Posts tagged with "teenagers"

Digital Divide illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Digitally Disconnected

DIGITALLY DISCONNECTED

13 TIPS FOR HELPING BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE FOR CHILDREN DURING COVID-19

While social, racial, and economic disparities have always existed within the educational system, the COVID-19 pandemic is exasperating these inequities and widening gaps between students at a drastic rate. For families who can’t afford home computers, laptops, or high-speed internet access, remote learning is nearly impossible, and for students who already found themselves struggling before the pandemic, the prospect of more than a year of lost classroom time is a devastating blow. However, there are steps parents can take to shrink this digital divide, and there are resources available via schools, non-profits, and government initiatives that can help children access the technological tools they need to succeed. Indeed, Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, President and Founder of Children and Screens, notes that “the inclusion of 17.2 billion dollars for closing the ‘homework gap’ in the recently passed American Rescue Plan is a watershed moment for digital equity.”   
 
Several of the leading figures in the fields of public health, education, psychology, and parenting have weighed in with their suggestions on the best ways to combat the digital divide, and many will participate in an interdisciplinary conversation and Q&A hosted by Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development on Wednesday, March 24, at 12pm ET via Zoom. Moderated by the Director of Internet and Technology Research at the Pew Research Center Lee Rainie, the panel will engage in an in-depth discussion about the digital divide and actionable steps we can all take to bridge the gap. RSVP here.
 
1. DON’T WAIT, ADVOCATE 

While schools across the country are doing everything they can to make sure that children have access to the technology and connectivity they need for remote learning, the unfortunate reality is that many families still lack adequate resources. If your family is among them, says author and MIT Assistant Professor of Digital Media Justin Reich, know that you’re not alone and that there are steps you can take to advocate for what your children need. “Start with your school staff,” Reich recommends. “They’re often overwhelmed during this challenging time but be polite and persistent. If you run into a dead-end with your school system, consider reaching out to school libraries and youth organizations like The Boys and Girls Club or the YMCA to see what kind of support they might be able to offer.”
 
2. SCALE DOWN 

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Professor Dr. Wayne Journell agrees, pointing out that sometimes, despite their best efforts, teachers and administrators may not always know which students are struggling with connectivity issues. “Let teachers know if you have slow internet at home,” says Journell. “Sometimes detailed graphics and animations that look cute but have little relevance to the actual lessons being delivered can cause problems for students with unreliable internet. If teachers are aware, then they can scale down the ‘frilly’ stuff and still get the important content across.”
 
3. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF  

While it’s important for parents to speak up on behalf of their children, RAND Senior Policy Researcher Julia Kaufman, Ph.D., highlights the importance of encouraging children to express their needs, as well. “If your child does not have access to technology at home and is falling behind, make sure your child’s teacher knows the obstacles they’re facing and ask what accommodations will make it easier for your child to do assignments offline,” says Rand. “At the same time, help your child feel comfortable expressing any technology concerns or confusion to their teachers, including cases where they have the technology but cannot use it well.”
 
4. CHECK YOUR ASSUMPTIONS 

One critical step that educators and policymakers can take in addressing the digital divide is to check their assumptions. They cannot – and should not – assume that students do or do not have access based solely on demographics such as family income level. “In addition, they cannot assume that providing access alone creates equity,” adds Dr. Beth Holland, a Partner at The Learning Accelerator (TLA) and Digital Equity Advisor to the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN). “This is a complex and nuanced challenge that needs both a technical and a human solution to ensure that students not only have access to sufficient high-speed internet and devices but also accessible systems and structures to support their learning.”

5. SURVEY AND MODIFY  

For teachers who are on the ground and in the classroom, checking your assumptions can be as simple as asking a few basic questions at the start of the term. “Survey students to determine the percentage of your population that doesn’t have home Internet access,” recommends former AAP President Dr. Colleen A. Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP. “Once you know the divide, you can address it,” adding, “When planning 1:1 projects and choosing devices, for example, you can consider a device’s capacity for offline use. For those without Wi-Fi, a public library in the child’s neighborhood can also be an excellent resource.”

6. VOTE FOR CHANGE 

That parents and teachers need to worry about the digital divide at all is a failure on the part of our elected leaders, says Bates College Associate Professor of Education Mara Casey Tieken. “Contact your elected officials—local, state, and federal—and complain,” she suggests. “Write letters, call their offices, attend their legislative sessions, and make your voice heard. Join with other families whose children are impacted by this divide to amplify your message and use your vote to support lawmakers who understand the impacts of this divide, have a clear plan to address it and are willing to take action.”
 
7. MAKE BROADBAND A UTILITY  

Reich agrees, reminding those families who already have their needs met that they share in the responsibility to advocate for the less fortunate. “It’s our job as citizens to demand that we as a society give families and children the tools and resources that they need for remote learning now and in the future,” says Reich. “We need to advocate for a society where broadband is treated as a utility rather than a luxury good, and young people enrolled in schools and educational programs have access to computers for learning.”

8. CONCRETE INITIATIVES  

Angela Siefer, Executive Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, advocates four concrete initiatives. “Establish a permanent broadband benefit, increase access to affordable computers, digital literacy and technical support, improve broadband mapping (including residential cost data), and support local and state digital inclusion planning.” By implementing these changes, Siefer says, policymakers can start to mitigate the digital divide. 

