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I AM in Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality
May 1

Follow us on Twitter!

Posted By iamincontrol | May 1, 2014

Want to find out when IAMincontrol has a new post?  Follow us on Twitter @IAMincontrolIA for tweets about our posts and events for teens.  Retweet to share your favorite posts with your friends!
Mar 31


Posted By iamincontrol | March 31, 2015


If you have ever watched ‘16 and Pregnant’ or ‘Teen Mom’ or even just babysat, you know that babies are a lot of work. Having a shutterstock_98870129baby when you are young may derail your other goals like getting on the team, graduating from high school, going to college, or getting your dream job.

Thinking about your reproductive life plan may help you prevent having a baby when you are not ready.

Reproductive life plan?

A reproductive life plan is a way for you to think about your goals. Write down your answers to these questions:

  • What are your goals for school?
  • What kind of job would you like to have?
  • What other goals are important to you?
  • Do you ever want to have children?
  • How would having a child fit in with your other goals?
  • When would you want to have kids?


Another important question to ask yourself is, what would happen if you found out you (or your partner) were pregnant?

Baby? No way!

When you don’t want to have a baby and are having sex there are many options to prevent pregnancy. Condoms are great because they prevent sexually transmitted infections, they are cheap, and you can get them anywhere. But it is good to have another back up to prevent pregnancy. There are a lot of birth control options so find one that fits into your life. Talk to a doctor or nurse about all the birth control options available.

Do you want more information on creating your reproductive life planning?

Visit this Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website

For more information on birth control visit

Mar 24

Is that true? Finding answers to your health questions online

Posted By iamincontrol | March 24, 2015

Searching for health information on the Internet is super convenient. It’s fast, it’s available most places, and it might help you avoid askingshutterstock_193134332 your friends, parents, or doctor awkward questions. There are a lot of very trustworthy sites, but some are not. How do you tell the difference between a credible website and one that is not? Look for these three things:

  1. Look at who owns the site

This information may be right on the homepage or you may need to go to the “About Us” or “About this Site” link. Have you heard of this group? If you cannot find who runs site, you should probably keep find another site.

The site’s web address can also give you some information. Look at the end of the address.

  • .GOV – owned by a government agency
  • .EDU – owned by a school or university
  • .ORG – owned by a non-profit organization. Depending on who owns this site, their information could be trustworthy or it could have a bias.
  • .COM – for-profit companies and may be trying to sell you something
  1. Does the website have ads?

If it does, be cautious. The goal of the site might be to sell you something and may not be accurate.

  1. Has the site be updated lately?

A good health website will have a date of when the site was last updated or reviewed.

Some good sites to visit when you have health questions

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention –

Office on Women’s Health –

Young Men’s Health from Boston Children’s Hospital –

What about Wikipedia?

This answer is tricky…it depends. Wikipedia lets anyone post to it so it depends on who posted the information. The information should be cited. If it is not then don’t believe it. If it is go to the source it cited, and then use this checklist on that source.

What about Social Media?

What about sites and apps like 4Chan, Redditt, Yahoo! Answers, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter? Again, it depends who is writing it. If it is a reliable group with a reliable website then you can probably trust what they say. Otherwise, beware.

What if I am still not sure?

One thing you can do is check a few different sites. If they all say the same thing it is probably accurate. If you have any more questions or are still not sure, it is always best to talk to a doctor or nurse.

Mar 24

What your Gaming Avatars Say about you: 3 Tips for Making Friends

Posted By iamincontrol | March 24, 2015

shutterstock_220475623Wii Avatars are just creepy, don’t you think? The Mii (Wii Avatar) looks just like me: from my hair to my skin tone to even the uniqueness of my eyebrow. It strangely looks just like me—well, my appearance anyway. But I started to wonder– does the avatar actually show users some of my character and qualities?

A recent study actually answered that question. In that study, researchers found that an avatar actually tells users about different characteristics of their personality. AND, if you try to make the avatar not look like you, your personality STILL comes through to users. People were asked to rate avatars on five different personality traits. People correctly identified 3 of the 5 traits. What they found can help us understand how people view new potential friends.

