Bike riding is fun, it’s exciting, and it’s a great way to explore the area where you live. You won’t be alone when you are riding, however; you’ll be sharing the road with vehicles of all shapes and sizes.
Bike riding run should go together with bike riding safety. This pamphlet contains information that your parents should share with you so that they can also join in the fun that safe bike riding can bring.
Before You Ride
Protect Your Head … Wear a Helmet …
- Studies have shown that using a bicycle helmet can reduce head injuries by up to 85%. Select a helmet that has a snug, but comfortable fit.
- Look for helmet labels that show they are recommended by either the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Snell Memorial Foundation.
Be Seen…Wear Proper Clothes…
- Wear clothes that make you more visible. Clothing should be light in color and close-fitting to avoid being caught in the bicycle’s moving parts.
- When riding after dark, you must have a front lamp that gives a white light visible for at least 500 feet, as well as a front white reflector. A rear red reflector or tail light must be visible for at least 300 feet.
- Be sure that books and other loose items are secured to the bike or are carried in a back pack.
When You Ride
The first step in riding safely is being able to see the cars, trucks, or motorcycles that are on the road with you.
It’s easy to see vehicles in front of you, but you will also have to see vehicles that are coming from behind. This means looking quickly over your left or right shoulder to see if any cars or trucks are coming. Before you ride on any busy street, practice the skill of steering straight ahead and looking over your shoulder. This will help you keep control of your bike and still see the other vehicles.
As you ride, listen for the sounds that other vehicles make as they come up from behind. By hearing these sounds early, you can more easily share the road with them.
Moving In Traffic…
Because you’re riding your bike on the same roads as cars and trucks, you must obey the “Rules of the Road” like they do. Some special rules for bike riders are:
- Stay on the right side of the street, near the curb. Move with traffic and watch for parked cars turning into traffic or car doors opening suddenly.
- Ride in single file when you are with others.
- Obey all traffic signs, signals and road markings.
- Use hand signals to indicate a turn or stop.
- Walk your bike across all busy intersections.
- Do not carry passengers or packages. These can cause you to lose control.
- Never weave from lane to lane, or hitch a ride on moving cars, trucks or motorcycles.
- Let all pedestrians, cars, or trucks go first when they are about to cross in front of you.
Protection Against Theft
A bike can be stolen from just about any place, but simple precautions can deter would-be bike thieves. Remember: Most bikes that are stolen are not locked!
- Always lock your bike securely, whether you’re gone for a few minutes, or a few hours.
- If your bike is at home, kept it in a locked garage, or locked securely to a post, tree, or other object. Don’t leave it unsecured in the yard or driveway.
- What kind of lock should you use? Use a U-lock, securing both wheels and the frame to a stationary object, like a post, fence, tree, or bike rack. Or, you can use a high quality lock and a case-hardened chain or cable, placing the chain through both wheels, the frame, and around a stationary object. You could even use both kinds of locks together for extra-added security.
- Record the serial number of your bike and keep it with the sales receipt and a photograph of your bike.
Marking your bike helps protect you and serves as a deterrent to would-be bike thieves. It also helps the police in identifying and returning a found or stolen bike to the owner. Besides marking your bike, keep a record of the following information in a safe place.
- Serial number
- Operation ID number
- Owner’s name
- Address (including city, state and zip code)
- Phone number
- Brand name, model, color, speeds, boys or girls, size, are there fenders, new or used, and any other descriptive information.
- Date purchased
If your bike is stolen call the police immediately. Tell them who you are, where and when the bike was stolen, and give a description of the bike.
- …wear a helmet and protective gear.
- …ride with traffic. Keep to the right of the road.
- …obey all traffic regulations.
- …use proper hand signals for turning or stopping.
- …stop and look both ways in order to make sure that sidewalks are clear before entering.
- …use proper headlights and red tail lights or reflectors when riding at night.
- …walk your bicycle across busy streets at corners or crosswalks.
- …show off. Keep your hands on the handle bars.
- …zig zag, race, or stunt ride in traffic.
- …hitch rides on trucks or cars.
- …carry passengers.
- …carry large packages which could get in your way (use luggage carrier or basket).
- …ride against traffic.
- …wear dark clothing at night. Wear reflective clothing and light colors.
- …tailgate or ride too closely to other vehicles.
