South African Youth and Risk Behaviour Project with Answers
The youth of South Africa are constantly exposed to risks, which may promote substance use, unprotected sex, unhealthy eating habits and violence. This behaviour that are usually adopted during their youthful years and often persist into adulthood, are interrelated, and in most cases, are preventable. In addition to resulting in morbidity (obesity) and sometimes mortality (death), this behaviour simultaneously result in many of the social and educational problems that confront the nation, including failure to complete high school, unemployment, and crime. In order to protect the youth from these risk behaviour, it is therefore necessary to educate them at an early age on the dangers and consequences, as well as to foster health promoting behaviour and environments.
2nd South African National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey 2014
The Medical Research Council released the results of the 2nd South African National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey 2014. This nationally representative survey among 10 270 secondary school learners in grades 8 through 11, reports on the prevalence of behaviour that place them at risk for disease and ill health.
Following the first Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (YRBS) in 2008, this survey investigated behaviour related to infectious diseases (sexual risk behaviour and hygiene), injury and trauma (violence and traffic safety), mental health (depression, suicide related behaviour, substance use), and chronic diseases (nutrition and physical activity).
The following is a summary of the 2014 Youth Risky Behaviour Survey:
Some positive developments
The survey showed significant reductions in risky sexual behaviour. Fewer school learners had ever had sex. Of those who had sex, the number of school learners that had two or more sexual partners in their lifetime significantly reduced, and less learners had one or more sexual partners during the past three months. Also, of those who ever had sex, the incidence of sexually transmitted infections significantly reduced, while consistent condom use increased slightly.
Increasing health threats
The survey showed clear reductions in physical activity, decreased threat to mental health and unsafe traffic behaviour. A significant increase in physical inactivity and TV watching for more than 3 hours per day was observed. Regarding mental health, more learners made one or more suicide attempt during the past six months Regarding unsafe traffic behaviour, more learners drove a vehicle after drinking alcohol in the past 30 days and were driven by someone who had been drinking alcohol in the past 30 days.
Gather data/ information, by doing research, to write a report with the title:
Risky behaviour amongst South African youth, situations they are exposed to as well as the impact of their behaviour on themselves and society.
Question: Define the concept risky behaviour and explain why it is important for teenagers to investigate and be knowledgeable about it.
Answer: A Healthy and balanced lifestyle: Means eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, avoid- ing tobacco and drugs and getting plenty of rest.
Answer: Unsafe attitudes and behaviours: Includes drugs, alcohol use and experimentation, defiance and lying, moodiness and irritability, engaging in unsafe sex.
Answer: Risky behaviours and situations: Unprotected sexual activities that may lead to unwanted teenage pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), strong addiction of drugs and alcohol, involvement in illegal works for easy earnings, under-age driving, involvement in politi- cal parties where they might face different threatening situations, unhealthy dietary behaviours and inadequate physical activity.
Answer: Covid 19: Covid 19, is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. CO stands for corona and VI for virus and D for disease. Formerly it was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or 2019- nCoV. It is also known as as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus.
Types of risk behaviour
Choose 4 risky situations and describe each situation – give examples | Choose any 4.
- Personal safety refers to avoidance of possible harmful situations or persons in your surround- ing. This implies that teenagers should avoid walking alone at night, getting involved in situa- tions of violence, e.g. drinking or walking with strangers.
- Road use refers to the methods and measures used to prevent road users from being killed or seriously injured. Typical road users include pedestrians, cyclists, motorist, vehicle passengers, etc. Drinking and driving, driving without a driver’s license – all these put the lives of road users at stake.
- Substance abuse refers to the use of illegal drugs or the use of prescription or over the counter drugs or alcohol for purposes other than those for which they are meant to be used or in exces- sive amounts. Substance abuse may lead to social, physical, emotional and job related prob- lems. Teenagers smoke dagga, tik, nyaope. At times, they start off by experimenting and end up addicted. At times the use of cough mixtures with codeine is abused. All these substances lead to addiction and behaviour that causes self destruction.
- Sexual behaviour, teenage pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). This is human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour in a manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality and can cause STIs and also lead to unwanted teenage pregnancy. Teenagers engage in unsafe sexual behaviour and get pregnant, leading to dropping out of school. It also leads to contracting serious diseases like HIV/AIDS.
- Teenage suicide is when a young person deliberately ends their own life.
- Hygiene and dietary behaviour encompasses food choice and motives, feeding practices, dieting and eating related problems such as obesity, eating disorders and feeding disorders and hygienic processes. Teenagers, at times, because of low self esteem, find themselves wanting to lose weight and engage in methods of weight loss that can lead to anorexia. They later get de- pressed and moody. Some become obese also because of psychological challenges.
- Peer pressure is the direct influence on people by peers, or the effect on an individual who is encouraged and wants to follow their peers by changing their attitudes, values or behaviours to conform to those of the influencing group or individual. Negative peer pressure leads to unsafe and risky behaviours like substance abuse and unsafe sex practices.
Discuss 3 factors that may cause teenagers to engage in each of the risky behaviours and situations chosen
- Brain power; they are impulsive and make emotional decisions without thinking about the consequences, lack of experience.
- Unhealthy optimism; Teens think that negative outcomes will never happen to them and neg- ative consequences don’t deter them.
- Adventure; boredom causes them to look for excitement, that is mostly detrimental to their safety.
- Peer pressure; research shows that risk taking among teens doubles when peers are around. Some teens want to be accepted and fit in – they want to impress their friends. Read: Why choosing wrong friends may subject you to unrealistic life
- Media; movies and television project a wide range of risky behaviour in glamorous and admira- ble ways.
- Poor self-esteem; a young person with a low self-esteem may not be assertive to say NO and find himself involved in risky behaviour. Such individuals are easily swayed to get involved in wrong doing.
How do these risky behaviours impact on teenagers and their communities?
Youth may bunk school, stealing to satisfy behaviours like substance abuse and this increasing crime rate. Substance abuse can lead to violence and the addict can be a threat to both himself and society.
This behaviour can cause anxiety, mental stress and unhappiness among people. This health problem causes health issues for the individual. Risk behaviours lead to personal, social and economic problems and are associated with mortality, namely, through accidents, violence and crime.
Suggest and discuss solutions to risky behaviours
- Good communication in the family
- Engage in positive activities such as sport clubs, art clubs, etc
- Serve or volunteer in your community
- Be clear of the consequences of the risk behaviour
- Talk about values at home and in the community
- Have good role models in the community
Impact of Covid 19 on a healthy and balanced lifestyle under the following topics:
Answers: Loss of income and poverty:
Covid 19 caused a lot of job losses because of the heavy lockdown. Households lost income and this led to families not being able to fulfil basic needs like food. This put a lot of pressure on families who were unable to provide for their children. Because of lack of provision, teenagers lack coping skills and get depressed. It can also lead to drug abuse as a coping skill. Loss of income and poverty are related. It has an impact on the quality of the lives of of youth. Some teenagers may engage in criminal activities to get food.
Cultural and religious practices.
Attending church, for many families, is important as it promotes values within families. Church attendance was prohibited during hard lockdown. There was no alternative place to go to for spiritual upliftment and communities lost the opportunities of gathering. Cultural practices like celebrations of weddings and, for Xhosa culture, circumcisions were prohibited. This resulted in more loneliness and hopelessness. Teenagers and their families were unable to manage or cope with these situations.
This impacted negatively on their lifestyle choices.
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