Teenology 101

Sexting and cellphones

Unrecognizable young girl using a touch phone modern gadget.We’ve posted about online safety as well as the dangers of sending sexually explicit text messages in the past, but a recent study in the journal Pediatrics, highlights the importance of making sure we educate teens and tweens about sexting early on.

In the study, researchers looked at the results of a national survey of middle school students. They found that 20% of students who had a cell phone reported receiving a sext and 5% reported sending a sext. For those students who send more than 100 text messages each day, they were over 2 times more likely to receive a sext and 4.5 times more likely to send a sext. They also found that those same students were more likely to be sexually active. In general, students who sent or received sexts were more likely to be sexually active and higher rates of texting were associated with higher rates of unprotected sex. Read full post »

Physical activity and wearable fitness trackers

joggingGuest post by Dr. Jason Mendoza

Staying physically active is a tough task for many people, including teens. Most teens in the US do not meet current guidelines that recommend obtaining at least 1-hour of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity on a daily basis. This is the type of physical activity that makes you breathe faster and elevates your heart rate. Unfortunately, the teenage years are when people’s physical activity declines the most, which can adversely affect current and future health. Read full post »

Recreational marijuana and a parent’s role in prevention

store openingThis week the first recreational marijuana stores opened in Washington State. Initiative 502 was passed in 2012 to legalize marijuana in the state without a physician’s recommendation, but it was just yesterday that recreational stores could legally sell it. One store opened in Seattle, the others were in Bellingham, Prosser, and Spokane. It remains illegal for anyone under age 21 to use or possess marijuana, but legalizing recreational use does send a message to those who aren’t yet adults: it’s legal now, so it must be ok, right? We’ve had posts on marijuana legalization and teen marijuana use in the past, but here we wanted to highlight the importance of parents in preventing underage use. Read full post »

How Parents Can Keep Up With the Social Media Landscape

ellenThis is a guest post by Adolescent Medicine fellow Ellen Selkie, MD.

We’ve talked about social media on this blog before . It continues to dominate the lives of teens, though the type or platform of social media is always changing. How can a parent keep up? Well, first, you can read this brief overview of social media platforms most used by teens. Then, check out info below about more learning opportunities! Read full post »

Fourth of July Safety

teen divingFriday marks the Fourth of July and we’ll have an entire weekend to celebrate. This time of year the weather is usually great, people are in a good mood, and school is out. While we all have fun events planned, this is also a time when accidents can occur. One of the main themes you’ll see on this list is to avoid alcohol and drugs during fun activities. Being under the influence of substances can alter judgement and have deadly consequences. We’ve had posts on summer safety including drowning prevention, water safety, and driving in the past. Here we’ll highlight some of our tips for having a great and safe 4th of July weekend. Read full post »

Parenting Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Teenagers, Part 8: Beyond Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual

Last week, I further explored gender identities. This week, I’m doing the same with sexual orientations. My series years ago didn’t mention some of the sexual orientations that are rapidly gaining recognition and descriptive language, and that anyone involved in a teen’s life has a good chance of hearing about; if not in relation to their teen, in relation to a peer. The two most common sexual orientations that I am hearing teens increasingly identify as are asexual and pansexual.

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Transgender Teens, Part 14: Further Exploring Gender

genderqueerIt’s been almost 2 years since I finished up my series on transgender teens. Since then, I’ve learned a lot,  from teens in Adolescent Medicine, various books and online articles, and from friends I’ve met along the way. While I mentioned the term “genderqueer” in my last series, I wanted to expand on and discuss additional gender identities that I didn’t cover the last time I wrote about this topic.

Here are a few more gender terms you should know. How people who self-identify with these terms dress and present themselves varies widely, but that’s true for masculine and feminine genders as well!

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The importance of failure

frustrated male studentI’ve spent the last couple of weeks meeting new high school graduates and having conversations with students who are transitioning to a higher grade level. An interesting pattern emerged amongst many of the top performing students: some had never experienced a failure, but those that had described learning a lot from it. As a teen, I was a perfectionist. I had a 4.0, was active in extracurricular activities, I never broke curfew, and I worked part time. It wasn’t until my senior year physics course that I really experienced my first taste of not doing something exactly right. I received a C grade at the end of the quarter. We’ve written about perfectionism before, but I wanted to highlight some of the lessons learned from not always succeeding on the first attempt.  Read full post »

4 Thoughts on the “Slender Man” Crimes

teeninjailThe media has been avidly reporting, analyzing, and theorizing about a crime committed about a week ago, where two 12-year-old girls held down and stabbed a peer repeatedly (the peer, thankfully, survived). The girls stated they were doing this for “Slender Man”, an internet meme/ monster created in 2009, in the hopes that they could become his “proxies” and live with him in his forest mansion.

Whenever something like this happens, people look for a scapegoat. The idea that there isn’t a convenient scapegoat, and that these two girls stabbed another because of a complex array of factors is much more frightening than having an easy target. And yet, as usual, things have gotten a little derailed, with news outlets blaming the Slender Man meme, the creator of Slender Man, and even the school for giving students iPads.

Is this crime something that parents need to worry about their own tweens getting involved with? Should parents talk to their tweens differently about the internet and the supernatural after this case? See below for some of my thoughts. Read full post »

Supportive Parenting

paper cutout family of three with paper messagesParenting is an amazing journey that comes with joys and challenges. Children bring to their families their unique personalities the moment they’re born and as parents, it can sometimes be challenging to recognize that what we always imagined our children would be may not be the same as what our kids actually see as a future for themselves. This week a story has been trending on social media about a set of parents who are a great example of how to be supportive of your child, even if they are different than who you imagined they would be. As parents, your child will likely surprise you be being even more amazing than you could have thought! Read full post »