9. USE TECH FOR GOOD 

There are many reasons to consider equitable solutions along a “digital continuum” rather than the “digital divide;” a binary description leaves less room for nuanced and customized interventions. It may be imperative to fortify existing institutions, implement new governance structures and promulgate policies to confront disparities regarding working families. Antwuan Wallace, Managing Director at National Innovation Service, suggests that legislators consider a Safety and Thriving framework to increase family efficacy to support children with protective factors against the “homework gap” by utilizing technology to train critical skills for executive functioning, including planning, working memory, and prioritization. 
 
10. LEVEL THE FIELD 

Emma Garcia of the Economic Policy Institute emphasizes that guided technology education will be of great value after the pandemic. She says, “it will need be instituted as part of a very broad agenda that uses well-designed diagnostic tests to know where children are and what they need (in terms of knowledge, socioemotional development, and wellbeing), ensures the right number of highly credentialed professionals to teach and support students, and offers an array of targeted investments that will address the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on children’s learning and development, especially for those who were most hit by the pandemic.”
 
11. APPLY FOR LIFELINE 

Research also shows that the digital divide disproportionately affects Latino, Black, and Native American students, with the expensive price of internet access serving as one of the main obstacles to families in these communities. “Eligible parents can apply for the Lifeline Program, which is a federal program that can reduce their monthly phone and internet cost,” suggests Greenlining Institute fellow Gissela Moya. “Parents can also ask their child’s school to support them by providing hotspots and computer devices to ensure their child has the tools they need to succeed.”
 
12. GET INVOLVED 

Learning remotely can be difficult for kids, even if they have access to all the technological tools they need. Research shows that parental encouragement is also an important aspect of learning for children, notes London School of Economics professor and author Sonia Livingstone. “Perhaps sit with them, and gently explain what’s required or work it out together.” She adds that working together is a great way that parents with fewer economic or digital resources can support their children. “And if you don’t know much about computers, your child can probably teach you something too!”
 
13. NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL 

When it comes to encouraging your children, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. “Reflect on the more nuanced ways your children learn and leverage accessible resources (digital and non-digital) to inspire their continued curiosity,” says University of Redlands Assistant Professor Nicol Howard. Leaning into your child’s strengths and interests will help them make the most of this challenging time.
 
While the move to remote learning may seem like an insurmountable obstacle for families that can’t afford reliable internet or dedicated devices for their kids, there are a variety of ways that parents can help connect their children with the tools they need. For those privileged enough to already have access to the necessary physical resources, it’s important to remember that emotional support is also an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to children’s educational success, especially during days as challenging as these. Lastly, it falls on all of us to use our time, energy, and voices to work towards a more just world where the educational playing field is level and all children have the same opportunity to thrive and succeed, regardless of their social, racial, or financial background.
 
About Children and Screens
Since its inception in 2013, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, has become one of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing and supporting interdisciplinary scientific research, enhancing human capital in the field, informing and educating the public, and advocating for sound public policy for child health and wellness. For more information, visit Children and Screens website or contact by email here.
 
The views and opinions that are expressed in this article belong to the experts to whom they are attributed, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, or its staff. 

Mina Tocalini illustration for mental health article inside 360 magazine

Non-Immigrant Kids Respond Differently When Immigrant Children Are Bullied

A recent study finds that, while youth think all bullying is bad, non-immigrant adolescents object less to bullying when the victim is an immigrant. However, the study found that the more contact immigrant and non-immigrant children had with each other, the more strongly they objected to bullying.

“We know that bystanders can play a key role in stopping bullying, and wanted to better understand bystander responses to bias-based bullying,” says Seçil Gönültaş, first author of the study and a Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University. “What role does a victim’s background play? What role does the bystander’s background play? Are children more or less likely to intervene if they come from different backgrounds?”

To explore these questions, the researchers conducted a study with 179 children, all of whom were in either sixth grade or ninth grade. Seventy-nine of the study participants were of immigrant origin, meaning that at least one of their parents was born outside of the United States. Researchers categorized the remaining 100 participants as non-immigrants for the purposes of this study, meaning both of their parents had been born in the U.S.

Study participants read three different scenarios and were then asked a range of questions to assess what they thought of the interactions in each scenario and how they would have responded in each situation.

In the first scenario, a non-immigrant child socially bullies an immigrant child because of his or her immigrant status. In the second scenario, a non-immigrant child socially bullies another non-immigrant child for being shy. And in the third scenario, a non-immigrant child socially bullies an immigrant child for being shy. Social bullying involves verbal or emotional abuse, rather than physical abuse. Immigrant youth in the fictional scenarios were born outside of the U.S.

“In general, the kids thought bullying was not acceptable,” says Kelly Lynn Mulvey, co-author of the study and an associate professor of psychology at NC State. “But non-immigrant youth thought bullying immigrant peers was more acceptable than bullying of other non-immigrant peers. Immigrant origin youth thought bullying any of the kids was equally wrong.”

“On a positive note, we found that there were two things that made a difference,” Gönültaş says. “First, we found that the more contact children in one group had with children in another group, the less accepting they were of bullying and the more likely they were to intervene to stop the bullying. That was true for immigrant origin and non-immigrant youth.”

“We also found that children who scored higher on ‘Theory of Mind’ were more likely to intervene,” Mulvey says. “Theory of Mind is an important part of understanding other people’s perspectives, so we suspect this is likely tied to a child’s ability to place themselves in the victim’s shoes.

“Ultimately, we think this study is valuable because it can help us develop more effective anti-bullying interventions,” Mulvey adds. “For example, these findings suggest that finding ways to encourage and facilitate more positive interactions between groups can help kids to understand that all bullying is harmful and to encourage kids to step in when they see it.”