Accidents involving bicycles are steadily increasing. Major streets are the most dangerous. The peak traffic hours between 4 pm and 6 pm are the most dangerous for cyclists. Avoid busy streets as much as possible and try to plan your biking before 4 pm.
The fun of riding is missed if your bicycle doesn’t work right. Check your tires daily for air pressure and wear. Making sure the handle bars, saddle, and pedals are tight can prevent a fall. Lubricate the chain and wheels often. Ask your parents or a qualified bike mechanic to help you keep your bike in top condition.
Accepting The Job…
You’re in business for yourself so be ready to tell your future employer:
- Days you are available.
- Pay you expect.
- Hours you are available.
- Experience you have had.
Know Your Employer…
If they are unfamiliar to you, ask who recommended you and check it out before accepting the job. If in doubt, advise your parents. Do not advertise for babysitting jobs in supermarkets, community bulletin boards, drug stores, or laundromats. You don’t know who will see your name and phone number.
Obtain the parent’s name, address, and telephone number.
- Number of children you will be sitting and their ages.
- Escort and transportation to and from the job.
- Hours you are expected to work.
On The Job…
- Have them show you all the doors and windows and how to operate any locks or alarms you are unfamiliar with.
- Find out where first aid supplies, clean clothing, and fire extinguishers are located.
- Obtain any special instructions (children’s snacks, bedtime, use of TV or radio).
When On Your Own…
- Check all the doors and windows after parents leave.
- Keep a constant watch on children to avoid any accidents.
- If you hear any suspicious noises, check them out by turning on the outside lights. Do not go outside. If you suspect someone is there, call the police immediately.
- If you receive unusual or obscene telephone calls do not let the caller know you are alone. Hang up and call the police.
- If someone comes to the door requesting the use of the telephone, do not let them in the house. Make the call for them. If they attempt to enter, call the police.
- Keep drapes and shades closed and leave the lights on.
In Case of Fire…
In case of a fire, get the children out of the house first, then call the Fire Department from a neighbor’s home.
When Parent’s Return…
Report any unusual happenings to the parents. Make certain you are escorted by an adult. If your employer appears intoxicated, insist that someone else take you home or call your parents to come and get you.
Download our babysitting checklist
Bullies don’t go away when elementary school ends; bullying actually peaks in junior high. It continues through high school and even into the workplace. It can lead to serious problems and dangerous situations for both the victim and the bully.
Bullying is repeated and uncalled-for aggressive behavior, or quite simply, unprovoked meanness. It’s a form of intimidation, which means behavior designed to threaten, frighten, or get someone to do something they wouldn’t necessarily do. Bullies have learned that bullying works. They do it to feel powerful and in control. There are things you can do to deal with the situation without making things worse.
- Bullies keep bullying as long as it works — as long as it makes them feel more powerful.
- Many children and teens are bullies or victims of bullies, but the largest number of children and teens are bystanders — witnesses to bullying.
- Eight percent of urban junior and senior high students miss one day of school each month because of fear.
- Bullying takes lots of forms: it can be physical or verbal, mild to severe.
- One in four children who bullies will have a criminal record before the age of 30.
- Girls can be bullies too, although bullying by girls is more likely to show up as spreading rumors, leaving people out of social events, teasing about clothes or boyfriends, or threatening to withdraw friendship. However, this doesn’t mean that girls don’t use physical intimidation to bully.
- Although much bullying happens where adults can’t see or hear it, it also happens when adults are present. Often adults don’t do anything to stop the bullying.
Anyone can be the target of bullying. However, most victims are often less — or feel less powerful — than the bullies. A typical victim is likely to be shy, sensitive, and perhaps anxious or insecure. Some teens are picked on for physical reasons, such as being overweight or small, wearing different or “weird” clothing, having a physical disability, or belonging to a different race or religious faith.
Some bullies are outgoing, aggressive, active, and expressive. They get their way by brute force or openly harassing someone. They may carry a weapon. This type of bully rejects rules and regulations and needs to rebel to achieve a feeling of being better than everyone else.
The Smooth Talkers
Other bullies are more reserved and tricky and may not want to be recognized as harassers or tormentors. They try to control by talking, saying the right thing at the right time, and lying. This type of bully gets his or her power secretively through manipulation and deception.
As different as these two types may seem, all bullies have these characteristics in common:
- concern with their own pleasure
- want power over others
- willingness to use and abuse other people to get what they want
- feel pain inside, perhaps because of their own shortcomings
- find it difficult to see things from someone else’s perspective.
