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HHS HealthBeat (July 2, 2013)

The teen’s secret message


HHS HealthBeat: Three shots.

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

The peer pressure to drink – or get into some other kind of trouble – can be tough on a teen. But there’s a way for a teen with a mobile phone to slip out of those uncomfortable situations. It involves a parent, a secret code and a phone call.

At HHS’ Administration for Children and Families, Dr. George Askew says it works like this: The teen texts a secret code – something agreed-upon by the teen and the parents – to a parent. The parent responds immediately with a phone call.  For the teen, Askew says:

“It gives you a way out that says, `Well, my mom just called. I was supposed to do something, I have to go run and do that, but I will catch up with you guys later.”

Askew says it’s something parents can talk about with their teens – for instance, as part of a broader conversation about teen drinking.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: July 2, 2013