May is Mental Health Awareness Month and though this is the final day of May, we wanted to continue to blog about mood and emotions. We have some amazing guest bloggers who are doing interesting work in the areas of social media and depression. Over the coming weeks, I want to highlight the research performed by Dr. Megan Moreno and her Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT). To find more on social media and mental health, Dr. Moreno’s team has also contributed posts to On the Pulse.
Guest Author Sara Klunk: A college student and social media researcher perspective
As a college student on the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT), I spend a lot of time researching, well, myself. Okay, not myself exactly, but people who are my age, go to the same university, and have a lot of the same interests. So basically, yes, I spend a lot of time researching myself, my friends and how we interact with each other on social media sites. As our team has continued to explore this area, it has been interesting to see how the results match up with my own experiences on these sites. Read full post »
This was originally scheduled to post on April 8th.. and I’m not sure why it didn’t! Anyway, this is the second part of my post on how parents can talk to their teens about internet pornography. Here are 5 more topics you may want to address during these discussions. See the first part here.
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About a year ago, we wrote a piece about the “Cinnamon Challenge”, a new Youtube phenomenon. Almost a year later, it’s apparently still going strong. While teens are likely to suffer nothing more than some discomfort, the Cinnamon Challenge can have serious consequences, especially for teens with asthma or other lung disease. It’s worth taking a moment to talk to your teen about the risks.
Read our post: Taking On the Cinnamon Challenge
Teenagers encountering and viewing pornography is not a new phenomenon. When I was 13, my friend found a pornographic movie in her parents’ closet. We watched it with a mixture of fascination and alarm, carefully rewound the videotape to where it had been when it was discovered, and spent the rest of the afternoon giggling about how gross it had been.
A year later, another friend discovered her father’s stash of pornographic magazines, which we read with the same mixture of curiosity and dismay. Most people I know had similar experiences in their adolescence. However, pornography has gone from being something hidden away by some parents, to something available to anyone with an internet connection. Read full post »
I thought Part 7 was my last post in the series, but the media response to the sentencing of the two rapists in the Steubenville case has been so outrageous that I’m going to tack on a postscript here.
One of the first news reports to come out after the conviction was from CNN, and it spent much more time sympathizing with the rapists than the victim- in fact, the victim was not mentioned. You can watch the video here. A concerned Poppy Harlow states, “It was incredibly emotional, incredibly difficult even for an outsider like me, to watch what happened, as these two young men, that had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believed their life fell apart…” She then goes on to describe said emotion in the courtroom, and the offenders’ sadness. Later on, another reporter asked a legal correspondent, “What’s the lasting effect of two young men being found guilty in juvenile court of rape, essentially?”
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My 12-year-old cousin shared this video with her mom, who then shared it with me. It is a video made by Amanda Todd, who starting at age 13, suffered constant social torment because of unfortunate online activity and an older man who took advantage of her. She made this video to tell her story of cyberbullying and resulting mental illness and suicide attempts, in the hope it might inspire others or find her a friend. The last line of the Youtube description reads, “I’m still here aren’t I?” Approximately a month later, she committed suicide at 15 years old.
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AT&T has launched a new campaign about the dangers of texting and driving called “It Can Wait.” They’ve asked drivers to take a pledge to not text and drive September 19. These ads highlight the importance of teaching teens safe driving habits and being good adult role models. I really appreciate the ad campaign, and thought it would be timely to talk about teen driving as the new school year starts. We’ve had posts on driving safety for teens in the past, but this ad campaign provides another great opportunity to blog about safety. Read full post »
A new piece of legislation on the responsibility of parents for teen’s alcohol use was recently passed on Mercer Island, a affluent community in the Seattle area. In March, the first parent was actually cited when his son had a party while he was away. This piece of legislation is not without controversy: questions like “should a parent be responsible for teen behavior when they are not present?” and “If the teen drinks at home, is s/he safer than drinking alcohol outside?” often come up, but I thought of something different when I read the newspaper article in the Seattle Times. Did the teen have any idea that inviting a few friends over could get so out of hand? Read full post »
When you were younger, did you ever play Truth or Dare? The concept is simple: the person whose turn it is indicates whether they want Truth (a probing question) or Dare. Dare can be anything from eating something gross, to calling a romantic interest and singing to them, to running around the backyard in a state of undress.
Currently, if somebody dared me to eat an ice cream sundae topped with mayonnaise instead of whipped cream (a memorable Dare from my past), I would politely decline. But teens are impulsive, thrill-seeking, experience-sharing, and willing to go a very long way in order to please their peers. At 15, I choked down that sundae, laughing and groaning the whole time.
Now that we have Youtube, it’s not necessary to have friends over to watch someone choose Dare. There are videos of teens attempting the most dangerous, embarassing, cringeworthy, and miraculous stunts you could dream of. But did you know that you can use Youtube to issue a dare? As more and more videos pop up of the “Cinnamon Challenge,” they are an implicit, and often outright, dare to try it yourself- and film it.
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Teens in 2012 are as comfortable with technologies, like smart phones, iPads, MP3 players, and computers as my generation was with CD’s, telephones (land lines!), and DVD players. It is amazing to watch children as young as 2 be able to turn on and program a video on their parent’s smart phone. Is this dexterity with technology helpful or harmful? Read full post »