What They Don’t Teach Teens prepares teenagers for the inevitable—when the unexpected things happen in their lives.

Physical Safety
Digital Safety
Emotional Safety

The idea for What They Don’t Teach Teens (publishing May 25, 2020 by Quill Driver Books) arose when Jonathan’s wife requested that when the time comes for their children’s sexual activity, they firmly teach them that “no means no.” Of course, Jonathan agreed but wondered whether this was still “the standard” since it was the same motto he’d been taught as a teen. It turns out it’s not. Instead, we should be teaching our teenagers to practice affirmative sexual consent (“yes means yes”). It got Jonathan thinking about what other lessons our teens needed and weren’t getting, and What They Don’t Teach Teens was born.

What They Don’t Teach Teens is a contemporary personal safety guide to keep teens from becoming victims—physically, digitally or emotionally—and from victimizing others. It contains potential life- and liberty-saving information, straightforward instruction, and recent news stories of bad things happening to good teens that illustrate the lessons being taught.

Written in gender-neutral language so its concepts can most effectively translate to all teens regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, What They Don’t Teach Teens is the class that’s missing from every American high school.

The book’s thirteen chapters are broken into three sections that mirror the essential aspects of a teenager’s personal safety: physical, digital and emotional.

Just some of what’s covered in each chapter:

(1) Physical Safety

Chapter 1: Sexual Assault: Just When You Thought You Knew Someone
  • Sexual assault and the alarming statistics
  • Affirmative consent versus implied consent
  • The many ways you can tell when you’ve got consent and, more importantly, when you don’t
  • What rape culture is and why boys should take a stand against it
  • Drugs (legal and illegal) and assault
  • Ways to reduce chances of being assaulted or of assaulting someone

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Chapter 2: How to Safely Interact with Police

  • The public’s unreasonable expectations of police officers
  • The reasons so many Americans are killed at the hands of police
  • What you should do and not do when interacting with police
  • The struggles police have interacting with intellectually disabled and deaf persons
  • Widespread police impersonation crimes

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Chapter 3: Teen-Dating Violence: Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Abuse

  • The disturbing statistics of teen dating violence
  • A violent relationship can be physical, sexual and/or emotional
  • What teen dating violence looks, sounds, and feels like
  • The legal, social, and psychological consequences of dating violence
  • Why many adults minimize abusive teen relationships
  • Information and resources on breakups

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Chapter 4: Get Off Your Damned Phone and Look Around

  • The two most important aspects of personal safety
  • What teens should do to improve their situational awareness
  • The benefits of always listening to your gut instincts

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Chapter 5: Surviving Street Encounters

  • Avoiding escalation of verbal harassment into a physical and deadly encounter
  • Methods to minimize your risk of physical harm from a robber
  • A teen’s best and only options when a “bad guy” orders them to move to a different location

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Chapter 6: Gun Violence and Mass Shooters Have Become as American as Apple Pie

  • How three-hundred-million-plus guns in the hands of Americans necessitates mindfully altering the way teens interact with people
  • Why the teenage years are the most dangerous when it comes to gun violence
  • Ways to increase your chances of surviving a mass-shooting
  • Basic gunshot-wound treatment

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(2) Digital Safety

Chapter 7: Digital Technology Is Forever—Your Future Is Literally in Your Hands
  • Social media and digital-technology best practices to avoid costly mistakes
  • The common practice of prospective employers and college administrators checking out a candidate’s social media footprint
  • Legal liability for electronically written statements
  • Internet-scams and imposters
  • Mindfulness of digital surveillance cameras
  • School consequences for digital acts

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Chapter 8: The Extreme Hazards of Teen Sexting (Revenge Porn Is Only One of Them!)

  • The emotional, social, and legal consequences of sexting
  • The best ways to say “no,” particularly for girls, to relentless pressure to sext images of themselves
  • Best practices to avoid becoming a victim of revenge porn

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Chapter 9: The Devastating Impact of Cyberbullying

  • What cyberbullying looks and feels like
  • The emotional impact of cyberbullying
  • Ways to legally protect yourself from cyberbullying
  • When cyberbullying becomes a crime
  • How to effectively report cyberbullying

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(3) Emotional Safety

Chapter 11: How to Recognize and Stop Sexual Harassment

  • How sexual harassment looks, sounds, and feels in the real and digital worlds
  • Ways to legally protect yourself from sexual harassment
  • The emotional and physical impacts of suffering sexual harassment
  • What to do and not do if sexually harassed
  • How to effectively report sexual harassment

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Chapter 12: The Most Important Word in Your Vocabulary: No

  • Why so many people, including adults, find it hard to say no
  • How to say no to friends and intimate partners
  • Ways to say no, without saying no
  • Ways to end a harmful friendship

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Chapter 13: The Game Changer: Happy Eighteenth Birthday!

  • The many ways life instantly changes when a teen turns eighteen
  • Responsibilities and rights in both the civil and criminal court systems
  • What makes a binding contract
  • Best negotiating practices
  • What to put in writing and what never to put in writing
  • Establishing good credit and the consequences of a bad credit score

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About the Author

Jonathan Cristall provides a prosecutor’s perspective on teaching teens about their rights, privacy, and safety.
Author Bio



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