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An EPIC View on Teenagers Social Media Hookup Culture   Leave a comment

What follows is a (long) article from Vanity Fair which gives us a close look about the teenage hook up  culture and how they view sex and relationships. It’s important to read this. I haven’t read anything to this point that gives such point blank statement on the thought processes of teenagers.

WARNING-THERE IS SOME EXPLICIT LANGUAGE AND FRANK DISCUSSIONS ABOUT SEX! THIS MAY BE

        OFFENDING TO SOME.

From Vanityfair.com- http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2013/09/social-media-internet-porn-teenage-girls

Friends Without Benefits

This year, 81 percent of Internet-using teenagers in America reported that they are active on social-networking sites, more than ever before. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and new dating apps like Tinder, Grindr, and Blendr have increasingly become key players in social interactions, both online and IRL (in real life). Combined with unprecedented easy access to the unreal world of Internet porn, the result is a situation that has drastically affected gender roles for young people. Speaking to a variety of teenaged boys and girls across the country, Nancy Jo Sales uncovers a world where boys are taught they have the right to expect everything from social submission to outright sex from their female peers. What is this doing to America’s young women?

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© PIERO CRUCIATTI/ALAMY.

“Social media is destroying our lives,” a 16-year-old girl from L.A. tells contributing editor Nancy Jo Sales. But without it, she says, she “would have no life.”

NOTE: Some of the names and identifying details in this story have been changed.

THE TINDER GUY

She wanted it to be like the scene in the Lana Del Rey video for “Blue Jeans”—“hot and slow and epic.” The scene where strangers meet and fall into an easy intimacy, making love in a pool—“and they look so hot and it’s just, like, totally epic.” A boy at her school—she didn’t want to talk about him now; he’d broken her heart; but “like, whatever.” She’d “deleted him” from her phone. “I was stalking him too much, seeing him doing fun things on Instagram, and it hurt.”

They’d been instant-messaging on Facebook, and one night he told her he loved her. And then “I found out he was talking to, like, four other girls.” And now she wanted to do something to get over it, maybe to get back at him. “I mean, I should have known. All men are basically whores.” When he didn’t turn out to be her “true love”—“like Bella and Edward, or Bella and Jacob, you know?”—she decided she had to “lose it to someone,” so why not with someone she would never have to see again? And yet, she hoped it would somehow be like the Lana Del Rey song. “I will love you till the end of time,” it goes.

The guy she was supposed to meet that day—the guy from Tinder, the dating app kids were using to hook up—“I know, like, five guys who’ve done it; girls use it too, but they pretend like they don’t”—he was cute and had tattoos on his arms. He looked “James Franco–ish,” but younger. On Tinder you could meet people in your age group. She was 16; he was 17.

Alone in her room, the night before, reading her friends’ Twitter feeds and watching YouTube videos (Selena Gomez and “baby animals being cute”), she’d started feeling lonely, restless, and bored. “Sometimes I just want to talk to a guy so bad.” So she downloaded the app and started swiping through the pictures of boys in her area. She “hearted” his picture, and within a few minutes he had hearted hers, and then they were instantly texting.

“Ur hot,” he wrote. “U wanna meet?”

“When?”

They arranged to rendezvous at a shopping mall in Los Angeles not far from the neighborhood where they lived. “Of course it was going to be a public place. And if it turned out he was really some gross old man, I’d just run away.” But there he was, standing by his car, looking almost like his picture. . . . Almost. There was something different about his face—it was “squishier. Like, he was almost fat.” But now here they were, and she didn’t know quite how to get out of it.

He smiled and kissed her on the cheek. He smelled of Axe Body Spray. She was sorry she’d spent so much time getting ready for this. “I even waxed,” she said. He wanted her to get in his car, but she knew she shouldn’t. They started walking around the mall, “talking about nothing, nothing. It was awkward, totally weird.” He asked if she wanted to sit down, but there was nowhere to sit except in restaurants, so they wound up going inside a Pottery Barn and making out on a couch. Later she posted something on her Tumblr blog about the difficulty of finding love.

WHEELING IN THE BITCHES

“Gotta wheel the bitches in. Gotta wheel the bitches in,” said the teenage boy on a city bus in New York. “Nowadays you can do it so easy. There are so many apps and shit that just, like, hand you the girls. They don’t even know that’s what they’re doing, but really they’re just giving teenagers ways to have sex.”

This year, 81 percent of Internet-using teenagers in America reported that they’re active on social-networking sites, one of which is Tinder, a mobile dating app that teens use to hook up.

SEX, LIES, AND SOCIAL MEDIA

If you’re between 8 and 18, you spend more than 11 hours a day plugged into an electronic device. The average American teen now spends nearly every waking moment on a smart phone or computer or watching TV. This seismic shift in how kids spend their time is having a profound effect on the way they make friends, the way they date, and their introduction to the world of sex.

Kids have always been interested in sex, of course; but there have never been more ways for them to express that to one another, at any moment of the day, no matter where they are. They don’t even have to be together, and often they are not. “You can be sitting in class getting a boner ’cause some girl is texting you that she wants to suck your dick,” said a boy in L.A. “It’s kind of distracting.”

As quickly as new social media appears, teens seem to find ways to use it to have sex, often sex devoid of even any pretense of emotional intimacy.  There’s sexting, and there’s Snapchat, where teenagers share pictures of their bodies or body parts; on Skype, sometimes they strip for each other or masturbate together. On Omegle, they can talk to strangers, and sometimes the talk turns sexual. A boy in L.A. told me about a boy he knew who had a PayPal account where he accepted payment for being sexual online with “random guys . . . Two hundred bucks.” And then there is Tinder, where kids can meet each other on their phones. “It’s like Grindr used to be for gay guys, but now kids are doing it,” said a girl in L.A. “No one cares about anything but how you look.”

