Teen Culture Articles of Interest vol. 4

For those looking for some weekend reading or articles of interest to read at work instead of working, here are two articles related to Teens that I have enjoyed recently.  And a plug for a new resource for parents.

  • The Underchallenged ‘Lazy Teenager’ I hear people frequently refer to teens as “lazy.” They talk about how teens roll their eyes at being asked to complete a task and how they spend hours glued to a computer, TV or cell phone screen. In this article psychologist Dr. Price addresses why teens may be lazy and what parents might be doing that is contributing to their teens laziness.josh shipp
  • New Resource Alert! Podcast: Parental Guidance with Josh Shipp. I heard Josh Shipp speak to a large group of teens several years ago and was impressed with his ability to connect and motivate teens today. Since then, Josh has been featured on multiple news channels, several TV’s shows, written a couple of books, works with parents and educators and is considered a teen expert by many. I am excited to check out his new podcast that he just released on iTunes. Why don’t you check it out with me!

Teen Culture Articles of Interest vol. 3

Occasionally I find myself busy, overwhelmed and not enough time to blog. Anyone ever have those feelings? If not let me know, I have a garage door my wife has wanted me to paint for over a year.

Until I have time to take a deep dive into writing a few posts, here are four articles I have read lately that are related to teens and teen culture. Enjoy and please share in the comments what recent articles or research related to teens today you have been diving into.

Move Over Avon Lady, the Tweens Are Here

I know my wife, along with most women I know, enjoy going to Thirty-one, Norwex or Stella & Dot parties where they get to socialize with their girlfriends and buy products from a friend who is sales rep for the company. We may or may not have hosted several of these parties at our own home. Now Willa, who sells skin care product for young girls, has turned to the direct sale model and is enlisting young teens as sales reps. This (great?) concept plays into the idea that youth are more likely to make a purchase based off a peer recommendation and it is encouraging youth to be entrepreneurs. Will other companies follow suit?

‘Fancy’ that! Meet your song-of-summer contenders

izzyWe all have that one song that takes you back to relaxing days hanging with your high school buddies during summer break. “Regulate”, “Paradise City” and  “All Star” are just a few I remember fondly. Here is a list of early contenders for songs that you are bound to hear overplayed and teens singing along to this summer. Side note: Here is a great list of the top 10 summer songs for each year between 1985-2013. I know you will spend the rest of your day drifting down memory lane listening to each summer. You’re welcome.

Understanding Facebook’s Lost Generation of Teens: The Social Network’s Struggle to Woo Kids isn’t Because it’s Also Their Parents’ Favorite Social Network

Because I get asked a question around teens views on Facebook at every presentation I do, I wanted to include this article which gives great insight into the topic. It is a long read but packed with teen perspective, which I appreciate. A couple of things that stood out to me were, the first app teens turn to on their phones are often singular function apps. And that teens are not necessarily leaving Facebook, they are just indifferent.

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its 2013 findings from the The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) which monitors health-risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth and adults. Key findings include:

  • Nationwide, 41% of students who had driven a vehicle during the past 30 days reported texting or emailing while driving.
  • Cigarette smoking rates have dropped to the lowest levels since the YRBS began in 1991, from 27.5% to 15.7%
  • 25% of teens participated in physical fights in 2013, decreasing from 43% in 1991.

Positive Teen Trends in 2014

I came across an inforgraphic called, “2013 In Review- Being a Teen In 2013” a few weeks ago and have not been able to get it out of my mind since. It was created by the website Help Your Teen Now and shows what teens were exposed to in 2013.

20-Thirteen-In-Review-Infographic-edited2013 In Review-Being a Teen In 2013 focuses on trends that were popular with teens in 2013 such as sexting, drug trends like smoking alcohol and Molly, bullying and of course the list cannot be complete without twerking. This list makes me sad for several reason.

