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If you've been seeing an 'X' pop up in your texts lately, this is what you need to know about it.

The way they tell us about it is kinda funny ... but the message behind it is no laughing matter.

If you've been seeing an 'X' pop up in your texts lately, this is what you need to know about it.

Texting and driving is a problem pretty much everyone is strongly against, but if we're really honest with ourselves, many of us have done it at least once.

When it comes to texting and driving, we've only had two (kinda crappy) options in the past. Now there's an awesome new third option when it comes to texting and driving.

Meet Joe. His mom has just sent him a text, but he's about to start driving.


Don't do it, Joe! Don't do it!

Option 1 is to ignore her text until he arrives at his destination.

He might come across as a jerk for cutting off their conversation. His mom might even start worrying because he suddenly stops responding (you know, because texting and driving can be dangerous). But he decides this is the best course of action. It's safer. Even if it makes his mom worry a bit.

Diagram 1: Mom worrying a bit

Option 2 is to sneak a quick text, maybe at a red light or when there's not much traffic around.

We might think we know how to text and drive safely, and we tell ourselves, "I'll just do it this one time." But the reality is we're risking lives. And not just our lives.

Diagram 2: Texting while driving and/or at a red light

Option 3 is the newest option, and one I hope more people embrace. It's called #X.

It's a movement that was originally created by the It Can Wait campaign to prevent texting and driving, and now it's taking off. Celebrities like Demi Lovato and Rascal Flatts have helped to make the #X movement mainstream.

Diagram 3: Hashtag X

When you're about to start driving, send the person you were texting a "#X" message to let them know that you're about to drive and you'll respond once you've stopped.

FACT: Cell phones are involved in about 1.6 million auto-related accidents annually.

Pause your conversation to save your life and someone else's.

Photo: Canva

We're nearly a year into the pandemic, and what a year it has been. We've gone through the struggles of shutdowns, the trauma of mass death, the seemingly fleeting "We're all in this together" phase, the mind-boggling denial and deluge of misinformation, the constantly frustrating uncertainty, and the ongoing question of when we're going to get to resume some sense of normalcy.

It's been a lot. It's been emotionally and mentally exhausting. And at this point, many of us have hit a wall of pandemic fatigue that's hard to describe. We're just done with all of it, but we know we still have to keep going.

Poet Donna Ashworth has put this "done" feeling into words that are resonating with so many of us. While it seems like we should want to talk to people we love more than ever right now, we've sort of lost the will to socialize pandemically. We're tired of Zoom calls. Getting together masked and socially distanced is doable—we've been doing it—but it sucks. In the wintry north (and recently south) the weather is too crappy to get together outside. So many of us have just gone quiet.

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One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

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I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

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via Walt Disney Television / Flickr and jilhervas / Flickr

There comes a moment in everyone's social media life when they get stressed because they've been followed by an authority figure. When your boss, mother, or priest starts following you, social media immediately becomes a lot less fun.

When that happens, it's time to stop posting photos of yourself partying it up with an adult beverage. You gotta hold back on some of your saltier takes, and you have to start minding your language. Also, you have to be very careful about the posts you're tagged in.

Model, TV personality, and author Chrissy Teigen has been suffering through a mega-dose of this form of social media stress since January 20 when President Joe Biden followed her on Twitter. His follow came after Teigen made the request.

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