If You Are the Victim
- No one solution works well in every situation, but there are a variety of strategies you can try.
- Avoid or ignore the bully.
- Hang out with friends. There is safety in numbers.
- Say no to a bully’s demands from the start. If the bully threatens you with a weapon, give in to the demands and immediately tell an adult.
- Tell the bully assertively to stop threatening you (for example, “I don’t like what you’re doing — stop it!” or “Get a life — leave me alone.”)
- Do not physically fight back: experience shows that this actually increases the likelihood of continued victimization.
- Seek immediate help from an adult.
- Report bullying to school personnel.
- If your safety is at stake, walk away or run if you need to.
Stop the Bullying
It’s everyone’s responsibility to stop bullying. And don’t be afraid to get help when necessary. It takes courage, but you will be preventing the intimidation from continuing and possibly escalating. You can report the problem to authorities anonymously.
- Refuse to participate in taunting and teasing.
- Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
- Tell adults if you witness cruelty or hear about violence that might occur.
- Walk away from fights.
- Speak out against the bully.
- Stand tall and walk with confidence and in a way that commands respect.
- Hang out with friends who don’t get involved in bullying.
- Stand up for others who are being intimidated.
- Include the person who is being bullied in your activities.
- Show compassion for the victim.
- Work with the school administration and get students together to develop or revise your school’s code of conduct.
- Start a bully education program for the local elementary school — consider a puppet show or skit that teaches kids about bullying.
- Organize a teen panel or discussion group to talk about the issues of bullying and intimidation at your school.
If you need additional information please contact the police department.
This information is provided by the National Crime Prevention Council — www.NCPC.org
1000 Connecticut Avenue, NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20036
With a color screen, your child can view the same type of graphic material that is available on the Internet at home from their cell phone. A built-in digital camera means that your child can not only see inappropriate material, but can send it as well in the form of a digital photo or movie. Pushing a few buttons can send a child’s image, phone number and mobile e-mail address to the wrong person. It is even possible to instantly post photos on the Web for all to see. Some gyms have banned cell phones in the locker rooms because of concerns about inappropriate photographs.
Predators now cannot only send kids messages, but they can also call them to arrange meetings. Because kids can access the phone while they’re away from home, they are particularly vulnerable because they are out of their parents reach. Predators can groom a child on the Internet and then contact the child via cell phone to arrange a face-to-face meeting.
Protecting Your Privacy
- Only give your cell number out to people you know and trust.
- Never reply to text messages from people you don’t know.
- Know how to block others from calling your phone.
- Know how to block your number when calling or text messaging others.
Most cell phones have caller ID on by default. That means when you call or send a text message to someone, you are giving that person your phone number, which can then be used to make harassing calls as well as to send unwanted instant messages and e-mail. It is not uncommon for bullies to use cell phones to harass other kids. If your child experiences harassing phone calls, text messages or any other type of problem, call the provider to see about getting the number changed. Make sure to guard the new number so the same problems will not happen again.
- Keep calls short. Try sending a text message instead of calling.
- Set your phone to vibrate, not ring.
- Talk normally; there is no need to shout.
- Don’t text and walk; if you are looking at the phone you are not aware of your surroundings.
Think about how a text message might read, before you send it. Just like e-mail, text messages can be taken the wrong way.
Don’t give out anyone else’s cell number without first getting their permission; you never know what it will be used for.
Text and Instant Message Safety
- Make sure that online profiles do not contain any personal information.
- Avoid posting your cell phone number online. Once it has been made available, your number can be used by spammers, scammers, identity thieves, online predators and cyberbullies. There are directories which can reveal information about a customer when their phone number is entered.
- Never let someone you don’t know use your cell phone. If it’s an emergency, make the call for them.
Understand what you are sending and receiving. Text message language consists of many shortcuts which appear as acronyms and/or symbols that, to the uninitiated, can be incomprehensible. Such as, f U do not undRstNd DIS sNteNc U nEd 2 Lern txt lingo (If you do not understand this sentence you need to learn text lingo). There are obvious risks here, from danger or embarrassment in responding inappropriately to a message you do not understand.
Be aware of what your child is sending or reading. As a parent, learn what the acronyms and symbols mean. At the end of the day it could save vital time in the unthinkable event that something happens to your child and their cell phone or IM conversation record is your only clue.
