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Temporary and Anonymous Apps: What’s the Teen Appeal? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Self-destructing or anonymous messaging apps, much like one would see in a spy movie, are the latest digital trend for teens. These temporary or anonymous apps allow teens to send messages, images, videos, and other digital content anonymously. Content may self-destruct or vanish after a set time as well. Teens find a sense of security in the anonymity and temporary nature of these apps. However, these features may encourage teens to act uncharacteristically and send questionable or harassing content users wouldn’t normally send.

Realistically, shared content may not disappear or remain anonymous. Cyber predators use temporary or anonymous apps to create a sense of security to gain personal or revealing content from teens. The temporary and anonymous nature of these apps makes tracing questionable interactions difficult because content “disappears.” Many teens use at least one temporary or anonymous app, and parents can take action to prevent their teen from encountering the dangers that lurk in these apps.

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Anonymous Apps INFOGRAPHIC

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Temporary and Anonymous Apps: What’s the Teen Appeal?

Teens turn to anonymous or temporary messaging apps to assert their independence and escape from popular social media their parents might be on such as Facebook or Twitter. But with independence comes various issues, threats, and dangers. Anonymous or temporary messaging apps allow teens to post content anonymously or share content that is supposed to disappear after a selected amount of time. But content doesn’t always disappear. Screenshots of embarrassing or revealing content might be taken and shared to humiliate the sender. Sexting, cyberbullying, and talking to strangers are also likely, opening the door for cyber predators to lull teens into trusting relationships to gain personal or revealing information. While temporary or anonymous apps give teens a chance to assert their independence, they also expose teens to new dangers they may not be prepared for.

Definition of Temporary or Anonymous Apps

Temporary apps allow teens to send messages and images that self-destruct or vanish after a set time.

Anonymous apps allow teens to send content anonymously. Users of anonymous apps can hide their location or information about themselves so others can’t tell who content is coming from.

Temporary and anonymous apps gained popularity for teens wanting to assert their independence and get away from sites their parents use such as Facebook and Twitter.

Teens Cover their Digital Footprint

Teens may use temporary or anonymous apps to manage their digital footprint. The sense of security surrounding temporary and anonymous apps can entice teens to send questionable content and communicate in ways they wouldn’t normally. This may include cyberbullying because they feel it’s easier to do or sexting because messages “disappear.”

“Though most teens are only sharing day-to-day moments with an already tight social group, there can be unintended consequences when teens think temporary messages really disappear forever or when they make mean comments under cover of anonymous apps.”- Christine Elgersma, Senior Editor at Common Sense Media

Top 9 Temporary or Anonymous Apps

Nine temporary or anonymous apps have gained substantial popularity amongst teens. The anonymity, disappearing nature, and easy-to-learn platforms are attractive to teens. While there are more than nine temporary or anonymous apps in existence, Snapchat, Kik, Whisper, Yik Yak, Omegle, WhatsApp, Ask.fm, Burn Note, and Line remain the most popular.


  • What is Snapchat?Snapchat is a disappearing, temporary messaging app that allows users to send text, photos, and videos to anyone on their friend list. The sender determines how long the receiver can view the image and the image “destructs” after the allotted time.
  • Stats- 41% of United States teens use Snapchat multiple times a day.       Click to Tweet!
  • The Appeal- Snapchat is the fastest growing and number one most used app for teens.
    • 35% of teens use Snapchat solely because their content disappears       Click to Tweet!
    • 10% of teens took a screenshot of a Snapchat and shared it to embarrass the sender


  • What is Kik?Kik lets users send texts, pictures, videos, and offers other mini-apps. Those allow users to do anything from exchange virtual greeting cards to chat with strangers. Users don’t have to reveal identity.
  • Stats – 64.8 million teens use Kik and 40% of American teens use the app.       Click to Tweet!
  • The Appeal – Kik is easy to use for teens and has a minimum age of 13 but has no verification method. Kik doesn’t require a phone number and teens can send unlimited messages. Group messaging and in-app web surfing are also features.


  • What is Whisper?Whisper is a social “confessional” app that allows users to post whatever and remain anonymous.
  • Stats – Whisper restricts users to only 17 years old or older, but this is not enforced. An estimated 800,000 users under 18 use Whisper.       Click to Tweet!
  • The Appeal – Teens use Whisper to share deep secrets or opinions about social topics or people without any repercussion.

Yik Yak

  • What is Yik Yak?Yik Yak allows users to post text-only messages anonymously that can be viewed by 500 users closest to the poster. Yik Yak uses GPS tracking.
  • Stats – Yik Yak has 1.8 million monthly active users and is most popular around college campus areas
  • The Appeal – Teens can make incendiary comments they wouldn’t normally make if people knew they were saying it, making cyberbullying and harassment easier.  Yik Yak also recently added a chat feature.


  • What is Omegle?Omegle is an anonymous chat app where users discuss whatever they’d like. Omegle’s content often contains lewd language, sexual content, and drugs, alcohol, and violence.
  • Stats – 40% of Omegle users are between ages 15-18.       Click to Tweet!
  • The Appeal – Users can anonymously discuss anything they’d like. The conversations often turn lewd, vulgar, and dangerous, incorporating drugs, alcohol, and violence.


  • What is WhatsApp?WhatsApp is a mobile messenger that allows teens to communicate with all contacts on their device. WhatsApp allows users to send unlimited images, video, and text as well as group chats.
  • Stats – 25% of teens with a mobile device use WhatsApp.       Click to Tweet!
  • The Appeal – WhatsApp offers teens a messaging platform to escape from parents and grandparents without using their phone plan. WhatsApp does not filter adult content, potentially exposing teens to risky content.


  • What is Ask.fm?fm is a social site that lets teens ask questions and answer questions others post. Questions are often asked anonymously.
  • Stats – 28 million registered users under age 18 use Ask.fm.       Click to Tweet!
  • The Appeal – Teens are attracted to the anonymous questions. While the questions prompt healthy discussions, sexual content is also posted.

Burn Note

  • What is Burn Note?Burn Note is a temporary messaging app that erases messages after a set time frame. Burn Note is text only.
  • Stats – Over 10,000 users have installed this app.
  • The Appeal – Burn Note has a unique display system that reveals only one word at a time, making the messaging more secretive. The message “burns” after reading.


  • What is Line?Line is a multifaceted text, video, and voice-messaging app that also features social media elements such as games and group chat.
  • Stats – Line has 218 million monthly active users worldwide.
  • The Appeal – Line is an all-in-one social media featuring emoticons, stickers, free texting, and video calls. Line also has a “hidden chat” where users may choose how long they’d like their message to last before it vanishes.

Ripped from the Headlines

anonymous apps ripped from the headlines

Yik Yak has caused serious disruptions for many schools. Threats of shootings, bombings, or other violent events directed at schools across the country have been made over Yik Yak. Schools have also encountered students making racist threats and sexually aggressive comments that create a hostile environment for other students.

Yik Yak isn’t the only anonymous app that’s created headlines.

Parents Left in the Dark

Many parents aren’t aware of temporary and anonymous apps, despite the emerging press coverage and dangers associated.

The fact that parents are under-informed about temporary and anonymous apps, gives teens another way to cloak their online behavior.

The Hidden Dangers

Anonymous apps may provide a false sense of security. Studies show that even anonymity does not protect teens from cyberbullying, stalking, or other threats.

Cyberbullying Anonymity can encourage cruel behavior from teens without fear of repercussions. Ask.fm has been associated with 9 teen suicides due to users consistently harassing others.

Cyberstalking – Anonymous chat allows predators to create fake accounts allowing them to find teens easier. Predators can then lull teens into a sense of security. Once trust is established, cyber stalkers and cyber predators may gain access to the different social channels a teen uses and collect sensitive and personal information.

Sexting – The anonymity behind anonymous apps may encourage teens to pursue riskier relationships and engage in riskier actions such as sexting.

Lost Evidence – Temporary apps have disappearing messages that eliminate evidence of any negative content that was shared between people. This can make it difficult to prove inappropriate messages were sent.

GPS Reveals Location – Some anonymous apps are location based and make looking up locations of teens easy for predators.

Bots – Bots may disguise themselves through suggestive, personalized messages that trick users into viewing adult content. Bots may cause computer viruses.

Exposure to Adult Content – Some anonymous apps don’t require age verification. This may result in minors being exposed to pornographic content.

Hyper-local Anxiety – Aggression and bullying threats can now come within a close proximity, causing anxiety that a threat might be close.

Anonymity Not Guaranteed – While anonymous and temporary apps might make users think the content is temporary or disappears, users can still screenshot pictures or texts. Taking screenshots before an image disappears is common on Snapchat.

  • 52% of teen Snapchat users have had others screenshot their content       Click to Tweet!
  • 47% of Snapchat users take screenshots of other people’s content       Click to Tweet!

What Can Parents Do?

While teens prefer hiding their online behaviors from their parents, parents influence teen online behavior.

If you’re worried about your teen’s online behavior, consider taking the following actions to protect your teen from trouble.

  • Establish boundaries – Remind teens not to communicate with strangers, reveal personal information, bully, or share inappropriate information.
  • Expose teens to real-world dangers – Show teens examples of extreme, unsafe online behaviors. Show them what they post can potentially harm themselves or others.
  • Discuss privacy settings – Check teen’s privacy settings. Make sure they understand how to navigate privacy settings and block people.
  • Stay currentMonitor and educate yourself about the apps your child is using. An internet search about “teens new favorite apps” can help reveal the newest digital trends.
  • Explain the true impact of your teen’s actions – Inform teens that other users may screenshot anonymous posts. Embarrassing or questionable posts may come back later.
  • Hide phone numbers on public profiles – Don’t let teens disclose phone numbers on social media. Revealing numbers can make it easier for cyber predators to find more information on your teen.
  • Check age restrictions – Inspect apps on your teen’s device to make sure they haven’t joined an app they’re not old enough for.
  • Disable location sharing – Turn off location tracking features to prevent predators from locating where your teen is.
  • Software Filters – Use programs to monitor social media, block chats, and mask profanity.

While anonymous apps provide teens a fun way to explore social media sites other than Facebook or Twitter, they also present dangers. Talking to your teen about the dangers and taking action can help your teen stay safe online and prevent any actions that might be harm them or others.

15 Steps for Changing a Flat Tire

Worried a flat tire might ruin your trip? Don’t fret! Changing a flat tire is simple with a little preparation and elbow grease. Our 15-step guide to changing a flat tire will get you back on the road in no time!

Step 1: Prepare Before You Experience a Flat Tire

Don’t wait until you are stranded on the side of the interstate to come up with a plan for changing a flat tire. Take precautionary measures before the problem arises:

  • Test out your car jack
  • Check you have a spare tire
  • Check if you have a lug wrench
  • Carry a flashlight
  • Bring a rain poncho
  • Have a tire gauge ready

Keep these tools at your disposal to fix your flat comfortably and confidently.

Step 2: Find a Safe Spot to Change the Flat Tire

If you felt a tire go flat mid-drive, find a safe area to pull over and turn on your hazard lights. Don’t endanger your life or others.

Step 3: Check the Owner’s Manual

The owner’s manual will tell you where to find all the equipment necessary to change a flat tire. This includes where you will find your lug wrench, spare tire, and car jack.

Step 4: Inspect the Spare Tire

Inspect the spare is fully inflated and in good, working condition. It is important that your spare tire functions to provide safe travel. When inspecting a spare tire:

Step 5: Block the Opposite Wheels before Raising the Vehicle

Block the opposite wheels before raising the vehicle to prevent any rolling, forwards or backwards. DO NOT attempt to change the flat if your car is parked on a hill. Move the vehicle to level ground before changing the tire and set the parking brake. Call a tow truck if it’s not possible to change the flat tire on a level surface.

Step 6: Remove the Hub Cap

Use the lug wrench’s sharp end to pry off the hub cap. Some cars have hub caps with false, decorative lug nuts that secure the hub cap. Remove the hub cap and set it upside-down as a lug nut tray.

Step 7: Loosen Lug Nuts

You must loosen the lug nuts to remove the flat tire from your car. The vehicles weight on the tire will hold the tire in place and make it easier to loosen, so loosen the lug nuts before you jack-up the vehicle. Use your lug wrench to loosen all lug nuts, but do not unscrew them completely.

Step 8: Locate the Pinch Flange

the pinch flange is strongest area to use during a flat tire

For lifting purposes, the pinch flange is the car’s strongest spot. Most cars have an underbody notch specifically for the factory jack. Your manual should provide directions to find your car’s lifting spot. Avoid damaging your car by lifting in the right spot.

Step 9: Raise Vehicle with the Jack

Find your car jack and place the jack under the pinch flange. Use nice, even strokes by taking the jack handle from lowest point to highest point on each turn. If you use jack stands, place them under the vehicle, near where the jack is touching the pinch flange. Once you’re sure the vehicle is properly jacked up, push on the vehicle a little. This makes sure everything is resting securely and you can safely change the flat tire.

Step 10: Remove the Flat Tire

Once the car is raised and secure, remove the already loosened lug nuts. Place them in the hub cap to avoid misplacing, and remove the tire.

Step 11: Install the Spare

Take the spare tire and line up the wheel studs and the holes on the rim of the spare tire. Put the lug nuts on the wheel studs tighten by hand.  Be cautious not to put the spare on backwards. It can damage your vehicle. (The spare tire is on backwards. The spare should sit the opposite way.)

install the spare tire correctly during a flat tire

Step 12: Lower the Vehicle

Carefully lower the vehicle by turning or moving the jack handle the opposite direction used to raise it. Once the vehicle is completely resting on the ground, remove the jack.

Step 13: Tighten the Lug Nuts

Once the vehicle is securely on the ground, fully tighten the lug nuts with the lug wrench. Tighten the lugs clockwise in a crisscross pattern. Consult your owner’s manual for the correct sequence. Failure to tighten the lug nuts properly may cause the tire to come loose.

flat tire fully tighten lug nuts diagram

Image courtesy of Tire Guides

Step 14: Clean Up

Pick everything up, including the old tire. Your flat tire might be an easy fix, so stow it in your trunk and bring it to a mechanic for further inspection. Make sure to pick up any loose or extra tire pieces.

Step 15: Drive Safe!

Once everything is cleaned up and you’re sure your spare tire is on tight, you’re safe to continue driving. Spare tires are often smaller than regular tires and are not reliable at high speeds. Do not exceed the speed label on the tire’s sidewall (usually 50 mph), and replace it with a new or repaired tire immediately.

Should I Sell, Keep, or Donate My Vehicle?

Every car, truck, or SUV owner wonders at some point: should I sell, keep, or donate my vehicle? All three options have advantages depending on resale value, the current market, tax deduction laws, and other variables.  How do you know which is best for you at a given time? Here are a few tips to help decide whether you should sell, keep, or donate your car, truck, van, boat, or motorcycle to charity.

Is it Time to Sell My Vehicle?

American cars now last an average age of 11.5 years, so selling your vehicle before it hits 100,000 miles can increase your return.

Points to Consider:

  1. Mileage milestones:

Selling your vehicle 3,000 to 5,000 miles before these milestones hit can save you costly repairs.

  1. Your vehicle’s “true cost of ownership
    • Projected repairs
    • General maintenance
    • Other expenditures such new tires

Sell your vehicle if the total cost to keep the car is more than the trade-in value.

  1. Your stage in life
    • If your current vehicle no longer makes sense for your life, it may be time for a better vehicle suited to your needs. While a two-seater sports car is fun to drive, it’s not ideal for a budding family.

Should I Keep My Vehicle?

Maybe you own a car, truck, SUV, or van that you love and dread parting ways with it. You might enjoy this vehicle so much you’re willing to pay the increasing maintenance costs that coincide with its age.  Consumer Reports provides a great guide of how much your vehicle will cost if you want it to last 200,000 miles or beyond. You can also ask a mechanic to inspect your car and forecast repair costs in order to make an informed decision.

How does it rate?

Research your car’s reliability ratings with J.D. Power, Consumer Reports, and U.S. News & World Report. If your vehicle receives great scores, it’s one more reason to keep it!

Keeping your current car has its perks:

  • No car payments
  • Lower insurance premiums
  • An opportunity to save more money for your next car

I Want to Donate My Vehicle

Maybe you’re looking for an option other than selling or keeping a used vehicle. An option that puts the vehicle to good use. There is a way to do that. Various non-profits accept vehicle donations. Donating your vehicle can:

  • Earn you a tax deduction
  • Fund a non-profit’s mission
  • Save you the time and hassles of advertising and selling the vehicle
  • Give you the satisfaction of helping those in need

Donating your vehicle can be fast, easy. Check out Greater Non Profits web site to research charities.

Donate Your Car, Truck, SUV, RV, Boat, or Motorcycle to Rawhide

Many Rawhide programs for at-risk youth are funded through vehicle donations. On average, Rawhide donors receive a 48% higher tax deduction, and Rawhide has one of the highest dollars-to-program ratios among non-profits. See how we use these funds.

Other reasons to donate to Rawhide include:

  • Free pick up at your convenience
  • We accepts all cars, running or not
  • Rawhide also considers motorcycles, boats, RVs, campers, and more as donations

If you have decided that donating your vehicle is the best choice, consider Rawhide. As Bart Starr once said, “I can’t think of a better legacy to leave our children than contributing to Rawhide and giving youth and families a brighter future.”

This car donor shares her story:

Enter to Win a Chevy Silverado at Iola Old Car Show

Classic cars cruising the highway and the savory smell of grilled steaks filling the air means it’s time for the Iola Old Car Show! The 44th Annual Iola Old Car Show, July 7-9, has a bit of a twist this year. Classic trucks are the main focus and there will be live music for the first time! While the focus is different, Rawhide is repeating last year’s popular event:  a drawing to give away a vehicle.

Enter for Your Chance to Win a Truck!

Similar to last year, we will hold the drawing at our booth. This year the prize is (drum roll please) … a 1996 Chevrolet Silverado truck!  The pickup truck had only one previous owner who happened to live down the road from the car show. It’s almost like it was meant to be. The Silverado has only 71,000 miles logged and is in amazing condition. Visit our booth in the “Teamed to Learn” exhibit tent to see the truck and enter the drawing.

Iola Old Car Show Silverado

Chet Krause Instrumental in Growing Rawhide

The Rawhide and Iola relationship goes beyond the car show. The founder of the Iola Old Car Show, Chester L. “Chet” Krause, holds Rawhide close to his heart. Chet first visited Rawhide in 1987 and was surprised there were only two boy’s homes on the entire ranch.

Chet challenged Rawhide founder John Gillespie to develop an expansion plan. If John and his staff could compile a thorough plan, Chet promised he would lead the fundraising efforts to make the expansion a reality.

John accepted the challenge and Chet later approved of John’s plan. Chet even contributed a few major financial gifts and let Rawhide use Krause Publications to print and produce the main promotional booklet. The plan worked, and Rawhide was able to build more boys homes.

9 Years Later: Chet Makes another Rawhide Dream a Reality

Additional boys homes led to an increase in students. John turned to Chet again, nine years later. The Starr Academy students needed a facility to play school sports like basketball. Due to the previous success, John again asked that Chet lead the fundraising efforts to reach the one million dollar goal. Chet said he’d think it over.

On Christmas Eve, Chet gave John his response. He called John and said: “John, I really don’t want to serve on a fundraising committee, but I’ll give you the million dollars for the field house.” Merry Christmas, Rawhide.

Chet wrote a check and the Chester L. Krause Fieldhouse was built. It’s been home to the Starr Academy All-Stars as well as a variety of special events and activities ever since!

Rawhide Gives Back to Chet and Iola

With Chet’s overwhelming support, Rawhide gratefully gives back any way possible. Rawhide’s About Face program provides volunteer labor to prepare and set up the Iola Old Car Show every year. Their duties vary from setting up fences to keeping the grounds clean. The Rawhide guys are thrilled to see the classic and collectible cars as they go about helping Chet’s team. They consider it a treat.

See You at the 2016 Iola Old Car Show!

You can join Rawhide at the 2016 Iola Old Car Show July 7-9. Rawhide will be giving away a 1996 Chevy Silverado that you can enter for your chance to win at the Rawhide booth. See you there!

Too Much Screen for Your Teen? [INFOGRAPHIC]

What’s dirtier than a toilet seat and causing teens problems with their vision and hearing, plus contributing to depression? Would you believe devices like smartphones, laptops, and tablets? It’s true.

Teens spend on average 9.3 hours on their digital devices each day. That’s more than the time they spend sleeping or in school. And it’s causing new physical and mental health issues including screen addiction. Teen screen addiction is even interrupting sleep patterns. A new study found digital devices can disturb sleep worse than caffeine! While technology helps teens communicate, their screen time causes smartphone addictions, weight gain, sleep deprivation, eye damage, and other issues that can plague teens throughout their lives.

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Teens on Screens How it Impacts Their Health Screen Addiction Infographic

Screen Addiction Click to Tweet Click to Tweet Infographic!

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Teens on Screens: How it Impacts Their Health

Teens may be setting themselves up for a lifetime of physical, mental, and emotional issues, all through excessive screen time. Devices like computers, smartphones, tablets, and other devices, are consuming 9.3 hours of each day, time that could be spent sleeping, exercising, or studying. Their devices are veritable petri dishes as well. Many tests found devices such as smartphones, tablets, and video game controllers are dirtier than toilet seats. Overuse and misuse are causing hearing and vision damage as well as depression and musculoskeletal issues such as Occipital Neuralgia, Text Neck, iPosture, and text claw. Improper posture while texting may add up to 60 pounds of pressure to the spine, equal to the weight one would experience carrying an 8 year old around their neck. When a developing body is subjected to this for extended periods of time each day, physical, mental, and emotional issues are likely to develop and continue into the future.

Teen Screen Addiction Leads to Physical Health Problems

Teens that constantly check phones and don’t use proper posture while using digital devices may develop Occipital Neuralgia. This is a condition in which the occipital nerves, which run from the top of the spinal cord up over the scalp, are inflamed or injured. Occipital Neuralgia indicators include:

  • Aching, burning, and throbbing pain starting at the base of the head and moving to the scalp
  • Pain on one or both sides of the head
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Tender scalp
  • Pain when moving neck

Repeatedly checking a smartphone or tablet screen creates neck tension and tightens neck muscles, resulting in “iPosture” or “Text Neck.” Both of these newly defined conditions describe the pain and damage sustained from constantly lowering the head to view screens.

Improper posture while texting can add up to 60 pounds of pressure to the spine, equal to carrying an 8 year old around your neck

Screen Addiction Click to Tweet Click to Tweet!

Screen Addiction Increases Mental Health Issues

1.      Depression

At least 70% of teens will have more than one episode of depression before adulthood, and digital devices may be a big reason. Dopamine, a brain chemical known to elevate moods, is released when teens receive social media notifications or text messages. On the reverse side, dopamine is not released if they aren’t getting notifications, causing teens to become depressed. Scientists discovered teens that spend excessive time online had less dopamine receptors in their brains.

Screen Addiction Click to Tweet Click to Tweet!

Reduced dopamine levels from a lack of digital engagement may cause:

  • Internet addictions
  • Problems at school
  • Running away
  • Violence
  • Suicidal tendencies

2.      Nomophobia

60% of teens admit they’re addicted to their smartphones. The addiction has given rise to a new medical term: Nomophobia. Nomophobia originated because of the high rates of fear and anxiety teens experienced without their device.

3.      Phantom Vibrations

Another 90% of teen smartphone users experience “Phantom Vibration Syndrome” where they mistakenly think their mobile phone is vibrating in their pocket. Dr. Robert Rosenberger credits this to teens habitually expecting alert notifications. “We are just so anxious these days, because our different technologies constantly have us on the edge.”

Teens on Screens Suffering Computer Vision Syndrome in Greater Numbers

Recent studies indicate Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) affects as many as 75% of teen computer users.

Screen Addiction Click to Tweet  Click to Tweet!

Computer Vision Syndrome encompasses an array of eye strain issues and pain including:

  • Eye Strain
  • Blurred Vision
  • Double Vision
  • Dizziness
  • Dry, Red Eyes
  • Eye Irritation
  • Headaches

Constantly viewing a screen decreases the blink rate by 33%, creating a higher evaporation rate, and ultimately dryer eyes. Dry eyes may cause permanent damage if left untreated.

Higher Rates of Screen Sightedness Appearing

Since the launch of smartphones in 1997, short sightedness cases have increased 35%. Another new term, screen sightedness, describes short sightedness caused by excessive screen time. Screen sightedness rates are expected to grow 50% over the next 10 years. The problem appears most when young people hold screens close to their faces. Screen sightedness symptoms are:

  • Headache
  • Brow ache
  • Eye pain
  • Eye redness
  • Eye irritation
  • Dry eyes

Did You Say Hearing Damage?

46% of teens experience common signs of hearing loss such as ringing, roaring, pain, or buzzing in their ears. The cause? Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri, ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Specialist provides insight:

“Probably the largest cause of hearing damage is millennials using earbuds with their iPods and smartphones.”

Teens are playing their music so loud so often that they’re damaging their hearing. Hearing loss can occur in as little as 8 minutes. Hearing loss occurs when:

  • Volume is over 60%
  • Audio consumption is over 60 minutes per day

Excessive Screen Time Causing Weight Gain

Adolescent obesity has quadrupled over the past 30 years. 1 in 3 teens are now defined as overweight or obese and screen time may be contributing. A 2014 CDC report found 80% of obese teens aged 12-15 spend more than 2 hours a day in front of screens. The CDC also found:

  • The average teen is physically active only 39.4 minutes per day       Click to Tweet! 
  • Fewer than 1 in 10 teens get the CDC’s recommended minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity per day

With around 7 hours for sleep, 7 hours in school, and 9.3 hours in front of a screen, not much time is left for physical activity.

Screen Addiction Causing Sleep Deprivation

87% of United States high school students get far less than the recommended 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night. But they still get 9.3 hours of digital screen time. Time devoted to sleeping often turns into time spent checking a phone:

A 2015 Science Magazine study found the amount of caffeine in a double espresso has less effect on a teens sleep schedule than bright light exposure from a digital device.

Screen Addiction Click to Tweet  Click to Tweet!

Pay Attention!

Since 2000, the average American teen’s attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to less than 8. That’s shorter than the attention span of a goldfish! The short attention span is negatively impacting homework time. One study found that teens couldn’t concentrate on their homework for more than 2 minutes without being distracted by digital devices.

Screen Time Causes Nerve Damage

Repetitive finger motion like texting or scrolling digital screens can cause Text Claw—cramping or sore muscles in the fingers, wrist, or forearm.

Prolonged bending of the elbow too tightly can damage arm nerves by squeezing off the blood supply to those nerves which control the smallest two fingers. This condition is called Cell Phone Elbow, causing tingling and numbness in the ring and pinky fingers.

Distracted Walking Can Turn Deadly

33% of parents and teens agreed that personal digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, or computers caused daily family conflicts about too much screen time. Constant digital consumption can divide families through:

  • Less and less undistracted family time
  • Indifference to the physical world and people in it
  • Need for approval by online strangers
  • Dependence on virtual world
  • Prioritization of impersonal communication

The digital world is consuming teens, leading to unhealthy obsessions that affect family relationships.

Screens Expose Teens to More Germs Than… Toilet Seats?

Many digital devices your teen uses harbor more germs and bacteria than toilet seats.

On average, smartphones and tablets contain 10 to 12 kinds of bacterial and fungal species. Toilet seats only have three kinds of germs. Teens use smartphones and tablets every day, exposing themselves to a veritable petri dish of germs.

What Parents Can Do About Screen Addiction

Parents can implement household rules to prevent excessive screen time:

1. Set Usage Limits – Set the times and places teens may use devices to ensure they aren’t overusing or addicted.

2. Keep Devices in Public Places – Keeping devices in public areas prevents teens from using devices when they shouldn’t.

3. Homework is a Digital Device-Free Zone Unless Needed – Limiting use of computers or tablets during homework time may be difficult especially when writing papers or doing research. You can set restrictions on other digital device however. Make sure the device is for homework only.

4. Teach the 20/20/20 Rule – If your teen must use a digital device for an extended period, teach them the 20/20/20 rule. Give eyes a break from screens every 20 minutes by viewing something 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds.

5. Encourage Teens to Go Outside – Encourage teens to go for a walk or play a game outside, WITHOUT their phone. Go on family walks or organize outdoor family activities.

6. Steer Your Kids Toward Forms of Media That Actively Engage Them – Screen time doesn’t have to be negative. A variety of sites provide positive stimulation and interaction.

7. Lead By Example – Show teens it’s possible to have fun without technology. Play board games, hold thoughtful conversations, or take family vacations where devices are only used when necessary.

Screen time has its plus sides until it becomes obsessive. Digital media helps teens stay up to date with friends or family. But screen addiction creates physical and mental health issues. Monitor teens screen time and how they use digital devices. Parental supervision helps teens avoid the same fate as the 60% who admit they’re addicted to their smartphones.

Teen Smartphone Addiction: It’s Physical [Infographic]

Can you read this entire article without checking your phone? Most teens can’t. The majority of teens have a growing smartphone addiction, creating fear or anxiety when not using their devices. Repetitive smartphone use has led to health issues and new medical terminology such as “nomophobia,” “text claw,” and “iPosture.” Unfortunately, many teens text or check social media while they drive, endangering themselves and others.

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teen smartphone addiction it gets physical INFOGRAPHIC

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Teen Smartphone Addiction: It Gets Physical

Smartphones have been called “the world’s smallest slot machine,” and teens are hooked. 60% of teens will admit they’re addicted, 50% say they couldn’t live without their phone for a week, and 1 in 5 teens will wake up specifically just to check their smartphone for updates or to post status updates. 94% of teens also worry about losing their smartphones and 74% panic when they can’t find their smartphone. Teen smartphone addiction has even led to new medical issues and terminology such as “nomophobia,” “text claw,” and “iPosture.” But the addiction has turned physical. Many teens turn to their smartphones while driving, endangering their lives, and the lives of others simply to send a text message or check their social media accounts. 77% of teens say they’re confident they can text and drive, even though 11 teens die every day because they or someone else was texting during the time of the accident.

Nomophobia: New Medical Terminology

Nomophobia is the fear of being without a mobile phone or the anxiety from sudden loss of cellular connection. The term originated by combining the phrase “no-mobile-phone-phobia.” 77% of United States teens are nomophobic, making it the biggest phobia effecting teens.

How Bad Is It?

Teens are smartphone addicts. 60% of teens even admit it! Additionally:

Most teens constantly access their phone:

Even worse, regularly checking their phone isn’t enough for many teens. Teens need smartphones by their side all the time, regardless of where they are:

Smartphones also interrupt sleep. 1 in 5 teens will wake up specifically just to check their smartphone for updates or to post status updates.

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Separation Anxiety

Because teens develop strong emotional connections to their smartphones, they experience anxiety when their smartphones are out of reach. 94% of teens worry about losing their smartphones.

What happens if they misplace their smartphones?

  • 74% of teens panic if their smartphone is misplaced
  • 14% of teens feel desperate when away from their smartphone
  • 7% of teens feel physically ill when away from their smartphone

This anxiety can be classified as withdrawal. Florida State professor Russell Clayton summarized the panic and anxiety:

“We no longer see the phone as just a device. Now we see it as a part of ourselves.”

The Brain Chemistry Behind Smartphone Addiction

Dr. David Greenfield, founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, explained why smartphones are so addictive:

“Smartphones are essentially the world’s smallest slot machine. … It’s very neurologically addicting. When you get a hit – finding something or hearing from someone, you get an elevation of dopamine, and it compels us to keep checking.”

Dopamine: The Feel-Good Brain Chemical

Smartphones alert users to electronic activity with clever sound effects, music, graphics, messages, and icons; like a slot machine signals a win with the “ching ching ching” sound of coins falling. When the phone sends an alert (a “hit”), the brain releases dopamine—a chemical known to elevate moods. As a person receives more alerts, the brain releases more dopamine, increasing the likelihood of that person repeating the behavior. Thus, the birth of an addiction. This is similar to the classical conditioning or Pavlovian Conditioning physiologist Ivan Pavlov performed during his famous study involving dogs, food, and a bell.

10 Signs of Smartphone Addiction

Baylor University professor James Roberts believes:

“It is incumbent upon researchers to identify the all-important ‘tipping point,’ where cell-phone use crosses the line from a helpful tool to one that enslaves both users and society alike.”

But where is that line? For full “addicted status,” Dr. Greenfield believes smartphone use has to impact major life areas such as: work, academics, home life, and relationships. Below are 10 signs that may indicate a teen is addicted to their smartphone:

  1. Looking at their smartphone upon waking and last thing before going to sleep
  2. Checking notifications during the night
  3. Losing interest in activities that don’t include a smartphone
  4. Interrupting face-to-face conversations to answer calls or texts
  5. Using their phone to avoid social interaction
  6. Turning to their phone when things get awkward
  7. Checking their smartphone constantly for no reason
  8. Feeling phantom phone vibrations
  9. Being on their smartphone during study time, class time, or work
  10. Experiencing panic attack or increased anxiety if their phone is left at home

Serious Health Side Effects

Smartphone usage may cause poor posture, creating physical issues such as wear and tear on muscles and joints, and degeneration of musculoskeletal system. It can also create psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, may interrupt sleep patterns, and cause shorter attention spans.

Smartphone Addiction Leads to Risky Behavior

Smartphone addiction in teens can lead to risky behavior such as texting while driving. A survey conducted by AT&T found that while 97% of teens agree that texting while driving is dangerous, 43% of those surveyed still text while driving. Interestingly,

The risky combination of smartphones and driving goes beyond texting:

  • Smartphone-related crashes accounted for 27% of all automotive crashes      Click to Tweet!
  • More than 90% of teens admit to posting on social media sites while behind the wheel      Click to Tweet!
  • 3 in 4 teens admit they’ve watched a video while driving      Click to Tweet!

Parents Are Concerned

61% of parents worry their teen is spending too much time on their smartphone. Parents are also concerned about what their teen might be doing on their smartphone, who they might be talking to, and what the conversations are about. As a result, parents often set limits on how often their teen uses their smartphone.

What Parents are Doing

  • 50% of parents set limits on what time of day their teens may use smartphones
  • 25% of parents set text limits on their teen’s smartphone
  • 33% of parents inspect teen’s phone content, such as address book, call log, texts, and pictures

Helping Teens Kick the Smartphone Addiction

  1. Create “No Phone” Zones – Place phones by the door or charging stations to limit phone use while at home. Consider allowing phones in common areas, but forbid them in bedrooms, bathrooms, or other private areas.
  2. Reclaim Family Dinners – Eating at the dinner table allows families to reconnect after a busy day. Add the table to the list of “no phone zones”.
  3. Designate Specific Times to Access Smartphones – Enforce a house rule that allows access during certain times only.
  4. Monitor a Teen’s Cell Phone Activity – Be upfront and tell your teen you will be monitoring their phone usage and holding them accountable for their time online.
  5. Forbid Driving and Texting – Teens are inexperienced drivers and are more likely to be involved in accidents, including fatalities. Block your teens’ smartphones while they are driving.
  6. Seek Out Cognitive Behavior Therapy – Addictions are difficult to beat, especially when the stimulant causing addiction surrounds a person daily. Professional counselors and therapists can support teens and help overcome temptations without creating family tension.

While smartphones are a useful tool, overuse may create issues. Teens are developing addictions to their devices, essentially turning smartphones into an extension of themselves. Teens are so hooked, they’re using smartphones while driving, putting their lives and the lives of others at risk. Simple steps can help teens detach from their phone, as can leading by example and showing teens appropriate times and places to use smartphones.

The Evolution of Dylan – a Rawhide Alumnus

The moment Dylan found himself sleeping on the bleachers of his old middle school was the moment he realized something needed to change. He took out his phone, called his mother, and asked for her help one last time. Dylan’s mother told us “I didn’t want to bury him before I die.” So she reached out to Rawhide, and a pivotal moment in Dylan’s life began. He needed help out of his life of deception, stealing, and drug use. Rawhide has a long history of successfully helping such troubled youth. This is one Rawhide alumnus story of a changed life.

The Rawhide Difference

When Dylan arrived at Rawhide, he expected a twelve-step treatment plan like he had completed many times before. Rawhide proved to be different. The first evening, his housefather, Gary, opened a Bible and read to the guys. Dylan didn’t quite know how to handle that. “To me, being a Christian was just about dressing up for Easter and Christmas Mass.”

His adjustment to Rawhide took time, and Dylan admits it wasn’t always easy. “The first week at Rawhide, I was having withdrawals from drugs. By the second week, I wanted a cigarette. By week three, I started to miss my friends. In the fourth week, I opened my heart to God.” Dylan’s new path truly began when he and Gary read sections from the book of Romans together.

Dylan credits Romans 10:9-10 as the most influential during his rehabilitation, and the time Gary took to explain it to him. When he heard this passage, he decided to let God in and see what His power could do for his life. “That night that I decided, Lord, if you’re going to do something with my life, then let’s do something.” After all, his ways lead him to sleeping on a school bleacher.

Continuing the Healing

When Dylan’s stay at Rawhide came to a close, he knew he wasn’t ready to return to his hometown with old familiar habits and friends. So he found an outpatient rehab house in a new city to continue his recovery and grow his self-confidence. He worked odd jobs and lent a hand at homeless shelters. Three years later, Dylan was confident in his ability to make better choices and felt comfortable going back to his hometown. So home he went.

Going Home

Dylan joined a church immediately when he returned home. Within weeks, the pastor asked Dylan to teach the high school Bible class. Dylan felt unprepared and unqualified. “These kids know more than I do!” he insisted. But the pastor could see Dylan’s natural ability to teach. Since the pastor had confidence in him, Dylan gave it a try and found a new passion.

Moving Forward

After a year of teaching Bible class, Dylan was accepted at Nicolet Bible Institute near White Lake, Wisconsin. He studied theology and Christian leadership and had the opportunity to minister to Langlade County Jail inmates.

Upon completing his second year at the Bible Institute, Dylan moved to Ontario, Canada for a pastoral internship. As he progressed in this internship, his confidence grew even more. From there, Dylan enrolled at Crown College in Minnesota to study Pastoral Ministry. He met his wife there, and after completing his coursework at Crown College, Dylan and his wife married.

After taking a year off of school, he felt a new calling. He is currently in his second semester of a law enforcement program at a technical college.

Rawhide Alumnus Gives Back to Other Troubled Youth

It’s been a few years since Dylan first arrived at Rawhide. From the time he first set foot on the Ranch to now, he has become an example of the positive impact Rawhide can have on the lives of troubled youth. Dylan admits he is still growing and learning, but he is on the right path. He credits his amazing recovery to support from Rawhide and people around him, his mother not giving up, and God’s healing power.

While Dylan makes his way through school, he works with the About Face Program at Rawhide, helping guys just like he was. He understand where they are “coming from” and establishes rapport.


Dylan sees similarities in the guys he helps now compared to the guy he was when he was first at Rawhide. The same insecurities Dylan faced as a Rawhide guy are present as guys struggle to differentiate between who they want to be and who society wants them to be. Dylan offers the same support the staff gave him when he was here and strives to be a source of constant encouragement and a leader that guides guys down the right path.

He knows that without support from Rawhide, he would have missed college, opportunities to travel, and may never have met his wife. He shares this with the guys and reminds them nobody is perfect. “I allow myself to be personal with them, confessing my own faults and letting them know even the best of us fail.”

Every Day a Blessing

Whether as a guy, or a staff member, Dylan counts every day at Rawhide as a blessing. When he looks back at his friends from high school, many still lead the same destructive life or even passed away. Dylan believes that, without Rawhide, his life might have ended with a similar sad story.

Since joining Rawhide as a Youth Care Worker, Dylan has had the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of at-risk and troubled youth. “Nothing else compares to Rawhide in its beauty, the love that you find with staff, and the care that’s here.”

Dylan enjoys knowing he is a part of something great. He proudly explained, “This is a place where the staff truly care.” Dylan leads by example, giving current Rawhide guys a role-model they can admire. We are grateful for the evolution of Dylan.

17 Car Care Tips for Summer

Flowers are blooming and the days are getting longer. That means it’s time for clear roads and summer road-trips! The salt, ice, and cold winter temperatures may have roughed up your vehicle, and a proper inspection can help you confidently cruise all summer long. But where to start? Maybe on the fast food wrappers piling up in the back? Or maybe follow our 17 car care tips for summer to help your vehicle run at peak performance in the summer heat.

1.     Wash Your VehicleCar Care tips: Wash salt off your car

Salt residue can cause rust; so as soon as the weather is above 33 degrees, wash your car. Everything from your brake lines to your engine is assaulted by the wintery mix of salt, ice, water, sand, and filth. Washing your car after winter can prevent underbody rust and help extend your vehicles life.

2.     Wax Your Vehicle

Waxing provides an extra layer of protection, helping prevent scratches and sun damage. Wax also makes it easier to clean your car when it comes in contact with dust, pollen, bird droppings, bug splatter, or other summer-related eyesores. Waxing also protects your car’s paint job from sun damage.

3.     Inspect and Replace Windshield Wiper Blades

Friction from snow and ice can damage your windshield wiper blades. Replace your windshield wiper blades after winter to improve performance during rain storms or other inclement weather. Consult your owner’s manual for the appropriate windshield wiper size.

4.     Check the Air Conditioner

Summer can get pretty hot in some areas. A properly working air conditioner will make driving more comfortable. Remove and replace your air filter to prevent dirt and dust from clogging the system and impeding proper air flow. Clean the outdoor condenser plus the condenser coils. Check that debris isn’t clogging the drain line. If the line is clogged, you’ll see water pooling around the bottom. If you’re not having any luck, contact a specialist to get your air conditioner functioning properly.

5.     Check the Cooling System

Check the radiator fluid levels regularly. Make sure the reserve tank or overflow tank are where they should be. Drain and flush the radiator, cleaning out dirt and contaminants built up in your vehicle’s radiator cooling system. Flushing pushes a high volume of water or other cleaning liquid through your car’s radiator, to remove unwanted debris. Check to make sure that radiator caps and hoses are secure and periodically check the radiator tank.

6.     Inspect Coolant Levels & Condition

Examine the coolant in the reservoir, checking both the level and the condition. Coolant is usually colored, so if it looks rusty, discolored, or has something floating in it, flush the cooling system and add new coolant. Having plenty of clean coolant prevents your engine from overheating in summer.

7.     Change the Oil

An oil change helps your engine combat the increased summer temperatures. Consider switching to full synthetic oil if you haven’t already. Full synthetic oil is less likely to breakdown at high temperatures.

8.     Inspect Overall Engine Performance

Inspect the PCV, fuel, and air filter, and consider changing if you didn’t while inspecting the air conditioner. Dirty PCV, fuel, and air filters reduce engine performance by dragging dirt and residue into your car’s engine. Monitor how the engine is running when you drive the vehicle. If your vehicle is accelerating slowly or is unresponsive, flush the engine to remove any dirt and grime. Also, check that your check engine light isn’t on. If it is, bring your vehicle to a mechanic to find out what is causing the issue.

9.     Clean and Test All Lights

Inspect that head and taillights are clean and shining bright. Salt and winter residue may cloud headlights. If so, clean head and taillights with a headlight cleaning product. You may even clean your headlights with toothpaste! Inspect that all lights are functioning, including license plate lamps. Having a light burnt out can make you less visible to other motorists.

10.     Examine Tire Tread

car care tips

Try the penny test to ensure your tires have proper tread depth. Insert a penny into your tire’s tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, the tire’s tread is worn down too far. You may need new tires.

Rotating your tires can help evenly distribute wear and tear. Tire rotations are recommended every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Check that the tire pressure is at the recommended level. Look in your owner’s manual or on the tires for appropriate tire pressure.

11.     Inspect the Brake Pads

Listen for a screeching, metallic sound when you step on the brakes. This sound signifies brake pads that are worn too thin. If you hear nothing but still feel some grinding when you push the brake pedal, your pads are too thin. If you experience either issue, replace the brake pads before they cause a rotor problem, creating a much more expensive issue.

12.     Inspect Brake Fluid

Degradation of brake fluid causes reduced braking performance or even total brake failure. The brake fluid reservoir is often near the base of your car’s windshield. The fluid should be clean and near the full mark. Inspect the level and condition of your brake fluid as well. If you’re running low on brake fluid or the brake fluid is black rather than brown, replace.

13.     Inspect and Clean the Battery

Battery acid deposits may form on the battery terminals. To combat buildup, you can create a battery cleaning solution with baking soda and water. Remove the cables from the battery and brush the baking soda solution on the terminals. Find a brush and scrub the terminals until dirt-free.

Also, check the battery casing for any cracks and inspect for frayed cables. If your battery is four years old or older, it is recommended you get it tested. Consider keeping a booster pack or jumper cables in your vehicle in case the battery dies.

14.     Stock up on Emergency Provisions

Emergencies do occur, and NAPA recommends stocking your vehicle with these 19 emergency provisions:

  • Clear plastic bin – keeps everything on this list dry and orderly
  • Water –may also be used to cool off your radiator if it is overheating
  • Phone Charger
  • Snacks
  • Sunscreen
  • Reflective Blanket- may be used for shade, or to signal to passersby’s if stranded
  • Visibility Equipment – equipment such as a bright vest or bright cones to catch the attention of other drivers
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Flashlight or Headlamp
  • Pocket Knife/Multi-tool
  • Jumper Cables
  • Tire sealant – handy if your tire can’t remain inflated
  • Tire Pressure Gauge
  • Tow Strap – in case towing is necessary
  • Fuses – handy if fuses for lights or electronics burn out
  • Tool Kit – have a socket wrench, and screwdrivers with flathead and Philips heads
  • Duct Tape
  • Rag
  • Gloves

15.     Check Power Steering Fluid Levels

Low steering fluid may cause difficulty steering a vehicle and the power steering pump to fail. Your owner’s manual will have specifics on inspecting power steering fluid levels. If fluid is low or dark brown, have power steering fluid replaced.

16.     Inspect Belts and Hoses

Cold temperatures may cause your belts to contract. Likewise, warm weather may cause your belts to expand, causing fraying or damage. Inspect all belts and hoses for cracks or frays. Check that belts are securely attached, tight, and properly aligned. Especially check the coolant hose. They are prone to failure due to high temperatures and heavy pressure on hot days.

17.     Add Fuel-Line Cleaner

Adding a fuel cleaner when you fill up your vehicle with gasoline helps keep your fuel line stable and free from deposits. It is recommended you add one bottle of fuel line cleaner every 3000 miles to maintain peak engine performance, fuel economy, and prevent hard starts.

Car Care Tips to Enjoy Your Summer!

Whether you’re planning a road trip or just looking to extend your vehicles life, these 17 car care tips for summer are just what the mechanic ordered. After proper inspection, you are minimizing risk from poor maintenance so that you can enjoy cruising under the sunny sky all summer long.

If you encounter unrepairable issues with your vehicle while going through our car care tips, take a look at our eBay store. It’s full of vehicles that can get you back on the road in no time. Each vehicle comes with a full inspection report by certified mechanics.

Rawhide Guy Overcomes Childhood Trauma

Imagine if your father woke you up for school each morning with a punch in the face, and then laughed about it with his “buddies.” As hard as it is to imagine, that’s what happened on a regular basis to Alan Phillips in grade school. When he got to junior high, he started using classmates as punching bags, repeating the pattern of his childhood trauma. Garbage in, garbage out.

A Step in Breaking the Cycle of Childhood Trauma

While using his fists to solve school conflicts, Alan injured one fellow junior high student and was sent to a group home. He ran away after 2 ½ weeks. Police apprehended Alan in a town 60 miles away, and the court subsequently sent him to a mental health facility.

His social worker visited Alan one day, carrying a video of a place called Rawhide Boys Ranch. Alan had never heard of it but the video got his attention when Bart Starr entered the scene.

“I was such a fan of football and Bart Starr that I wanted to go to Rawhide right there on the spot. I went to court and the judge sent me to…Rawhide.”

Here’s a video similar to what Alan saw:

Repeating Patterns

As with recovery of any sort, the path is rarely a straight line. Likewise for Alan. Because of his toxic home environment, he had an issue with authority. As you can imagine, Alan ran into trouble at the ranch when his houseparents laid out some house rules. Alan didn’t want anyone to tell him what to do, and 2 weeks after he arrived there, he ran away…again.