First it is correct. I shared this infographic with about 40 teens and they all said the same thing, “This is pretty much 100% accurate.” Many even shared stories about seeing these topics played out in their social circles. Seeing teens bullied on twitter, knowing a teen who brought a gun to school  and how the growing use of technology has affected them.

Second, it is very negative. I know that the purpose of this particular infographic was to show what teens are exposed to and what they have to navigate today. But it makes me sad because it reflects the reality of what we think of teens. When I have conversations about teens today, these are often the topics adults bring up. When we think about teens we almost automatically think of the negative.

We don’t think about the 2.5 million teens and young adults taking action through DoSomething.org, a not-for-profit focused on young people and social change. One of their most popular campaigns is Teens for Jeans, where teens collect and donate jeans to be given to homeless youth. In 6 years 3.5 million pairs of jeans have been collected by teens for the cause.

We don’t think about the teens who are making a difference in their communities, like the winners of the 2013 Peace First Prize. “These are youth peacemakers who are focused on creating peaceful schools and communities.” Seriously, check them out, you will be impressed by the positive things these young people are creating and leading.

We don’t think about the two teens who created the twitter account @HistoryInPics, a twitter account with almost 900,000 followers focused on sharing historical pictures with brief description.

When people think about teens, I want them to think about all the positive trends associated with teens today. Here is what I propose.

  • As an adult, seek out positive stories about teens and make sure you have a balanced perspective of the reality of teens today. Not just the negative trendsw the media tells you. Watch a few TedXTeen videos and be inspired. Read articles on Huffington Post Teen, they often feature positive stories on teens and articles written by teens giving their perspective on current teen culture.
  • Share these positive stories with the teens in your life. If all teens hear and see is the negative, they will assume that it is normal. They may begin to act it out themselves or at least be complacent with the negative. If you surround them with positive stories they will realize there is another option and more available to them than just the negative.
  • Engage your teens in groups focused on the positive. The reality is teens are very peer driven. If their peer group is focused on the negative, they will often focus on the negative as well. The opposite can also be true if their peer group is focused on the positive.

Will you join me in this challenge of having a positive view of teens today and helping them have a positive view themselves? My hope is in 2014 we can have an infographic showing all the great things that teens navigated during the year.

Teen Culture Articles of Interest vol. 2

I read a few GREAT articles related to Teens last night and I thought I would share a few of my favorite with you. Enjoy!

11 Sites and Apps Kids Are Heading to After Facebook. Via Common Sense Media. The best breakdown of social media sites and apps I have seen. Not only do they hit on the popular apps teens are using, they provide an explanation as to why it is popular and what parents need to know. I can’t share this article enough. Seriously I have tweeted it several times, posted it on my Facebook page and shared it on LinkedIn. If I could share it through smoke signals I would.

Is 25 the new cut off point for adulthood? Via BBC News Magazine. While discussing the age range child psychologist work with, this article provides a great overview into the recent shifts of adolescent development.  Here is one of my favorite passages from the article is, “Neuroscience has shown that a young person’s cognitive development continues into this later stage and that their emotional maturity, self-image and judgment will be affected until the prefrontal cortex of the brain has fully developed.”

What Facebook, Twitter, Tinder, Instagram, and Internet Porn Are Doing to America’s Teenage Girls. Via Vanity Fair. Prepare yourself, this article is covers a lot of topics and issues. It takes a look at the role social media is playing in the sexualization of our youth, how cruel youth can be on social media and much more. What I like about this article is that they talked to teens and got their thoughts, stories and perspectives. Warning this is pretty graphic and you will probably feel sad for our youth after reading it.

17 Reasons Why The Kids Don’t Like Facebook Anymore. Via Huffington Post Tech. I laughed out loud reading this article. Then I tried to tell my wife about it and could not stop laughing to relay what I had just read. The article shares examples of parents interacting with their teens on Facebook that would embarrass their teen but make us laugh out loud. I thought you might need a good laugh after reading the previous article. I guarantee you are going to want to share this one.

