Sexting is emerging as a modern way to flirt. According to a recent survey, nearly 80% of US adults have sent or received a sext. Many teens believe it is fine to sext, too. How should adults approach teen sexting? Are the consequences of sexting more severe in kids than adults? Also, is it enough for adults to simply tell preteens and teens to just not do it? As with safe sex and teens, I suggest taking a step-wise approach to sexting. Here’s why.
This month we are featuring a candid talk about sexual health, teens, and why having open conversations are so important. Lois and Anne are graduate students in Amsterdam. They also volunteer as peer educators for Tienerwijs and Het Voorspel, organizations which provide comprehensive sex education to primary and secondary school students across the Netherlands.
One of our family rituals is to do a monthly family movie night. Unfortunately, there are a lot of movies and shows out there with a high level of violence, profanity, etc. As a parent, I often struggle with finding movies that I think have a good message and are preteen/teen appropriate. Common sense media is my go-to-place for tips and suggestions. It is a comprehensive media website which provides well researched and concise recommendations on a wide range of topics including movies and screen time media plans, but also books and shows.
I am often asked how to help kids and parents to navigate screen time, social media and other issues. Dr David Reitman, a pediatrician, parent and fellow adolescent health colleague, along with Marc Groman, a former Obama White House tech and privacy adviser, have launched a wonderful podcast series called “Their Own Devices”.
Q: How long does it take for the teen brains to develop fully?
I recently met the NYT best-selling author and educator, Rosalind Wiseman during her talk in Amsterdam. Rosalind wrote Queen Bees and Wannabees on helping girls to survive cliques and conflicts (which was the inspiration for the hit movie " Mean Girls") as well as Masterminds and Wingmen on boys’ social hierarchies and its effect on their wellbeing. Her advice for parents: go on a verbal diet!
Starting this month, we are launching a teen corner where young people from around the world tell us as parents, educators, health professionals, what we need to be aware of. Elijah Jacob, a 17-year-old from Kuwait, kicks off "Ïn their Own Words" by asking us to address teen mental health. If you know a teen who would be willing to share their thoughts by writing a blog or being interviewed for a future, please contact us.
I recently returned from a ten-day trip to Hong Kong, doing a series of seminars and workshops for parents, teens and educators at several schools on staying healthy, sexual health, etc. One of the issues that struck me was the number of young people who told me they were feeling stressed. In fact, kids as young as 9-10 years said they were felt anxious and overwhelmed. This is a growing epidemic that we must respond to. Surprisingly, boredom may be part of the answer.