The paper, “The Role of Immigration Background, Intergroup Processes, and Social-Cognitive Skills in Bystanders’ Responses to Bias-Based Bullying Toward Immigrants During Adolescence,” is published in the journal Child Development. The work was done with support from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues’ Grants-In-Aid Program.

Abstract

This study examined how intergroup processes and social-cognitive factors shape bystander responses to bias-based and general bullying. Participants included 6th and 9th graders (N=179, M=13.23) who evaluated how likely they would be to intervene if they observed bullying of immigrant-origin and nonimmigrant-origin peers. Adolescents’ grade, intergroup attitudes, and social-cognitive abilities were evaluated as predictors of bystander responses. Nonimmigrant-origin adolescents reported that they expect they would be less likely to intervene when the victim is an immigrant-origin peer. Further, participants with more intergroup contact and higher Theory of Mind were more likely to expect they would intervene in response to bias-based bullying. Findings have important implications for understanding factors that inform anti-bullying interventions that aim to tackle bias-based bullying against immigrants.

Teen Pregnancy

By Cassandra Yany

Teen Pregnancy in the United States

In 2018, the birth rate among women aged 15 to 19 years in the United States was less than half of what it was in 2008, which was 41.5 births per 1,000 girls, as stated by the Pew Research Center.

In 2017, 194,377 babies were born to women in the U.S. between the ages of 15 and 19 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The birth rate dropped seven percent from 2016, with 18.8 babies born per 1,000 women in this age group. This was a record low for the nation.

The teen birth rate has been declining since the early 1990s, and this decline accelerated after the Great Recession. A 2011 Pew Research Center study connected the decrease in teen births to the economic downturn of the recession. The rate has continued to fall even after the economy’s recovery.

Evidence suggests that the declining birth rate is also partly due to more teens abstaining from sexual activity, and more who are sexually active using birth control than in previous years. Still, the CDC reports that U.S. teen pregnancy rate is substantially higher than other “western industrialized” nations.

DoSomething.org states that three out of 10 American girls will become pregnant at least once before the age of 20. About 25 percent of teen moms will have a second child within two years of their first baby.

Data shows that there are racial, ethnic and geographic disparities among teen pregnancies in the U.S. From 2016 to 2017, birth rates among 15 to 19-year-olds decreased 15 percent for non-Hispanic Asian teens, nine percent for Hispanic teens, eight percent for non-Hispanic white teens, six percent for non-Hispanic Black teens, and six percent for Native American teens. In 2017, the birth rate of Hispanic teens was 28.9 percent and of non-Hispanic black teens was 27.5 percent for non-Hispanic Black teens. These were both two times higher than the rate for non-Hispanic white teens, which was 13.2 percent. Among the different racial and ehtnic groups, Native American teens had the highest rate of 32.9 percent.

From 2007 to 2015, the teen birth rate was lowest in urban communities with 18.9 percent, and highest in rural communities with 30.9 percent— as reported by the CDC. During the same years, the rate among teens in rural communities had only declined 37 percent in rural counties, while large urban counties saw a 50 percent decrease and medium and small counties saw a 44 percent decrease. State-specific birth rates from 2017 were lowest in Massachusetts (8.1 percent) and highest in Arkansas (32.8 percent).

Socioeconomic disparities also exist among teen pregnancy rates. Teens in child welfare systems are at higher risk of teen pregnancy and birth than other groups of teens. Those living in foster care are more than twice as likely to become pregnant than those not in foster care. This then leads to financial difficulties for these young families. More than half of all mothers on welfare had their first child as a teenager, and two-thirds of families started by a young mother are considered poor.  

Teen pregnancy and motherhood can have significant effects on a young woman’s education. According to DoSomething.org, parenthood is the leading reason for teen girls dropping out of school. Only about 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by the age of 22, while 90% of women who do not give birth during their teen years graduate from high school. Less than 2% of teen moms earn a college degree by age 30. 

Being a child of a teen mother can also have lasting effects on an individual. The children are more likely to have lower school achievement and drop out of high school. They are more likely to be incarcerated at some point in their lives and face unemployment as a young adult. They could also have more health problems and are more likely to become a parent as a teenager themselves. 

According to the CDC, teen fatherhood occurred at a rate of 10.4 births per 1,000 ranging from 15 to 19-years-old in 2015. Data indicates that these young men attend fewer years of school and are less likely to earn their high school diploma. 

A decline in teen pregnancy means an increase in U.S. public savings. According to the CDC, between 1991 and 2015, the teen birth rate dropped 64%, which led to $4.4 billion dollars in public savings for 2015 alone.

Global Teen Pregnancy

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 12 million girls 15 to 19-years-old and 777,000 girls under 15 give birth in “developing” regions each year. About 21 million girls aged 15 to 19 in these areas become pregnant.

Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls age 15 to 19 years globally. An estimated 5.6 million abortions occur each year among 15 to 19-year-old girls, with 3.9 million of them being unsafe. This can lead to death or lasting health problems.

Additionally, teen moms face higher risk of eclampsia, puerperal endometriosis and systemic infections than 20 to 24-year-old women. Babies of these mothers face higher risk of lower birth weight, preterm delivery and severe neonatal conditions.

Across the globe, adolescent pregnancies are more likely to take place in marginalized communities that are driven by poverty, and lack of education and employment opportunities. In many societies and cultures, girls get married and have children while they are teenagers. In some locations, girls choose to become pregnant due to limited educational and employment prospects. These societies either value motherhood and marriage, or union and childbearing may be the best option available to these young women. 