If you come across an article related to teen trends, culture or development that you find interesting please pass it along. Hit my up in the comments section or tweet me (@daverozman).

Interesting Articles About Teens

I read many articles about teens, teen trends and teen culture each week. Occasionally I share a few of the articles that have grabbed my attention. Here are four from the last couple of weeks.

“Bored teens charged in Aussie student’s death.” I hear teens say they are bored all the time. Heck I said it when I was a teen. But I never went out and killed someone because I was bored. This article reminded me why we need more caring adults reaching out to teens and providing positive activities for teens.

“Teens Use Twitter to Thumb for Rides.” I had several friends share this article with me (Thanks!). It talks about a trend where teens utilize social media to hitch a ride, other wise known as “cyber hitching.” Although I do not think getting rides from strangers is a trend, I can see teens using this to hitch rides with peers.

“Thigh Gap.” This new body conscious trend has teens striving for an almost impossible body image.

With all these depressing or negative articles I have to share something positive as well. The Peace First Prize finalist were recently announced. Check out these AMAZING young people striving to make a difference in the world.

Sextortion of Minors Online

The headline, “Experts increasingly worried about ‘sextortion’ of minors online,” grabbed my attention today. Headlines are supposed to grab your attention and they often get mine. But something in my gut said I needed to share this story and information.

In the article, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children describes a type of  sextortion they are seeing used against youth recently.  In brief, what they are seeing is an adult, pretending to be a teen, befriending teens online. The adult convinces the teen to send lewd pictures or videos of them self to the adult, whom they think is a teen.  The adult then uses that picture or video as blackmail to get the teen to send more pictures or videos of themselves.

This is scary stuff. It makes me angry inside just to read about it.

In previous posts I have addressed how to get through to teens and explain to them the dangers of their actions.  One solution I have offered is to share real stories with them. Show them articles or videos of teens who have been injured participating in the latest viral video stunt, the teens who were hurt or killed texting and driving.

When I talk with teens they say these stories hit closer to their heart than their parent just telling them not to do something because it is “bad.” It is scary, but teens need to see why it is bad, they need to see how it can ruin their life.

I am sure no teen thinks they will be lured to send lewd pictures of themselves. I am sure it was the farthest thing from the mind of the victims mentioned in the article.  But that is exactly why they need to know these dangers exist. That they need to be careful what they post and share online. They need to think about how well they really know the person they are messaging with online. Maybe just knowing that this type of sextortion exists online will cause them to think twice regarding their actions online.

Current Teen Trends

Staying up on the latest Teen Trend or potential Teen Trends is key for a youth worker or parents of teenagers. I strive to provide relevant information on what I am hearing and seeing related to the world of teens and how you as a caring adult can address these trends with the teens in your lives.

Here are some of the current or potential Teen Trends I have been hearing about recently:

Hill Hopping: Since there has been cars, teens have found ways to have thrills by pushing the limits and laws. Hill Hopping is when you drive real fast and use the natural hills in the road to get your car airborne. Here is a link to a story of a teen in Oregon who was killed in a Hill Hopping accident. (Credit to my friend Kyle for sharing this article with me)

Teen Unemployment: Teens are finding summer jobs hard to come by again this year.The National Teen Unemployment rate hovered around 24.5% last month. Here is an article in the USA Today regarding Teen Unemployment

Condom Challenge: Prepare to be grossed out. The Condom Challenge involves a person taking a condom and snorting it up their nose and pulling it out of their mouth. Yes teens are doing this and yes they are recording themselves and posting it on YouTube. Here is an article with more information from Dr. Barbara Greenberg.

Smoking Alcohol:  Although I have not had any teens admit to partaking in this activity, it concerns me that this could be the next big trend with teens. Read more about Smoking Alcohol in my previous post “You Can Smoke What?”

