1 Lesson 3: Identifying and Reducing Risks
Risks are part of life. For example, you risk getting hurt each time
you ride your bicycle or use a knife to cut your food. The key to staying
safe is to identify and reduce the risks. On the Web site below, you will read
a short report from the Center for Disease Control that talks about some of
the risky behaviors that teens should avoid.
Link to explore:
- Start at the Middleweb site.
- Read through the three articles.
- Take notes as you go. When you are done reading, answer the questions
- Finally, using the information from the link, create a “Risk Watch” news
bulletin that can be announced at school or sent to the editor of your
community newspaper. Include a short introductory sentence saying
why it is important to be aware of risks, and then list the most common
risks teens take.
- What are five unhealthy risk behaviors?
- What are five healthy risk behaviors?
- Is taking risks a normal part of growing up?
- What are some red flags which identify dangerous adolescent risk-taking?
- What is healthy risk-taking?
- Any of the following: dangerous dieting, eating disorders, Running away, staying out all night, living on the streets, using drugs or alcohol, Gang violence, weapons, bullying, scapegoating, unprotected sexual activity, shoplifting, and stealing.
- Any of the following: Physical activities such as sports teams, horseback
riding, in-line skating, walking, or jogging. Under the supervision of a
trained expert, engaging in outlets for extreme physical and emotional thrills
such as white-water rafting, rock climbing, camping, etc.; creative activity
such as joining a band or the production of a play. Learning or practicing
a creative art form such as photography, pottery, video, dance, or creative
writing. Learning to talk about sex and relationships, working on open communication
with partners and parents. Seeking out new friends, volunteering in the community,
participating in a student exchange program, transferring to a new school
if necessary. Getting a part-time job such as baby-sitting, camp or after-school
counselor, retail clerk in clothing or music store, or tutoring.
- Yes, taking risks is a normal part of growing up.
- Red flags which help identify dangerous adolescent risk-taking can include psychological problems such as persistent depression or anxiety which goes beyond more typical adolescent "moodiness"; problems at school; engaging in illegal activities; and clusters of unhealthy risk-taking behaviors (e.g., smok ing, drinking and driving recklessly might be happening at the same time, as might disordered eating and self-mutilation, or running away and stealing).
Additional Resources for Teachers
- Healthy risk-taking is a positive tool in an adolescent's life for discovering, developing, and consolidating his or her identity.
Below are some additional resources on risk
taking. The one from About is particularly
detailed and could be used to expand class activities
to detailed discussions of specific risks like
the risk of heart problems from drinking.
- Adolescent Risk Taking:
- NPR radio show on the risk of smoking
- Center for Disease Control web site: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/95facts/fsyrisk.htm