Student Web Activity

Chapter 1 Lesson 3: Identifying and Reducing Risks

Introduction

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:
http://www.middleweb.com/adolesrisk.html

Directions

  • Start at the Middleweb site.
  • Read through the three articles.
  • Take notes as you go.  When you are done reading, answer the questions below.
  • 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.

Questions

  1. What are five unhealthy risk behaviors?
  1. What are five healthy risk behaviors?
  1. Is taking risks a normal part of growing up?
  1. What are some red flags which identify dangerous adolescent risk-taking?
  1. What is healthy risk-taking?

Answers

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Yes, taking risks is a normal part of growing up.
  1. 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).
  1. Healthy risk-taking is a positive tool in an adolescent's life for discovering, developing, and consolidating his or her identity.
Additional Resources for Teachers

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.

  1. About:
    http://alcoholism.about.com/od/teens/
  2. Adolescent Risk Taking:
    http://www.middleweb.com/adolesrisk.html
  3. NPR radio show on the risk of smoking for teens:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4673056
  4. Center for Disease Control web site: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/95facts/fsyrisk.htm

 

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