The Tragic Truth of Sextortion

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National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Hotline: 1-800-843-5678
National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 
           Text HELP or INFO to 233733
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call or Text 988

While viewing my Instagram stories (follow me @youngpatriotrising), I came across an article from Fight The New Drug's story. The article is fairly recent (published on September 6th). In this article, the author shared the heartbreaking story of Amanda Todd, a victim of sextortion. What she went through was horrible, and in the end, after she was relentlessly bullied and humiliated, she committed suicide. Sextortion is a serious issue, and it's really impacting our children. 

Let's start out with a definition of sextortion. It's literally how it sounds! Sex + extortion. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, sextortion is defined as "a form of child sexual exploitation where children are threatened or blackmailed, most often with the possibility of sharing with the public a nude or sexual images of them, by a person who demands additional sexual content, sexual activity or money from the child." Basically, an adult manipulates a minor into sending them a nude or sexually explicit photo (i.e. performing a sexual act), because that child or teenager trusts that adult. 

What are the statistics surrounding sextortion? Here are a few, provided by Fight The New Drug:
  • 1 in 4 victims of sextortion were under the age of 13 (found in a study conducted by THORN and Crimes Against Children Research Center at UNH).
  • The same study found that over 50% of sextortion cases took place on social media.
  • During the pandemic, men were more likely to be victims of sextortion than women.
  • The porn industry fosters, fuels, and perpetuates sextortion.
  • Sextortion scams became popular during COVID. Evil, manipulative individuals tricked others into believing that they had explicit photos/videos of them and would use it against them.
The fact that children are the main victims of sextortion is a scary reality. It's not so easy to claim, "Children should know the meaning of 'stranger danger.'" We live in a technological era, where we see what other people have and envy them. Society has given our youth a warped viewpoint of what happiness and success means. This is why they will accept messages from strangers. To make matters worse, children or teenagers are afraid to tell their family of their sextortion. In the same study conducted by UNH and THORN, "79% of participants said fear of getting in trouble stopped them from telling a family member or friend."

I also want to share the connection sextortion has to human trafficking. Traffickers will claim to have explicit pictures/videos of their victim (which could be the truth or a lie), threatening to share these pictures or videos with a victim's friends and family and/or post online. After being extorted, that person is in debt to the trafficker, and may be forced to sell their body to "repay their debt" to avoid the shame. In the story of Theresa Flores, author of The Slave Across The Street, her trafficking experience started after her rapist's cousins took pictures of her being raped (the images appeared as if she was simply having sex). Because her parents were strict Catholics, Theresa was terrified of them learning the truth, so she did whatever the cousins wanted. She was sold, raped, and severely beaten every night for two years before escaping this world. Just another horrifying example of how dangerous sextortion can be.

This is extremely damaging to someone's mental health. The duress this places you under is immense. In many cases, this leads an individual to do something dangerous or even deadly. Such was the case with Amanda Todd and Tevan Tobler. Both of these healthy and happy teenagers were victims of sextortion, and took their life as a result of what they went through. It's extremely saddening to read, but even more upsetting that this crime is so prevalent. 

What can be done? Because this is happening in our time. If we don't protect our children, someone will exploit them. I hate to sound so doom-and-gloom, but that is our current reality. If you should find yourself or someone you know (child or adult), keep this list saved
  1. Know the red flags. This is probably one of the best ways to prevent extortion. Knowledge really is power. Some of the signs of a potential extorter for sex include the following: flattery, sending gifts, offer for modeling gig, asking for personal information, isolation, secretive conversations, requests for sexual photos, threats. How many times have you been messaged by a random account asking for you to be their sugar baby? Prime example!
  2. Stay calm. Do not blame yourself, your child, or anyone except the abuser. The only person to blame is the extorter. He or she knew what they were doing to you. Don't shift blame. Do not get angry. Be understanding of the situation, because it's very delicate. If this is your child, and the photos are being shared at the school (which could lead to bullying), your child's mental state is in shambles. Getting angry could hurt them more.
  3. Record everything for evidence. Take screenshots, document messages and timestamps, save their username. Anything that can count as evidence to get this person will be useful.
  4. Get counseling. Don't say "I'm fine." Don't believe your child or your friend if they claim to be okay. It won't hurt talking to a psychiatrist or counselor over what happened.
We live in scary times, but that doesn't mean we have to sit back and wait for it to happen. Parents, I cannot emphasize enough to talk to your children and teens. This could happen to any of us. Like I say about human trafficking, awareness and education is key to fighting this issue!