“Should I Go, or Should I Stay?”

As fate would have it, that night was cold, snowy, and blustery. Clad in merely a wind breaker and tennis shoes—Alan was ill-equipped to meet the cold Wisconsin winter night head on.

childhood trauma healed

Also as fate would have it, a Rawhide youth care worker happened to be driving down that dark country road when he saw Alan. By this time, he was freezing and welcomed a ride. The Rawhide employee took Alan back to his house, made him some hot chocolate to warm his insides and asked:

“Do you want to keep walking or go back to Rawhide?”

Alan sipped the warm drink and replied, “Go back to Rawhide.”

When they called John Gillespie, Rawhide Founder and houseparent, John informed Alan that he was welcome to return and the consequence for running away would be to haul cinder blocks. “NO,” Alan said emphatically, perhaps sounding like a 2-year-old petulant child.  John sent him home. End of discussion.

After a few months back in his family home, Alan realized he wasn’t having much success trying to improve on his own. So he called John and asked once again to return to Rawhide. John’s reply: “You can come back here, but I have one stipulation. You have to haul cinder blocks.”

Hauling heavy cinder blocks no longer sounded so bad to Alan after trying to change on his own without success. Alan returned to Rawhide and stayed for eight months.

Dealing with Unstructured Time

By Alan’s own admission, it was easier to toe the line when he had projects or jobs to do like cleaning the barns or chopping wood. He said he always had a good work ethic, so working kept him out of trouble. However, the unstructured time or “downtime” challenged Alan. “That’s when I got into trouble,” he said, “because I’d always want to be doing something.”

Alan eventually learned how to simply enjoy the company of other people without a structured event or activity. He learned how to break the cycle of his childhood trauma. He thanks Rawhide for teaching him how to socially interact with other people in a healthy way.

Alan Shares His Story at Rawhide’s Chalk Talk

In November 2015, Alan shared his story at Rawhide’s Chalk Talk event with Brett Favre. Nearly 1,500 people packed Green Bay’s KI convention center to spend Thanksgiving with Brett Favre. This was the 3rd annual Chalk Talk fundraiser for Rawhide and the largest by far.

Alan’s Life Now

Alan expressed gratitude for how Rawhide helped him heal and overcome childhood trauma he experienced as a child. As a result, he has been married over 30 years, has kids and grandkids. He learned how to be a good parent to his own kids and how to create a healthy family. In fact, Al smiled as he shared how his kids still call him when they need to talk or have a problem to work out. He clearly loves it.

 “I Would Do Anything for the Gillespies”

When asked if he had any words for John and Jan Gillespie, he choked back the tears as he expressed his heartfelt gratitude:

“I told John yesterday, I would do anything for him. Anything. No matter what.”

Alan also said he will forever be a Packer fan because of Bart and Cherry Starr. Bart’s integrity is the “most awesome thing ever.”

Passing on Words of Wisdom

Alan has some advice for new Rawhide guys and stresses that they are lucky to have this chance to change their lives.

“Keep an open mind and listen. Take your I’m-better-than-everyone-else attitude and leave it at the door. Pay attention to those around you at Rawhide. They’ll teach you how to grow up.”

He believes that once a guy learns how to be humble, he is more apt to listen and learn for what is needed in his life. We couldn’t agree more, Al.

Ways to Give

If you would like to help troubled youth heal from childhood trauma like Alan, there are various ways to give.

Every charitable contribution gives troubled youth and families a second chance. Thank you for thinking of Rawhide.



Body Image Issues: The Teen Male Edition [INFOGRAPHIC]

Females have been fed a steady diet of perfect body images in the media for years. Unrealistic female physiques have been splashed across billboards and fashion magazine covers for decades. Even dolls sported impossible proportions that caused young women to loathe their own appearance and develop eating disorders. Teen males have not been linked to this issue…until now.

The number of teen males dissatisfied with their bodies has tripled over the last 25 years and many even have distorted perceptions of their appearance—a condition known as body dysmorphic disorder. Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a mental illness where an individual focuses obsessively on self-perceived physical flaws.

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Body Image Issues: The Teen Male Edition

While women have been the focus of the perfect body type for years, the recent shift in media placing focus on the male body type is creating very similar problems. Unattainable physique has created unrealistic expectations, anxiety, mental health issues, and eating disorders for women, but now, it’s the male’s turn.

The rate of males dissatisfied with their bodies has tripled over the last 25 years. This has created sky high rates of body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD, a mental illness that causes an individual to place obsessive focus on what they perceive to be appearance flaws.

This obsession can lead to steroid abuse and eating disorders.

  • Some male teens say they’d trade years of their lives for the perfect male physique.
  • BDD can cause males to turn to steroids or develop eating disorders in an attempt to gain the perfect body.
  • Male teens extremely concerned about weight are more depressed and more likely to binge drink or use drugs.
  • Male body issues often go unnoticed because males are often thought to be secure with their bodies. More often, this is not the case.

Teen Males Increasingly Unhappy with Looks

45% of the teen male population is unhappy with their image compared to 15% in the early 1990s. Dissatisfaction centers on overall appearance:

Body Image Issues by Gender

Both teen males and girls experience angst over their appearance, yet the disorder manifests differently by gender. So does the area of concern.

Teenage girls tend to internalize negative messages and obsess about weight loss to obtain a thin appearance. While girls are more open than guys about dieting, if their weight loss method includes an eating disorder, they go to great lengths to hide it. And no matter how thin they get, they see an overweight person in the mirror.

Teenage boys strive for a muscular physique. They may engage in extreme exercise, especially weight training many hours per day. Teen boys rarely admit they are unhappy with their physiques and will still hold distorted images of themselves even if they look fine to others.  Indiana University of Pennsylvania found 1 in 5 teen males considered by their peers to be “in shape” still admitted being uncomfortable taking their shirts off in front of others.

The Teen Male Muscular Ideal

Teenage boy’s body image issues predominately lie in three areas.

  • 50% of teen boys are worried about gaining muscle      Click to Tweet!
  • 33% of teen boys are worried about thinness and muscularity simultaneously      Click to Tweet!
  • 15% of teen boys are concerned only with thinness      Click to Tweet!

90% of teen boys who exercise do so with the sole goal of adding mass and building muscle.       Click to Tweet!

Dr. Alison Field summarized the current focus of the male physique: “There are some males who do want to be thinner and are focused on thinness, but many more are focused on wanting bigger, or at least more toned and defined, muscles.”

Muscle Dysmorphia Growing Among Male Teens

Muscle dysmorphia is a pathological obsession with muscle building and extreme focus on food choices. It is also called “bigorexia” or “reverse anorexia.” This condition leads to a fixation on gaining body mass.

  • 25% of teen males at a normal weight believe they’re underweight      Click to Tweet!

Teen males suffering from muscle dysmorphia put their lives on hold to exclusively develop their “perfect body.” This leads to countless hours in the gym, spending large amounts of money on supplements, and unusual eating patterns.

Teens Go to Extremes to Achieve Ideal Body

Teen boys who feel unable to achieve an already unattainable physique may use extreme measures such as steroids or supplements.

Over 50% of males with muscle dysmorphia abuse steroids. Steroids and supplements are attractive to teen boys when they fail to build an unobtainable physique.

  • 10.5% of male high school students acknowledged using muscle-enhancing substances
  • 6% of male high school students have taken steroids without a doctor’s prescription

Injectable steroids are a dangerous way to enhance muscle, along with “natural” protein powders and supplements as well. Many protein powders and supplements are unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They may contain unhealthy ingredients and may cause unappealing side effects.

Many Would Make the Ultimate Trade-Off

Some teen males would make a huge sacrifice for a perfect body.

  • 38% would sacrifice at least a year of their life for a perfect body      Click to Tweet!
  • 5.3% would sacrifice a decade of their life, or more, for a perfect body      Click to Tweet!

The lengths at which males are willing to go to reach their “ideal” surprised Dr. Alison Field:

“You want people to be concerned enough about their weight to make healthy decisions, but not so concerned that they’re willing to take whatever means it takes, healthy or unhealthy, to achieve their desired physique.”

Eating Disorders on the Rise with Male Teens

Adding muscle bulk is not the only body issue concerning young males. Male eating disorders are rising as they grow more obsessed about having a lean body.

31% of male teens reported binge eating, purging, or overeating. Additionally:

  • 17% of teen males are on extreme diets
  • 4% of high school males went without food for more than 24 hours straight in the past month
  • 2%  of teen males intentionally vomited or took laxatives to lose weight or prevent weight gain

Eating disorders can turn fatal. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all mental health disorders at 20%. Bulimia can lead to suicide.

Unfortunately, only 10% of individuals with an eating disorder receive treatment. Eating disorders come with a strong feeling of shame, often preventing open conversations. Two commonly believed fallacies prevent men from seeking help for eating disorders:

  1. Males are more secure with their bodies, no matter their size
  2. Eating disorders are a “woman’s disease”

Top Causes of Teen Male Body Image Issues


A joint study by Today & AOL found:


The pressure to fit in as a teenager also causes male body image issues. Teen males reach physical maturation at different rates. Seeing friends or classmates increase strength and muscle mass can cause insecurities or self-consciousness for those who haven’t reached physical maturation. Additionally:

  • 58.6% of teen males said talking about their bodies makes them feel self-conscious      Click to Tweet!
  • 25% of boys reported being teased about their weight      Click to Tweet!


Simple toys like action figures create insecurities in certain teen males as well. These dolls feature chiseled abdominal muscles and nearly impossible pectoral muscles. Only 1 to 2% of the male population is capable of developing the body type of today’s action figures.

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Movies and magazines have also begun displaying more bare-chested men, six-pack abs, and chiseled physiques. The movie 300 may come to mind, or even the scene in Captain America where Steve Rodgers, a scrawny, thin male character, enters experimental treatment and leaves as a buff hero. This gives teens the impression that the only true heroes are the people bigger and stronger than everyone else.