Normally I would have written a post on each of these trends and provided Youth worker tips on how to address them with your teens. Currently my wife is due with our third child in less than three weeks and this has meant my priorities are on my family. I hope to be back writing regular posts providing insight an tips in the near future.

If you hear about a Teen Trend please let me know and I will check it out.

You Can Smoke What?

Have you heard of smoking alcohol? I hadn’t—until a friend shared an article about it this week. Alcohol can be smoked in several ways, but the most popular method seems to be by using a plastic bottle and a bike pump, two items teens can easily get their hands on.

I won’t go into the details of how to actually smoke alcohol, but if you really want to know it’s as easy as searching YouTube. Plenty of videos demonstrate how to get drunk without the calories, as I have seen several claim.

Now let me state that I HAVE NOT seen this popping up as a current teen trend. In fact, I have asked a bunch of teens and some youth workers, and none of them have heard of it.

So why am I writing about smoking alcohol it if it is NOT a teen trend? For two reasons:

One, it is very simple to do, and it appears to be the kind of novelty that a teen participate in (and record it) just to say they smoked alcohol. Kind of like the cinnamon challenge. Half of the novelty is so it can be seen by others.

And two, it seems very dangerous. More dangerous than just drinking alcohol. Here is a quote about the health risks from a Time Health & Family article, “Smoking Alcohol: The Dangerous Way People Are Getting Drunk.”

“People who smoke their alcohol are at a much greater risk of getting alcohol poisoning and potentially overdosing. When people drink too much alcohol, they tend to vomit. Getting sick is one of the ways that prevents an alcohol overdose, but when alcohol circumvents the stomach and liver, the body can’t expel it.”

Parent and Youth Worker Tips:

  • Like I said earlier, I do not believe this is a current teen trend. But my gut tells me the potential is very strong that some teens may begin trying to consume alcohol by smoking it. Keep your ears open to your teen’s conversations. If you hear them talking about smoking alcohol or watching videos about it, talk with them about the dangers.
  • Keep your eyes open. If you see your teen with a plastic bottle and bike pump in their bag or in their possession, talk with them about it. Ask what it is for and discuss the dangers of smoking alcohol.
  • Always openly communicate with your teens about the dangers of using alcohol or drugs.

If you begin to see smoking alcohol becoming a trend with teens in your community please let me know.

Are Teens Leaving Facebook?

Did you see the recent Time Magazine article,”Is Facebook Losing Its Cool? Some Teens Think So.” It is another in the ongoing conversation about which Social Networks are getting more attention from teens. There is no concrete scientific study (at least not that I know of) saying that teens are fleeing Facebook like a flock of birds flying south for the winter. But if they are it should not be a surprise to us.

Why you ask? First, think about when you were a teen. Did you like hanging out with your facebookparents, siblings, uncles and grandparents or would you have rather been hanging out with your friends? That’s easy, you would have rather been with your friends. The same concept applies in the world of Social Media.

When teens first signed up for Facebook, they were doing so because their friends were on it and not their family members. Fast forward a few years and with Facebook’s growth, now their family members are on Facebook too. Some teens may choose to leave or limit their Facebook use based on this. Like the one teen stated in the Time Magazine article, “All your relatives are constantly commenting on your stuff. I appreciate the gesture and wanting to keep up with my life, but it’s kind of annoying.”

The second reason it should come as no surprise that teens may be leaving Facebook is because teens are early adopters. What I mean by this is when something new comes out, a new TV Show, a new piece of technology a new type of music. Teens are quicker than their adult counterparts to check it out. They don’t sit back and ask a bunch of question and perform a detailed analysis before they try something. Because they are early adopters, they are likely to try something new early and when everyone else begins to claim that thing is popular, teens are already moving onto the next great new thing.

This is why companies like Facebook are constantly making changes. They are trying to keep it fresh and new enough to keep teens and early adopters engaged and interested.

Third, Teens are at a stage in life where they are beginning to try to separate themselves, stand out and not blend in, figure out who they are as an individual. If the word on the street is everyone is on Facebook, then being on Facebook is not setting themselves apart from others. It is blending in when they want to stand out. This is not to say they won’t still have a Facebook account, but they will be looking for a way to stand out on Facebook or find another avenue to set themselves apart from the crowd.

Lastly there is more Social Networks available now. Five years ago there were only a handful of Social Networking options. Today it seems there is a new one in the App Store every month.

Social-Media-IconsTeens have choices, and what they have decided to do is use different social networks for different types of activities. In talking with teens I hear them say they use Facebook for connecting with family and group work for school. They love Instagram because they can share pictures about what is happening in their life and things that interest them. They like tumblr because it is like an online Diary where they can share pictures and videos that inspire them or reflect how they are feeling on a given day.

Companies are paying attention and trying to combined the best features of the different social networks into one. Case in point is Facebook’s accusation of Instagram and the development of a new Social Networks like Snapchat and Pheed. (Read more about Pheed here)

What does this mean for parents and youth workers?

  • Pay attention. Once you think you know about all the social networks your teens are on, they are probably checking out 2 more. Stay in the know by following sites like Mashable on Facebook or twitter. Or just navigate to the site and read the articles. When something new in the area of social media comes on the scene they are one of the first to report on it. If you read about a new Social Network or App, ask your teen if they have heard of it. If they have, ask them about it. Ask them to show you how it works or why they think it is cooler than other Social Network.
  • Pay Attention Continued. Periodically check out what is on the Top Charts of the app store. This will give you a basic idea of what is currently popular. And check your computers browser history to see if the new Social Network site pops up as a recent site visited. This will tell you if your teenager has visited the site.
  • If you work with teens understand what your teens use each Social Network for. This will help you decide what platform to use if trying to engage with teens via social media. Better yet, include them in the process of creating a social media outreach strategy for your group/organization. Teens love to feel like they are teaching someone older than them something.
  • If you are a parent, don’t like EVERY comment your teen makes on Facebook. And definitely do not scold them in the comments section. You can observe from a distance on social networks so they don’t feel you are watching their every move.

What Social Networks are your teens using?

Teen Culture Articles of Interest

I have heard great leaders and innovators say that they are constantly reading. They do this to educate themselves, stay in the know about what is going on concerning topics of interest and to help them plan their next steps. I personally try to make time to read each day. Some days it is books, other days just articles of interest. This has been one of the most beneficial practices I have started in terms of helping me be more knowledgeable on a given topic (Teen Culture for example) and become forward thinking about how we need to engage teens in todays culture.

For those of you who have not yet started your own reading time or currently do not have the time, here are some articles I read recently that stand out.

How Prepared Are Your Students for College? From Kara Powell of StickyFaith.org. With a GREAT supporting Infographic from USA Today Education. A couple stand-out statistics to me were, “5 in 10 College Freshmen cannot find New York or Ohio on a Map” and “over half-a-million college freshmen drop out every year.” It is an eye opening read about how prepared our teens are for college courses today.

Why Fast, Cheap, and Easy Design Is Killing Your Nonprofit’s Brand. This article in FastCompany written by Heath Shackleford is not about teen culture. But if you have a program you are trying to grow, it has great advice for today’s Non-Profit. It asks the following question, “If you’re a nonprofit, ask yourself these questions. Do you want to fit in, or do you want to stand out? Do you want to “look pretty” or do you want to be effective?” I am guessing each of you want to stand out and be effective right? Start by checking out this article.

‘Cool’ kids in middle school bully more, UCLA psychologists report This new study looks at students in Middle school who were labeled the coolest and the most aggressive at the same time. It raises the issue that, “effective anti-bullying programs need to focus on the bystanders, who play a critical role and can either encourage or discourage bullying.” Work with middle school students? Then you need to read this article.

Here are a couple of more articles of interest:

What articles or books are you currently reading?