Text version for 'Under pressure 14-16'

In this activity, students are asked to read the stories of several young people, and think about what they would advise them to say and do. They can read advice from two young agony aunts, Keiron and Bethany, and see if they agree with their opinions.

All of the young people are finding themselves under pressure – to behave in a risky manner, or accept the risky behaviour of others. This activity encourages students to think of strategies for dealing with this type of situation, in order to keep themselves and others safer.

If you need to talk to someone about a problem yourself, visit: www.childline.org.uk

Sara, aged 16

I was arguing with my boyfriend and we were both really angry. He said: 'Get in the car, I'm taking you home.' He drove faster than usual and I was scared all the way home.

Keiron says:

You should try to resolve the argument before he starts driving. Tell him that you know he's a good driver and you usually feel really safe with him, but you know it can be dangerous for anyone to drive when they're angry. Suggest that you stop the argument and take a few minutes to calm down before he starts driving.

Bethany says:

If it happens again, and there's a safe place to wait, call a taxi or your parents for a lift – even if they're a little annoyed they would rather know you are safe.

If you do have to get into his car, don't continue the argument while he's driving. Ask him to drive carefully as you are worried about him driving while he's angry. Even if he says something that upsets you, save it until you are safely at home.

Tom, aged 15

I was with a group of my friends heading off to the local shops. At a busy road, one of them put their hand up to stop the traffic and walked straight into the road. The others followed. I was near the back. What should I have done?

Keiron says:

What an idiot. Just because you've got your hand up, it doesn't mean the traffic will stop. The others are just as stupid for following.

I'd take my time and wait until it was safe to cross. Getting run over by a car doesn't look very cool.

Bethany says:

Sometimes it's hard not to follow the crowd. This time though, it was just plain dangerous. I'd think it was better to get to the park in one piece rather than trying to look big. Anyhow, I bet your friends were scared out of their minds running in front of the cars. You must do what you think is safest for you. Don't just follow everyone else.

Cheryl, aged 17

I was walking home with my friend, who'd had a few drinks. He was being really loud and embarrassing. He grabbed my hand and ran across the road without looking, pulling me with him. We were lucky a car didn't hit either of us. What should I have done?

Keiron says:

Wow, that sounds like a stupid thing to do. You were definitely lucky. Tell him that if he ever tries that again, you'll let him walk home alone.

Bethany says:

It sounds like your friend had too much to drink. It's good of you to look after him and make sure he gets home safely, but you need to talk to him afterwards and tell him how dangerously he was behaving. If he is going to get like that again, then you don't want to be around.

Samina, aged 17

One of my friends has just passed his test and was going to take me for a drive. He turned up driving really fast and the car was really full. Everyone was already crammed into the back. I had to sit on someone's knee to get in too. What should I have done?

Keiron says:

Your friend's a bad driver, and driving like that, he could get banned. Six points on your licence in your first two years (which could be just one offence) and you have to take your test all over again.

I'd say no thanks, the car's already full. Maybe you could take the bus and meet them later on.

Bethany says:

I guess your friend wants to show off his driving skills to as many people as possible!

When the car's that full, you can't all wear seat belts, which is the law because it's safer. And with all those people in the car, it's got to be distracting for a really inexperienced driver. I wouldn't feel safe in that car. If you don't want to say anything in front of everybody, make up an excuse not to go, then have a word with your friend when it's just the two of you together.

Andy, aged 17

I always really liked going out on my bike with my mates and we had loads of fun but lately they've started being really annoying. They race through red lights, leaving me behind, and ride really fast on the pavement. What should I have done?

Keiron says:

By jumping red lights and dodging on and off the pavement your friends are not only putting themselves at risk of crashing, or injuring a pedestrian, but they could also end up with a fine if they get caught – it's actually illegal.

Stick to your guns and ride safely. It may take a little longer to get there but you'll get there in one piece.

Bethany says:

When I'm walking I hate it when people ride fast on the pavement – it feels like they're going to crash into you. I also get really annoyed when cyclists cut in front of me at pedestrian crossings. Your mates are just trying to show off to each other. But it's actually showing that they have no respect for other people. I'd find some more mature friends to ride with.

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