Winter Break in Tampa Bay: Pinellas County Organization Reminds Parents That Safety Never Takes a Break

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December brings Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and two weeks of no school. The freedom of not having to go to school may increase temptation among teens to engage in risky behaviors and the LiveFree! Coalition offers tips to parents to keep their kids safe during Winter Break.

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Winter break is a great time for teens to relax and spend time with friends outside of school,” says Daphne Lampley of LiveFree! Coalition. “However, never let your teen become too enthralled in not having school that they forget about their safety.

LiveFree! Coalition Offers Tips to Parents to Keep Teens Safe During Winter Break

December brings Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and two weeks of no school. The freedom of not having to go to school may increase temptation among teens to engage in risky behaviors. From holiday parties to receiving cell phones or computers for Christmas, the excitement of winter break and holiday gifts can easily overwhelm a teen’s decision-making and make parenting teenagers even more challenging. An organization located in Pinellas County, Florida called the LiveFree! Coalition, wants to remind parents that if even though teens are on winter break, never take a break from reminding them to stay safe.

Statistics show an increase in accidents during breaks when teen drivers have no classes, and more free time. According to a Virginia Tech Study, drivers who text and have friends in their cars are 23 times more likely to get into a crash or narrowly avoid one.

“Winter break is a great time for teens to relax and spend time with friends outside of school,” says Daphne Lampley of LiveFree! Coalition. “However, never let your teen become too enthralled in not having school that they forget about their safety.”

While on winter break, teens may be tempted to engage in risky behaviors because they know they won’t have to face teachers the next day. Teens need to be reminded even though they are break that doesn’t mean they get a break from saying no to alcohol, illegal substances, and risky behavior.

Between catchy pop songs with provocative lyrics to new inappropriate messaging acronyms, teens may be tempted to try or partake in new behaviors over winter break. However, if parents learn signs to watch for and remember to check on their teens even while they are home on break, they’ll have an easier time understanding their teen’s behavior and an easier time making sure break is substance-abuse free. The LiveFree! Coalition encourages parents to sit down and talk with teens about what is expected from them during winter break.

Below are some easy and practical tips from the LiveFree! Coalition which parents can use when talking to their kids about what they expect from them during winter break:

1.    Set cell phone boundaries. Teens are more likely to abuse their cell phone privileges if they have access to the phone 24/7. Even while on break, set a time for them to receive their phone in the morning and a time for when it will be taken away at night.
2.    Set a curfew. Teens often think that because they are on winter break they can stay out as late as they want. Make sure you set a specific time for your teen to be home every night during winter break.
3.    Host a movie night. Teens are more tempted to try illegal substances or engage in risky behaviors when they are bored. Give your teens something to do during winter break by hosting a teen friendly movie night or cookie party.
4.    Learn the lingo. Teens often think that because their parents didn’t grow up with cell phones and computers, they couldn’t possibly be have any texting knowledge. Sit down and explain to your teen that if you see something you don’t understand you will look it up or ask them about it.

About LiveFree! Pinellas
LiveFree! Pinellas is a coalition that raises awareness about the harmful effects of substance abuse among youth, young adults and adults in Pinellas County. By offering trainings, advocacy, town hall meetings, a Speaker’s Bureau, environmental strategies and awareness events, LiveFree! encourages Pinellas County families to live safe, healthy and drug-free. For more information, visit the blog at http://www.livefreeblog.org or facebook page https://www.facebook.com/livefreeFL.

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Jennifer Vickery
National Strategies Public Relations
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