“We don’t date; we just hook up,” another girl in L.A. told me. “Even people who get in a relationship, it usually starts with a hookup.” Which can mean anything from making out to having sex. “When you have sex with a guy, they want it to be like a porno,” said a 19-year-old girl in New York. “They want anal and oral right away. Oral is, like, the new kissing.” “The cum shot in the face is a big thing,” said another girl.

And then there are “texting relationships,” a disembodied coupling that takes place solely on a screen. It can still become very sexual, often very quickly. “Guys you know from just, like, having one class together will be like, ‘Do you like to suck dick?’” said a 17-year-old girl in New York. “And if you say no, they just move on to the next person.”

THE GIRLS AT THE GROVE

“Social media is destroying our lives,” said the girl at the Grove.

“So why don’t you go off it?” I asked.

“Because then we would have no life,” said her friend.

The girls had been celebrating a birthday at the busy L.A. mall, and now they were on their way home; they carried bags of leftovers from the Cheesecake Factory. There were four of them: Melissa, Zoe, Padma, and Greta.* They stopped to sit down and talk awhile at an outdoor table.

They were pretty girls with long straight hair—two blonde, two brunette, all aged 16. They wore sleeveless summer dresses and looked fresh and sweet. They went to a magnet high school in L.A.

Greta, they said, was famous—or Instafamous, having thousands of followers on Instagram. She showed me a gallery of her Instapics; some were of her dog and some were of Greta pouting and wearing “the duck face.” Some of her followers, she said, were “random dudes in Italy and Arabia.”

Melissa said, “I have Facebook, a YouTube account. I’ve used Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine . . . ”

Blendr, another geosocial dating network like Tinder, describes itself as a “free, socially flirtatious chat-to-meet app.”

“Path, Skype,” Zoe said.

“Tumblr,” said Padma.

“I have a Twitter, but I don’t use it except for stalking other people,” said Greta.

They all laughed knowingly.

“I think everyone does it,” Greta said. “Everyone looks through other people’s profiles, but especially being teenage girls, we look at the profiles of the males we find attractive and we stalk the females the males find attractive.”

“It’s a way to get to know them without the awkward ‘Oh, what do you like to do?’ You already know,” said Padma.

“You can know their likes and dislikes,” Greta said. “‘Oh, they like this band.’ So you can, like, casually wear that band’s T-shirt and have them, like, fall in love with you or something. Or you can be like, ‘Oh, they listen to that music? Ew. Go away.’”

I asked them how they knew when a boy liked them.

“When a boy likes your [Facebook] profile pic or almost anything you post, it means that they’re stalking you, too. Which means they have interest in you,” said Zoe.

I asked them how they made the transition from social-media interaction to real-world interaction.

They blinked.

“You talk to them on Facebook; you do chat with them,” Melissa said.

I asked if they had boyfriends.

“There’s this boy Seth,” said Greta, “and when he liked my profile picture, I knew it was like, ‘Hey, ’sup, you cute.’ Then we held hands at a party. We were cute. But the one thing I didn’t like about him was he didn’t follow me back on Instagram. Social media causes soooooo much anxiety.”

They all agreed on that.

“The thing with social media is, if a guy doesn’t respond to you or doesn’t, like, stalk you back, then you’re gonna feel rejected,” said Melissa.

“And rejection hurts,” said Padma.

“And then you’re gonna go, like, look for another person to fill that void and you’re gonna move on to stalking someone else,” Melissa said.

“That’s how men become such whores,” said Greta.

“Guys actually take the Facebook-talking situation way too far,” meaning sexually, said Zoe.

They were nodding their heads.

“Like, when guys start a Facebook thing, they want too much,” said Padma. “They want to get some. They try with different girls to see who would give more of themselves.”

“It leads to major man-whoring,” Greta said.

“They’re definitely more forward to us online than in person,” said Zoe. “Because they’re not saying it to our faces.”

“This guy Seth, who is normally timid in real life,” said Greta, “sends girls messages asking for nudes.”

She showed me a text exchange in which Seth had asked her to “send pics”—meaning nude pics, a request Seth had punctuated with a smiley face. Greta had responded “Lololol” and “Hahahaha” and “Nope.” “It wasn’t THAT funny,” Seth had texted back.

“He isn’t my boyfriend,” clarified Greta.

“My friend, she was VC-ing,” or video chatting, “this guy she was kind of dating,” Melissa said. “He sent so many nudes to her, but she wasn’t trusting that he wouldn’t show the pictures to other people. So she Skyped him and showed him nudes that way. He took a screenshot without her knowing it. He sent it to so many people and the entire baseball team. She was whispered about and called names. It’s never gone away. He still has it and won’t delete it.”

I asked if they knew girls who posted provocative pictures of themselves. They all said yes.

“More provocative equals more likes,” said Greta.

“It attracts more guys and then it makes other girls think about doing it just for the attention. They’re attention whores,” said Padma, frowning.

“My father thinks all my photos are provocative,” Greta mused.

“I think some girls post slutty pictures of themselves to show guys the side to them that guys want to see,” said Zoe. “It’s annoying.”

“Girls call them sluts. Boys call it hot,” said Padma.

Greta shrugged. “I call it hilarious.”