Cyberbullies are now turning to text technology to harass their victims.
- Text harassment is a crime and should be reported to the police.
- If you are receiving threatening or malicious messages by SMS (Short Message Service), report it to the police with all the messages you have received. They will then work with the networks to stop the problem.
- Register your phone to prevent nuisance calls and annoying text messages (SMS spam, cold calling and telemarketers). Register online with the Do Not Call Registry at www.DoNotCall.gov/.
- More information on cyberbullying.
Use Common Sense
Be careful if you meet someone in real life who you’ve only “known” through text messaging. Even though text messaging is often the “next step” after online chatting, that does not mean it’s safer. You still do not really know who you are talking to/text messaging with and they may not be truthful about who they are. With any face-to-face meeting, tell someone where you are going, take a friend with you and meet during daylight hours in a public place you are familiar with (like the mall).
Don’t be a target. Wandering around with your phone in plain sight can be dangerous. If you are not using it, put it in your pocket, purse or backpack and only use it in public when necessary. Cell phone theft is a common crime and often, thieves will attack the owner of a phone.
When talking on your phone, be aware of your surroundings and who is coming and going.
Concentrating more on your phone conversation than what is going on around you makes you more likely to become a victim of a crime.
Don’t give out personal information (bank information, social security number, etc.) over the phone; you don’t know who is listening to your conversation and they can use your personal information to steal your identity.
Listen and Talk With Your Children
Perhaps the most critical child sexual prevention strategy for parents is good communication with your children. This is not only challenging to every parent but also can be difficult, especially for working parents and parents of adolescents.
Talk to your child every day and take time to really listen and observe. Learn as many details as you can about your child’s activities and feelings. Encourage him or her to share concerns and problems with you.
- Tell your child that his or her body belongs only to them alone and that he or she has the right to say no to anyone who might try to touch them.
- Tell your child that some adults may try to hurt children and make them do things the child doesn’t feel comfortable doing. Often these grownups call what they’re doing a secret between themselves and the child.
- Explain that some adults may even threaten children by saying that their parents may be hurt or killed if the child ever shares the secret. Emphasize that an adult who does something like this is doing something that is wrong.
Choosing a Preschool or Child Care Center
Although the vast majority of this nation’s preschools and child care centers are perfectly safe places, recent reports
of child sexual abuse in these settings are a source of great concern to parents.
- Check to make sure that the program is reputable. State or local licensing, child care information and referral services, and other child care community agencies may be helpful sources of information. Find out whether there have been any past complaints.
- Find out as much as you can about the teachers and caregivers. Talk with other parents who have used the program.
- Learn about the school or center’s hiring policies and practices. Ask how the organization recruits and selects staff. Find out whether they examine references, background checks, and previous employment history before hiring decisions are made.
- Ask whether and how parents are involved during the day. Learn whether the center or school welcomes and supports participation. Be sensitive to the attitude and degree of openness about parental participation.
- Ensure that you have the right to drop in and visit the program at any time.
- Make sure you are informed about every planned outing. Never give the organization blanket permission to take your child off the premises.
- Prohibit in writing the release of your child to anyone without your explicit authorization. Make sure that the program knows who will pick up your child on any given day.
If You Think That Your Child Has Been Abused…
- Believe the child. Children rarely lie about sexual abuse.
- Commend the child for telling you about the experience.
- Convey your support for the child. A child’s greatest fear is that he or she is at fault and responsible for the incident. Alleviating this self-blame is of paramount importance.
- Temper your own reaction, recognizing that your perspective and acceptance are critical signals to the child. Your greatest challenge may be to not convey your own horror about the abuse.
- Do not go to the school or program to talk about your concern. Instead, report the suspected molestation to a social services agency or the police.
- Find a specialized agency that evaluates sexual abuse victims — a hospital or a child welfare agency or a community mental health therapy group. Keep asking until you find a group or an individual with appropriate expertise.
- Search for a physician with the experience and training to detect and recognize sexual abuse when you seek a special medical examination for your child. Community sexual abuse treatment programs, childrens’ hospitals and medical societies may be sources for referrals.
- Talk with other parents to ascertain whether there are unusual behavior or physical symptoms in their children.
- Remember that taking action is critical because if nothing is done, other children will continue to be at risk. Child sexual abuse is a community interest and concern.
- Make sure that your child knows that if someone does something confusing to them, like touching or taking a naked picture or giving them gifts, that you want to be told about it. Reassure the child and explain that he or she will not be blamed for whatever an adult does with a child.
Observe Physical and Behavioral Signs
Children who may be too frightened to talk about sexual molestation may exhibit a variety of physical and behavioral signals.
Any or several of these signs may be significant. Parents should assume responsibility for noticing such symptoms including:
- Extreme changes in behavior such as loss of appetite.
- Recurrent nightmares or disturbed sleep patterns and fear of the dark.
- Regression to more infantile behavior such as bedwetting, thumb sucking, or excessive crying.
- Torn or stained under-clothing.
- Vaginal or rectal bleeding, pain, itching, swollen genitals, and vaginal discharge.
- Vaginal infections or venereal disease.
- Unusual interest in or knowledge of sexual matters, expressing affection in ways inappropriate for a child of that age.
- Fear of a person or an intense dislike at being left somewhere or with someone.
- Other behavioral signs such as aggressive or disruptive behavior, withdrawal, running away or delinquent behavior, failing in school.
Club Drugs & Predatory Drugs
At today’s dance clubs and all-night parties, or raves, more and more people are being exposed to club and/or predatory drugs. A lot of people think these drugs are harmless, but they can cause serious mental and physical problems — and sometimes death.
There are plenty of reasons to stay away from club and predatory drugs. First of all, there is no way to know what some of the drugs actually are. Drug dealers and makers are not exactly world-class chemists, and the “labs” they use can range from sleazy hotel rooms to someone’s junked-up garage — not sanitary. Another reason to stay smart and stay away from club drugs is the dosage and concentration of these drugs are completely unknown. Plus, combining club and predatory drugs with alcohol and other mood-altering substances, as users often do, creates even greater risk.
Club and predatory drugs are also addictive. People who use GHB, for example, report detoxification symptoms after they stop using, repeated use in spite of unpleasant occurrences while they were on the drug, and great difficulty in not using again. Similarly, users of Ecstasy experience withdrawal symptoms and a renewed craving for the drug after those symptoms have passed.
So what are the risks? When you use these drugs you open yourself to potential date-rape situations and other risky activities, such as increased drug use, unpredictable behavior and unprotected sex. In short, using drugs, any kind, is just not smart.
There is a lot of misinformation being circulated about club and predatory drugs, especially on the Internet. The truth is that these drugs are illegal, harmful substances, and using them with the belief they cannot hurt you makes them even more dangerous.
The best thing that you can do is to make healthy, informed decisions about your life. Don’t give in to peer pressure, think for yourself, and know the facts about the dangers of club and predatory drugs.
If you or someone you know if having problems with drugs, there are people and places ready to help. Resources available include school counselors, members of the clergy, your local chapter of Narcotics Anonymous, rape-counseling centers, hospital substance-abuse programs and private practitioners specializing in addiction medicine.
For more information:
- National Institute on Drug Abuse Club Drugs Initiative — www.ClubDrugs.org/.
- National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information — 1-800-729-6686.
- Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) — 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Slang Terms: Grievous Bodily Harm, G, Liquid Ecstasy, Georgia Home Boy
Chemical Structure/Action: Neurotransmitter-like substance that inhibits the release of dopamine in the brain.
Form: Clear liquid, white powder, tablets, or capsules taken orally.
Physical Effects: Central nervous system depressant that can relax or sedate the body, and slow breathing and heart rate to dangerous levels at higher doses. Often used in combination with alcohol and used as a “date rape” drug.
Psychological Effects: Has intoxicant, sedative and euphoriant effects that begin with 10 to 20 minutes of the drug being taken.
Overdose Effects: Drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, headache, loss of consciousness, loss of reflexes, impaired breathing and death.
Slang Terms: Speed, Ice, Chalk, Meth, Crystal, Crank, Fire, Glass
Chemical Structure/Action: Synthetic amphetamine that stimulates the central nervous system; similar to MDMA.
Form: Pills, capsules, powder or chunks that can be ingested, snorted, injected or smoked.
Physical Effects: Increased heart rate, convulsions, extreme rise in body temperature (as high as a potentially fatal 108 degrees), uncontrollable movements, insomnia, impaired speech, dry and itchy skin, loss of appetite, acne and sores, and numbness.