Dr. Raymond Lemberg summed up the media’s added focus on strength and the male body:

“The media has become more of an equal opportunity discriminator. Men’s bodies are not good enough anymore either.”

Body Image Is Closely Linked to Self-Esteem

Negative body image often brings low self-esteem, but other issues also appear. Negative body image may cause:

Warning Signs

Males seek treatment less often for eating disorders because of the perception that they’re suffering from a “woman’s disease.” However, it doesn’t mean they don’t experience body image issues, anxiety, and stress about their appearance.

Dr. Alison Field said: “Pediatricians and adolescent medicine doctors and parents need to become aware that they should be listening as much to their sons’ conversations about weight as their daughters.”

Teen males may display these warning signs:

  • Chronically Comparing – Individuals struggling with poor body image often compare their body with others. They may compare to people they know, strangers, celebrities, or models. Comparing often involves specific body parts or certain characteristics and leads to even greater dissatisfaction.
  • Unable to Receive Compliments or Praise – Teens with body image issues may quickly deflect compliments or have strong suspicion of one’s motives when complimented.
  • Hypersensitive Interactions with Others – Low self-esteem may cause constant questioning of how others act and what others say. Many motives, behaviors, gestures, or words can be misconstrued as negative.
  • Inability to Enjoy the Present – Focus on anything else if the mind is solely focused on body image is difficult. Living in the moment also becomes difficult, and persistent fears of perceived flaws invade the brain.
  • Compartmentalizing Body into Parts – Rather than feeling wholly connected, focus falls on specific body parts, leading male teens to spend hours building one specific body area.
  • Unnatural Associations Eating food may be linked with feelings of guilt, shame, or blame.

How Parents Can Help

If you are worried your teen might suffer from body image issues and insecurities, consider these approaches:

  1. Be a Good Role Model: Watch how you speak about your own appearance. If you are outwardly critical of your own body, your teen will apply that negative view to his or her body.
  2. Educate on Media Manipulation: Teach your teen that the media constantly portrays unrealistic images of men and women. They are Photo-shopped to create perfect skin and physiques, implying that only this perfect standard is acceptable. It’s not real.
  3. Nurture Personality and Interests: Help your teen shift their focus from perceived physical flaws to their interests or talents. If they like art, find them an art class. Or tennis lessons if they show an interest. This will nurture their inner qualities and build self-esteem.
  4. Compliment Deeper Qualities: Praise a kind heart, giving nature, sharp brain, etc.
  5. Listen Without Judging: Listen to how they feel without trying to argue them out of feeling that way. Praise their inner qualities.
  6. Provide Healthy Role Models: Look for role models in child’s interest areas such as art, music, or sports.
  7. Get Outside Help: If you notice irrational beliefs in your teen, seek the help of a trained medical professional.

While we’re all familiar with the body image pressures the media places on girls, males experience body image issues as well. Media portrayals of the ideal body, peer pressure, and an obsession with size and bulk create body image issues. Teen males will try extreme methods to obtain an ideal physique. Recognizing a teen might be experiencing body image issues can prevent future issues and help them grow and become more comfortable and confident with the own unique and incredible person they are.

101 Tips for Preparing Your Boat for Spring

When sunshine starts dancing on the lake, boaters will be eager for some warm-weather fun. Before your boat hits the water though, ensure your boat is ready. Preparing your boat for spring ensures proper performance and safety. These 101 tips for preparing your boat for spring will give you peace of mind and get you on the water in no time.

General Tips for Preparing Your Boat for Spring

  1. Check that the boat registration is current and onboard. You need to have this available if a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officer asks to see it.
  2. Clean the hull with a marine-safe cleanser. Avoid using dish soap as it may remove wax.
  3. After cleaning the hull, apply a coat of wax to protect the finish.
  4. Clean windows and hatches to ensure unobstructed visibility.
  5. Inspect wiper blades and replace if necessary.
  6. Check that drains and scuppers are clear. Clean as needed so that water can properly drain off instead of pooling in your boat.
  7. Clean and polish metal with a good metal polish.
  8. Invest in boat towing insurance. You’ll be glad you did if an emergency arises.

Inspecting Your Boat’s Electrical System and Components

  1. Check the boat’s battery. Recharge as needed.
  2. Inspect battery terminals for corrosion. If battery terminals appear corroded, clean.
  3. Check the water level of the boat’s battery. If water level is low, add distilled water to maintain battery’s performance. Tap water will diminish performance.
  4. Check that the boats bonding system is functioning. The bonding system is used to connect a boat’s underwater metals such as through-hull fittings and rudders.

  1. Inspect all wiring for wear and fraying. All wires should be intact and secure.
  2. Test all gauges for proper function.
  3. Check the boat’s  shore power system and make sure the charger is working. This will save fuel consumption while idling.

  1. Add spare fuses to the boat’s storage compartment in case a fuse burns out.
  2. Test all lighting fixtures and replace burned out bulbs. Store spare bulbs on your boat.
  3. Make sure that antennas are secure.
  4. Inspect the outer jacket of the throttle, shift, and steering control cables for cracks or swells. These may mean internal corrosion and failure.
  5. Check functionality of all other electronics on the boat such as fish finders and radios.
  6. Apply corrosion-inhibitor product to all metal connections. Some products also work as a lubricant to loosen rusted parts.

Hull Inspection

101 Tips for Preparing Your Boat for Spring Blistered Hull

  1. Examine the hull for stress cracks in the fiberglass.
  2. Check the hull for blistering. An occasional blister is not a serious problem, however many large blisters threaten the integrity of the hull. Repair immediately.
  3. Inspect the rudder and fittings for rust, corrosion, bearing debris, and excessive play.
  4. Check and replace zinc anodes if necessary. Zincs guard against galvanic corrosion that can quickly destroy underwater metals like your rudder or outboard.

  1. Check that rub rails are secure and that there are no leaks underneath it.
  2. Inspect that the shaft, cutlass bearing, strut and prop are in working condition.
  3. If applicable, check the swim platform and/or ladder for any damage or loose connections.
  4. Inspect and test trim tabs.

  1. Touch up or replace any antifouling paint to slow the growth of underwater organisms that attach to hulls. A buildup of organisms can decrease the boat’s performance.

Check Below the Decks

  1. Inspect and lubricate seacocks—valves in a boat’s hull below or near the waterline that permits water flow into the boat for various purposes like a sink. Once inspected and lubricated, test.
  2. Make sure hoses and clamps are in working condition.
  3. Waterline hoses should be double clamped. Check that this is so.
  4. Check limber holes and make sure they are clear of debris and functioning correctly.

101 Tips for Preparing Your Boat for Spring Limber Holes

  1. Bilge pumps should be inspected for proper automatic and manual operation.
  2. Inspect the bilges to make sure no oil leaked in during the offseason.

Inspect Inboard Engines

  1. Before firing up the engine, change oil and oil filters. Be sure to carry spare oil and filters onboard.
  2. Inspect the fuel filter and change if dirty. It’s always wise to carry an extra fuel filter.
  3. Take a look at the cooling system. If coolant is discolored, change it. Always have extra coolant onboard.
  4. Check for discoloration in transmission fluid. If transmission fluid appears discolored, it’s time to change it for new fluid.
  5. Check all belts for tension, fraying, and wear. Also check that all belts are aligned properly and that no belts are slipping.
  6. Check and clean backfire flame arrestor These prevent gasoline vapors from igniting if your engine backfires. Each carburetor needs one.
  7. Check impeller to make sure fluid is being transferred evenly through the engine.
  8. Inspect and clean your boat’s raw water strainer to prevent marine growth.

  1. Check that the bilge blower is properly ventilating gasses.

Checking the Outboard Motor

  1. Check that spark plugs hold a spark. Replace spark plugs if necessary.
  2. Inspect, change, and fill gear lube if necessary.
  3. Check your fuel lines, primer bulb, and fuel tank for leaks.
  4. Lubricate and spray moveable parts to protect from wear and damage.
  5. Inspect the propeller for damage or warping. Fix if necessary.

Examine Mast and Rigging (If Applicable)

101 Tips for Preparing Your Boat for Spring Boat Spreaders

  1. Check mast and spreaders for corrosion or damage.
  2. Inspect that spreader boots and shrouds are in working condition to prevent damage to sails.
  3. Examine rivets and screw connections to be sure no corrosion occurred.
  4. Clean sail track to ensure proper function.
  5. Check rigging, turnbuckles, and clevis pins for wear and corrosion. Regular inspection can prevent later damage from corrosion.
  6. Inspect all stays for fraying or other damage.
  7. Check that reefing points and reefing gear are functioning for proper sail functions.
  8. Check the sail’s forestay and backstay connections to ensure it is properly connected.
  9. Inspect that masthead fitting and pulleys are functioning appropriately for proper furling and unfurling.
  10. Check and lubricate roller furling system so sails can successfully furl and unfurl.

  1. Check halyards for damage or frays and consider replacing if damaged or frayed.
  2. Apply tape to your turnbuckles, cotter pins, and spreaders to prevent any snags or damage to sails.
  3. Lubricate the stuffing boxes, shaft and rudder logs to ensure proper movement.
  4. Empty and consider replacing water separator filters to allow better fuel efficiency.
  5. Shock the drinking water tank if applicable. Pool shock is recommended as it breaks down in a few days and then can be flushed out.

Check Deck, Fittings, and Safety Equipment

  1. Examine that ground tackle, lines, fenders, and other docking equipment are in working condition to prevent any mishaps when docking the boat.
  2. Check that chainplates and cleats are secure to ensure safe docking.
  3. Inspect deck for leaks and check that all windows and port lights are properly secure to prevent any water coming where it shouldn’t.
  4. Inspect anchor windlass and lubricate moving parts on the mechanism if necessary to allow for proper anchoring.
  5. Clean and grease winches for effective and efficient use.
  6. Examine that blocks and pad eyes are secure to the boat to prevent anything tied to them from ripping them out.
  7. If applicable, check stanchion, pulpits and lifelines. Ensure that they will remain in place, especially under human weight.
  8. If applicable, inspect that dinghy and/or life raft are in working condition. It’s wise to know emergency vessels will work if needed.

