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

Questions, Answers and Resources for Teens

Use this resource for questions regarding your health, your relationships, your body and your sexuality.

While this site is informative, it is not a substitute for talking to your doctor, parents or other trusted adult.

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!
Dec 18

Emojis: Working Through the Crap in Your Life

Posted By iamincontrol | December 18, 2014

HAND UP IF YOU LOVE EMOJIS!! No one loves emojis more than this guy. I use them to communicate in my texts more than I use words sometimes. The emoji is that added flare to my texts that portrays my emotions to a tee. Who knew that such a small picture could do that? I guess the age old saying, “a picture says a thousand words,” has never been truer than for the emojis.


When you look at the large array of emojis found in the keyboard. One may start to appreciate the large amount of feelings humans feel. This may overwhelm someone, cause someone to become devastated by the amount of sad feelings one can feel. And to be honest, it is overwhelming. As humans, we cry, laugh, smile, frown, feel, hurt, and become angered, feared, or excited. All these emotions seem to be working together for or against our daily lives.


But, one emotion that the emoji fails to encompass is hope. For instance, maybe you had hoped: Hoped that you would get that role in the play, hoped that you would start on the basketball team, or hoped that you would have had a boyfriend/girlfriend by your senior year of high school. And I know that when I am in a mess of emotions and disappointments and someone says “If one door closes, there’s always a window.” I want to find that window and push that person out of it. I don’t think it’s a good idea to blindly walk around with a smile thinking everything will go our way and not recognize our emotions.


But one thing that every person wants is hope. Hope that comes from betrayal, denial, and suckiness, now, that’s a hope that will last. A hope that recognizes that being human is feeling all the types of emojis and more, but still knowing that things will get better. So be hopeful, because hope is taking that emoji and shoving it into a situation until it shows beauty and goodness, until it gets better, and it will.


Dec 16

Red Bulls® on Monsters® On Red Bulls®: Filling UP your tank with other things.

Posted By iamincontrol | December 16, 2014

Red Bull-gives you wings®? Monster-Unleash the Beast®? These are some of the slogans that the energy of the energy drinks use to their drinkers. Energy drink consumption has increased over the years especially among teens. But more and more information is coming out about its effects. These “uplifting” drinks are actually linked to depression. So, when they say it is bringing you up, FALSE ADVERTISING. According to Poison Control, in three months June-August 2014, over 700 cases of energy overdose occurred in teens—that’s a whole lot.

Here’s what one person had to say about their need for caffeine:

“What I soon began to notice is that when I actually ate my fruits and vegetables, I had a lot more energy than when I grabbed chips and dip with pop. Looking back I never figured out why the vegetables worked better than the pop; we all know that pop contains caffeine and that should give us energy, right? Wrong! The nutrients in fruits and vegetables are so important for endurance, performance, and stamina. Turns out everything I thought Gatorade was doing for my recovery, fruits and vegetables actually do. Too bad no one tells us this in commercials or something we see every day, otherwise I probably would have paid attention more to what I was eating.” -Danielle

Five servings of fruits and vegetables is the recommendation. That may seem like a lot, but there are so many ways to sneak in all kinds without even noticing. Homemade fruit smoothies jam-packed with as many fruits and vegetables you can fit could satisfy the guideline in just one meal. When mixed with everything else, you might not even notice you are eating them. So next time you go for that Red Bull®, think twice about what it is actually doing, it’s not giving you wings.

Dec 11

Don’t Be S.A.D. this winter!

Posted By iamincontrol | December 11, 2014

Sad. Isn’t that how we all feel to some extent during the winter, as the days get shorter and shorter? As we keep adding layers of clothing to leave the house, and spend as little time outside in the frigid cold as possible?

But being ‘SAD’ is a different story than just being lower-case sad. SAD stands for ‘seasonal affective disorder,’ a type of temporary depression that occurs during specific times of the year—most commonly in the fall and winter. It is estimated that 10-20% of people in the United States experience SAD each year and that it is more common in females.

Although many people—especially in northern parts of the U.S. like Iowa, where the winters are long and cold– get the winter blues, seasonal affective disorder hits a little harder. Symptoms of SAD include drops in energy, weight gain, sleeping a lot more than usual, and not wanting to be social.

The following are tips adapted from the Huffington Post to help combat SAD. These suggestions can help anyone feeling a little blue in the winter—but if you are feeling depressed, don’t be afraid see a doctor or counselor about your symptoms.

  • Get outside. Yes, even though it’s cold, try to get outside at lunch, open period, or after school. Natural sunlight will improve your mood, and since the days are so short during the winter, it’s important to grab the sun while you can during the day!
  • Get moving! As Michelle Obama says, ‘Let’s move!’  Exercise releases chemicals called endorphins that will naturally increase your mood. It’s also a good way to burn stress, and if you’re exercising in a gym or as part of a sports team or club, it provides social time– which also helps with depression.
  • Get social. Especially during the Thanksgiving and winter breaks, when school is out and it’s tempting to sit around at home and watch Netflix, try to get out of the house. Go to a movie or dinner with friends. It will help to get you out of a funk.
  • Sleep well. Although it may be hard to wake up every morning in the darkness, or to stay awake after school when the sun is already setting, resist the temptation to sleep late or nap throughout the day. Sleeping more than you usually do will only make you feel more sluggish and tired overall.
  • Be patient. Winter in Iowa is long, and fighting SAD may take time– but embrace the activities and people who make you feel better. It will pay off in the long run. If your symptoms do not improve, don’t be afraid to seek professional help—SAD, like depression, is a real disorder and can be treated!


Dec 9

On this Holiday Season: Change Your Relationships with our Body

Posted By iamincontrol | December 9, 2014

It’s finally the holiday season—-YES!! Just give me that Thanksgiving Turkey, Christmas Cookies, and Candy Canes. I eat just as much as the next person. AND then, New Years Eve hits and say good-bye to the last two months of over indulgences. But recently, I’ve been on this new kick that I suggest we all move to. As you think about those news years’ resolutions, I know many will jump to create a resolution about their body or weight. And it is great to have goals.

            But rather than changing our weight, we need to start creating a relationship with our body. Our body has needs just like everything: it wants attention, nutrients, and exercise. We have to create a relationship with our body. One that treats it with respect by identifying what types of attention it needs. One that gives it foods that help it feel good like vegetables and proteins, rather than sugars and fats that make us feel lousy.  One that moves it to feel better. So this is my new years resolution: To listen to my body and treat it with respect.

Listen to what Gina has to say about this:

“As a kid I was always told I was “big boned.” In grade school, I towered over my peers year after year and even now nothing has really changed—except my weight. At any given point in my life I would have never consider myself “thin” or “skinny,” I was never built to be that way. However, in middle school I gained a lot of weight. Clinically, I was considered obese. Emotionally, I wasn’t happy. Even at such a young age, I realized that I needed to lose weight for my health and my well-being.

Over the course of the next year, I lost weight with the support of my mom and helpful weight-loss programs. I lost the weight slowly and began exercising and learning to eat right.  That was about 10 years ago, and my journey hasn’t ended. I’m still tall, and I’m still big boned, but I’m healthy—and I love my body. I’m still not “thin” or “skinny,” but I feed my body right and try my best to be physically active. All bodies are different; some are thin; some are tall; others are wide; and some are short. As humans we aren’t all made to look the same, but our body’s all deserve mutual respect. With all of the messages out there that are telling us how we need to look, it can be hard to focus on how our bodies make us feel. We will all have days when we aren’t feeling 100% confident in our own skin. But, what’s important is that we do our best to be healthy and treat our body’s right, no matter what the size. “

By Gina

Dec 4

A New Allergy

Posted By iamincontrol | December 4, 2014

What’s up with all these allergies? Gluten-free stuff? I mean they just seem to be popping up everywhere. I understand people have allergies and we don’t want people falling over, because they got some their allergen on them. But what about those of us who have a religious relationship with that allergen. What are we suppose to do? So because of that, I am starting a new allergy. I am officially allergic to bad decisions. One of the bad decisions that exist is consuming alcohol or over consuming alcohol. Alcohol consumption can lead to a lot of different bad decisions that I am allergic to, drunk driving, non-consensual sex,  suspension from school activities, etc.


And when I was in high school and college, alcohol consumption sometimes seemed like the norm. Some students feel they need to keep up just to fit in. I don’t want to stand out; I want to blend in with everyone else. That’s how I felt until I realized that there were other things to do besides drinking, that drinking is not the norm. According to a recent study at the University of Iowa, the drinking rate has fallen by nearly twenty percent in the last five years. So, I was being pressured to think drinking was the norm, and being pressured to think that my alcohol consumption quantified my coolness. So I am starting this new allergy.


Soon some of you will be heading off to college and be faced with even more temptations of alcohol, listen to what one college student has to say:


“After a night of drinking, something needed to be done. It took me getting so far off track to realize that it is not who I am. I may live in a college town, but it’s actually not the norm at a college town. I am here for school and I need to be comfortable with myself. I am my own person and alcohol should never be the thing that defines me. For my success is not found on the fake norm of drinking, but rather the time I spend doing other things. Like, when I spend time with friends, find a new connection in a classroom, the feeling of working hard for an exam grade that comes back positive, or taking a leadership role in a school organization. Those are the moments you go to college for. “ –Jake


So if you could not offend my new allergy, that’d be great.



Dec 2

The Ebola Virus Can’t Get me Down…

Posted By iamincontrol | December 2, 2014

At the summer camp I attend, at morning chapel, the counselor will usually stand up and sing a song. For the last ten years, they used to call every song, “The Ebola Virus can’t get me down…” It was a joke because the virus had vanished for quite some time. That was until about a last year when the virus showed up in West Africa. Soon that title for all the chapel songs changed…

Our last month poll and the results are IN:

Are You Scared of Getting Ebola? 

No, not at all, I don’t think Ebola will affect me or anyone I know personally (56%)

A Little—But I think the Risk is Low (21%)

Yes, I Worry That Ebola Will Become an Epidemic in the US (26%)

Recently, an analysis of the Google analytics showed that Americans have lost interest in the virus. And our poll reflects that fact. But in the analysis they found two areas of search about the virus for Americans: treatment for the virus and how it is spread. IAMinControl is here to let you know these answers. For the virus to be spread, people have to have direct physical contact with body fluids like blood, saliva, stool, urine, sweat, etc. of an infected person. A person is not seen as contagious until they are showing symptoms or pretty much a fever, but has to have traveled to West Africa within the last 21 days. For treatment, there is no vaccine or medicine available for Ebola. Experimental vaccines and treatments for Ebola are being looked at. One treatment that has been used is transfusing the blood of a recovered Ebola victim into an infected individual. Here’s a CDC infographic about it!

Nov 27

Snapchat + Sexual Pics=Totally Basic: Five Things to Think About Before Clicking Send

Posted By iamincontrol | November 27, 2014

Think you know a lot about Snapchat? Well think again. I AM in Control is here to give you what you need to know about this popular app.

Here are some fun facts:

  • The app was originally called Picaboo in 2011, before it was quickly changed to Snapchat (Makes sense, it’s like playing virtual peekaboo with your little cousin or brother)
  • Snapchat has 100 million users, which send 400 million snaps a day! 40% of those users are just like you, and between the age 14-18
  • What is up with that weird ghost mascot? Actually, that thing has a name and its “Ghostface Chillah” from the early 2000’s rap group Wu-Tang Clan

While most of us are using the app to send funny selfies and things we see throughout our day, people are using this for other reasons as well. Some choose to bully via Snapchat, while others send an occasional sexual picture to that BAE (Before Anyone Else) from fourth period. But here’s a list of things to think about before sending those snaps:

  • Snappy is Leaky. Last month someone hacked into Snapchat’s server and stole nude photos that were being sent via the app. The hackers then decided to post these photos online. Earlier this year, another hacker got the usernames and phone numbers of 4.6 million users.
  • Snap. Send. Delete? Snapchat has admitted that images stay temporarily on their server and the user’s phone.
  • Screenshot Notification No More. There is a possibility that in future versions of Snapchat that there will be no notification of screenshot, so anyone can keep your pictures forever.
  • Found it. Companies make money by retrieving snaps for someone. So say a future college or parent wanted to view your snaps, these companies have got them covered.
  • Your Info=Money. By reading Snapchat’s privacy policy, you’ll find they are getting your basic information and sharing it with vendors, companies, and people of interest.

Snapchat is always changing, so this list could always change. But think twice before you send that snap, the person you are sending it to may not be the only one to view it.

This post will be our poll for the month of December– have you ever received a sext (including over Snapchat)?            

a.       No, I have never received a sext of any kind

b.      Yes, but just once or twice

c.       Yes—several times

Nov 26

#It’sOnUs: Why is the President Taking Over the Silver Screen

Posted By iamincontrol | November 26, 2014


Has anyone seen the commercial called “It’s on Us”?! Where the camera shot focuses up close and over and over again on faces of celebrities and even the vice president and president. Well, since I wasn’t quite sure what they meant by all this “It’s On Us” stuff, I did some investigation.


The campaign is to help increase awareness about sexual assault in the US. In addition, they are encouraging people to no just stand around and let this happen, but to actually take a major role in stepping in or preventing it. They want everyone to sign a pledge that says this:

To recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault.

To identify situations in which sexual assault may occur.

To intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given.

To create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported


If you don’t think sexual assault is bad in your school, think again! These stats tell a different story: Approximately 1.8 million adolescents in the United States have been the victims of sexual assault– 1 in 3 females and 1 in 6 males are sexually assaulted before the age of eighteen. That means that if you took three times the population of adolescents in Iowa—that’s how many teens are getting sexually assaulted in the US. It’s time this got national coverage. It is on Us to reverse these statistics, starting with us. Please log on to Facebook and like the “It’s On Us” Page, Follow them on Twitter, and sign on to this website and sign the petition to end sexual assault:

Nov 25

You Find Out Who Your Friends Are

Posted By iamincontrol | November 25, 2014

teenage friends
By Molly

You will find out who your true friends are when you are in high school. The friends that back you up and are on your side no matter what, those are your true friends. I struggled with finding my true friends. I went through the phase of wanting to hang out with all the popular girls from my class.  I soon became a part of their clique and all I worried about was what my plans were for the weekend. I began to be rude to my parents and flat out mean to anyone that tried to talk to me that wasn’t part of my ‘clique’. My three best friends that I grew up with noticed the change and didn’t like it. They told me that I was turning into a stuck up that would do anything to please my new friends.

I soon began to notice that my ‘new friends’ were actually rude to everyone. They didn’t care about the other people. They wanted to make fun of them and gossip. This showed me that I was better than that and that I should be nice to everyone. I stopped hanging out with them, and my parents and friends noticed me going back to how I was. You realize that your true friends will bring out the best in you. They will still support you no matter what decisions you make throughout your life.

You are in control of finding the right friends for you.

Nov 20

Dealing with Divorce

Posted By iamincontrol | November 20, 2014

sad teenage boy
By Kelsey

I was a sophomore in high school when my whole life got flipped upside down: divorce. This wasn’t the first time I have had to deal with divorce. My mom and dad got divorced when I was a baby, so by the time I was a teenager, I was used to the whole having to go to two Christmases, two Thanksgivings, and everything else that needed to be split up amongst my mother and father. My mom got remarried when I was in kindergarten, so I dealt with the transition of having a step-father and didn’t seem to mind it.

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