A little parental insight to help

There is no doubt that the drug culture is a public health problem in Columbiana County. Read the newspaper headlines and follow the busts of even prominent people who are involved in the use and distribution of dangerous drugs, here, in Columbiana County. If you, as a parent, still think your child is not at risk, please, please take another look and be proactive in the lives of your children and what is in their best interests. Will it be what they think they want? What we want and what we need are not always the same things.

Parents want to believe that their children are smart and knowledgeable enough to avoid using drugs. Parents want to trust their children to do the right things. But sometimes things happen, for whatever reason or excuse, and parents have to step up. Do parents want to snoop in their children’s lives? No. But it is about what is best for them.

There is a program in some areas of Ohio called Hidden in Plain Sight. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine presented the 2016 Distinguished Law Enforcement Group Achievement Award to Hidden in Plain Sight developed by Bath and Copley, Ohio Police Departments. Only adults are permitted to attend the program. A display of a teen’s bedroom is set up and the adults get to snoop around the room for a period of time looking at things they might find in a teen’s bedroom. Some items you would never suspect could be used in the drug culture. And when the snooping period is over, the presenters discuss the things that may or may not have been found in the bedroom. It is enlightening, to say the least. But what kinds of things are we talking about? Normal items that are related to such as eating disorders, depression, technology, sexual activity, substance abuse and underage drinking, according to the Copley Police Department.

Parents, how into technology are your kids? Do you go through your child’s phone regularly? You should. And you should know what to look for. There are “apps” that aren’t really games but actually are hiding places for the kinds of things kids don’t want their parents to know about. It may feel like a violation of privacy for you to do this, but children need guidance. How will they know what can hurt them if you aren’t talking to them to educate them about the dangers “out there”?

One of the apps that is cited is Snapchat. This app lets you take a picture or type a message and send it. As soon as it is “read” it disappears. As a social media venue it can be fun, but it also can hide “sexting” and the buying and selling of drugs, or any other “secrets” teens try to hide from their parents. Remember when you were a teen?

There also are apps that can assist parents, like Fing, a free network scanner app that “detects intruders and all devices that are using your home network.” Do your teens use terminology you don’t comprehend? Use the online urbandictionary.com site to find out what those words mean.

Parents of small children who use shopping carts, please notice at the front door of your favorite shopping venue the sanitizing stations. Use them to wipe the cart where your child may sit during shopping excursions. There is so much bad stuff out there, not just germs that make a person ill. Who used that shopping cart before you got hold of it? Was there residue on their hands? As the East Liverpool police officer found out first hand, it doesn’t take much to threaten your life. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Don’t panic. Use common sense to protect your children.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.

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