Inspect the Sails (If applicable)

  1. Inspect the sails for wear, chafing, and any other damage. If sails are damaged, replace to prevent issues on the water.
  2. Examine that battens and batten pockets are properly maintained to retain proper sail shape.
  3. Check all sail attachments to ensure your sail won’t create problems unfurling, furling, or when the wind picks up.
  4. Inspect the bolt rope for fraying or weakness. If frayed or weak, replace to prevent problems when you’re in the middle of the water.

Other Required and Recommended Equipment

  1. Check all distress signals on the boat, including the expiration dates. Emergency flares may not work if they’ve been sitting for a long while or if they were improperly stored. Buy new distress signals if there’s a chance the ones on hand might now work.
  2. Carry enough life jackets and personal flotation devices for passengers. Make sure every passenger has access to an appropriate life jacket.

  1. Ensure that all boat cushions are in good condition. They may also be used as flotation devices.
  2. Check that fire extinguishers are up to date and recharge if necessary.
  3. Check and adjust compass so it gives accurate bearing.
  4. Inspect navigation lights for malfunctions and adjust as needed.
  5. Check that nautical charts and maps are up to date and replace if necessary. Surprises aren’t always great when you’re in the middle of the water.
  6. Ensure that the radar reflector is functioning properly. This ensures that your boat shows up on other radars.
  7. Check that first aid supplies are up to date and replace if expired or if supplies are running short.
  8. Check that the bailer has no cracks and that the hand pump is in working condition. You will be glad you did in case of leak.
  9. Consider stocking potatoes on board. They can be used as an emergency food source and an emergency plug if a leak arises.
  10. Epoxy sticks can be kept on board as emergency fix-it adhesives if something breaks or needs to be put back together.
  11. Extra-Large garbage bags are a valuable item to have on board as they may be used as emergency ponchos or to help seal a leak.
  12. Keep duct tape on board. Duct tape is a versatile fix-it that helps in a variety of ways if something breaks.
  13. Include white vinegar as a staple on board. White vinegar is handy for curing itches if you encounter pesky mosquitos, or if you meet a jellyfish.
  14. Wax candles are a great addition on a boat because they can help lubricate jammed zippers, broken snaps, or anything with moving parts that might be stuck.

And Now for the Trailer…

  1. Check that the trailer’s rollers are in good, working condition so that guiding the boat back onto the trailer goes smoothly when you’re done for the day.
  2. Check that your trailer’s turn signals work. It’d be a shame to get pulled over before you start boating.
  3. Inspect the brake lights on your trailer so drivers know when you’re slowing down or stopping.
  4. Check that the straps and chains are in working condition and will be able to hold your boat in place.
  5. Apply lubrication to your winch if it is stiff. Proper lubrication allows for your winch to haul and secure your boat easier.
  6. Look at the latch on your coupler and make sure it is still working. A broken latch may cause the trailer to escape.
  7. Inspect wheel bearings and repack them with grease if necessary. Poor wheel bearings can create uneven wear for trailer tires.
  8. Check that your registration on your trailer is current. Many states require up-to-date registration for trailers.

Finished Preparing Your Boat for Spring?

Preparing your boat for spring may be painstaking, but having peace of mind while you’re on the water all season lets you enjoy the summer. If you’re looking to find a boat, check out Rawhide’s eBay selection. We have many boats up for auction that can fill your life with happy boating.

Rawhide eBay Preparing your boat for spring

15 DIY Motorcycle Tips to Ready Your Bike for Spring

Did your heart sink as you watched the snow melt and realized you hadn’t winterized your motorcycle? These DIY motorcycle tips can get your bike ready for spring and get you on the road for a smooth highway cruise.

1. Check for Small Animals and Debris

If you haven’t covered your bike thoroughly for the winter, you may be surprised to find that a small animal has taken up residence in your exhaust or air intake system. Examine these areas before starting your bike, and send any critters on their way.

2. Drain the Gas Tank

If the gas tank still contains old, untreated fuel, your motorcycle probably won’t start. Drain the fuel tank and examine the fuel. If brown grit comes with the fuel, it’s a sign the inside of your fuel tank has rusted. Flush your fuel tank with acid remover to prevent problems with your fuel system and ensure clean-burning fuel.

3. Treat Gasoline with Fuel StabilizerDIY Motorcycle tips Fuel Stabilizer

Even after draining the fuel system, there’s a chance that stale gas and ethanol are left in the gas tank. Stale gas and ethanol can cause engine misfiring or problems beyond simple DIY motorcycle repair. Adding fuel stabilizer to the tank clears any unwanted leftovers, plus helps the fuel system stay healthy.

4. Change the Oil

Even though you may have changed the oil and filter before you stored your bike for the winter, experts advise to do so again before your first ride of the new motorcycle season. The oil may have condensation build up from the winter and lack of use. At the very least, check the oil level before riding.

5. Check All Fluids

Gasoline is only one motorcycle fluid you should check when reviving your bike in the spring. Check hydraulic and brake fluid levels as well. Make sure any fluids left sitting in the reservoirs over winter didn’t deteriorate. Examine fluid colors and consistencies. Replace fluids that look dirty or different from when new.

6. Inspect Battery

If a motorcycle battery was left on your bike over winter, you will need to either charge it or replace it. First, pull it out and charge it overnight. Secondly, if you don’t have a maintenance-free battery, check fluid levels in each cell at this time. Use distilled water to fill the cells that are below the recommended level, not mineral-rich tap water. Distilled water keeps the combination of sulfuric acid and water as it should be without introducing minerals.

Once your battery is charged, test it. If it isn’t holding a charge, replace it now, especially if it’s over four years old. Replacing an old battery can prevent unforeseen problems such as being stranded or acid leaks.

7. Check Electrical System

There’s nothing worse than thinking you have enough gas for a longer ride, and then find out the hard way that your gauge malfunctioned. Examine all gauges, switches, head lights, rear brake lights, the horn, and turn signals before hitting the road.

8. Brighten the HeadlightsDIY Motorcycle Tips Headlight Cleaner

If your bike’s headlight lenses seem foggy, and visibility is limited, it’s time for some polishing. You can buy a headlight cleaner kit for around $20, and clean the headlight yourself. Many motorcycle accidents occur because car and truck drivers claimed to not even see the motorcycle. Prevent unsafe riding by making sure your bike’s lights are at their brightest.

9. Examine the Controls

Test your steering, throttle, and clutch to make sure they still work. Examine cables for frays, corrosion, or damage to coverings. Inspect lines and hoses for cracks, cuts, or signs of leaks. Control cables or hoses should not be folded or kinked, and steering should move freely. If this is not the case for your motorcycle, consider bringing your bike to a trusted mechanic to fix issues with controls.

10. Clean and Lubricate Chain (If Bike Doesn’t Have Drive Belt)DIY Motorcycle tips Degreaser

A dirty chain will inhibit how a bike runs. For this DIY motorcycle fix, buy a wire brush and dip it in degreaser. Slide the brush along the chain until it’s completely free of debris and mud. Then, rinse with fresh degreaser and wipe dry with a rag or sponge. Finish by spraying the sprocket side with lubricant. Also check for slack in the chain and adjust to manufacturer’s specification.

11. Check Brake Pads and Levers

Check your brakes before you ride to make sure your first ride of the summer isn’t your only ride of the summer. Brake pads should be at the very least 1/8 inch thick, preferably more. If brake pads are thinner or broken—replace immediately.

Test the position of your brake lever as well to make sure nothing shifted while in storage. Sit on your bike, grasp the handlebar ends, and place your fingers over the brake lever. If the lever touches slightly behind your fingers’ first knuckles from your fingernails and does not engage brakes, you’re in luck. No adjustments are needed.

If the brake lever feels far away, use the lever span adjustment knob to move the levers to the correct position for you.

DIY Motorcycle tips lever span diagram

12. Measure Tire Air Pressure

Check all tires to make sure the pounds per square inch (PSI) are at the recommended level. It’s natural for tire pressure to decrease during winter, but if your tire pressure is below the recommended level, inflate tires to proper level to ensure safe and smooth riding. Check also for any damage such as cracks, worn tread, punctures, or bulges. If you find damage, replace the offending tire before riding.

13. Let the Engine Run

Allow the engine to run for a few minutes and listen for strange noises. Doing so ensures the motorcycle can stay running. You don’t want to have your engine stall and fail miles from home!

14. Inspect the Spark Plugs

Check the gaps in the spark plugs for proper spacing. Check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s specifications and adjust. Replace worn plugs as needed.

15. Check for Loose Bolts

Once you’re sure your motorcycle can stay running, check all bolts on your bike to guarantee everything is tightened properly. Take the bike for a short test ride, and feel for abnormal vibrations. Once you’re back from the ride, check all bolts again to make sure nothing came loose. If all bolts and parts are in place, but you’re feeling a rumbling or unusual vibration, there might be a bigger issue such as:

  • Motor mounts
  • Swingarm
  • Axle
  • Steering head fasteners
  • Wheel balance
  • Suspension

These issues can be dangerous and most likely require a visit to a trusted mechanic. They should be fixed before riding.

Apply these DIY Motorcycle Tips on Your Next Project from Rawhide

If, after many attempts, your motorcycle still won’t start, there’s another option. Rawhide Boys Ranch has a collection of donated motorcycles up for auction on our eBay store. Each cycle includes a detailed inspection report for your peace of mind. See if your dream motorcycle project is there.

Every donated item helps fund programs for at-risk youth and families. We hope these DIY motorcycle tips have been helpful.

See motorcycles on ebay