Teenage girls in some areas may not be able to avoid pregnancy because they do not have the knowledge of how to obtain contraceptive methods or how to use them. There are restrictive laws and policies regarding provision of contraception based on age or marital status that prevent these women from access to forms of pregnancy prevention. 

Health worker bias also exists in these areas, as well as an unwillingness to acknowledge adolescents’ sexual health needs. These individuals also may not be able to access contraception due to transportation and financial constraints. 

Another cause for unintended pregnancy around the work is sexual violence, with more than one-third of girls in some countries reporting that their first sexual experience was forced. After pregnancy, young women who became mothers before the age of 18 are more likely to experience violence in their marriage or partnership.

The University of Queensland in Australia conducted a study that found children who experience some type of neglect are seven times more likely than other victims of abuse to experience teen pregnancy. They drew these conclusions by looking at data from 8,000 women and children beginning in pregnancy and moving into early adulthood.

According to News Medical, researchers found that neglect was one of the most severe types of maltreatment when compared to emotional, sexual and physical abuse. The study defined child neglect as “not providing the child with necessary physical requirements (food, clothing or a safe place to sleep) and emotional requirements (comfort and emotional support) a child should receive, as determined by the Queensland Govt. Department of Child Safety.”

CBS reported that an increase in calls to Japan’s pregnancy hotline since March indicates that COVID-19 has caused an uptick in teenage pregnancies there. Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto, Japan said that calls from junior and senior high school students hit a 10-year high back in April. Pilcon, a Tokyo-based non-profit that runs school sex-ed programs, said that it was flooded with calls from concerned teens after they used home pregnancy tests or they missed periods.

Global Citizen stated that 152,000 Kenyan teen girls became pregnant during the country’s three-month lockdown, which was a 40 percent increase in their monthly average. Data from the International Rescue Committee shows that girls living in refugee camps were particularly affected, with 62 pregnancies reported at Kakuma Refugee Camp this past June compared to only eight in June 2019.

In an online press conference, Dr. Manisha Kumar, head of the Médecins Sans Frontières task force on safe abortion care, said, “During the pandemic, a lot of resurces got pulled away from a lot of routine services and care, and those services were redirected to coronavirus response.” The growing economic, hunger and health crises worldwide due to the pandemic makes this an especially challenging time for pregnant teens. 

Both Marie Stopes International and the United Nations Fund warned that the new focus on the coronavirus in the medical field would negatively affect reproductive health. This included disruptions to family planning services and restricted access to contraception, leading to more unintended pregnancies.

Preventing Teen Pregnancy

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Evidence Review has identified a variety of evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs. These include sexuality education programs, youth development programs, abstinence education programs, clinic-based programs and programs specifically designed for diverse populations and locations. 

Resources that focus on social health determinants in teen pregnancy prevention, specifically at the community level, play a crucial role in addressing the racial, ethnic and geographical disparities that exist in teen births. The CDC also supports several projects that educate, engage and involve young men in reproductive health. 

According to the CDC, research shows that teens who have conversations with their parents about sex, relationships, birth control and pregnancy tend to begin to have sex at a later age. When or if they do have sex, these teenagers are more likely to do so less often, use contraception, and have better communication with romantic partners.

A 2014 report by the Brooking Insitution’s Senior Fellow Melissa S. Kearney and Phillip B. Levine of Wellesley College found that the MTV reality programs like “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” led to a 5.7 percent in teen births in the 18 months after the shows first aired. This number accounts for approximately one-third of the overall decline in teen births during that time period.

In locations where more teenagers watched MTV, they saw a larger decline in teen pregnancy after the introduction of the show. The show also led young adults to educate themselves more on birth control. Research showed that when an episode aired, there were large spikes the following day in the rate that people were conducting online searches for how to obtain contraceptives.

Contraception and Reproductive Rights

According to Power to Decide, contraception is a key factor in recent declines in teen pregnancy. Yet, over 19 million women eligible for publicly funded contraception don’t have access to the full range of birth control methods where they live.

Between 2011 and 2015, 81 percent of females and 84 percent of males between the ages of 15 and 19 who had sex reported using a contraceptive the first time. This number increased for females since 2002, when 74.5 percent used contraception. 

A sexually active teen who doesn’t use contraceptives has a 90 percent chance of becoming pregnant within a year. 

NPR reported that a challenge to the Affordable Care Act could reach the Supreme Court in the near future, which would significantly affect reproductive healthcare. This could make contraceptives unaffordable and unobtainable for some Americans, which would in turn affect the number of teenagers having unprotected sex.

Some also fear that the recent death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg will jeopardize women’s reproductive rights. If her replacement is opposed to abortion, it will most likely turn the court in favor of increasing restrictions on abortion, and could even go as far as to overturn Roe v. Wade. This would have the potential to increase the number of unsafe abortions among pregnant teens, or increase the number of teen births.

According to Kaiser Health News, there is a case waiting in the lower court that involves federal funding of Planned Parenthood in both the Medicaid and federal family programs. Ginsburg always sided with women on issues such as these, so her absence could mean a lack of access to education, family planning and contraceptives for teens.

Parenting Tips for Teenagers

THE EDGE OF ADULTHOOD: EIGHT SUMMER TIPS FOR PARENTING TEENAGE CHILDREN THIS SUMMER

Summer is often a time when teenagers take major strides towards independence. They may start their first job, land an internship, volunteer with a charity, or visit college campuses to plan for the future. However, with the current COVID-19 pandemic reshaping the entire world right now, many teens have had to put their traditional summer plans on hold. Parents, too, will need to rethink their approach to technology when it comes to guiding and supporting their adolescents through these difficult and uncertain times.

