March 2011 | Issue 7 | print friendly version | send to a friend

The Safe Haven updates you every month on safety issues confronting communities, including child abuse, cyberbullying, financial elder abuse, and more. Through awareness and education, we can work together to help the vulnerable—kids, tweens, teens, and elders—stay safe.

kids/tweens

Parents Arrested for Giving Baby Marijuana

The police received a child welfare call from an apartment complex in the Inland Empire. When they went to investigate, an anonymous source turned in a video allegedly showing a young couple putting a pot pipe up to their two-year-old’s mouth several times. The toddler’s mother, 20, and his father, 24, both have medical-marijuana cards. The mother is pregnant. "I'm not surprised, I can tell you that," said neighbor DeShawn Edwards.

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Mother Arrested for "Hot-Saucing" Child

A mother in Alaska is facing child abuse charges after sending Dr. Phil a video showing her putting hot sauce in her 7-year-old son’s mouth to discipline him. The boy and his twin brother were adopted from Russia and may be returned to the country if their mother is found guilty. Her lawyer claims that she has done nothing that would amount to child abuse. A family psychiatrist said that "hot saucing is really the new 'I'll wash your mouth out with soap.'"

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B-List Bullies

Although much of the literature on bullying claims that social outcasts bully out of maladjustment, a new study finds that popular kids are, in fact, more likely to bully. There is one caveat: the most popular kids are least likely to bully. The study shows that an increase in social status also increases aggression, but only up to a point. Those students at the top 2% of the social hierarchy are the least aggressive, along with those at the bottom. "If an adolescent at the top of the social hierarchy were to act aggressively towards his or her peers, such action could signal insecurity or weakness rather than cement the student's position," one of the researchers said. "And, it's possible that, at the highest level, they may receive more benefits from being pro-social and kind."

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Candid Camera Bullying

NBC’s “Dateline” decided to tackle the issue of bullying through the lens of a hidden camera. After carefully considering the risks and benefit, the network set up a hidden camera that films a scripted altercation between two young actors. The camera captures the reactions of the bystanders: real kids. The parents of those kids sit in in a control room to watch how their children react when confronted with bullying. The results? Emotional and controversial.

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teens

Japanese “Herbivores” Disinterested in Sex

The number of young Japanese men and women aged 16 to 19 who are not interested in sex has increased 19% for men and 12% for women since 2008. About 36% of men described themselves as “indifferent or averse” toward having sex, while a whopping 59% of women felt the same way. The young men have been named “herbivores” because of their passivity and lack of ambition for romantic conquests. The head of the Japan Family Association sees the phenomenon as an indication of "the increasing shallowness of human relations in today’s busy society.”

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90 Teens Pregnant in One Memphis School

Ninety girls who attend Frayser High School in Memphis are either currently pregnant or have already had a baby this school year. The school emphasized that while the students did not get pregnant at school, the school board has implemented some programs to help those students with small children. One girl found out she was expecting 5 months into pregnancy. "It's a shame that all these girls at Frayser are pregnant, but it ain't nothing new," she says. "Some girls just try to do it because they think it's cute. For some, it's an accident." About 20% of the female student body at Frayser High are experiencing motherhood.

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e-safety

Mom Charged with Molestation Over Xbox

A 36-year-old woman from Lake Forest was arrested for rape and child molestation of a 13-year-old Maryland boy whom she seduced over Xbox Live. The mother of three posed as a 23-year-old woman and extended the Xbox relationship into phone calls, texts and e-mails which included sexually explicit images and movies. While vacationing in Florida with family during Thanksgiving break, the woman drove to Maryland to the boy's home to have sex with him. Deputies say that there may be another victim in California, but no details have been released.

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Facebook and Eating Disorders: What's the Connection?

A new study from the University of Haifa in Israel found that the higher a teenage girl's involvement in Facebook, the higher her chance of having a negative body image and developing an eating disorder. The research suggests that a high level of involvement with Facebook promotes an unhealthy focus on the self--one's own body, habits, and behavior. Researchers found, however, that if parents talked to their daughters about what they are seeing and doing on the Internet, the teens felt empowered and had a better body image. A sports medicine expert also proposed that Facebook may facilitate girls trading tips on how to hide their disorder. The university cautions that although the study found a direct link between Facebook participation and eating disorders, one does not necessarily cause the other.