Hitting My 250th Blog Post!!


Raise a glass everyone. Today I am celebrating my 250th blog post! WHHHAAATTT??!! A little over three years ago, I began a blog called Talking Right. That was the original name of my blog, until I decided to change it to Young Patriot Rising. Guess I will need to change that name when I'm not in my 20s anymore, but that's not something I have to worry about any time soon! I didn't have any expectations for this blog. I never expected it to get to where it is now. I am incredibly grateful for this journey.

Before I continue, I'd like to thank my readers for giving me this platform. I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for you. From the OGs who have been in my corner since day 1, to those who recently discovered my blog, I consider myself blessed to have such an incredible audience.

When I began my blog, I never expected it would grow so much. It's given me several opportunities. From being interviewed by prominent individuals, to writing several guest articles for other conservative bloggers, to meeting several authors and influencers. I never expected these opportunities would arise simply from writing a blog. I've marketed myself through social media, and have gained a fairly large following, which I'm proud of. I also decided to put myself out there by creating Reels. Many have been very popular, and I enjoy making them.

I did this when I hit 200 articles, so I figured I could do it again! Right now, these are my favorite articles to date:
I have learned important skills through my blogging journey. Marketing myself, as I mentioned earlier, is one of the top skills I have learned. Using social media, email blasts, connecting with others to share my content, it all came from wanting to grow my blog. I've also learned how to research from the articles I have written. It's one thing to pull articles from Wikipedia, but using thought-provoking and related materials to further prove your point cannot be beat. Finally, I learned to interview through my blog. My first interview went well, but my interviewing skills excelled through the years. These are just a few skills I have developed as a result of my blog.

It's also thanks to this blog that I found an important passion that has become the main focus of my blog. Fighting human trafficking, sharing the truth of pornography, and telling the truth. That's why I write so much about these topics on my blog. It's why I began writing for Stop The Demand Project. It's partly why I have chosen to go back to school for behavior analysis. Behavior analysts can help those with PTSD (which is very common among victims of human trafficking) or take on a counseling role. I will see as my education continues. While I still believe my political beliefs are important, the fight against human trafficking is more important.

Before I close, here are 5 fun facts about me!
  • My whole family thought I wouldn't be able to handle getting another tattoo. This one was significantly better. Despite taking the "coward's way out" by using numbing cream, I still felt a lot of it. Nonetheless, this wasn't as painful as my second tattoo. This came out amazing!
  • I've been eating right and going to the gym three times a week (except last week because I had to let my tattoo heal), and now I've lost nearly 10 pounds!
  • I've been obsessed with Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. I watch at least one episode every day, but one day my sister, dad, and I watched like 6 episodes in one day. I don't have one favorite character, but it's definitely a tie between Elliot Stabler, Olivia Benson, Raphael Barba, and Dominick Carisi.
  • I'll be going to a Luke Bryan concert next month, which I'm super excited for!
  • I didn't even know I was hitting my 250th article until I checked on Sunday to see what number I was at. I knew I was near 250, but I wanted to know how close I was. Didn't realize I was already there!
I cannot wait to see what the future holds in store for me and this blog. Cheers to hitting 300!

