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<April 2014>

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Safe Teens - Net & Cells

Bullying Books Empower Students, Parents and School Personnel
  Nancy Willard has been writing and speaking about cyberbullying since practically before the term was coined. But, like most cyberbullying experts, she knows that cyberbullying — for the most part — is bullying. And that — plus a lot … Continue reading Continue reading

Facebook’s ‘Nearby Friends’ feature: What you need to know
This post is adapted from one that first appeared on Forbes.com Facebook is rolling out a new feature for its mobile app that allows you to  share your approximate location with friends. The opt-in feature (it’s turned off by default) enables … Continue reading Continue reading

Teen Health and Wellness

Even Low to Moderate Marijuana Use Changes Teen Brain
Teens don’t have to light up often to feel the negative effects of marijuana. According to neuroscientists, smoking marijuana at least once a week leads to structural changes in the parts of the teen brain associated with emotions and motivation. Regular use leads to even more severe effects. More than half of first-time marijuana users are under age 18. These users expose themselves to harm because their brains are still developing. Aside from alcohol, marijuana is the most widely used drug for teens. However, only a quarter of teens say smoking pot once a month is a great risk, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Teen Drinking Linked to Pop Music Alcohol References
A new study has found that exposure to song lyrics that mention specific alcohol brands leads to teen drinking. “Every year, the average adolescent is exposed to about 3,000 references to alcohol brands while listening to music,” explained study author Brian Primack of the University of Pittsburgh. That is about eight references to drinking every day. Researchers believe that this exposure is a form of hidden advertising for the alcohol industry. Teens exposed to the most alcohol references are three times more likely to have had a drink in their lives and twice as likely to be binge drinkers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 percent of teens binge drink, increasing their risk of alcohol poisoning, drunk driving, unsafe sex, and other dangers.

1 in 68 Young People Have Autism
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 1 in 68 young people has an autism spectrum disorder. Autism is a series of developmental disorders that can impact a person’s social and communication skills and behavior. Autism is more common in males. One in 42 boys has autism, compared to 1 in 189 girls. The current rate of autism is higher than earlier studies found. Researchers think this is partially because the definition of autism has expanded and because doctors are more careful at spotting autism. 

Meditation Improves Quality of Life in Teens with Cancer
New research from the University of Montreal has found that teens with cancer can benefit from mindfulness-based meditation. A cancer diagnosis can turn a teen’s life upside down. In addition to physical symptoms, cancer can bring anxiety, depression, and other emotional challenges. Researchers found that 90 minutes of mindfulness-based meditation per week decreased rates of depression in teens with cancer. For girls, it also led to better quality of sleep. Before they turn 20, one in 300 boys and one in 333 girls with develop cancer, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology.