* Teen Employment Has Many Benefits

By Dianna Miller, Courier & Press, July 4, 2017 –

Should your teen have a part-time job? There are pros and cons, but there are many benefits to getting some early work experience during the high school years.

On average, teenagers report the highest rates of unemployment. According to Labor Force Statistics, in early 2017 the youth unemployment rate for individuals ages 16 to 19 was around 14.7 percent. The unemployment rate for individuals 25 years and older was 3.6 percent. Indiana has a 10 percent unemployment rate for ages 16-24.

Interestingly, according to a recent study from Career Builder, from 2001-2014, the number of jobs held by teenagers decreased by 33 percent. Over 1.7 million jobs teens held were cut during that 13-year window.

The loss of teen jobs appears to be correlated partly to the fact that a growing number of people ages 55 and older are not exiting the labor market at the pace they used to. More individuals are retiring from their current job and transitioning to entry-level positions.

In this study from 2001-2014, the number of workers 55 years and older increased by 40 percent. These days, the workforce tends to favor experience over education.  Even though college is very valuable, it becomes even more valuable when paired with a resume full of experience.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, for every year a person works in their teens, their income raises 14-16 percent in their 20s. When teens choose to have a job, employment teaches responsibility and good work habits, improves time management and organizational skills and helps them save money.

Working also gives teens an opportunity to establish contacts with adult employers that can serve as a future reference.  As teens work a part-time job they learn how capable they are, which in turn builds confidence and self-reliance. This can help teens feel more independent and have the confidence to further their development with a sense of responsibility.

Some research indicates youth who are Hispanic, black or economically disadvantaged who balance school and a job are less likely to drop out of high school than those who do not work during their high school years.

Having a summer job is linked to an increase in the chances of youth graduating from high school and reducing the risk for involvement in criminal activity and the juvenile justice system.

In order to effectively balance the stress of academics and work, studies indicate that 20 or less hour per week is an optimal amount of time for a high school student to work. Some studies indicate that students who balance 10-15 hours of work per week during the school year earn higher grades than students who do not work.

The federal minimum wage has been raised 22 times since 1938 when it was set at 25 cents per hour. Currently, our minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

If your teen is looking for a job, snagajob.com and groovejob.com could be great starting points for them. The most popular time of year for teens to look for jobs is from April to July. Point out the many benefits and encourage them to take advantage of the opportunity to gain experience, learn to balance their time, and make a little extra money.

Sexting Exposes its Object to Harassment, Bullying, Disgrace

Texting girl

Tears. Fear. Guilt.

“Will my parents find out?” “Who else is going to see this?”

They trusted the other person. They thought they wouldn’t get caught. They thought no one else would see it. They didn’t know how to say no without being judged or viewed as “uncool.”

As a Youth First Social Worker, I hear these comments from teens about why they chose to send a sexually explicit message or photo. But by the time they reach my office, it is almost always too late.

Cellphones and the Internet have made it convenient for us to share information, pictures and more, but do adolescents understand the implications of sending inappropriate messages and pictures to others?

Sexting is defined as texting or other electronic messaging that is sexually suggestive in nature. It may sound flirty and harmless, but it can result in very serious consequences.

Sexting applies to all forms of electronic communication through social networking sites (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat) as well as texts. It may include explicit wording or seminude or fully nude photos or videos. Sexting includes receiving, sending or forwarding content.

Whether it is a text, photo or video, digital information can last forever. The sender has no control over the choice of the receiver to copy, alter, post or pass it on.

Sexting can result in many different consequences. Once the send button is pressed, it’s out there and can take on a life of its own. Embarrassment, school discipline, trouble at home, legal problems, bullying, sexual harassment, attention from online predators and damaged relationships are all examples of what could follow.

And don’t forget that because digital information can last forever, there is always the possibility that future colleges or employers could find an old sext from an online search.

Teens, if you feel pressured to send a sexually explicit message, don’t give in. Try saying no or simply ignoring the request. State your reason: “That’s sharing way too much,” or “I don’t do that because you never know who might see it.”

There is also a helpful app called “Send This Instead.” This free app includes things one could say if they’re being pressured to send a sext message. (The humorous replies are witty and sarcastic.)

Every message, photo or video you send or post creates an impression on those who see it. Think about the impression you want to make.

Before you send, post or forward any message, try asking yourself these questions:

How would I feel if my parents, grandparents, teachers or other adults saw this?

Would I want everyone at school to see this?

Would I say or share this in person?

If the answer is no, then do not to share — as tempting as it may be. Never reply to a message from someone you don’t know, and do not post personal information such as your name, age and address.

If someone sends you a sext message or image, do not reply and do not pass it on. Sharing it with someone could mean big trouble.

You should immediately tell your parent, teacher, school social worker or counselor. They will help you deal with it the right way. Wait until you have the OK from an adult before you delete it.

And remember, just because you received a sext message does not mean you are in trouble or did anything wrong. It’s when you pass it on to someone else that it becomes a problem.