As part of our ongoing series, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development has teamed up with some of the top experts in the fields of parenting, education, and child psychology to bring you a new collection of helpful hints for making the most of this pivotal moment in your teenager’s development. Read on for details, and be sure to tune in to the next “Ask The Experts” interactive webinar series at noon EDT today, June 8, when an esteemed panel of experts will talk about how to navigate this unique summer with your teen and answer your questions via Zoom. You can RSVP here. The workshop will be moderated by Robert M. Bilder, PhD, Director of the Tannenbaum Center for the Biology of Creativity at UCLA, the Michael E. Tannenbaum Family Distinguished Professor and Chief, Division of Psychology; Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.

Hit reset

Neuroscientists have found that roughly 60-90 minutes of heavy technology use creates a major overload in the brain, and an overloaded brain simply doesn’t work as well as a calm one. Luckily, the cure is easy. TAKE BREAKS. A short break, even as few as 10 minutes, is like hitting “reset” for your body. Brain scans shows us that exercising, taking a walk outside in nature, talking to a friend in person, working on a crossword puzzle, listening to music, and, in fact, any activity that takes your mind away from your devices can be beneficial. Stepping away for 10-15 minutes every hour or so will help “reset” your overloaded brain so you can function more smoothly and effectively. – Larry Rosen, PhD, Professor Emeritus and Past Chair of the Psychology Department at California State University, Dominguez Hills

Connect and cope

Remember when you were a teenager, on the edge between childhood and adulthood? Your mind and body felt ready for more grown up things, but part of you longed for the safety and security of childhood. As teens, we feel so much, and it can be difficult for many to put these feelings into words or to know when and how to share them. Imagine being a teen today when there is so much to feel. Take advantage of the time when you and your teen(s) are in the house together. Think of a movie that explores some of the feelings your teen might be feeling. Watch together and ask them questions about what the characters in the stories were going through, how the characters felt, and what they think the character did right or could have done differently. Be open to all their explorations and listen. The movie you choose might be about a crisis, about a cultural revolution, or just about being a human being dealing with big things. Also, try some fantasy and comedy to visit times and places that bring feelings of calm and spark the imagination. Let them choose some shows or films to show you, as well, and ask why they like them. Stories help us focus on problems and solutions in a space where the consequences aren’t ours. They help us move through difficult feelings and consider how we want to be in the world. I hope that some of these experiences with your kids can end up creating silver linings in your family’s shared memories of this moment in history. – Karen Shackleford, faculty member in the Media Psychology doctoral program at Fielding Graduate University, and Incoming Editor of Psychology of Popular Media.

Independence day

Teens need opportunities to exercise their emerging sense of independence, which can be difficult to do when most of their time is spent at home. This summer, help them find (safe) ways to get out of the house and do something without you. It could be as simple as hanging out with friends, or it could be more involved, like participating in a social cause they care about. Whatever the activity, the key thing is that it’s theirs. – Katie Davis, Associate Professor, University of Washington Information School

Use the news

Between COVID, climate change concerns, and protests over police brutality and civil liberties, teens on social media are likely seeing a lot of contradictory information with high emotional stakes, so it’s important to use this opportunity to teach them about media literacy and healthy habits when it comes to news consumption. Teenagers are capable of understanding a lot, and often want to talk about these issues as part of their emerging political identity, but they need a way to sort through and make sense of it all. Talk to your teens about different sources and biases, using reverse image search to verify pictures, and the pros and cons of expressing one’s views on social media. As teens may be exposed to images of racial violence and trauma circulated online, talk to them about how they manage their media intake, how it makes them feel, and what they can do with this information. For teens who want to express their views, talk to them about how they can manage the risk of online political expression by thinking about which platforms they use, who they follow, and how they comment on others’ posts. Not sure how to proceed? Check out Common Sense Media Resources such as Parenting, Media and Everything in Between and Resources about Race and Racism. – Ellen Middaugh, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Lurie College of Education, San Jose State University, @emiddaugh on Twitter

Stay connected

Cut your teens (and yourself) some slack, and let your kids connect with their friends online. An important part of being an adolescent is learning about friendships, and in a COVID world this is happening increasingly online. If your teen is a gamer, let them play extra Fortnite with their friends, or if they love social media, encourage them to reach out, create, and connect on TikTok and Snapchat. Luckily, the research shows that most kids are not negatively harmed by this kind of social connection, but of course be sensitive if your teen seems to be exhibiting any extra anxiety from the additional screen time. Make sure they balance screen time with family time and physical activity (which these days can also involve screens), but don’t worry too much, especially if they are using these platforms to socialize. As one teen said pre-COVID, “I’m not addicted to technology, I’m addicted to my friends.” And that’s a good thing! — Yalda T. Uhls, Ph.D, Author of Media Moms & Digital Dads: A Fact not Fear Approach to Parenting in the Digital Age, Founder of UCLAs Center for Scholars & Storytellers

Rest is best

For good mental and physical health, it’s vital that adolescents receive 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. A lack of quality rest puts teens at far greater risk for anxiety, depression, impaired learning, poor diet and obesity. Teens have an extended circadian rhythm, which means they’re susceptible to staying up and sleeping in later, especially if they engage in screen media at night and don’t have structured activities to get them out of bed in the morning. Unchecked, adolescent sleep patterns during the summer can quickly become completely deregulated and dysfunctional. Many teens need parental intervention to maintain healthy sleep habits. Often the best thing that parents can do for the health of their adolescents is ensure that they get out of bed by 8AM and stay out of bed during the day. Parents should also consider completely eliminating screen media from their teen’s bedroom, which will keep help keep the teen out of their bed during the day and help ensure that their devices don’t keep them up or wake them up late at night. Getting adolescents out of bed in the morning can be a challenge, but it can be helpful to gradually open window shades in the morning and let natural light into the room, which helps teens wake up and resets their circadian rhythm correctly. Teens typically don’t appreciate this type of structure being put into their day, but it can do wonders for their health and well being. – Paul Weigle, MD, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry’s Media Committee Chair

Engage in anti-racist action

Take time this summer to engage in a collective effort to confront racism online and offline through co-watching, co-reading and discussing works that illustrate the impact of systemic racism on Black people in the United States. Several documentaries, docu-series, and films are available to watch, as well as historic speeches and debates such as James Baldwin’s debate with William F. Buckley in 1965. There are now several online resources, such as this one, which presents several ways in which you and your adolescent can schedule time each day to increase awareness around racism, and how to combat racism, in the United States. Remember that contribution is one of the key developmental tasks of adolescence, and engaging in dialogues around important societal issues is one significant way to validate your adolescent’s perspective and growth. – Kate Mills, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Oregon

Let teens lead

When my teen daughter Tessa was not long ago experiencing lots of stressful emotions all I wanted to do was help her. Yet, each time I stepped into to try to suggest solutions, I just made things worse. As a physician, I looked for science to explain what was happening and this led me to Dr. Jessica Borrelli’s research on just this issue. Borrelli wanted to understand what happens when parents step in and try to problem-solving for their teens. Borrelli ran experiments where they created a computing puzzle where teenagers were asked to do a puzzle which was basically unsolvable. The parents were told not to help. Monitors that measure stress levels were placed on the skin the teens and the parents. Once the teens started failing at the puzzle most parents stepped in to help. The researchers found that when the parents stepped in and tried to help they had decreases in their stress and the teens had increases in theirs.This scientific explanation helps me with problem-solving now and now I often employ these simple phrases which have made a huge difference with my daughter, “I am curious, what solutions have you been thinking about to address that problem? And, “I am here to brainstorm solutions whenever you want me to — just let me know.” These phrases let her know I have faith in her problem-solving skills and also they put the sense of control in her hands—if she wants my input she has control to ask me for it. – Delaney Ruston, MD, director of Screenagers and Screenagers NEXT CHAPTER about uncovering skills for stress resilience, and author of the parenting blog, Tech Talk Tuesdays.

This summer is already shaping up to be a challenging one for parents and teens on a number of fronts, but such challenges can yield important physical, mental, and social growth if approached with a healthy mindset. Encourage your teens to engage with the world in safe and thoughtful ways while at the same time giving them the space to develop their own identity and values. For more tips, and to have your questions answered by experts, don’t forget to register for today’s virtual workshop here.

About Children and Screens

Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development is a 501C(3) national non-profit organization founded by Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra. Children and Screens advances and supports interdisciplinary scientific research, enhances human capital in the field, informs and educates the public, and advocates for sound public policy for child health and wellness.

coffee, mug, plate, cocoa, green, white, brown, 360 Magazine, illustration

Virtual Teens Take the MET

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will host the first Virtual Teens Take The Met! which will be held online on Friday May 29, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Teens will have the opportunity to digitally immerse themselves in hands-on experiences created by over 30 New York City cultural and community organizations and institutions, who have partnered with The Met for this day-long online festival. This event is free with registration encouraged, and will be accessible through several platforms including YouTube, Zoom, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok.

“Teens Take The Met!” has been held at the Museum bi-annually since 2014 and over the years has brought together over 30,000 young people for what has become one of the most dynamic events in New York City for teens. This spring, while the Museum is temporarily closed, the online event will offer a variety of activities, such as art-making, writing and poetry prompts, dance and movement workshops, as well as opportunities for teens to practice self-care and communication about COVID-19 while in isolation.

Led by The Met (@MetTeens) along with partner institutions, there will be new programming and activities every half-hour throughout the day, culminating with a Zoom party with DJ’s from Building Beats. Highlights include an art tour and talk with New York City Writing Project; a step tutorial with the Panthers Step Team from Bard High School Early College; collage and printmaking with El Museo del Barrio; ‘NamaShakespeare’ yoga with Titan Theatre Company; digital zine-making and an exploration of the impact of COVID-19 on incarcerated youth with Art and Resistance Through Education (ARTE); Poetry writing with Urban Word NYC; a fashion party with The Studio Museum in Harlem; and The Met will have a variety of art-making activities including flower crowns and tote bag DIY, ‘Teens Meme The Met’ activity and the Museum’s popular “Balcony Bar at Home,” with the quartet ETHEL, will feature teen musicians. A full schedule is below.

Teens can register

Virtual Teens Take The Met! complements the Museum’s existing selection of online materials, live and interactive programming, performances, and conversations with curators, educators, and artists, as well as #MetAnywhere social media initiatives. The Museum’s Art at Home hub is a resource for MetPublications, Primers, videos, 360-degree gallery tours, and educational materials, and the Virtual Events page is updated regularly. New highlights include a digital exhibition tour of Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara and the launch of an innovative AR audio experience with the zemí cohoba stand.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars – Young Designers Competition

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is extending the deadline for entries in its Young Designers Competition to Monday 1 June 2020.

This gives aspiring designers up to the age of 16 an additional two weeks to create and submit their dream Rolls-Royce of the future.

