Safety Tips for TeensDid you know that teenagers, 12-19, especially girls, are the most victimized segment of the population in the United States? Everybody thinks it happens to little kids, but it doesn't. It happens to you and your friends and kids you know at school. Sometimes it happens and nobody finds out because no one talks about it. If you become a victim, you need to tell someone—a parent, the pastor at your church, a teacher—someone you are close to.

What are the rules for protecting yourself? These are easy rules to live by. Rules that remind you like a little voice inside you that says HEY, do I really want to do this? Do I really want to go there? These are the rules.

Don't Go Out Alone. Think about it before you go. Remember, if you can avoid situations that put you at risk in the first place, you are already one step ahead.

Always Tell An Adult Where You Are Going. Letting someone know where you will be at all times is smart. If you are ever faced with a risky situation or get into trouble, your family and friends will know where to find you. If no one is at home, leave a note stating where you are going, with whom and the approximate time you are coming home. Also, never leave home angry and never get behind the wheel of a car when you are upset.

Say No If You Feel Threatened. Teenagers face a lot of different situations today that put them in uncomfortable spots. You are constantly having to make decisions for yourself and are faced with peer pressure about anything from who your friends are, male or female, to exposure to sex and drugs. Listen to your intuition and follow your best judgment. If your friends are making bad decisions, you don't have to. Have the confidence to say NO if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable about anything.

You're SMART and STRONG and ready to TAKE ON THE WORLD. Go do it, just use your head FIRST. Know the rules. From now on, these are your rules for life.

Info provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, KNOW THE RULES. Contact them at 800-843-5678 or www.missingkids.com.