Psychological Effects: Excessive excitation, irritability, anxiety, panic, false sense of confidence and power, psychotic and violent behavior, and severe depression.
Effects of Long-Term Use: Addiction, kidney and lung disorders, brain damage, hallucinations, behavior resembling paranoid schizophrenia, permanent psychological problems, weight loss and malnutrition, lowered resistance to illness, liver damage, stroke, and death.
Overdose Effects: Agitation, increase in body temperature, hallucinations, convulsions, stroke and heart attack.
Slang Terms: K, Special K, Vitamin K, Cat Valium, Cat Tranquilizer
Chemical Structure/Action: Human and animal anesthetic that is chemically similar to the hallucinogen phencyclidine (PCP).
Form: Liquid or white powder that is snorted or smoked with marijuana or tobacco; injection into muscles also reported in some cities.
Physical Effects: Impaired motor function, high blood pressure and respiratory problems.
Psychological Effects: Dream-like states, hallucinations and depression.
Overdose Effects: Delirium, amnesia, and death from respiratory depression.
Slang Terms: Roofies, Rophies, Roche, Forget-Me Pill
Chemical Structure/Action: Belongs to a class of prescription drugs known as benzodiazepines (Valium, Halcion, Xanax, etc.); not approved for use in the United States.
Form: White tablet that dissolves easily in carbonated beverages; also ground up for snorting.
Physical Effects: Sedation and intoxication, decreased blood pressure, drowsiness, visual disturbances, dizziness, confusion, gastrointestinal disturbances and urinary retention.
Psychological Effects: Can cause inability to remember events that happened while one was under the influence of the drug; this property contributes to Rohypnol’s popularity as a “date rape” drug.
Overdose Effects: Central nervous system depression that manifests in drowsiness, mental confusion and lethargy, coma and possibly death (more likely when Rohypnol is used in combination with alcohol).
LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide)
Slang Terms: Acid, Boomer, Yellow Sunshine
Chemical Structure/Action: Similar in structure to serotonin; hallucinogen that produces radical changes to mental state by affecting the brainstem.
Form: Tablet, capsule or liquid, or on small pieces of blotter paper to take orally.
Physical Effects: Dilated pupils, increased body temperature, increased blood pressure and heart rate, sweating, loss of appetite, dry mouth, sleeplessness, tremors, numbness, weakness and nausea.
Psychological Effects: Abnormalities in sensory perceptions (effects vary according to the amount taken, the user’s surroundings, and his or her personality, mood and expectations.)
Effects of Long-Term Use: Persistent psychosis and flashbacks.
Overdose Effects: Longer and more intense trip, psychosis and possible death.
Slang Terms: Ecstasy, XTC, X, Adam, Clarity, Lover’s Speed, the Hug Drug, Rolls, the Love Drug
Chemical Structure/Action: Similar to the stimulant amphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline.
Form: Tablet or capsule taken orally.
Physical Effects: Stimulation that allows users to dance for extended periods, dehydration, hypertension, and heart or kidney failure.
Psychological Effects: Confusion, depression, anxiety and paranoia.
Effects of Long-Term Use: Long-lasting or permanent damage to serotonin-producing neurons, resulting in memory impairment.
Overdose Effects: Significant increase in body temperature leading to muscle breakdown and cardiovascular system failure; death from heart attack or stroke is also possible.
Nitrous Oxide (N2O)
Slang Terms: Whippets, Gas, Balloons, Ozone, Thrust, Nitrous, Canisters, NOS
Chemical Structure/Action: N2O
Form: Nitrous oxide is a colorless, almost odorless gas. When placed in a tank it is a compressed gas.
Physical Effects: Euphoria, dizziness, general state of central nervous system depression. Muscles will be relaxed. Lowered blood pressure, arrhythmia, elevated pulse are common. Generally the person acts extremely anesthetized, sometimes becoming unconscious. Onset of effects are immediate, and generally last approximately 5 minutes, depending on the dose.
Psychological Effects: Nitrous oxide is considered non-addictive, however, researchers believe that it has a degree of psychological addiction.
Effects of Long-Term Use: Damage can occur to bone marrow and the central nervous system. A resultant anemia-like state may develop causing peripheral numbness, tingling sensations, and un-coordination. Long term use results in a resistance to other anesthetics and organ damage. Some of these adverse effects can be permanent.