From the study, use these three tips to make friends:

  1. Start with a smile: Researchers found that avatars that smiled were more likely to become friends with users. So start a conversation with a smile.
  2. Open Eyes, Open Heart: Without knowing it, in crowded rooms, we look at individual’s eyes for their intentions. Avatars that had open eyes appeared friendlier.
  3. Start with the Right Foot: Avatars that started with a conversation such as “Sup” or “Hey” were less likely to receive a response from someone. So use things like “Hello, how are you?” and quickly trying to find something in common, a favorite sports team, favorite class, or favorite TV series/movie.

Using these tips will get you off to a good start of becoming friends with someone, but keep in mind that people are far more complex in real life than in World of Warcraft. So remember that there is more to people than their outward appearance or avatar.

Mar 19

Stall Chats: Sweaty? What Sweat Can Tell you about your Body

Posted By iamincontrol | March 19, 2015

shutterstock_200018063I know it’s only March, but summer is right around the corner. I love summer; it is hands down one of my favorite seasons. From the weather, sun, no school, outdoor activities; you name it, I am a summer kind of guy. But with the summer comes hot weather, which means sweat. But sweat can tell us a lot about our health.

First off, what is in our sweat? There is water, salt, electrolytes and metabolic waste contained within the liquid. The average person sweats four gallons of fluid a day. Gross. But a foot alone can produce a cup of that sweat a day. Each person has 2-4 million sweat glands around their bodies. The number of sweat glands tells you how much you sweat. So if you have sweaty feet, you have a larger amount of sweat glands on your feet. Lastly, we sweat because it is the body’s way of cooling down the body after movement.

There are lots of things that cause us to sweat more. Alcohol, drugs and tobacco can cause you to sweat, as well as prescribed and illegal drugs. Furthermore, that greasy cheeseburger and fries cause you to sweat. But interestingly, sweat itself is odorless– it is actually the bacteria that are naturally on our skin that causes us to smell from sweating. So next time you go for a run or sweat a lot, make sure to replenish those things you lost with a drink of water or electrolytes in fruits and veggies. For more information on sweat:

Mar 17

What the Victoria Fashion Show taught me about loving my Body

Posted By iamincontrol | March 17, 2015

By: Amanda

Like any teenage girl throughout my high school and early college years, I struggled with body image. I always thought I was too fat ashutterstock_101952898nd I wanted to look like the supermodels and actresses. The best solution I could think of was to stop eating. If I wanted to get skinny, why would I eat? For a few years I lost weight, and when I was hungry I would chew gum and drink water to try and fill up. I would definitely consider myself anorexic, and I was well on my way to losing too much weight.

After a few years of this, I realized that I had a problem. I tried eating more and working out, so that I could be healthy instead of just skinny, but it was still really hard. What finally completely snapped me out of it was an article about the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show of 2014 that one of my friends sent me. I never watch the fashion show, but I’ve seen the models and I see people writing all over Twitter and Facebook about how they wish they looked like that and how they are “never eating again.” After I read this article, I realized how much pain these models have to go through to get the body that they have. It just doesn’t seem worth it to be that skinny. Being healthy is more attractive than having your ribs and collarbones sticking out. The most meaningful quote from the article that I found was this:

“Love yourself enough to know that you are not the sum of what you look like. Spend time focusing on loving you for you, not trying to be another girl. You have a soul, you have dreams, and you have so much to offer the world – I truly don’t believe this show helps any woman remember that or know that more deeply in her spirit.”

I saved this quote in my phone, and whenever I’m feeling down about my body or myself I read it. It really helps me remember how important it is to be myself, and not compare myself to other women. I am who I am, and I should be very proud of that.

Here is the link to the article:

Mar 5

Hazing: A Way of Welcome or An Unwelcomed Way?