Launched in early April, the competition has already attracted more than 2,000 entries from children in more than 70 countries worldwide. Its aim was to stimulate design talent and provide an educational distraction for children from self-quarantine and social-distancing measures. Although some countries are starting to ease their lock-down restrictions, many children are still unable to attend school, and their normal interactions and activities are likely to remain curtailed for some weeks to come.

The overall winner will receive a once-in-a-lifetime prize: a fully rendered illustration of their design. Runners-up will receive a certificate individually hand-signed by Torsten Müller-Ötvös, the Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

“We’re delighted by the sheer inventiveness, vision and detail we’re seeing in the children’s designs. Some of the ideas are truly extraordinary and have really got us thinking; it’s inspiring us as a design team to see things differently and challenge our own notions of what’s possible. We’re really looking forward to the judging process, but it’s going to be a huge challenge to pick our winners,” — Gavin Hartley, Head of Bespoke Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, will be judging the entries together with members of his team.

SUBMIT HERE

Tips From Dermatologists: The How-To Guide to Applying Topical Acne Medication

Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million Americans annually. However, despite its prevalence, accurate information about acne can be scarce.

Many teenagers and young adults believe that they have to let acne run its course instead of treating it, while others turn to do-it-yourself treatments–like applying diaper cream or toothpaste to pimples– without much success. Yet left untreated, say dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology, acne often results in significant physical and psychological problems, such as scarring, poor self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.

“As a dermatologist who treats patients with acne every day, I’ve seen firsthand the effects that acne can have on a person’s life, both physically and emotionally..If you find yourself in a bad mood or skipping outings with friends or family members because of acne, see a board-certified dermatologist for treatment,” says board-certified dermatologist Dee Anna Glaser, MD, FAAD, a professor and interim chair of dermatology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Today, says Dr. Glaser, there are many effective treatments for acne, including medications that are applied to the skin, antibiotics and in-office procedures. Some treatments that are applied to the skin, such as products containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or adapalene, are available over-the-counter.

However, whether a person is using an over-the-counter treatment or prescription medication, Dr. Glaser says it’s important to be patient regarding results. For example, it usually takes four to eight weeks to see improvement after using a topical medication– a treatment that is applied to the skin–and once acne clears, she says, it’s important to continue the treatment to prevent new breakouts.

It’s also important, says Dr. Glaser, to follow your dermatologist’s directions while using acne medication. Particularly for topical medications, the wrong application and skin care routine can lead to dry, irritated skin.

To get the greatest benefit from topical acne medications, Dr. Glaser recommends the following tips:

  1. Use a gentle face wash. A common misconception is that people need to use a strong face wash while also using topical acne medication. However, using a face wash that is too harsh while also using acne medication can dry out and irritate your skin. Instead, look for a mild, gentle face wash that says “oil-free” or “noncomedogenic” on the label, as these won’t clog your pores. Gently as the affected areas twice a day and after sweating.
  2. Use a pea-sized amount of medication. Using too much medication can irritate your skin, and using too little can hinder results. To make sure you’re using the right amount, put a pea-sized amount on your index finger and dot the medication on your forehead, cheeks and chin. Once dotted, rub it around to cover your whole face.
  3. Ease into the medication. Since it can take time for your skin to adjust to new medication, start by applying the product every other day instead of daily. If you don’t experience any negative side effects after a few weeks, like increased burning or redness, you can start applying the medicine every day.
  4. If irritation occurs, apply moisturizer before applying acne medication. Studies have shown that applying moisturizer before applying topical medication helps prevent the medication’s negative side effects–like peeling and redness–without changing its effectiveness. Make sure your moisturizer says “oil free” or “ocomedogenic”
  5. Protect your skin from the sun. Many acne medications cause increased sensitivity to sunlight, which can increase your chance of sunburn. Before going outdoors, apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to all exposed skin, including your scalp, ears, neck, and lips. Remember to reapply every two hours or immediately after sweating. You can also protect your skin by seeking shade and wearing protective clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection.

“Acne is a complex skin condition that can have many causes, including skin care products, fluctuating hormones, family history and stress,” says Dr. Glaser. “Further, not everyone’s acne can be treated the same way. If you have acne and over-the-counter medications aren’t bringing relief, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.”

In recognition of National Healthy Skin Month, the AAD is reminding the public about how to find trustworthy sources of information on skin disease, including acne, skin cancer, eczema, and psoriasis. A board-certified dermatologist has the education, training, and experience to provide the best possible medical, surgical, and cosmetic treatment to patients. After earning a bachelor’s degree and medical degree, board-certified dermatologists must complete four additional years of education, including a one year internship and three yeas of dermatology residency. Before seeking dermatologic care, the AAD recommends that everyone make sure their dermatologist is board-certified by the American Board of Dermatology, the American Osteopathic Association, or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

To find a board-certified dermatologist in your area click here.

The tips above are demonstrated in a video here that is posted to the AAD website and YouTube channel. This video is part of the AAD’s “Video of the Month” series, which offers tips people can use to properly care for their skin, hair, and nails. A new video in the series posts to the AAD website and YouTube channel each month.

About the AAD

Headquartered in Rosement, Ill, the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 19,000 physicians worldwide, the AAD is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair, and nails; advocating high standards in clinical standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair, and nails . For more information, contact the AAD at 888-462-DERM (3376) or aad.org. Follow the ADD on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube

Veteran US Diplomat Fears for Missing & Displaced Immigrant Children

Former U.S. Ambassador of Senegal Harriet L. Elam-Thomas, who currently sits on the advisory board of the University of Central Florida‘s The Center for the Study of Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery program, is concerned about the welfare of approximately 1,500 missing immigrant children, as well as the most recent group separated from their parents at the border.
As someone who has personally witnessed human trafficking, I know how crucial it is for us to police the police, says Elam-Thomas. What is the vetting process for those responsible for these children? Who is accountable for keeping track of them? There needs to be a thorough investigation into their safety, and the loopholes that make children vulnerable in a foreign country with no parent to protect them.
A Career Minister, with 42 years in the U.S. Department of Americas Foreign Service serving in France, Turkey, Greece and Africa, the former Ambassador is heartbroken by the inhumane treatment of immigrant families seeking asylum.
My heart is heavy, my soul is troubled and my faith in my country is being tested each and every day. Where is our conscience? Where is our sense of justice? Where are our morals? Where are we?
Historically, America has a different approach to non-Western or Eastern European refugees or laborers attempting to immigrate to the U.S. The Polish, Irish, Lithuanians, and other white immigrants had the privilege to acquire ambiguous last names and assimilate into society. Black, brown and yellow people cannot hide or become invisible.
Despite our frequent condemnations of other nations human rights violations, our history of human rights violations is not one for which we can be proud. A country that was founded on slavery, racism and unequal treatment of others is repeating the ugly history we would like to forget. I still remember images of children torn from their mothers’ arms and sold at the slave markets. The new Smithsonian Museum – The National Museum of African American History and Culture begins with that sobering history. Scores of people of all races visit there on a daily basis (8,000 per day). Sadly, our current Administration continues to be insensitive to the suffering of innocent children. I doubt the toddlers,orthose young teenagers seeking asylum with their parents, are members of M-13.
From 1942-1945, the U.S. Government instituted laws to intern Japanese citizens after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese internment camps have come to be considered one of the most atrocious violations of American civil rights in the 20th century.
Until the presidents recent executive order, America was guilty, yet again, of manifesting the total opposite of the values that supposedly sets America apart from so many other governments. I cannot imagine being abroad and trying to explain the U.S. Government policy to foreign audiences this past month, or year.
Silence is consent. The unanimous outrage of so many citizens sparked change. We all must continue to use our voices and speak out against the atrocities happening on American soil.
Ambassador Harriet L. Elam-Thomas is Director of the University of Central Florida Diplomacy Program and author ofDiversifying Diplomacy: My Journey from Roxbury to Dakar.” Elam-Thomas’ stellar career with the U.S. Department of America’s Foreign Service spanned forty-two years, during which time President Bill Clinton appointed her to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Senegal
The retired Ambassador will be in New York City from
June 25-July 2, 2018, to launch an initiative titled,
“CIVILITY STRATEGIES: HEALING APPROACHES THAT UNITE PEOPLE AND STRENGTHEN DEMOCRACY.

Top Global Teachers × Redesign Curricula 

Employers complain that graduates are not ready for work. Stanford University studies indicate students are overloaded and under-prepared. So exactly what should we teach young people in an age where Dr. Google has an answer for everything; humans are living longer; the traditional professions disappear while new ones are created; international mobility is drastically increasing population diversity; terrorism, environmental threats and inequality need our collective attention; and robots and gene editing are coming, requiring us to re-examine the very core of what it means to be human?

The Global Teacher Bloggers are pioneers and innovators in fields such as technology integration, mathematics coaching, special needs education, science instruction, and gender equity. C.M. Rubin Founder of CMRubinWorld asked them to reflect on these questions: Do you believe curriculum needs to be more relevant for a 21st century world? If you had the power to change the school curriculum, what would you change?

“We need to develop a generation of critical thinkers, collaborators, communicators, environmentalists and ethical IT users,” writes Rashmi Kathuria in India. “The content of the news in the last few months, and indeed years, provides clear and loud evidence for the fact that our education system is failing,” notes Miriam Mason-Sesay, who believes “division, hatred and bigoted fearfulness are fostered seemingly unchallenged, and our education system has not prepared our youngsters to evaluate the veracity of so many claims.” Craig Kemp in Singapore wants “more emphasis on lifelong learning skills than on curriculum content,” and Elisa Guerra Cruz’s curriculum would be focused on “passion projects, aimed at gaining knowledge and abilities, but also at discovering whatever fires a student’s heart,” 

Read the full article here

The Global Teacher Bloggers have founded schools, written curricula, and led classrooms in 16 different countries that stretch across every populated continent on earth. CMRubinWorld’s Top Global Teachers are: Rashmi Kathuria, Jim Tuscano, Craig Kemp, Jasper Rijpma, Elisa Guerra, Pauline Hawkins, Maarit Rossi, Vicki Davis, Miriam Mason-Sesay, Shaelynn Fransworth, Carl Hooker, Adam Steiner, Warren Sparrow, Nadia Lopez, Richard Wells, Joe Fatheree, Kazuya Takahashi, and Abeer Qunaibi

CMRubinWorld launched in 2010 to explore what kind of education would prepare students to succeed in a rapidly changing globalized world. Its award-winning series, The Global Search for Education, is a highly regarded trailblazer in the renaissance of 21st century education, and occupies a widely respected place in the pulse of key issues facing every nation and the collective future of all children. It connects today’s top thought leaders with a diverse global audience of parents, students and educators. Its highly readable platform allows for discourse concerning our highest ideals and the sustainable solutions we must engineer to achieve them. C. M. Rubin has produced hundreds of interviews and articles discussing an extensive array of topics under a singular vision: when it comes to the world of children, there is always more work to be done.

For more information on CMRubinWorld