Shawn Wang is a senior at Western Sierra Collegiate Academy in Rocklin.

Shawn Wang is a senior at Western Sierra Collegiate Academy in Rocklin, and serves on the Placer County Youth Commission.

Today’s youth are dealing with adult issues in ways that are intensified through mobile connectivity. As the world is brought in closer through cyber connectivity, many youth find themselves over-exposed with great intensity to the emotions inspired by the insecurity of others (perhaps at home as well as in the community) and the associated behaviors including: bullying, addictions and human exploitation.

Last November 17, the Auburn Hip Hop Congress, the Coalition for Placer Youth, the Coalition for Auburn and Lincoln Youth, and the Rocklin Parks and Recreation co-sponsored a social event for youth called “Stand up & Get Down” held at Johnson Springview Park in Rocklin. Shawn Wang, a senior at Western Sierra Collegiate Academy in Rocklin, serves on the Placer County Youth Commission which advises the Placer County Board of Supervisors, attended the event.  According to Wang, the purpose of Stand Up and Get Down was to provide a healthy outlet and alternative venue for teens to display and enjoy their talents in music and art. “Everyone who was there had a great time,” he said. “There were so many talented and amazing hip hop artists there.” The featured picture above in this article are local rap artists Eddie Barraza and Austin Mullen.

Rap star artist J. Ross Parelli with a youngster at the Stand Up and Get Down event for youth on November 17 in Rocklin.

Rap star artist J. Ross Parelli with a youngster at the Stand Up and Get Down event for youth on November 17 in Rocklin. (Photo: Rocky Zapata)

This past decade of fieldwork and research has taught me a lot about the vulnerability and resilience of the human condition, especially with youth. The drug culture and the network culture do indeed create a perfect storm for addiction to substances, as social media hypes a world that focuses on appearances while the true connection that starts from within to form secure relationships is so easily obscured. To say that many youth today do not feel secure is an understatement. Rather they are experiencing peer pressure on steroids. And when you do not feel secure you are vulnerable to lies, such as: in order to fit in and/or deal with emotional pain, you must use drugs and alcohol. In their cyber-powered realities, this can seem so normal. And for many youth who choose not to use drugs and alcohol, which is most of them, there is a feeling of isolation. Recognizing this reality for youth, the organizers say that the purpose of this event is to help teens find a place to enjoy being sober and express themselves.

“When anxiety helps us prepare to deal with some danger (a presumed utility in evolution), then it has served us well. But in modern life anxiety is more often out of proportion and out of place – distress comes in the face of situations that we must live with or that are conjured by the mind, not real dangers we need to confront. Repeated bouts of anxiety signal high levels of stress.” – Daniel Goleman in Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ (1995)

The artwork of local youth was on display at the "Stand Up and Get Down" event in Rocklin last November.

The artwork of local youth was on display at the “Stand Up and Get Down” youth event in Rocklin last November. (Photo: Rocky Zapata)

pohley_natalie-and-rocky-zapataNatalie Pohley and Rocky Zapata with the Auburn Hip Hop Congress coordinated the talent and debates. “Teens and young adults need safe places to express themselves and be themselves,” Pohley said. “This event became that space! It was really cool watching the different youth groups represented connect with each other through music, art, dance and debate.”

Conversation tips:

Create a family culture to promote open dialogue and build trust at home: Fresh Start.

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About:  We are a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. Our mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your donations are greatly appreciated. (Donations are payable to Banana Moments Foundation).

Joanna Jullien, Founder & CEO of Core Connectivity Photo by: Victoria Hatch

Joanna Jullien, Founder & CEO of Core Connectivity
Photo by: Victoria Hatch

Joanna Jullien is an educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber-powered world. Trained in behavioral science at U.C. Berkeley, she is a mother of two grown sons, an author of books on parenting, growing up and family life in the network culture. As a family and technology culture advisor, Joanna has appeared on 103.9FM The Fish, 710AM Keeping Faith in America, 1380AM The Answer, and Examiner.com.