Posted By iamincontrol | March 5, 2015

When I was in high school, hazing was a way of welcoming a new person to the football team. This usually consisted of two different thshutterstock_148991120ings. The freshman football players had to travel through this formation called “The Gauntlet” where the seniors were lined up ready to tackle and run into us with our pads on. In addition, we were lined up on the goal line, where the seniors were lined up right behind us. We were told to start running to the other side of the football field. If the senior player caught up to us, we were to be tackled and hit to the ground. This was a weekly routine and done before the coaches got out to our practice field.

This was a nerve wracking experience. Was I going to be hit really hard and get hurt? Everyone was watching, watching you get jacked up. I remember feeling helpless too. If I brought it up to the coaches, the seniors would know that it was me. My older brother told me it was a tradition of our football team and that bringing it up would only cause trouble.

But looking back, that hazing was unwelcomed. Who wants to get hit super hard by guys who are 100 pounds more heavier than you? Who wants to helplessly be hit and have to just take it? And looking back now, it really was not okay. I kept quiet and made it through the hazing that occurred.

Hazing can come in multiple forms. It doesn’t have to be physical, but anything that can cause emotional and psychological discomfort in the form of public or private humiliation. While mine was physical, it can also come in the form of shaving or dying your hair, harassment by saying you are stupid or other things. It is different from bullying because it is done upon as a way to say you belong to a group or organization. Bullying is more wide spread upon any person and not dependent on your membership to a group. According to Iowa code, hazing is illegal and needs to be talked about. In addition, there is a poster out there from the Iowa High Sports Association (IHSSA) and the Iowa High School Speech Association (IAHSSA). There are different ways to change your school district. An example is in Sioux City School Districts, they have an online hazing report form that can easily be accessed on your phone or computer in private, so students doesn’t have to fear backlash. In addition, the IHSSA has examples of team contracts to rid hazing on a team. In addition coaches and team leaders can organize team building activities, buddy systems, and Character Counts program. All that information can be accessed here. Team members should bring up these things to coaches and fellow team members. These types of changes will be long lasting and change whole school districts. Brainstorming these ideas will rid hazing for now, but also for the future.

Mar 5

Thirdhand Smoke: The Dangers and 3 Ways to Negotiate a Smoking Policy with a Smoker.

Posted By iamincontrol | March 5, 2015

I am sure we have all heard about secondhand smoke. Yes, being around others who smoke is dangerous for your health. But hashutterstock_1407685ve you heard of thirdhand smoke? This is a new term that has been getting a lot of buzz. Thirdhand smoke is the bad chemicals and tiny particles that stick around from tobacco smoked a long time ago. This can be in the carpet of someone who previously owned the house or on the clothes of a friend whose parents smoke. It can be a terrible smell, but it can also indicate the presence of toxins.

A recent that thirdhand smoke can cause the formation of cancerous materials. The study found that nicotine combines with common things in indoor air to create cancer-causing materials for you to eat and breathe. Yummy. This can especially be found in the dust that naturally occupies that space under your bed and in your home’s heating and cooling system.

Something that can be difficult is to negotiate is a smoking policy with a parent or friend who is a smoker. Use these tips:

  1. Start a Conversation: Talk to your loved ones and tell them about your concerns for your health and their health
  2. Support Their Efforts: Quitting smoking is hard work and they need support over judgment. Iowa Department of Public Health has a Quitline at 1-800-764-8669 and a website with lots of resources for you and your loved one.
  3. Create guidelines: Ask your loved one to smoke outside and not in the house or car. Talk about the toxins getting on their clothes. Then stick to the created plan.
Mar 3

Save Dat 4 L8tr

Posted By iamincontrol | March 3, 2015

The Poll Results are In!te3xt

If you can drive, do you Text and Drive?

  1. All the time, snaps, tweets, texts, Insta pics (100%).
  2. Sometime just an occasional text (0%)
  3. Absolutely NOT! (0%)

Overwhelmingly, you guys are sending a least some form of text message while you drive. And I have to omit that I have been known to send the occasional text of location to friend. It can be hard to put that phone down. I know what you are thinking, the second that I look down at my phone will not matter. But recently, my friend called me and said she had totalled her car. She was snapchatting a video of her singing “Turn Down for What?” And she crashed her car.

