Miriam Grossman is a psychiatrist, author and speaker who has been speaking out about the dangers of unhealthy portrayals of sex in media. Her books are included on our list of resources for parents. I was recently made aware of a series of blog posts she is producing for parents leading up to the Valentine’s Day release of 50 Shades of Grey. You may want to check them out here!
One of my favorite summer activities was (and still is) watching movies. Whether it is catching up on older movies no longer in theaters or splurging on seeing the latest blockbuster (and enjoying the theater’s air conditioning), summers and movies go together like macaroni and cheese. Since we at Amplify are always looking for ways to help you in the daunting task of raising teens, I’d like to share with you a great way to use movies this summer to have meaningful conversations with your children.
Amplify Youth Development has created a free e-course called “Using Movies to Talk to Teens.” If you sign up, you will receive two emails a week for the next five weeks. One email discusses strategies for how to effectively use movies to address difficult topics with your teen. The second email each week discusses a specific film and which topics could be addressed with your child during or after viewing the film together. The movies included are all available to rent or from your local library and cover topics such as bullying, pregnancy, dating and marriage, and internet safety.
You can learn more or sign up here. There is no cost for this e-course! Comment below if you have any questions or to share your experiences with the movies.
In the decade plus that Amplify has been speaking to teens, the sexualization of teens, especially girls, has been escalating at an alarming rate. So Sexy So Soon author, Jean Kilbourne, has been named by The New York Times Magazine as one of the three most popular speakers on college campuses. And now, parents have an opportunity to hear her speak in DuPage County next month. She will be at Glenbard West on April 15 for a free presentation (information HERE). Her topic will be “Deadly Persuasion: The Impact of Media on our Sons and Daughters.” She is also speaking ($10) at Herrick Middle School in Downers Grove at 7 p.m. April 16, where she will be focusing on “How Being So Sexy, So Soon Can Impact our Girls.” Register for that presentation HERE.
I realize that I’ve posted almost every month lately about dangerous uses of media. But here’s another one. Snapchat (and it’s rival, Poke). These phone apps promise that any photo or video you send, “disintegrates” in seconds. So guess what teens think they can do safely now? Send sexual pictures. I’ve even seen the term “safe sexting” used. No worries, since no one can pass it on to be seen by others or live forever in cyberspace. Or that’s what they think. In fact, Snapchat gives a false sense of security. Anyone can take a “screen shot” of what you send before it disappears, and then it can be passed on just like any other photo. As with any sharing of information, Snapchat can be used for good, or for ill. Here is an MSNBC video about this wildly popular app that will tell you more: LINK
Just when we think we’ve figured out what our teens are doing online, along comes something new. The photo sharing app, Instagram, is now being used as an alternative (or in addition to) Facebook. In fact, it’s the top photo sharing site among teens 12-17. Because teens are commenting on the pictures, Instagram also functions much like Facebook.
As with any other social media, we parents need to be aware of what is being posted. It’s not OK for teens to have privacy rights here. You should be able to check out what they’re saying, and showing, from time to time, just so your daughter thinks twice before posing in her new hot bikini, for instance. An article in Chicagonow.com shares with parents what we need to know about Instagram, and includes a link to one parent’s experience becoming a “follower” of her daughter’s Instagram, and the VERY helpful rules she’s implemented in her house about the use of this site.