mobile phoneTeenagers are often reluctant to talk about issues affecting them face to face, especially if they feel they are being preached to. As most rely on social media, the opportunity to receive advice via text is a more attractive prospect.

Charity Respect Yourself, which offers free information and support to young people aged between 13 and 25, uses this format to help them stay on the right path.

The organisation’s origins came about when founder Claire Burke managed to persuade her 16-year-old brother not to break the law riding his bike without any road tax. By texting him the consequences, it made him reconsider, without him feeling he was receiving unwanted advice.

She explained: “It made me think how important it was to think from a 16-year-old’s point of view today... if I could get through to my brother, how many more young people out there could I help?”

From this, came about the idea of providing a series of text messages and information that could have a positive impact on vulnerable young people’s choices. The charity advises on bullying, finance, sexual health, the law and mental health issues. As well as texts, they also receive futher detailed information on the website. The life-guiding messages online include why you should never leave a dog alone with a child, why you cannot please everyone all the time and how to report a hate crime.

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