Eight Celebrities Outspoken Against Pornography

Image credit: Fight The New Drug

Most people don't have thousands or millions of followers to share their message to. Pornography is a pressing issue in our society. It doesn't matter how old or how young someone is. Pornography destroys you. In an era of technology, it's pretty easy to find porn. Unfortunately, not many people are willing to take up the reins to speak out against this horrible industry. Thankfully, these eight celebrities use their fame and following to bring awareness to how harmful pornography is.
  1. Kirk Cameron: One of my favorite actors. In his movie, Fireproof, Cameron's character struggles with porn addiction. This led me to becoming curious if Kirk had spoken out  against pornography, and he does. Kirk Cameron often discusses the harmful effects of porn, especially how many children are discovering pornography. 
  2. Billie Eilish: In an interview with Howard Stern, Billie talked about how she was exposed to hardcore pornography. She shared how it messed up her brain, as she was only 13 when she watched these videos. It also impacted her relationships later on. Billie shared, "The first few times I had sex, I was not saying no to things that were not good; it was because I thought that's what I was supposed to be attracted to." What happened to Billie is just one example of how pornography warps what a relationship should be.
  3. Terry Crews: Terry was candid about what his porn addiction did to him. His addiction to pornography damaged his relationship with his wife. He eventually cheated on her, and after telling her of his infidelity, Rebecca gave him a choice: get help or divorce. Terry admitted he went into rehab for his porn addiction. He and his wife reconciled, and she says their relationship is stronger than ever. Terry almost lost everything because pornography consumed his life. He tells his audience that giving up pornography is possible.
  4. Joseph Gordon Levitt: While JGL hasn't dealt with an addiction to pornography, he does bring light to the unrealistic standards for relationships that pornography normalizes. In his film, Don Jon, Levitt plays a character addicted to hardcore pornography. His character cannot have a normal relationship, because he is only satisfied by the sexual acts shown in his pornographic videos. "We learn a lot of expectations from movies, or TV shows, or commercials, or magazines, or pornography, and those expectations are unrealistic and maybe not so healthy," JGL shares. Addiction to pornography affects relationships with others. 
  5. Joshua Broome: This is someone you should 100% follow. Joshua Broome (formerly known as Rocco Reed) was a popular porn star, having done over 1,000 adult films. After six years in the industry, Joshua realized how empty his life was (at one point, contemplating suicide). Joshua left the porn industry, and by God's grace, turned his life around completely. Joshua uses his story to share why pornography is a stain on society. He's been several podcasts and shows for TPUSA, as well as had his story shared by Fox News, Fight The New Drug, and New York Post. Joshua explained how the porn industry takes advantage of both consumers and the performers. He tells his audience how harmful pornography is. "You are saying its okay to consume a person like a product, and if you treat people like products every aspect of your life is going to be detrimental."
  6. Orlando Bloom: While Orlando claims that he has never watched pornography, especially during his six month break from sexual relations, he shared how pornography damages your mind, and can damage how your relationships work. "It’s just so destructive," Orlando shared in an interview with The Sunday Times. He even discusses how children and teenagers are consuming pornography at a dangerous rate. He's not wrong there.
  7. Andra Day: Again, hearing how women struggle with porn addiction is certainly new. Most times, when you hear the phrase "porn addiction," you assume it's men who struggle with this, not women. Just goes to show that anyone can become addicted. Andra Day knows this struggle, as she has discussed previously. Andra Day, in her breakout role as Billie Holiday in "The United States vs. Billie Holiday," was told she would play a hypersexualized version of Holiday (as she was known for). Andra refused, telling InStyle that she didn't want "any element of sexualization." She continued to InStyle,"I had come out of something in my own life - dealing with porn addiction, sex addiction."
  8. Marisol Nichols: After discovering the horrendous truth of human trafficking, Marisol set out to learn how to fight this crime. She gave up her Hollywood career to fight modern day slavery. Nichols has gone undercover since 2014 to catch human traffickers. She shared how she once pretended to be a 9-year-old girl talking to pedophiles, and another time she pretended to be a drugged-out mother selling her children on the Internet for drug money. Marisol has often spoken out against the porn industry, sharing how it's completely correlated to the child sex trafficking industry. In her interview with Fight The New Drug, Marisol shared how consumers of pornography cannot distinguish if the "product" they're consuming was made with children. Nor can they prevent themselves from going down the "dark hole" of pornography, which leads to the rape and abuse of children.
Understanding the effects of pornography is incredibly important. You may not agree politically with the people I have on this list, but the rising threat we face from pornography, especially in regards to our children, cannot be politicized. The porn industry cannot keep escaping scrutiny. The only thing pornography sells is lies. Don't buy into the lie!

Technology's Role in Aiding and Combatting Human Trafficking

Image credit: Pxhere

Technology has been a great tool in combatting human trafficking. At the same time, technology has aided human traffickers. There is good use in technology, but unfortunately, there are those who will abuse this power. There is no way to avoid how technology impacts society. Technology isn't going away, so it's up to use to not only use technology to our advantage in combatting human trafficking but understand how technology helps human trafficking thrive. 

What do you think of when you hear the word "technology?" Social media, the Internet, GPS, emails, online advertising. We can find clothes at a reasonable price online, or get our lunch delivered when we don't have the time to go and pick it up. How does this tie into human trafficking? As stated by the author in an article featured on Social Media Collective, "Technology makes many aspects of human trafficking more visible and more traceable, for better and for worse."

Technology provides human traffickers incredulous ways to continue their crimes without detection. Billions of people use the Internet, online advertising, and social media. Traffickers can advertise through online ads on the Internet to sell their victims. A trafficker could also use websites to trick someone with a false job or promise, then exploit that individual. Some of these include live chats, which provides traffickers to perfect opportunity to contact individuals to get their personal information, giving them even more power over their soon-to-be victim. You can reach a myriad of people through the Internet. Traffickers can also use other aspects of technology to aid them in their crimes. GPS is often used to track victims' locations. Traffickers can hack (or have someone hack) security cameras to know where their victim is or use cameras/microphones to communicate with a victim.

The greatest use of technology for human traffickers would be recruitment. For the past decade or so, traffickers have used technology (i.e. social media, the Internet) to recruit victims. Alexandra Gelber, the Deputy Chief for Policy and Legislation at the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Department of Justice, shared how online recruitment works in the United States. "Data shows that in the United States approximately 40% of sex trafficking victims are recruited online, making the Internet the most common place where victim recruitment takes place," Gelber says. As I've stated numerous times, social media is integral in traffickers' success. A trafficker can find numerous victims through a few searches on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or Facebook. In 2020, Facebook alone was responsible for 59% of online recruitment in active victims' cases. To make matters worse, 65% of child sex trafficking recruitment that took place online came from Facebook. What child do you know uses Facebook? It's terrifying to consider how they're reaching our youth.

Thanks to technology's advancement globally, people can pay for sexual services online from another country. We are witnessing how child trafficking has gone online. Predators and traffickers can molest or abuse children, while viewers pay for these "services." 

There's also the discussion of how pornographic websites allow CSAM and CSE (in addition to human trafficking). One of PornHub's most popular channels, GirlsDoPorn, was found guilty of trafficking young women. Pornography has a direct line to fueling human trafficking. Traffickers understand the revenue by manipulating or threatening their victims into "performing." If someone is forced, coerced, or manipulated into doing these acts, that is human trafficking. There is no way to know how many videos include human trafficking or performers of legal age. There is no way to know if the performer in that video wants to be there. The porn industry receives more visits than Netflix, Twitter, and Amazon combined

Pornography is also a tool traffickers use to groom their victims. By normalizing these acts found in pornography, from incest to BDSM, victims will be more likely to go along with what is asked of them. In an interview with acclaimed porn star, Nina Hartley, interviewer Benji Nolot asked Nina how she cannot be concerned with the message her recent film normalized. What was the movie in question about? A mother's sexual relationship with her daughter. You could see Nina was thrown off, and while she claimed she wouldn't do another incest-themed film, she went ahead and made another. There is no ethical line with pornography. As Joshua Broome stated, "There is no NO list. NO means not yet." 

