Rebound focusing on teens, healthy relationships – The London Free Press


As Canadian teens fully lean into digital connectivity with smartphones and social media, the local youth drop-in r.Lounge through Rebound is focusing on building healthy relationships.


(File photo)


As Canadian teens fully lean into digital connectivity with smartphones and social media, the local youth drop-in r.Lounge through Rebound is focusing on building healthy relationships.

Next Monday the centre will hold a drop-in event for teens ages 12 to 15 to explore healthy relationships. With help from the Sarnia-based Sexual Assault Survivors’ Centre, leaders from Rebound will help young teens identify warning signs in relationships, in person and online, and will give them tools to handle unhealthy relationships.

That could be between teens or in family situations said Sami Kameka, program coordinator with Rebound.

“It can really go from a family relationship, to friends, to a romantic (relationship). It doesn’t really matter,” Kameka said. “It’s just about having those guidelines of what is healthy and what is not.”

The program fits into the theme of r.Lounge, which provides a safe space for young teens in difficult situations. Kameka, 23, often talks with those teens about issues they might feel uncomfortable telling their parents. The goal is to provide them a safe space and to give them valuable tools in the meantime.

Understanding social media, including dating apps, is important to staying safe online, Kameka said.

“It’s basically, what I like to say, is ‘harm reduction,’” she added. “So giving that information first-hand and then youths are able to use that in their daily lives.”

“(With online relationships) you’re not building those really valuable life skills that you need,” Carrie McEachran, executive director with Rebound, added. “When you’re at home and you’re on the internet all the time, how are you building those skills?”

The healthy relationships workshop will take place from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday afternoon. The r.Lounge is open to all teens between 12 and 15, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

lpin@postmedia.com

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