Crime Prevention Tips for Secondary School Students
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Teens Safe Driving
In Ontario, drivers with a Blood Alcohol Count (BAC) over .08 or who refuse to provide a breath sample will have their licence suspended immediately for 90 days. This is separate from any charges for a drinking and driving the driver may face. Their vehicle will be impounded for 7 days, regardless of who owns it. Impaired boaters face the same consequences as impaired drivers.
Minimum consequences for drivers convicted of impaired driving or over .08 BAC or refusing to provide a breath sample are:
- One-year driver licence suspension (reducible to three months under certain circumstances).
- One-year ignition interlock condition upon reinstatement (up to three years for repeat offenders)
- Back on Track program (alcohol assessment and education)
- Minimum fine paid as part of federal consequences
- Licence reinstatement fee
- Increased insurance premiums ($5,000 annually for minimum three years)
- Legal costs (if retained; paid to your own legal counsel)
- Criminal Record
- Repeat offenders face greater consequences and longer licence suspensions.
Drivers aged 21 and under must have a zero BAC when driving. Otherwise they face:
- an immediate 24-hour licence suspension, or
- a 30-day suspension and up to $500 in fines
Tips for Teen Drivers
1) Turn your Cell Phone OFF
Studies show that using a cell phone while driving is the equivalent of driving drunk― even when using a hands-free phone. Research also shows that sending a text causes a loss of focus on the road for 5 seconds (on average). A lot can go wrong in 5 seconds, aside from the ticket, fine and points you will lose if caught.
“Texting-while-stopped” breaks the same law and the ticket is the same! When you have your head down, you don’t notice things that are going on around you, even when you’re stuck at a red light.
Don’t be tempted! Turn it off, put it away. Put it in your purse, knapsack, gym bag, glovebox….make it a habit – like putting on your seatbelt.
Try this activity! Cut and paste the link into your browser. It’s fun, but remember: texting and driving is not a game. It’s not funny. It’s dangerous and against the law! https://www.yourlastwords.ca/
2) Obey the Speed Limit
Speeding causes about 40% of all fatal teen accidents. That’s especially true when driving on roads with lots of traffic or that you’re not familiar with.
Don’t feel pressured to keep up with traffic if it seems like everyone else is flying by you. Don’t feel pressured to impress your friends. Driving under the speed limit will prevent tickets and increased insurance rates.
3) Minimize Distractions
It may be tempting to eat, drink, change the station or song, or joke with your friends while driving….but when your eyes and your attention aren’t focused on the road, even for a few seconds, crashes can happen.
4) Practice Defensive Driving
Always be aware of the traffic ahead, behind, and next to you. Leave space and have possible escape routes in mind. Stay at least one car length behind the car in front of you in slower speeds, and maintain a larger buffer zone with faster speeds.
Teens & Substance Use
What is substance abuse?
Many teens try alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. Some teens try these substances only a few times and stop. Others can’t control their urges or cravings for them. This is substance abuse.
Teens may try a number of substances, including cigarettes, alcohol, household chemicals (inhalants), prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and illegal drugs. Teens use alcohol more than any other substance. Marijuana is the illegal drug that teens use most often.
Why do teens use drugs and alcohol?
Teens may use a substance for many reasons. They may do it because:
- They want to fit in with friends or certain groups.
- They like the way it makes them feel.
- It allows them to act in a way they couldn’t, otherwise
- They believe it makes them more grown up.
Teens tend to try new things, test limits and take risks, so they may try drugs or drink alcohol because it seems exciting.
Teens with family members who have problems with alcohol or other drugs are more likely to have serious substance use problems. Teens who feel that they are not connected to or valued by their parents are at greater risk. Teens with poor self-esteem or emotional or mental health problems, such as depression, are also are at increased risk.
What problems can teen substance use cause?
Substance use can lead to serious problems such as poor schoolwork, loss of friends, problems at home, and legal problems. Alcohol and drug use is a leading cause of teen death or injury related to car crashes, suicides, violence, and drowning. Substance use can increase the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, due to poor decision making.
Even casual use of certain drugs can cause severe health problems, such as an overdose or brain damage. Illegal drugs are made without any standards and can contain bacteria, dangerous chemicals, and other unsafe substances. They can also vary greatly in strength, resulting in unintentional overdose or death.
Ten Tips for Teens
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No: Sometimes, our fear of negative reaction from our friends or others we don’t even know, keeps us from doing what we know is right. Real simple, it may seem like “everyone is doing it,” but they are not. Don’t let someone else make your decisions for you. If someone is pressuring you to do something that’s not right for you, you have the right to say no, the right not to give a reason why, and the right to just walk away.
2. Connect With Your Friends and Avoid Negative Peer Pressure: Pay attention to who you are hanging out with. If you are hanging out with a group in which the majority of kids are drinking alcohol or using drugs to get high, you may want to think about making some new friends. You don’t have to go along to get along.
3. Make Connections With Your Parents or Other Adults: As you grow up, having people you can rely on, people you can talk to about life, life’s challenges and your decisions about alcohol and drugs is very important. The opportunity to benefit from someone else’s life experiences can help put things in perspective and can be invaluable.
4. Enjoy Life and Do What You Love – Don’t Add Alcohol and Drugs: Learn how to enjoy life and the people in your life, without adding alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and drugs can change who you are, limit your potential and complicate your life. Too often, “I’m bored” is just an excuse. Get out and get active in school and community activities such as music, sports, arts or a part-time job. Giving back as a volunteer is a great way to gain perspective on life.
5. Follow the Family Rules About Alcohol and Drugs: As you grow up and want to assume more control over your life, having the trust and respect of your parents is very important. Don’t let alcohol and drugs come between your and your parents. Talking with mom and dad about alcohol and drugs can be very helpful.
6. Get Educated about Alcohol and Drugs: You cannot rely on the myths and misconceptions that are out there floating around among your friends and on the internet. Your ability to make the right decisions includes getting educated. Don’t always believe what you read. As you learn, share and discuss what you are learning with your friends and your family.
7. Be a Role Model and Set a Positive Example: Don’t forget, what you do is more important than what you say! You are setting the foundation and direction for your life; where are you headed?
8. Plan Ahead: As you make plans for the party or going out with friends you need to plan ahead. You need to protect yourself and be smart. Don’t become a victim of someone else’s alcohol or drug use. Make sure that there is someone you can call, day or night, no matter what, if you need them. And, do the same for your friends.
9. Speak Out/Speak Up/Take Control: Take responsibility for your life, your health and your safety. Speak up about what alcohol and drugs are doing to your friends, your community and encourage others to do the same.
10. Get Help! If you or someone you know is in trouble with alcohol or drugs, (What to Look For), get help. Don’t wait. You are not alone.
Internet & Cellphone Safety
Sexting or (sex + texting) is the sending or receiving explicit electronic messages, containing nude or semi-nude photos or videos.
Although the issue involves mostly teens, it could affect anyone and the consequences are real.
When it involves nude images of people under the age of 18, sexting may violate Canadian Child Pornography laws. There can be criminal consequences for those who send, receive or have these photos in their possession, including parents who may not know what is stored on their electronic device.
Charges related to sexting may include:
- Possession & Distribution, Accessing of Child Pornography (having a picture or video, looking at it on the internet or just simply showing someone). This is an especially important consideration for anyone who is considering sending photos to other people that they have received.
- Luring (asking someone to do a sexual act over the computer)
- Voyeurism (taking a picture or video without someone knowing)
- Threats (telling someone you’ll distribute their pictures)
Sexting can also lead to cyberbullying and a range of mental health issues including depression and suicide.
51% of teen girls say it was pressure from a guy!
People may feel comfortable while in their relationships but the reality is that most teen relationships don’t last forever. In many cases where sexts have been sent to a large numbers of people, it was an ex who did the sending.
Think before you post or send anything. There are lots of great ways to communicate with your friends and loved ones but your privacy is important. You should know that even after something has been deleted, it can be retrieved and can have long lasting effects.
Apps like Snapchat, for example, give the user a false impression that content will disappear after a given time but the truth is, there are many ways to retrieve or store this content after it has disappeared. On a phone or computer, with the click of a button, a screenshot can be taken, webcams can be hacked, photos can be saved or shared and computer history can be easily accessed.
We take bullying seriously!
Bullying happens when there is an imbalance of power; where someone purposely and repeatedly says or does hurtful things to someone else. Bullying can occur one on one or in a group(s) of people. There are many different forms of bullying:
- Physical bullying (using your body or objects to cause harm): includes hitting, punching, kicking, spitting or breaking someone else’s belongings.