Overdose Effects: Immediate danger of nitrous oxide is the risk of suffocation. Additionally, sniffing directly from a nitrous tank can cause frostbite of the lips, mouth, throat, and lungs because of the extremely cold temperatures of the release of the gas. Initially, abusers do not feel the frostbite until after the anesthetic effect wears off. In extreme cases, Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome can ensue.
Young people are using the Internet more than ever and most have Internet access from home. For many children, the Internet isn’t simply a convenient way to research or a fun after school activity – it’s a big part of their social life. Emailing, instant messaging, text messaging and chatting with friends are children’s most common online activities, after studying and playing games. More and more teens are frequenting social networking sites, such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. This electronic forum has not only given sexual predators unprecedented access to our children, it has become a new, incredibly potent and potentially toxic, method of spreading schoolyard gossip, hateful statements, lies, threats and harassment.
Cyber bullying is highly varied and hard to define. At it’s core, it is sending or posting derogatory or hateful material on the Internet or through cell phones or emails, with the intent to harm another. Cyber bullying can be defamatory to a group, a team, a race or target a single victim. Bullies employ any or all cyber communications, including posts to social networking sites, chat rooms, email, instant messaging and blogs, to harass, threaten, spread lies or distribute embarrassing pictures. The Internet gives bullies a worldwide audience for taunting their victims while maintaining some anonymity. Cyber bullies can be classmates, online acquaintances, and even anonymous users, but most often they do know their victims.
Cyber bullying can take different forms:
- Flaming – Online fights using electronic messages with angry and vulgar language.
- Harassment – Repeatedly sending nasty, mean, and insulting messages via e-mail, instant messages or text messages.
- Denigration – “Dissing” someone online. Sending or posting gossip or rumors about a person to damage his or her reputation or friendships. This includes creating websites to make fun of another person such as a classmate or teacher and using websites to rate peers as prettiest, ugliest, etc.
- Impersonation – Pretending to be someone else and sending or posting material to get that person in trouble or danger or to damage that person’s reputation or friendships.
- Outing – Sharing someone’s secrets or embarrassing information or images online or sending it to others.
- Trickery – Talking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information, then sharing it online or sending it to others.
- Exclusion – Intentionally and cruelly excluding someone from an online group.
- Cyber Stalking – Repeated, intense harassment and denigration that includes threats or creates significant fear.
Both boys and girls sometimes bully online and, just as in face-to-face bullying, tend to do so in different ways. Boys more commonly bully by sending messages of a sexual nature or by threatening to fight or hurt someone. Girls more often bully by spreading rumors or sending messages that make fun of someone or exclude other. They also tell secrets.
Cyber bullying is no joke, although it often starts that way. Because of the vast reach of the Internet, it has far greater impact and can cause much more emotional damage than the same statements scrawled in alleys or on bathroom walls. Damaging words and pictures once posted are nearly impossible to remove. Cyber bullying messages often contain threats of violence, which can constitute a crime. Violent threats and inflammatory statements in cyberspace can turn into real world attacks.
The Effects of Cyber bullying
Victims of cyber bullying may experience many of the same effects as children who are bullied in person, such as a drop in grades, low self-esteem, a change in interests, or depression. However cyber bullying can seem more extreme to its victims because of several factors:
- Occurs in children’s home. Being bullied at home can take away the place children feel most safe.
- Can be harsher. Often kids say things online that they wouldn’t say in person, mainly because they can’t see the other person’s reaction.
- Far reaching. Kids can send emails making fun of someone to their entire class or school with a few clicks, or post them on a website for the whole world to see.
- Anonymity. Cyber bullies often hide behind screen names and email addresses that don’t identify who they are. Not knowing who is responsible for bullying messages can add to a victim’s insecurity.
- May seem inescapable. It may seem easy to get away from a cyber bully-just get offline-but for some kids not going online takes away one of the major places they socialize.
Cyber bullying can be a complicated issue, especially for adults who are not as familiar with using the Internet, instant messenger, or chat rooms as kids. But like more typical forms of bullying, it can be prevented when kids know how to protect themselves and parents are available to help.
What Parents Can Do
- Keep your home computer in a busy area of the house.
- Set up email and chat accounts with your children. Make sure that you know their screen names and passwords and that they don’t include any personal information in their online profiles.
- Regularly go over their instant messenger “buddy list” with them. Ask who each person is and how your child knows him/her.
