Across the country various government agencies are setting in place youth awareness initiatives to educate teachers, parents and, most importantly, their children on the correct and safe use of cellphones. This is not some paranoid exercise in avoiding the effects of phone induced radiation but rather a practical program tackling bad phone “etiquette” that can lead to car accidents and bullying, both in and away from schools.
The reality is that many very young children will barely have put down their mini Lalaloopsy dolls before their parents are handing them a cellphone. Children want them and parents believe their children will be safer if they have an instant means of communication with their offspring. This is all fine up to a point, but with the sophistication of mobile devices, and a lack of education on the right and wrong ways of using a phone, many parents simply don’t realise that as they protect their children from one danger they are opening them up to many others.
It is worth remembering that widespread cellphone ownership is barely much more than a decade old and it is unsurprising, therefore, that little thought has been given to the education of children and cellphone usage. This is not something their parents ever needed to learn about as kids. One obviously hazardous situation, that is commonly highlighted, is the use of cellphones while driving. While your youngster may not be driving yet it is clearly worthwhile to alert them to these dangers should they find themselves in the position of being a passenger. in a vehicle driven by someone else using a cellphone.
Even more worrying, and somthing parents might not even have thought of, is “cyberbullying” which is now rife in some districts. No child need pass bitchy notes at school anymore. If you want to ruin another students life you can do so easily with a quick text, either to the victim directly or to other bullies. Finally it is hoped that parents now realise that cellphones can act as mini computers when it comes to linking to the internet and, therefore, the cellphone is no longer a device just for making calls but a portable connection to everything that can be found on the web.
Nothing is more important – and fundamental – to the health of our youth than ensuring they get a sufficient supply of clean, drinkable water to meet their bodies hydration requirements. While in some parts of the country the municipal water supply is relatively clear of contaminants, there are some places where infrastructure is poor that it is sensible to utilize refrigerator water filters to cleanse the water before drinking.
It is an unfortunate fact that infrastructure spending in many parts of the United States is insufficient to keep water supplies as pristine as we may like. By installing a refrigerator water filter in between the city water supply and our drinking cups, we can ensure we are protected against any impurities that may slip through.
As wonderful as it would be to be able to trust the Government to look after us, the reaility of the modern world is that they do not have sufficient funds to provide us all the protection we may need. By taking proactive steps to filter our water we at least can protect us from government failings in that regard!
As part of our youth awareness program we all submitted travel reports about our summer holidays. We had to go somewhere new and then write about it. It just so happened that my family and I went to Koh Samui in Thailand for part of the vacation. I wrote this report about one of the places we stayed during our time in Thailand:
Review of Ban Tai Beach in Koh Samui
Ban Tai is the name of a long stretch of beach in the north-west of the southern Thai island of Koh Samui. It is not a well-known beach, and can be confused with the more famous beach area of Ban Tai in Koh Phangan where the Half Moon and Black Moon Parties occur. The lack of tourism in the Ban Tai area of Koh Samui is part of its charm for many people.
Ban Tai is just 20 minutes drive from the main port town of Nathon and also 20 minutes away from Koh Samui Airport. It is a very accessible part of the island and yet it is not really on the tourist map. This is because the area has very little development. Along the beach there are just a few resorts. These range from cheap wooden bungalows to a few good mid-range options such as Koh Samui Resort. The accommodation options are widely spread out along the beach. This means when you go to Ban Tai beach you often see very few people. The area is also popular with long stay visitors to Koh Samui. A few private residences are also in the area.
Unlike the main tourist centers like Chaweng, Bophut and Lamai there are few bars, restaurants and shops in the area. This is not an area for those who like exciting nightlife on their doorstep. Instead you can find a few local shops along the road selling basic necessities. There are also a few local seafood restaurants worth checking out if you like Thai food. They serve authentic Southern Thai dishes at very reasonable rates. Other than resort bars there is very little that called be termed ‘nightlife’.
Parts of Ban Tai are good for swimming. In other parts there are corals which can cut the feet. At low tide it is obvious where the best swimming spots are. The water is especially clean at Ban Tai due to the lack of development. However, since the beach is not in a busy area it tends to look less beautiful because flotsam washes up leaving a black line on the beach. It is probably for this reason that most visitors to Ban Tai choose to stay around the pool or they head out to either Maenam or Bophut where the beaches are more spotless.
Ban Tai is famous for its wellness centers. There are a few small centers in the region that specialize in treatments such as botox and colonic irrigation as well as offering the standard Thai massage. People are drawn to Ban Tai for the peace and quiet as well as the opportunity to take rejuvenating treatments.
Finally, the hills behind Ban Tai offer some great trekking and mountain biking opportunities. It is one of the best areas in Koh Samui to experience the tranquility of nature on the island.
For many people Ban Tai is nothing special but for a few it is exactly what the doctor ordered. It is worth asking yourself what type of beach holiday you are looking for before considering booking accommodation in Ban Tai.
A large part of the youth experience is enjoying yourself. The young like to party. This has been true for many decades, across many cultures, both in rich countries and in poor countries. However, what is more worrying than ever is the increasing number of ways young people are at risk when partying. It is not just inexperience that make young people easy prey to dangerous influences, it is also the increasingly intoxicating ways that it is possible to party that places young people at more risk than ever before.
In the 1960s there was marijuana and acid and the ’moral majority’ feared for the virginity and the mental health of their children. Those children have now grown up, and oalthough there were many train wrecks the majority are educated, settled and doing well in society.
In the 1990s adults feared for their children’s safety because of ecstasy. Now in the second decade of the Twenty-first Century there is a mind blowing array of drugs for young people to try ranging from naturally derived cannabis to synthetic drugs such as ketamine and GHB. The latter is the date rape drug.
Now all young people, and especially young women, should never accept drinks from strangers and should never leave their drink unattended. The result can be life ruining. Addiction takes a while to develop, but it only takes one date rape experience to scar a person for life.
The party is glorified by the rave and massive outdoor beach parties such as the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan. It is great to meet new people and to feel the excitement of loving music and dancing madly to your favroite tune. There is nothing wrong with over-indulgence and puking up. However, what young people must be aware of is the safety net. They must be with friends, people they trust. And one of them must remain conscious enough to help the others.It is not a great safety net but it is better than nothing. Also when with friends often good council is given to those thinking are doing something really stupid – liking jumping off a bridge.
We learn through our experiences, it is just hoped that young people partying don’t get permanently dragged down into insanity, addiction, mental problems or physical harm by their partying antics.