- Verbal bullying (using words to hurt someone): includes name calling, put-downs, threats and teasing.
- Social bullying (using your friends and relationships to hurt someone): includes spreading rumours, gossiping, excluding others from a group or making others look foolish or unintelligent. This form of bullying is most common among girls .
If you or someone you know is being bullied on or offline, it’s important to tell someone. If you are being threatened, you should contact the police by calling 705-876-1122 or if at any time you feel that you’re in immediate life-threatening danger, call 911.
Online Bullying (cyber-bullying)
Cyberbullying involves the use of communication technologies such as the Internet, social networking sites, websites, email, text messaging and instant messaging to repeatedly intimidate or harass others.
When online, people often feel anonymous and say things that they would never say out loud or face to face.
- Sending mean or threatening emails or text/instant messages.
- Posting embarrassing photos of someone online.
- Creating a website to make fun of others.
- Pretending to be someone by using their name.
- Tricking someone into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sending it to others.
Cyberbullying affects victims in different ways than traditional bullying. It can follow a victim everywhere 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from school, to the mall and all the way into the comfort of their home – usually safe from traditional forms of bullying
What to do about online bullying:
- Take a deep breath. It might be tempting to respond to the text, post, or email but it’s better not to reply. Tell someone you trust instead.
- Don’t delete it. Save the messages or take a screen shot. For online messaging, ensure that chat logging is turned on so that it records of conversations. Having a record of threatening, intimidating or harassing emails or messages may help police investigate.
- Block the bully. If you don’t know how to block them, contact your cellphone provider or check out the site’s “help” section.
Bystanders play an important role in stopping bullying. If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
Prom Night Safety
It’s prom night. A night many senior high school students look forward to their whole year. With all the basics covered – the outfit, the limo and the date – don’t let a few other important safety precautions slip your mind amidst all the excitement.
Here are some important prom safety tips for both students and parents:
Underage Drinking is Illegal
Most students in Grade 12 are 17 and 18, but some students (or their guests) could be older than this. The legal drinking age in Ontario is 19 and anyone drinking underage can face serious legal repercussions. If you are of age and decide to drink, be mindful of Ontario’s drinking policies before you decide to get behind the wheel. The safe bet is to avoid drinking entirely.
You Don’t Need Alcohol to Have Fun
You’re surrounded by friends and classmates in a party atmosphere, celebrating the upcoming end to your high school experience. Don’t ruin your memory of the event with feelings of regret, humiliation and disappointment. Most people only get to experience their prom once and so be sure to make yours memorable in a positive sense. Remember to never leave your drink unattended.
Be Prepared With a Plan
Arrange your transportation home prior to the prom. You can use public transit, taxis, limousines or parents. Carry emergency phone numbers and extra money in case you need to take a cab. If your cell phone is charged, you can still call 911 even without service.
Travel in Pairs or Groups
Be sure to travel in groups or with at least one reliable friend. Keep tabs on your friends and be sure to let them know if you change your plans so that someone always knows where you are. Take care of your friends as you would want them to do for you.
Never Drink and Drive
Road collisions are the leading cause of death among teenagers and 45% of teenage drivers who are killed in road collisions have been drinking. Do not enter a vehicle with a driver who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It’s not worth risking your life, so call a cab or your parents for a ride if there is no designated driver.
Keep Your Parents in the Know
Tell your parents the itinerary for the night following the prom, the friends you will be with, your means of transportation and the phone numbers of where you can be reached. This way, your parents won’t have to call you every so often to find out where you are and you can enjoy yourself while leaving your parents more at ease.
Though you can’t be responsible for everyone’s actions, by following these guidelines you can set an example and encourage others to make smart decisions.
- Contrary to what you may hear or see, most teens aren’t drinking. 81 per cent of teens have chosen NOT to drink in the past year.
- Females process alcohol differently than males; smaller amounts of alcohol are more intoxicating for females relative to males. It’s about biology, not size.
- 70 per cent of teens killed on prom weekends were not wearing seatbelts.
- Alcohol is the no.1 youth drug problem. According to MADD Canada (Mothers against Drunk Driving), 2 out of 5 people who die in crashes involving alcohol are 25 years of age and under. More teens die each year as a result of road crashes than any other cause of death.