With all I have described with how technology aids human trafficking, it's hard to see the bright side. Have hope! There are positives to technology in combatting human trafficking. For one, social media has been a great tool in exposing the truth of human trafficking. I love watching educational videos on human trafficking on Instagram or making Reels on human trafficking myself. Education and awareness are key in bringing light to this dark subject. You've also got resource centers, like the National Human Trafficking Hotline or Cyber Tipline, that you can report human trafficking to. There are apps and websites you can use to fight human trafficking. 

With regards to technology, this is an advantage, I thoroughly believe, where Gen Z can step up. Most of my generation uses social media to share our messages. I believe the same should be done with human trafficking. Traffickers can adapt to technological advances, but that doesn't mean we can't. 

Food in The United States vs. Europe

Image credit: kacey.dawn.37

Have you ever read the labels of the foods you purchase? Specifically, do you ever read the label? Even if you haven't, you probably noticed that the ingredients are a paragraph's length. Why is that? Because several ingredients in your favorite snacks, junk food, and even non-junk food are loaded with additives and preservatives. Many of these preservatives are also commonly found in industrial products. Yet the FDA claims that consuming these products are safe. How does this tie in with Europe's food standards? The food standards in European countries greatly differ from America's. 

Several ingredients used to make popular drinks and foods in America are banned in Europe. Some of the ingredients include the following: Potassium bromate, azodicarbonamide (ADA), BHA and BHT, growth hormones, and Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO). These are unnecessary products added to several soft drinks and foods that have been banned for use in Europe. What's so dangerous about these products? Aside from causing memory loss, weight gain, and skin/nerve problems, majority of these contain carcinogens. Carcinogens are substances or organisms that cause cancer. Several studies prove how these products are directly linked to causing cancer in lab animals. The FDA still says consuming these ingredients in small amounts will cause no severe damage. They're lies, of course.

Have you ever seen the ingredients in Mountain Dew or McDonald's versus the same brands in Europe? The European version of these products have a sliver of the number of ingredients than that of America. Let's look at both Mountain Dew and McDonald's in America and England and you can get an idea of how they differ.

Mountain Dew (U.S.): Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, concentrated orange juice, citric acid, natural flavor, sodium benzoate, caffeine, sodium citrate, erythorbic acid, gum arabic, calcium disodium EDT, brominated vegetable oil, yellow 5
Mountain Dew (U.K.): Carbonated water, sugar, citric acid, ascorbic acid, caffeine, flavorings, potassium sorbate, gum arabic, beta carotene

McDonald's French Fries (U.S.): Vegetable oil (consists of canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and hydrogenated soybean oil), dimethylpolysiloxane (aka the main ingredient found in Silly Putty), "natural beef flavor," sodium acid pyrophosphate
McDonald's French Fries (U.K.): Potatoes, oil, dextrose, salt

I recommend reading Food Babe's article about how products differ between the U.S. and England.

The difference in the number of ingredients is astonishing. Worse, the American producers of these popular foods or drinks don't care that their products contain such toxic ingredients. It clearly isn't impossible to make these drinks the right way, without the poisons they're putting in our food. That's how it is done in Europe. American food companies are purposefully exploiting our citizens with their products. The United States is one of the most obese countries. Remember how gyms were forced to close down, but not fast-food restaurants and liquor stores during COVID? Make sense now, doesn't it?

