help to define our uniqueness; that which makes us different from others. How we define, protect and enforce our boundaries can influence our ability to have healthier relationships.

Now, we know that relationships are not always happy and healthy. There are risks involved in having dating relationships as well, and it is important to know how to navigate these. Some risks of adolescent relationships include abuse, STD’s, and teenage pregnancy. As important as it is to know your values and how to set boundaries, it is also important to know who you can reach out to for help in handling these risks.

We challenge you to spend as much time developing your inner wealth as you do developing your outer style or appearance. In the long run, your values, personal boundaries, and support systems will help you bring who and what you want into your ‘yard’ more effectively than just your ‘milkshake!’

For more information about how to develop your inner wealth please contact us via Direct Message on Twitter or leave a comment.

Disclaimer

The Committee is not responsible for choices made based upon information received. We reserve the right to delete comments or threads. We also reserve the right to block anyone who does not comply with our standards of conduct/rules for usage

Never Have I Ever

By Shamus Cleveland, Hannah Stewart and Brittany Fox

Underage drinking parties have been going on since alcohol was invented.  And it’s no secret that drinking games are quite popular among teens.  One of these games is called “Never Have I Ever”, where someone reveals an interesting fact about themselves that their friends may have never known about them.  The statement also has to be something that person has never done before.  For instance, “Never have I ever played strip-poker.” Anyone who has played strip-poker, has to take a drink.  The game keeps going around and round until everyone is practically passed out drunk…

While this may seem like all fun and games (or even a “rite of passage”), if you engage in drinking games you are more likely to develop an alcohol dependence over time.  This is mainly because drinking games encourage binge drinking and even heavy drinking.  Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking usually corresponding to 5 or more drinks on a single occasion for men or 4 or more drinks on a single occasion for women, generally within about 2 hours.  Heavy drinking, for men, is typically defined as consuming an average of more than 2 drinks per day, or more than 14 drinks per week. For women, heavy drinking is typically defined as consuming an average of more than 1 drink per day, or more than 7 drinks per week.  Heavy or Binge drinking can lead to increased participation in risky behaviors such as drug use, sex with 6 or more partners and low grades such as D’s or F’s in school. Research shows if you use alcohol before age 15 you are five times more likely to become alcohol dependent than adults who begin drinking at age 21  Making these choices while under the influence may lead to regrets later.  #respectyourfuture

The big issue with these patterns of drinking is that the your brain is not ready for these extreme amounts of alcohol.  During adolescence, the brain is making a lot of connections between nerve cells, specifically in the Frontal Lobe (also known as the Prefrontal Cortex).  This is the part of the brain that controls a person’s reasoning, judgment, decision-making, short-term memory, and, to some extent, concentration.  The problem with playing these drinking games (which inevitably involve binge drinking) is that during this stage of brain development the nerve cell connections get confused by the large amounts of alcohol that is consumed.  The possible end result is a prefrontal cortex that is not fully developed and a greater chance of alcohol dependence. #braingames #sobersmart

Morgan County Teens say:

67.7% of 9th graders say Never Have I Ever used drugs

28.2% of 12th graders say Never Have I Ever used alcohol in the past year

93% say Never Have I Ever seriously thought about suicide

Let’s work together so that more of us can say Never Have I Ever made bad choices that risk my future!

The Committee is not responsible for choices made based upon information received. We reserve the right to delete comments or threads. We also reserve the right to block anyone who does not comply with our standards of conduct/rules for usage

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Standards of Conduct/Rules of Usage

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