MIRROR, MIRROR

In the video for ”We Can’t Stop,“ Miley Cyrus writhes around on a bed, sticking her ass up in the air. She grinds her ass into the crotch of a woman twerking. She writhes around in an empty bathtub, sticking her ass in the air some more. She appears at the V.M.A.’s twerking into the crotch of Robin Thicke, causing an international sensation.

In the video for ”Summer Fling,“ Willow Smith stares at the nipple of a teenage boy while offering him her phone number. Willow’s 12.  She sings about having a summer fling: “It’s just a couple nights, but we do it anyway.” A boy shoots water into a pool party at which Willow and her bikini-clad friends jump on a trampoline, spreading their legs.

“Of course girls want to emulate this stuff,” Kim Goldman said one afternoon at her home. Goldman is the director of the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Project, a counseling service for teens that reaches around 23,000 kids in 14 schools in the district. (She’s also the sister of Ron Goldman, the man slain along with Nicole Brown Simpson, the ex-wife of O. J. Simpson.) “Girls talk about feeling like they have to be like what they see on TV,” she said. “They talk about body-image issues and not having any role models. They all want to be like the Kardashians. Kendall Jenner posts bikini shots when she’s 16 and gets 10,000 likes, and girls see that’s what you do to get attention.”

Santa Clarita, an affluent community nestled in the arid Santa Susana Mountains north of L.A., has its share of troubled kids. There’s been a rash of heroin-related deaths over the last year. A Facebook page entitled “Santa Clarita Sluts” was finally taken down. In January, Michael Downs, a local teen, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexually assaulting 15 girls (one a 12-year-old), many of whom he met on Facebook.

“We’re seeing depression, anxiety, feelings of isolation,” said Goldman. “I think social media is contributing to these things. We have kids who’ve had sex with people they meet on Chat Roulette. At one of the junior highs we work with, we found out there were a few kids engaging in an online orgy. They all signed into a video chat room.” One of their parents walked in on it.

“We had girls selling oral sex for $10 and $15 in the bathroom at a school,” said Goldman. “Sex is everywhere. Everything is sexualized. They’re all reading Fifty Shades of Grey.”

CYBER-QUEENS

On a bright, hot day in June, I met Sydney at the Popover Café on the Upper West Side. She was blonde and angelic looking, like a girl from a Beaux Arts painting of the 1890s; she was 17.

She gave me her headshot; I’m not sure why. She said she wants to be an actress.

“I was cyber-bullied when I was younger,” she said over popovers, “on this [social-media site for kids]. It was this thing where you create a profile of a cartoon character, and this random stranger started talking to me and saying really creepy things. I was in sixth grade.

“I didn’t know who it was at first. It turned out it was one of the girls at my school,” a private girls’ school in Manhattan. “She was saying, like, all this sexual stuff. I don’t even know how she learned how to talk that way.

“I was 11 years old, and I didn’t know how to respond. And then she and her friends took screenshots [of the conversations] and spread them around and started calling me a slut.” She winced.

“I was completely traumatized. I had to switch schools. I became insanely insecure.” But nothing ever happened to the girls who bullied her. “I begged my mom not to bring the school into it. I didn’t want to be that girl that tattletaled.”

And then a few years later, she saw her former victimizers on Facebook. “They kept stalking me and I was curious, so I friended them back.” That’s when she found out that these girls had become “famous.”

“In New York every kid knows each other,” and some kids are “famous,” Sydney said. “Everyone’s obsessed with the feeling they have fame. They post pictures of themselves at certain parties. They friend certain kids. There’s so much social climbing.”

Her bullies were now two of the most visible girls in the Manhattan high-school scene, the type of girls who “go clubbing with 21-year-olds” and get invited to “events.” “One of their moms has, like, a clothing line.” On her iPhone, Sydney showed me the girls’ Facebook pages, where they had posted many pictures of themselves partying in nightclubs and posing, hand on hip, Paris Hilton–style, surrounded by Euro-looking men. These pictures got a lot of likes.

“They dress like sluts,” Sydney said, “in bandeaus and short shorts that show your butt cheeks—excuse me, you’re not at the beach.” She admitted she sometimes dressed like that too. “Because if you don’t, you will get shunned. Girls are just so mean.

“I don’t go into the bathrooms at school,” she said, “‘cause they just say mean stuff to you. They look at you up and down like, ‘What are you wearing?’ Social media makes it so much worse. Like on Ask.fm”—a social-networking site with 65 million users, half under the age of 18, on which subscribers are invited to speak their minds about each other—“they just say mean, mean, mean, mean things.

“I love Tumblr,” she said, “’cause it’s just kids expressing themselves with writing and pictures; but it’s also a lot about how to look and dress, and it makes a lot of girls feel bad ‘cause there’ll be beautiful girls with beautiful everything and everyone re-posts it, and, like, it makes you feel bad about all the things you’re doing wrong.

“On Tumblr there’s ‘The Rich Kids of Instagram,’ which is these kids trying to show off their wealth, and it’s so not O.K., it’s revolting, but it still makes me feel bad about myself—kind of like I’m not part of it.”

She said there was a term for this, FOMO—fear of missing out.

She told me about parties where girls “literally wear nothing” and kids take Molly, MDMA. “The ‘in’ thing for girls to do is to really just go nuts at parties, just go insane. They feel like the more they drink and the crazier they act, the more guys will come to them.” Crazy how? “Dancing around, flashing their boobs.”

At these parties, she said, which take place “at people’s houses or a space somebody rents out to make money,” “people hook up with more than one person. It’s dark and, like, 100 kids are there. It’s not considered a big deal. Guys try and hook up with as many girls as possible.”

“At one party?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she said. “They have lists and stuff. This kid in my grade has this list of 92 girls he’s hooked up with.”

“BAD GIRLS”

“We know this girl Ursula that had a list of guys she had given blow jobs to, like 45 people,” said Sarah. Sarah and her friends Elena, Jeff, and Abby, all teenagers from the Valley, were having dinner in L.A. one night before going to a movie.

Over burgers and fries at an outdoor café, they started talking about the “bad girls” at their high school.

“Ava’s like that too,” said Jeff. “She asked me out and then took my head and, like, shoved it in her bra.”

“She gave Richie a hand job on the back of the bus going to band competition,” said Sarah.

They talked about girls who had made sex tapes; girls who had sex with different guys at parties every weekend. “Was that the same weekend she went to the emergency room [for drugs]?” asked Abby.

“Remember when Anita got semen on Maya’s jacket?” Jeff asked with a smile.

“And then Maya posted it on her [Facebook] wall,” Sarah said with a laugh.

“She asked to borrow Maya’s jacket and she wore the jacket, and she gave this guy a blow job at a party while she was wearing the jacket,” said Jeff.

“And then she gave the jacket back to Maya without washing it, so Maya took a picture of the jacket with the stain and posted it on Anita’s wall: ‘You didn’t wash my jacket,’” said Sarah.

They laughed.

“Which was so mean, but I love that she did that,” Jeff said. “I was like, ‘Oh my God.’”

They laughed again.

“There was this girl in 10th grade who was gonna be on My Super Sweet Sixteen,” said Jeff. “I don’t think it ever aired. That same girl, she was in a porn video going around school. People were in math class watching the video.”

SELFIES

“I first started seeing people doing selfies in sixth grade,” said Emily, a senior at a private school in L.A. “Back then everybody was on MySpace. In sixth grade everybody started getting phones and they started posting pictures of themselves, and it was weird, ’cause, like, a lot of the pictures were supposed to look sexy and they had the duck face and we were all, like, 11.”

“Guys do selfies, too,” said Alexandra, a girl at a public high school in L.A. “They post pictures of themselves smoking weed and drinking codeine cup”—a narcotic mixture of Jolly Ranchers, cough syrup, and 7-UP—“like, ‘Look how boss I am, look how gangster.’ They think that makes them hot. If a guy posts a picture in his boxer shorts, people say that’s funny, but if a girl does it, they say she’s a slut. It’s a double standard, but girls still do it ’cause it gets them more likes on Facebook.”

“My little cousin, she’s 13, and she posts such inappropriate pictures on Instagram, and boys post sexual comments, and she’s like, ‘Thank you,’” said Marley, a New York public-school girl. “It’s child pornography, and everyone’s looking at it on their iPhones in the cafeteria.”

SEXY BABIES

Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus are the co-directors of Sexy Baby (2012), a documentary about girls and women in the age of porn. It follows three subjects: Nichole, 32, a porn star who bemoans the mainstreaming of porn in the digital age (she thinks it’s unhealthy); Laura, 22, who has plastic surgery on her labia (her ex-boyfriend deemed them unattractive) so that she can “look like a porn star”; and Winnifred, 12, a middle-school student in New York who does sexy photo shoots with her friends and posts them on Facebook. Winnifred also posts a video of her little sister dancing around provocatively to a pop song.

Gradus, a photographer for The Miami Herald, was on assignment shooting strip clubs in Miami in 2009 when she first encountered young women who were not professional strippers pole-dancing for young men. “These were regular college girls. They didn’t seem to be having fun,” she said. “It was like, ‘This is what we’re supposed to be doing.’”

Gradus and Bauer, a writer for the Herald, then went on a research mission to a porn convention in Miami where “they were selling stripper poles to college girls and housewives,” said Bauer. “There were so many mainstream women idolizing the porn stars and running after them to take pictures, and we were like, ‘Whoa, this exists?’”

“We saw these girls embracing this idea that ‘If I want to be like a porn star, it’s so liberating,’” Gradus said. “We were skeptical. But it was such a broad concept. We asked, ‘What is this shift in our sexual attitudes, and how do we define this?’ I guess the common thread we saw that is creating this is technology.

“Technology being so available made every girl or woman capable of being a porn star, or thinking they’re a porn star,” said Gradus. “They’re objectifying themselves. The thinking is: ‘If I’m in control of it, then I’m not objectified.’”

PORN HISTORY

Porn is more available now than at any time in history—especially to kids. Ninety-three percent of boys and 62 percent of girls have seen Internet porn before they turn 18, according to a 2008 study in CyberPsychology & Behavior. Seventy percent of boys have spent more than 30 minutes looking at porn, as have 23 percent of girls. Eighty-three percent of boys and 57 percent of girls have seen group sex online. Eighteen percent of boys and 10 percent of girls have seen rape or sexual violence.

“Historically a spike in interest in pornography is associated with advancement in women’s rights,” said April Alliston, a professor of comparative literature at Princeton. She teaches a class on the history of pornography and has an upcoming book about porn, Consenting Adults: On Pornography, Privacy and Freedom (2013).

“What happened at the time of the invention of the printing press was very similar to what’s happening now with the Internet,” Alliston said. “With the printing press you had porn suddenly made available through technology. At the same time you had women getting more rights; there was more literacy and freedom for women. I see the spread of porn in part as a backlash to women’s increased independence.

“I believe that porn has gone mainstream now because women have been gaining power. The feminist movement was somewhat successful. Rather than being about sexual liberation, porn is a form of control over sex and sexuality.