I know Americans love to tease England whenever they talk bad about the U.S. But after what I have learned here, I have more respect for England and Europe than the United States. At least Europe isn't poisoning their own citizens with these toxic products. I've been hitting the gym and eating right since the end of April, cutting out most junk food places and limiting how much sugary foods/drinks I take in. I don't get the same cravings for junk food anymore. Eating organic and proper exercise is the way to go! I don't have a desire to go to Taco Bell or Burger King anymore. There needs to be more discussion on dropping unhealthy fast food that will cause several health problems and focus on the importance of eating right and exercise. Nobody in the FDA will talk about this because big pharma profits off of obesity and health problems.

Four Common Industries Used by Human Traffickers

Credit to original creator

I've discussed several myths surrounding human trafficking, but this one really interested me. I wanted to talk about it! Another common myth surrounding human trafficking is that this crime only happens in underground or illegal industries. A large part of this belief is due to the stereotypes pushed by the media and Hollywood. For example, Liam Neeson's Taken showed his daughter get kidnapped and sold into sex slavery. I came across an article, where the author talked about the music video for Bad Romance by Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga appeared to be kidnapped and sold into sex slavery and killed her buyer at the end. These cases can happen, but it's not as common as people believe. Human trafficking happens in broad daylight in common industries or businesses. Here, I will discuss four industries used by human traffickers, as well as how we can combat human trafficking in these industries.

#1: The Hospitality Industry.
I have discussed how traffickers appreciate the hospitality industry, but I will reiterate. Hotels and motels make trafficking easy, due to the privacy and anonymity provided. Additionally, traffickers can pay in cash and leave to continue their operations, while police cannot determine where that trafficker is moving from and to. As I previously wrote, "The ability to pay cash, the ability to change locations quickly, and underprepared staff makes hotel rooms an easy place to make money." 

How to fight human trafficking in the hospitality industry: There is an app you can download called TraffickCam. When you go to a hotel or motel, you can take pictures of your room. Victims are usually advertised online in their hotel/motel room. This app allows law enforcement to view the photos taken with photos on the advertisements to determine where a trafficker and/or their victim is. The Department of Homeland Security also provides a toolkit to educate the staff in hotels or motels. You can also read this to become aware on how to recognize the signs. 

#2: Agriculture.
Agriculture is certainly surprising. Every state has some form of agriculture. For some states, it's a large part of their economy (i.e. California, Florida, Iowa, Texas). As you can see, the states that depend heavily on agriculture have higher trafficking rates. The agriculture industry depends on migrant workers. Many are on a temporary work Visa. When does this become trafficking? When their boss threatens them with deportation. Traffickers will threaten their workers with their loved ones by stating they might report them to I.C.E. 

How to fight human trafficking in the agriculture industry: Research which companies you buy from. Ensure you get your products from ethical companies that value their workers. Buy produce and meat from local farmers or markets. If you've got some land, start a garden. If you have more land, raise your animals. 

#3: Massage Parlors/Nail Salons.
I paired these two together because they're one in the same. Many traffickers target vulnerable individuals needing to provide for their families (usually women are targeted). Similar to the agriculture industry, traffickers manipulate and coerce victims that 1) no one else will help them, and 2) they'll face deportation if they try to do anything. Some of these victims face long hours with little pay, sometimes forced to live in terrible conditions. These victims are told false promises, only to learn their true conditions for work. 

How to fight human trafficking in massage parlors/nail salons: Learn the signs. Know what indicators and red flags are visible with human trafficking victims working in massage parlors or nail salons. 

#4: Tourism.
Another industry several states depend on. What states come to mind when you hear the word "tourism?" California, Florida, New York would be common answers. Again, these states (at least the first two) depend heavily on tourism in its economy, and it also has high human trafficking rates. Tourism makes it easy for traffickers to continue their practice. Through the guise of simply visiting the States, a trafficker can have their victim work in hotels or motels for a limited amount of time with no suspicion of criminal activity. Most tourists are in their own world and pay little attention to what is happening around them, because they're too busy enjoying their vacation. In the case of human trafficking, ignorance is NOT bliss.

How to fight human trafficking in the tourism industry: As mentioned with the massage parlors and nail salons, education is a large part of this. Constantly educating staff members and others makes a larger impact than anyone can realize. 

As you can see, both sex trafficking and forced labor are evident in these industries. Cases of forced labor are harder to recognize due to the fact you cannot tell who is working freely versus someone forced into working to pay off a debt. Not to mention, in many cases of forced labor, victims are forced to labor during the day, then forced into sexual services during the night. These operations occur in plain sight, but without the proper knowledge or education in this issue, we cannot fight back. Please, get educated on how to recognize the signs of someone being trafficked.

An Overview of Applied Behavior Analysis

Image credit: Learning Ladders Society

Since I have announced that I was accepted into the Master's in Applied Behavior Practice at Florida Institute of Technology, I have received several questions of what this field is, why I have chosen to study this field, and what I intend to do with my degree. After receiving several responses to if I should write an article on this topic, I have decided I could explain what ABA is. I will try to address every aspect of this field, but if you have any other questions, please comment at the end of the article!

Think back to when you were a child. If you're a parent, think back to when your children were young (under the age of 10). Did you ever receive a timeout, or give a timeout to your child? If you said yes to either of these questions, that's an example of ABA. Applied behavior analysis is a therapeutic approach to "correct" behaviors associated with autism or related disabilities. The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) shares that ABA "focuses on the process of behavior change with respect to the development of adaptive, prosocial behavior and the reduction of maladaptive behavior."

To better understand why a child with autism (or neurotypical child) is behaving the way they are, therapists utilize the ABCs of ABA. The ABCs refer to the Antecedents, the Behaviors, and the Consequences of the behaviors. Antecedents refer to what leads to any negative behaviors, like a trigger. With behaviors, there are two types: functional and nonfunctional. ABA therapists observe both. Consequences is what may happen after that behavior and may reinforce behaviors (either good behaviors or bad behaviors).

Here's an example to explain the ABCs of ABA. My sister and I are watching an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. My brother doesn't understand 1) why we aren't paying attention to him, and 2) why he isn't getting his show. That's the Antecedent. He starts biting the chair or his toy to get [negative] attention. That's the Behavior. What's the Consequence? How he responds to the Behavior, but also how my sister and I respond. Depending on what we do, this could cause his negative behaviors to continue, or we can respond in a way to stop the bad behaviors/lead to better behaviors.

There are some criticisms towards ABA. For example, many against ABA believe that "correcting" behaviors associated with autism isn't fair to that individual. That it takes away who they are as a person. Essentially, you're not trying to help that person with autism. You're trying to "fix" them or make them "normal." Some even consider this practice to be abusive, by trying to normalize someone with autism. Regarding this argument, I think every case is different. While ABA helped my brother, it may not have been good for another child with autism. It's up to the caretaker or even the individual to decide what is best. 

Why I chose this field is because I have witnessed firsthand how beneficial this field can be with children (or even adults) like my brother. Even now, as he is an adult, we still utilize ABA in helping him deal with being an adult. I believe this field is extremely beneficial. I also chose this field because I noticed there is a lack of resources for families like mine. After my brother graduated high school, we assumed there would be options for him regarding continuing education or day treatment centers. Sadly, there aren't. Because my brother is on the lower end of the autism spectrum, he cannot continue education nor participate in a work study program. I hope with my combined degrees in Business and soon ABA, I can help give parents more options that we don't have. I also think another option could be involved in counseling or assisting victims of human trafficking in learning how to get past their experience and begin healing. Who knows what God has planned for my life?

I hope this answered some of your questions! I am nervous and excited to begin classes at the end of the month. I do want to let you all know that because psychology is a difficult field, I won't be able to write as often as before. I will need to focus on my schoolwork. I will try to write at least once a month, maybe twice, if possible. Thank you all for supporting me in my journey!