- Print this list of commonly used acronyms in instant messenger, text messaging and chat rooms from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and post it by your computer.
- Talk to your kids about the issue and teach them things that will help prevent them from being a victim of Cyber bullying.
- Talk to teens about what they are doing on the Internet, what sites they visit and who they chat with.
- Tell them to never give out personal information online, whether in instant message profiles, chat rooms, blogs, or personal websites.
- Tell your children that you won’t blame them if they are cyber bullied. Emphasize that you won’t take away their computer privileges – this is the main reason kids don’t tell adults when they are cyber bullied.
- If the cyber bully attends the same school, notify administrators and school resource officers or school security.
- If the cyber bullying involves threats of violence, coercion or intimidation, call the police.
- If a Web site is defaming or mocking a person or group, contact your ISP and inform police to get the Web site removed.
- File a complaint with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or cell phone company about any cyber bullying messages.
What Kids Need to Know
- Don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want your classmates to see, even in email.
- Never tell anyone but your parents your password, even friends.
- Keep a record of any rude and harassing emails, text messages or postings, but do not respond. Show it to an adult.
- Don’t send message when you’re angry. Before clicking “send,” ask yourself how you would feel if you received the message.
- Help kids who are bullied online by not joining in and showing bullying messages to an adult.
- Always be as polite online as you are in person.
Stop Cyber Bullying Before It Starts (www.NCPC.org PDF)
Stop Cyber Bullying (www.NCPC.org Website)
www.netsmartz.org Information to share with your children and students
Additional Resource: A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety (from the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI)
The Internet has opened up a world of information for anyone with a computer and a connection! Your children will learn about computers. But just as you wouldn’t send children near a busy road without some safety rules, you shouldn’t send them on to the information superhighway without rules of the road. Too many dangers from pedophiles to con artists can reach children (and adults) through the Internet.
- Explain that although a person may be alone in a room using the computer, once logged on to the Internet, he or she is no longer alone. People skilled in using the Internet can find out who you are and where you are. They can even tap into information in your computer.
- Set aside time to explore the Internet together. If your child has some computer experience, let him or her take the lead. Visit areas of the World Wide Web that have special sites for them.
- The best tool a child has for screening material found on the Internet is his or her brain. Teach children about exploitation, pornography, hate literature, excessive violence, and other issues that concern you, so they know how to respond when they see this material.
- Chose a commercial online service that offers parental control features. These features can block contact that is not clearly marked as appropriate for children; chat rooms, bulletin boards, news groups, and discussion groups; or access to the Internet entirely.
- Purchase blocking software and design your own safety system. Different packages can block sites by name, search for unacceptable words and block access to sites containing those words, block entire categories of material, and prevent children from giving out personal information. Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have their own parental control center where specified information can be blocked for each child’s email address/account.
- Monitor your children when they’re online and monitor the time they spend online. If a child becomes uneasy or defensive when you walk into the room or when you linger, this could be a sign that he or she is up to something unusual or even forbidden.
Tell Your Children …
- To always let you know immediately if they find something scary or threatening on the Internet.
- Never to give out their name, address, telephone number, password, school name, parent’s name, or any other personal information.
- Never to agree to meet face to face with someone they’ve met online.
- Never to respond to messages that have bad words or seem scary or just weird.
- Never to enter an area that charges for services without asking you first.
- Never send a picture of themselves to anyone without your permission.
What You Can Do In The Community
- Make sure that access to the Internet at your children’s school is monitored by adults.
- Know your children’s friends and their parents. If your child’s friend has Internet access at home, talk to the parents about the rules they have established. Find out if the children are monitored while they are online.
- Make sure that your child’s school has an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). This policy should include a list of acceptable and unacceptable activities or resources, information on “netiquette” (etiquette on the Internet), consequences for violations, and a place for you and your child to sign. Your family can design its own AUP for the home computer.
- If your child receives threatening e-mails or pornographic material, save the offensive material and contact that user’s Internet service provider and your local law enforcement agency.
- If you come across sites that are inappropriate for children when you are surfing the Net, send the addresses to online services that offer parental control features or to sites advertising protection software to add it to their list to be reviewed for inclusion or exclusion. Even if you don’t subscribe to the service or own the protection software, you can help protect other children.
Visit the National Crime Prevention Council’s Web site for more information on cybersafety and cybercrime.
This information provided by the
National Crime Prevention Council, Washington, DC www.ncpc.org