“It’s become unfashionable to [take a negative view of porn] because of the reaction to the extreme anti-pornography views of [radical feminists] Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon in the 90s. There was a reaction to their calls for censorship, and at the same time you had ‘sex-positive feminists,’ as they called themselves, saying porn is good, saying sex is the same thing as pornography, and seeming to imply that if we like sex, we like pornography too, which I think is equally extreme and incorrect.

“When it comes to children, there is really nothing to argue about,” Alliston went on. “Kids are defined by our laws as not being able to consent to sex or to using pornography. There are few protections against them seeing it, and some people take the attitude that it’s inevitable and benign. I think a lot of people who make this argument don’t realize what porn today really looks like in terms of how the women are treated.”

THE ANTI-DAPHNE MOVEMENT

“In the eighth grade, I had friend—it was a toxic friendship,” said Daphne, now 19 and in college in L.A. “We got into a fight. I can’t even remember what it was about—probably I had bought the same shoes as her or something. It got really bad, and one of her friends, a guy, decided to make a YouTube video starting an ‘Anti-Daphne Movement.’

“Their goal was to get me to kill myself.

“It was, like, a 10-minute video. He showed a picture of me. He said my name. He recounted all the details of the fight. He said I was ugly and that I should kill myself. He told everyone on Facebook, ‘I’m a member of this movement. If Daphne has ever done anything to you, post about it.’

“It caught on really fast. I had a lot of people writing really mean messages to me and deleting me as a friend [on Facebook]. I had never done anything to these people. At school they would put gross things in my bag, cottage cheese in my binder. It got over all my homework.

“It took three months before I got the courage to tell my dad. My dad got the school to get [the boy] to take the video down. The guy who did it didn’t get in any trouble. The principal was friends with his mom. The principal said I must have done something bad for him to act that way, and I was actually suspended for a few days.

“I didn’t know this boy at all. He was kind of a weird kid. People thought he was quirky and cool. He would say he was ‘brutally honest,’ but mostly he was just rude to people. I had to stay in the same school with him all through eighth grade. I went into therapy for what happened. It’s made me so much more insecure. It’s really hard for me to trust anyone.”

THE SCENE GIRL

Amanda, 17, a senior at a high school in Santa Clarita, tried to kill herself last year. Her boyfriend of eight months had broken up with her so that he could play the field before graduating from high school—“he just wanted to live it up, was what he said”—and, after some months of turmoil, Amanda took an overdose of one of her mother’s prescription medications. She was hospitalized briefly and is now in therapy.

She’d been slut-shamed on Facebook in ninth grade by a girl at her school, along with the girl’s mother. “She”—the mother—“was saying I was a slut and all I do is lay on my back, but I’ve only been with one person,” Amanda said. The police said nothing could be done about it because no direct threats were made.

Feeling isolated and depressed, Amanda got into drugs, ecstasy, and weed, and started hanging out with the Scene kids (kids into hard-core punk rock). “All I talked about was sex, drugs, money, and partying,” she said. “I’d post pictures on Facebook of me smoking weed and partying.”

When she started dating her boyfriend, with whom she went to school, she finally felt as if she had something to live for. “We were like the one couple that everybody knew, that everyone was like, ‘You’re so cute. You’re gonna be together for a really long time.’” And now that she had a steady boyfriend, she was no longer called a slut.

But that ended all too soon. She attributes her boyfriend breaking up with her to the influence of his friends. “All his friends were like, ‘Dude, you have a girlfriend. You can’t do anything,’” meaning sexually, with other girls. And, Amanda says, he confessed that after breaking up with her, he did sleep with another girl.

“Boys have no respect for girls,” Amanda said. “They’ll be like, ‘Damn, that girl’s hot. I’d fuck her.’”

THE SEX EDUCATION OF JENNA: PART I

“One reason my boyfriend broke up with me senior year was that I was not a real person,” said Jenna, 19, a college student in New York. She and her boyfriend dated online for two years after meeting at a beach resort where their families stayed when they were in high school. They communicated via Facebook, e-mail, and text. They met in person only twice. “I sat there and contemplated suicide when I heard he wanted to break up with me,” she said. “I was like, ‘What was the point of living?’ I had given so much of myself to this person.”

Jenna, a quirky beauty of the Zooey Deschanel variety, aspires to a job in the arts; her senior year in high school, she got a job working prefessionally in her chosen field. She friended a boy on Facebook, also an aspiring artist, who had already gotten some attention for his work. “I was like, ‘Let’s stick together and be friends and do this together,’” she said. They became good friends (in cyberspace). And then the boy developed feelings for her. But at the time Jenna was still dating her online boyfriend, so she declined the artist boy’s online advances.

“After that, every time I would do any kind of status update on Facebook or post something on Tumblr or Instagram,” she said, “he would comment on it, like, ‘Jenna, you’re not funny.’” Jenna often posted comical status updates; she thought of herself as a funny girl; she’d always liked to make people laugh. “He got everyone at my school”—a Manhattan magnet school—“in on it,” she said. “His sister went there, so we knew a lot of the same people. Suddenly everyone was like, ‘Jenna’s not funny. She’s stupid.’ Everyone was posting mean comments about me, and he was egging them on. I saw him at a play at my school, and I asked him, ‘Why are you doing this to me?’ He said, ‘Because, Jenna, you deserve it.’”

After that, she said, “I lost all my self-confidence. . . . And I realized in life there’s only two ways for a girl to go, and that’s to be a dumb bitch or just a bitch. I decided that from now on I’m just gonna be a bitch, ’cause at least from now on guys would be intimidated by me. At least I would have the upper hand. So from then on, if anybody ever tried to say anything to me, I would come back at them 30 times harder.”

