Your Health: August 15, 2013 Freshmen's health and safety - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Your Health: August 15, 2013 Freshmen's health and safety

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Birmingham, AL -


 Chances are your college freshman has already attended orientation and may soon start an exciting new journey towards independence which comes with responsibilities and risks.
       ABC 33/40's Linda Mays shows us a unique "must-have" for your freshman to stay safe and healthy.
 
     Tracy Smith, who's daughter starts her freshman year in college says, "They are all on their own for the first time. You hope they have good roommates and meet good people but you really just don't know."


  It's not uncommon for parents to worry about their son or daughter's health and safety as they look forward to moving off to college for their freshman year.

     Caroline Smith says, "I think it's gonna be hard and a lot of studying but I think  a lot of fun too and a great way to meet new people and make a lot of connections and stuff , I'm excited."

     Most of Caroline Smith's college dorm room must-haves have to do with organizing, and managing her time and space and belongings.
     But, now she has in her hand a new must-have for her safety.  It may also help release some of a parent's worries.

  Her dad says, "I think that it makes it a lot easier for her to stay in touch with people that are close in that particular geographical area that she is so if something does happen somebody can get there pretty quick to her."

     It's a free Iphone and android app called the circle of six.  
     When individuals may feel threatened they now can get help in a finger touch and a text.
     Caroline recently learned about it..

      It's an app where you set up the phone numbers of six people you trust and feel safe with.
      If ever you're afraid and need help, you can just touch a button to send out a text message.
      There's a car icon, phone icon and a chat icon.
      Caroline checks it out.  "Chat icon, I need some advice. An SMS text will be ready to send that reads:  I'm looking up information about healthy relationships and respect. Just letting you know.

   The phone icon provides a different text.
    It says "Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption."

   When you click on the car icon, you can ask your circle to come pick you up.    
   The Circle of 6 app connects users to GPS technology, and actually sends out directions to your location.
 
     Caroline says, "I think its useful. I'll probably use it."

      Her dad says, "You think about them 24 hours a day. Are they doing the right thing. Are they ok. When you send them a text you want them to respond back, when they don't you're like where are they?"

     Caroline says, her freshman orientation required her to take a class that addressed relationships. The expected and the unexpected.
     She says, "They did address healthy relationships , what's stalking, what's domestic violence and what isn't a healthy relationship and I thought that was important thing to talk about."

   The Circle of 6 app is designed to prevent sexual assault and dating violence.  
 
 Tracy Smith says, "You have to have some faith in people that good things are gonna happen.  There's always gonna be a time when you're apprehensive, what's gonna happen, what's happened to them now."

  Caroline says, "Me and my dad made this to go in my room."  It an wooden organizer with hooks on it.  They painted light blue to match her comforter on the twin bed in her dorm room.

    As students transition into a new environment, a new stage in life with new relationships using this app is a good thing, along with good advice from her parents..

     Caroline says,  "I've been raised right. So I know how to take care of myself. I'm really excited to see how I do on my own... with a little independence."

Tracy says, "I've instilled in her how important it is to go to class be a good citizen nothing good happens after midnight."

 
     The Circle of 6 app aims to help to prevent or avoid any type violence before it happens.
     But, not just any six friends will do.  You really should give thought to it.  It's suggested that you include people who are likely to answer your text, friends who keep their phone on and next to them and who has reliable transportation to pick you up, if needed.  Of course, talk to them before hand, so they are familiar with it too.  Also, you can change members of your circle at any time.

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