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elders

Mickey Rooney Granted Court Protection

Restraining orders were filed against the stepchildren of famed actor Mickey Rooney. The 90-year old claims that Chris and Christina Aber inflicted verbal, emotional and financial abuse by withholding food and medicine, as well as controlling his bank account and pressuring him to take acting roles against his will. He fears that Chris and Christina may become physically abusive or try to kidnap him. The court also assigned an attorney to be the temporary conservator of his estate. "All I want to do is live a peaceful life, to regain my life and be happy," Rooney wrote in a statement. "I pray to God each day to protect us, help us endure and guide those other senior citizens who are also suffering." Elder abuse tends to shorten lives, even in the absence of chronic or life-threatening illness, according to the American Psychological Association. The best prevention is to report suspected elder abuse or neglect to your local agency for adult protective services.

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U.S. Senate Hearings on Aging

On March 2, 2011, Mickey Rooney testified before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, supporting a stronger federal role on the subject of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

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Planning for the End Eases Unnecessary Pain

An article in the New York Times suggests that the “death panel” misconceptions about advanced care planning in Obama's healthcare plan are unhelpful to the plight of those facing the end of life. End-of-life planning encourages doctors and patients to talk about the patient's wishes and plan for a time when difficult decisions must be made, often without the patient's direct input. It can help to drive down both costs and pain by eliminating expensive and futile methods of prolonging life that many patients would veto if they could. The costs of care during the last week of life were 55 percent higher for those who did not have end-of-life discussions with their doctors. The options for end-of-life care range from the homey to the state-of-the-art. Whatever method is chosen, the most important part of any plan is that the patient makes their own decision.

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legal lookout

Teen Awarded $5 Million In Libel Lawsuit

A jury found that the Virginian-Pilot newspaper libeled a high-school student when it reported that he bullied a peer at school. The defamatory story was about the teen's sentencing for misdemeanor assault and trespass convictions involving the schoolmate's father. The prosecution contended that the newspaper distorted the truth by omitting key negative information about the other student, including the fact that he was not being bullied and was painted that way in order for the article to be printed on the front page. The newspaper defends the author of the article, claiming that he carefully reported it from interviews and court records, and that his attempt to interview the aggrieved was declined. The court awarded the now 19-year-old $5 million in damages plus interest.

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Bill to Ban Sex Criminals from School

Students in Connecticut can be expelled for sexual misconduct on school grounds, selling drugs, using weapons, or gang violence. A senator from Connecticut has now proposed to fill a gap by giving school officials the right to expel students who have been convicted of violent sex crimes that occurred outside school grounds. Connecticut's constitution gives all minors the right to an education, including those who have committed sex crimes that take place away from school. This can lead to student victims attending the same school as their attackers, who return to school after finishing jail time and probation. The bill is meant to protect the victims of sexual assault from having to be in proximity of their attacker and would not apply to teens under 16—the legal age of consent in Connecticut— who have engaged in consensual sex within dating relationships.

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A Shared Responsibility

Shield the Vulnerable is dedicated to raising awareness of abuse and neglect, and providing training and resources to help protect the most vulnerable members of our communities.

IN THIS ISSUE

KIDS/TWEENS

- Parents Arrested for Giving Baby Marijuana
- Mother Arrested for “Hot-Saucing” Child
- B-List Bullies
- Candid Camera Bullying

TEENS

- Japanese “Herbivores” Disinterested in Sex

- 90 Teens Pregnant in One Memphis School

e-SAFETY

- Mom Charged with Molestation over Xbox
- Facebook/Eating Disorder Connection?

ELDERS

- Mickey Rooney Granted Court Protection

- U.S. Senate Hearings on Aging

- End-of-Life Planning Eases Pain

LEGAL LOOKOUT

- Teen Awarded $5 Million in Libel Lawsuit
- Bill to Ban Sex Criminals from School

quiz corner Know the numbers on teen pregnancy in the US
  • 68 percent of all teen births were to teens 18-19 years old
  • 16 percent of all births to teens were second births
  • 87 percent of all births to teens were to an unmarried mother

To read more facts about teen pregnancy, visit The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy website:

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