BREAKING UP IS HARDER TO DO

“So you broke up with your ex-boyfriend,” said a freshman girl at a college in Manhattan; she was speaking hypothetically. “It’s very sad. So of course he’s not gonna want to see you in real life, so you wanna see him on Facebook. But then he defriends you on Facebook, so what do you do? You get your friend’s account so you can stalk him. You check up on him on her account.

“But then he deletes your friend; he figures it out. So right now you have no connection to him, so what do you do? You create a fake account . . . call her [Jane Doe]. You literally Google ‘brown-haired girl Instagram’ and find a picture where you can’t really see their face, but it’s an actual person. You friend a bunch of his friends as [Jane Doe], add people from his family. Then you add his ex-girlfriends.

“What are they like? What are they into? What’s the difference between them and me? Are they skinner than me? In their profile picture, they’re in a bikini—they must be sluts, right? Maybe lesbians. And then finally after you have about 400 mutual friends, that’s when you add him. This is so intelligent; it’s like war strategy.

“You add some more pictures. You start a new persona. You start a new life, just so you can keep tabs on the person who doesn’t want to ever speak to you again. Just so you can know he goes out to clubs all the time, and he’s with this other girl. Why would you do it? Because it’s an obsession. Social media breeds obsession.”

SEX AND THE SOUL

What kind of love lives are teenagers headed for after they graduate high school? Sadly, more of the same, according to Donna Freitas, a former professor of religion at Hofstra and Boston Universities. Freitas’s The End of Sex (2013) might as well be called The End of Love. The book studies hook-up culture on college campuses.

Much has been written about hook-up culture lately, notably Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men (2012) and a July New York Times article, “Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game Too,” both of which attributed the trend to feminism and ambitious young women’s desire not to be tied down by relationships.

But Freitas’s research, conducted over a year on seven college campuses, tells a different story. “Both young women and young men are seriously unhappy with the way things are,” she said. “It’s rare that I find a young woman or a man who says hooking up is the best thing ever.”

She describes the sex life of the average college kid as “Mad Men sex, boring and ambivalent. They drink like they’re Don Draper to drown out what is really going on with them. Sex is something you’re not to care about. The reason for hooking up is less about pleasure and fun than performance and gossip—it’s being able to update [on social media] about it. Social media is fostering a very unthinking and unfeeling culture. We’re raising our kids to be performers.” And researchers are now seeing an increase in erectile dysfunction among college-age men—related, Freitas believes, to their performance anxiety from watching pornography: “The mainstreaming of porn is tremendously affecting what’s expected of them.” College kids, both male and female, also routinely rate each other’s sexual performance on social media, often derisively, causing anxiety for everyone.

“The conversation that is missing is what rape is in hook-up culture,” Freitas said. “These young women’s sense of their own agency is incredibly detached. They tell me, ‘And then I found myself in someone’s bed having sex.’ There’s little actual choice or volition when you are drunk, and there is this expectation among everyone that if you are walking with a boy to your dorm room after a party, sex will necessarily happen.”

And yet, with all the dangers for young women in hook-up culture, Freitas says, she’s faced criticism from feminist colleagues for her take on it. “Big-time feminists won’t go near hooking up because they look at it in theory as a sexually liberated practice,” she said. “But I’m looking at it on the ground, talking to actual people, and it doesn’t hold up as sexual liberation.”

THE SEX EDUCATION OF JENNA: PART II

At the end of junior year of high school, Jenna met Ethan. “We were drunk, we hooked up,” she said. “We saw each other again, drunk at another party, so we hooked up again, then we met at after-prom and hooked up ’cause we had hooked up before, and so it was comfortable and whatever.”

And so began their non-romance. In fact, Jenna made it clear to Ethan that she didn’t want “a Facebook relationship. There’s people who have Facebook relationships where every day it’s like”—typical status update, delivered in a singsong—“‘Out to lunch with babe.’ Kissy picture of this, kissy picture of that. Two weeks later, they’re broken up. And then it’s”—bitchy voice doing the status update—“‘Certain people need to, like, stop stalking me on Facebook. Clearly we are never getting back together.’ There’s the Taylor Swifts and then there’s the people who are just long-hair-don’t-care. They just don’t give a single fuck. They’re just like, ‘I’m gonna have sex with you.’ ‘I’m gonna have sex with you.’ ‘Hey, you’re cute. I’m gonna have sex with you too if I want to.’ They don’t give a shit.”

That, she told Ethan, was how it was going to be. “I told him it was just hooking up. I was so used to guys treating me like shit, I didn’t want any guy to take advantage of me.”

And Ethan took her words to heart. “He said, O.K., he wanted to hook up with other girls. And I was like, ‘Sure, if you don’t want to be in a relationship with me, I don’t really care.’ So I was like, ‘Fine, I’ll start hooking up with other guys.’ So I would come to this house—no nonsense, clothes off, let’s do this, get into my bed. And we would hook up every couple days; it started being a casual thing.”

This went on for about a year. “We were friends with benefits,” Jenna said. “Sometimes we wouldn’t even talk that much. I’d just be like, ‘I’m coming over,’ and then I’d go over and we’d sleep together and then I’d leave.”

Even when Ethan, drunk at another party, admitted to Jenna that “I think of you as my girlfriend,” she told him, “‘I would never, ever in my fucking life be your girlfriend.’ Immediately his face fell and he walked away, and after that we were pretty mean to each other.”

They still continued hooking up. And then, last spring, Jenna’s grandfather died, and Jenna was furious with Ethan when he didn’t reach out to console her. “I finally texted him like, ‘My grandfather died and you have nothing to say to me? And I’ve been sleeping with you for a year?’ And his response was, ‘So I really just don’t see why you said I could never be your boyfriend.’”

She smiled.

“So we realized we were being super stupid, and I was like, ‘Do you want to be in a relationship? What do you want?’ And he was like, ‘I really love you. I’ve never met anybody like you. You’re not a dumb bitch.’

“So now we’re together.”

Posted October 4, 2013 by sotpyouth in Uncategorized

If you have a daughter, please have her watch this.   Leave a comment

(your sons could benefit from seeing this too) Awesome reminder of who we find our identity in.

Posted September 26, 2013 by sotpyouth in Dating, Family, Main

A letter you might want your teenage daughter to read…   1 comment

I hope this encourages all of you to have a talk with your children about who or what they find their identity in. Is it boys, girls, sports, etc.? Or God…

From Kimberly Hall at givenbreath.com – Direct link to article: http://givenbreath.com/2013/09/03/fyi-if-youre-a-teenage-girl/

FYI – If you’re a teenage girl

Dear girls,

I have some information that might interest you. Last night, as we sometimes do, our family sat around the dining-room table and looked through the summer’s social media photos.

We have teenage sons, and so naturally there are quite a few pictures of you lovely ladies to wade through. Wow – you sure took a bunch of selfies in your skimpy pj’s this summer!  Your bedrooms are so cute! Our eight-year-old daughter brought this to our attention, because with three older brothers who have rooms that smell like stinky cheese, she notices girly details like that.

I think the boys notice other things. For one, it appears that you are not wearing a bra.

I get it – you’re in your room, so you’re heading to bed, right? But then I can’t help but notice the red carpet pose, the extra-arched back, and the sultry pout.  What’s up? None of these positions is one I naturally assume before sleep, this I know.

So, here’s the bit that I think is important for you to realize.  If you are friends with a Hall boy on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, then you are friends with the whole Hall family.

Please know that we genuinely like staying connected with you this way!  We enjoy seeing things through your unique and colorful lens – you are insightful, and often very, very funny.

Which is what makes your latest self-portrait so extremely unfortunate.

That post doesn’t reflect who you are at all! We think you are lovely and interesting, and usually very smart. But, we had to cringe and wonder what you were trying to do? Who are you trying to reach? What are you trying to say?

And now – big bummer – we have to block your posts. Because, the reason we have these (sometimes awkward) family conversations around the table is that we care about our sons, just as we know your parents care about you.

know your family would not be thrilled at the thought of my teenage boys seeing you only in your towel. Did you know that once a male sees you in a state of undress, he can’t quickly un-see it?  You don’t want our boys to only think of you in this sexual way, do you?

Neither do we. We’re all more than that.

And so, in our house, there are no second chances with pics like that, ladies. We have a zero tolerance policy.  I know, so lame. But, if you want to stay friendly with our sons online, you’ll have to keep your clothes on, and your posts decent.  If you post a sexy selfie (we all know the kind), or an inappropriate YouTube video – even once – it’s curtains.

I know that sounds so old-school, but we are hoping to raise men with a strong moral compass, and men of integrity don’t linger over pictures of scantily clad high-school girls.

Every day I pray for the women my boys will love.  I hope they will be drawn to real beauties, the kind of women who will leave them better people in the end. I also pray that my sons will be worthy of this kind of woman, that they will be patient – and act honorably – while they wait for her.

Girls, it’s not too late! If you think you’ve made an on-line mistake (we all do – don’t fret – I’ve made some doozies, even today!), RUN to your accounts and take down the closed-door bedroom selfies that makes it too easy for friends to see you in only one dimension.

Will you trust me? There are boys out there waiting and hoping for women of character. Some young men are fighting the daily uphill battle to keep their minds pure, and their thoughts praiseworthy – just like you.

You are growing into a real beauty, inside and out.

Act like her, speak like her, post like her.

Mrs. Hall

Posted September 19, 2013 by sotpyouth in Uncategorized

Three Things You Don’t Know About Your Children and Sex   Leave a comment

Hi Parents,

What follows is a blog post I found written by Anne Marie Miller at annemariemiller.com

http://www.annemariemiller.com/2013/08/19/three-things-you-dont-know-about-your-children-and-sex/

It’s a rather shocking and point blank account of what our children are facing. I encourage you to read this and have that tough conversation that we need to have with our children.

Greg

 

Dear Parents,

Please allow me a quick moment to introduce myself before we go much further. My name is Anne Marie Miller. I’m thirty-three years old. I’m newly married to a wonderful man named Tim. We don’t have any children yet, but we’re planning on it. For the purpose of this letter, you need to know I’m a recovering addict. Pornography was my drug of choice.

I grew up in the church – the daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher man with a passion for learning the Bible. I was the honors student; the athlete; the girl who got along with everyone from the weird kids to the popular ones. It was a good life. I was raised in a good home.

It was 1996, I was sixteen, and the Internet was new. After my family moved from a sheltered, conservative life in west Texas to the ethnically and sexually diverse culture of Dallas/Fort Worth, I found myself lonely, curious, and confused.

DSCN4710

Because of the volatile combination of life circumstances: the drastic change of scenery when we moved, my dad’s depression, and a youth pastor who sexually abused me during my junior year of high school, I turned to the Internet for education. I didn’t know what certain words meant or if what the youth pastor was doing to me was good or bad and I was too afraid to ask. What started as an innocent pursuit of knowledge quickly escalated into a coping mechanism.