She was lucky and survived the crash, but needed to get a new car. There are a lot of statistics out there about distracted driving. Distracted Driving is when you either: take your eyes off the road; take your hands off the wheel; or take your mind off driving. Over 3,000 people were killed in crashes involving distracted driving each year. So you are not alone, but that text can wait. Your parent, friend, or significant other will not be upset if you do not respond. Take the time to unplug and have ‘me’ time, it makes you happier.

Here is a link to take a pledge to stop texting and driving: Also there is an app called DriveMode, which will shut down alerts on your phone while you drive and autoreply to all incoming texts and emails that you are driving and can’t respond now. You won’t regret doing these.

Feb 26

That’s SOO Awkward: Talking to Your Parents (Or Trusted Adult) About Sex

Posted By iamincontrol | February 26, 2015

If you think talking with your parents about sex is awkward, think again. My mother was my sexual health teachshutterstock_177060569er. That’s right, when I went through sexual education, my mother was the one showing the pictures of different Sexually Transmitted Infections and telling me how to us a condom. It was mortifying, when my fellow teammates, classmates, and peers would tell me about the questions they asked my mother.

I dreaded the semester I had to step into my mother’s classroom to be one of her sexual health students. But it just so happens that talking and being open with my mother about sex was very beneficial. My mother is a wealth of knowledge about sex and my body. While my mother is an expert on sexual health, your parents may not be; but I bet they have good advice to pass on about values and putting things into perspective. So many of you may be wondering– how do you bring up sex to your parents, because you may want them to know or you may need to seek medical attention for something with sexual health. Well, here are my Top Three Things to Think about Before Talking to Your Parents:

  1. Teenagers at One Time: Think about it your parents were teenagers at one time too. They can give you a lot of advice about sexual relationships. They probably have gone through something similar.
  2. Admit Your Nerves: Your parents know that it is a hard conversation. Start with something like, “ Mom or Dad, this is something that isn’t easy for me to ask you about”
  3. Think about What You Want to Say: Go through what you want to say and how you want to start the conversation. Start with something along the lines. “Mom/Dad, did you ever feel pressured to have sex?”, “Mom/Dad, when you were my age were you curious about sex?” Make sure to pick a location that can get your parents full attention, like home.

By thinking about these tips, you’ll be off to a good start. If the conversation doesn’t go as expected or you don’t think it would be a good idea to talk to your parents, you could find another person you trust- aunt, doctor, friend’s mother or school nurse. Yes, it’s a nerve-wracking experience, but it is worth it.

Feb 24

Re-Evaluating Your Friendships

Posted By iamincontrol | February 24, 2015

Juggling friendships is hard—especially in high school, when you are surrounded by your friends all day and often ishutterstock_221059867nto the night. Having good friends is essential—what fun is life without people to share it with??

However, not all friendships are the same—and some can be toxic. It can be really easy to get stuck in a friendship rut. Toxic friends can be like bad habits—hard to quit and even harder to stay away from.

Signs of a toxic friend are:

  • Good friends are genuinely happy for you when something exciting happens in your life. A toxic friend will dismiss your achievements, try to make you feel undeserving, or steal your spotlight with a triumph of their own.
  • Toxic friends are never at fault for anything. A good friend will admit to being wrong—a toxic friend will try to shift the blame anywhere but themselves.
  • A toxic friend will make you feel judged. A true friend will be honest if he/she thinks you are making a mistake, but will nevertheless celebrate who you are—whether that means your style, or sense of humor, or interests and hobbies. Have you ever felt someone looking you up and down in public with their eyes like, ‘what is that outfit about??’ A toxic friend will make you feel like that a lot of the time.
  • If you find yourself trying too hard to justify the friendship—that might be a sign it’s not a good one. For instance, if you find yourself saying to yourself “But I’ve known her forever…” as a reason to keep the friendship alive—that’s not a good enough reason!!

Take the new year as a chance to re-evaluate those questionable friendships in your life—is this a friend you really you want to share your time with, or are they just toxic?

For more information on how to deal with toxic or unhealthy friendships, take a look at the following links: