red flag

Red flags are popping up on Twitter.

We love emojis. These modern-day hieroglyphics are the statement jewelry of punctuation in the digital age. Nothing quite drives a message home better than the clapping hands going between words in ALL CAPS, am I right? And who doesn't appreciate receiving a quick skull to indicate that your joke was so funny, the other person is, in fact, dead.

Well, there's a new emoji sheriff in town, folks. Odds are you've probably seen a little "red flag emoji" popping up all across social media posts. While these markers are indeed a warning, I wouldn't be too concerned. They don't indicate any real danger. Unless of course the one posting them was your date from last night…


Just like in real life, the now viral internet meme signals potentially, um, I think the nice way of saying it is "problematic" behavior in a newly met person. Though red flags are commonly discussed in the dating world, they can pop up in any encounter. Whatever statement, strong opinion or otherwise awkward interaction that makes you think "uh-oh, this is not a person I actually want to associate with," that is a red flag. And though red flags can take a serious spin, this trend is definitely taking on a lighter tone.

The trend originally began on Black Twitter, where users shared humorous dating warning signs, like "TEXT SLOW BUT ALWAYS ON SOCIAL MEDIA," and "I'm cool wit all my exes."





But like all social media phenomena, this has morphed into something bigger.

The formula is a simple: quote or brief description + anywhere between seven and a million red triangle flags (seriously, some people put a lot of them). Other than that, your red flag warning can be about literally anything. From controversial culinary choices…



… to misaligned movie choices.




And again, it doesn't always have to be about dating. Like with this Twitter user who shared a less-than-desirable salon experience.


From fan accounts to celebrities and major companies, everyone seems to be joining in on the fun. Including Wonder Woman herself, standing up against the patriarchy.



Dolly Parton sent her "Jolene"-inspired red flag tweet that warranted its very own article in HuffPost.


Others, like Trevor Noah, were a bit more on the savage side.



Netflix used the trend to advocate against superficiality. Although truth be told I'm 99% sure they have at least 200 movies with this exact plot.



Brands like Pepsi and Twitter kept the messaging simple. Don't like their product? Red flag.





You know it's cool if the Teletubbies are doing it:



The trend has begun to morph again, as some people have used it to make fun of themselves, and all the red flags they ignore.



One Twitter user attempted to inject a little positivity by incorporating green flags to indicate general acts or words of kindness, like "what can I do to make you feel better."



Though these tweets are generally fun to read, it turns out they are an audible hell for those who use screen readers. Imagine having to hear Siri say "triangular post on flag" (the emoji's proper name) 40 times. Yikes.

Despite the reported nuisance, the trend continues to grow. And it doesn't seem to be letting up any time soon. Look on the bright side: It might just be a lighthearted way of getting us all to mind our Ps and Qs, lest we find ourselves marked with the scarlet emoji.

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging ageβ€”and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

β€œMany people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. β€œIn fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

β€œToday we see more people talking about mental health openlyβ€”in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

β€œMany celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

β€œParents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. β€œFor many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

β€œBeing attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

β€œYou know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. β€œAlways err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

β€œJust getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. β€œWhen I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

β€œThat is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. β€œThe adage still standsβ€”it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

That first car is a rite of passage into adulthood. Specifically, the hard-earned lesson of expectations versus reality. Though some of us are blessed with Teslas at 17, most teenagers receive a car that’s been … let’s say previously loved. And that’s probably a good thing, considering nearly half of first-year drivers end up in wrecks. Might as well get the dings on the lemon, right?

Of course, wrecks aside, buying a used car might end up costing more in the long run after needing repairs, breaking down and just a general slew of unexpected surprises. But hey, at least we can all look back and laugh.

My first car, for example, was a hand-me-down Toyota of some sort from my mother. I don’t recall the specific model, but I definitely remember getting into a fender bender within the first week of having it. She had forgotten to get the brakes fixed … isn’t that a fun story?

Jimmy Fallon recently asked his β€œTonight Show” audience on Twitter to share their own worst car experiences. Some of them make my brake fiasco look like cakewalk (or cakedrive, in this case). Either way, these responses might make us all feel a little less alone. Or at the very least, give us a chuckle.

Here are 22 responses with the most horsepower:

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by TR on Unsplash

Companies and organizations are on the side of their employees in light of stricter abortion laws.

The leak from the Supreme Court about overturning Roe v. Wade caused many people with uteruses to go into a tailspin. People began scheduling appointments for long-term birth control. Some opted for permanent birth control. Others stocked up on Plan B or called in preemptive prescriptions for the abortion pill mifepristone. In addition to making tangible plans for what the future might hold in some of these trigger states, people took to the streets to make their voices heard. Protests were held across America against the proposed overturning of Roe v. Wade, which protects people’s right to abortion under the 14th Amendment.

People are also organizing over social media. They’re helping locate nonprofits that will help cover the cost of travel from a restricted state to states where abortion will remain legal. Secret Facebook groups are popping up to help arrange transportation and accommodations for those who need access to safe reproductive care. People are coming together in ways you see in movies, all in an effort to prevent inevitable deaths that would occur if people attempt home abortions. It’s both heartwarming and heart-wrenching that this is something that needs to be done at all. It doesn’t stop with determined activists and housewives across the country, this fiery spirit has reached corporations as well.

Keep Reading Show less
via Pexels

If you know how to fix this tape, you grew up in the 1990s.

There are a lot of reasons to feel a twinge of nostalgia for the final days of the 20th century. Rampant inflation, a global pandemic and political unrest have created a sense of uneasiness about the future that has everyone feeling a bit down.

There’s also a feeling that the current state of pop culture is lacking as well. Nobody listens to new music anymore and unless you’re into superheroes, it seems like creativity is seriously missing from the silver screen.

But, you gotta admit, that TV is still pretty damn good.

A lot of folks feel Americans have become a lot harsher to one another due to political divides, which seem to be widening by the day due to the power of the internet and partisan media.

Keep Reading Show less