When I looked at pornography, I felt a feeling of love and safety – at least for a brief moment. But those brief moments of relief disappeared and I was left even more ashamed and confused than when I started. Pornography provided me both an emotional and a sexual release.

For five years I carried this secret. I was twenty-one when I finally opened up to a friend only because she opened up to me first about her struggle with sexual sin.We began a path of healing in 2001 and for the last twelve years, although not a perfect journey, I can say with great confidence God has set me free from that addiction and from the shame that followed. I returned to school to study the science behind addiction and family dynamics.

Over the last six years I’ve had the opportunity to share my story in a variety of venues: thousands of college students, men, women and teens. This summer, I was invited to speak at several camps to both junior high and high school students and it’s without exaggeration when I tell you with each year I counsel students, the numbers and the stories shock me more and more.

There are more students compulsively looking at pornography at younger ages and with greater frequency than ever before.

This summer, by a long stretch, was the “worst” in terms of what secrets I learned students carried. After my last night speaking at my last camp, I retreated to my room and collapsed on the bed face-first. Tim simply laid his hand on my back to comfort me.

https://i1.wp.com/annemariemiller.com/images/2013/08/Screen-Shot-2013-08-17-at-10.54.53-AM.png

I could not logically reconcile in my mind all the confessions I heard over the summer with the children who shared them. While every story was unique in the details, in most situations, there were three common themes that kept surfacing.

  1. Google is the new Sex-Ed: Remember the first time you, as a parent, saw pornography? Likely it was a friend’s parent who had a dirty magazine or maybe you saw something somebody brought to school. Now, when a student hears a word or phrase they don’t understand, they don’t ask you what it means (because they fear getting in trouble). They don’t ask their friends (because they fear being ashamed for not knowing). They ask Google.Google won’t judge them for not knowing. Because of our short attention spans and desire for instant gratification, they don’t click the first link that shows up – they go straight to Google Images. In almost all of the stories I heard, this is how someone was first exposed to pornography – Google Image searching. The average age of first exposure in my experience was 9 years old.Google Sex Image Search
  2. If Your Child was Ever Molested, You Likely Don’t Know: Another extremelycommon theme was children being inappropriately touched, often by close family members or friends. When I was molested at sixteen, I didn’t tell a soul until I was in my twenties. I didn’t tell my own mother until I was twenty-eight. The stigma and shame of being a victim coupled with the trauma that happens with this experience is confusing to a child of any age: our systems weren’t made to process that event. Many things keep children from confessing abuse: being told they’ve made it up or are exaggerating, being a disappointment, and in most cases, getting the other person in trouble. While a child can look at pornography without being abused, children who have been molested by and large look at pornography and act out sexually. 
  3. Your Child is Not the Exception: After speaking with a youth pastor at a camp, he said most parents live with the belief their child is the exception. Your child is not. The camps I went to this summer weren’t camps full of children on life’s fringes that one would stereotypically believe experience these traumatic events or have access to these inappropriate things. You must throw your stereotypes aside. Most of the children at these camps were middle class, mostly churched students.Let me give you a snapshot of a few things I heard from these students:
  • They’ve sent X-rated photos of themselves to their classmates (or received them).
  • They’ve exposed themselves to strangers on the Internet or through sexting.
  • They’ve seen pornography.
  • They’ve read pornography.
  • They’ve watched pornography.
  • The girls compare their bodies to the ones they see in ads at the mall or of actresses and keep those images hidden on their phone (or iPod, or whatever device they have) so they can try to imitate them.
  • They question their sexuality.
  • They’ve masturbated.
  • They know exactly where and in what movies sex scenes are shown and they watch them for sexual gratification.
  • They’ve had a same-sex experience.

And they’re terrified to tell you.

(Update: The focus of this article is on the conversation, not the action, though as parents, you need to be aware of the fact young children are experiencing these things. I feel the need to clarify none of these actions make someone a “bad” person. While this specific list does contain things many people with a Christian background consider to be sin, it is lack of communication that makes this dangerous at this age. Most of us go through exploratory phases before sexual phases: a three year old masturbating because he knows it feels good and a seventeen year old masturbating to porn for a sexual release are two different things. If your child is uninformed or uneducated about things they need to know based on what is appropriate for their age and sexual development, regardless of your beliefs, it leads to shame and self-doubt.)

But maybe you’re right. Maybe your child is the exception. I would argue at this juncture in life, being the exception is as equally dangerous.

At the end of every session I presented I intentionally and clearly directed students to ask me or another leader if they didn’t understand or know what a certain word meant. “Donot go to the Internet and look it up.”

Sure enough, there is always the child who stays behind until everyone leaves and quietly asks what the word “porn” means or if God is angry because that boy or girl from down the street told them it was okay for them to touch them “down there.” There is the child in the back row who leans over to his friend and asks, “what does molest mean?” and the other boy shrugs.

This summer, I am beyond grateful that mature, God-fearing adults were available to answer those questions with grace and tact and maturity; that we were in a setting that was safe for questions and confessions. It was entirely appropriate. Not every child gets that opportunity. Most won’t. Most will find out from the Internet or from a peer who isn’t equipped to provide the correct answer in the correct context.

Parent and Child

As the summer camp season ends, I feel a shift in my heart. For the last six years, I’ve felt a calling to share with students how God has set me free from the shame and actions of my past and that they aren’t alone (because they truly believe they are). One college dean referred to me as “the grenade we’re tossing into our student body to get the conversation of sex started” because they realized how sweeping these topics under the rug caused their students to live trapped and addicted and ashamed. I will continue sharing my testimony in that capacity as long as there is a student in front of me that needs to hear it.

However, I am more aware now more than ever before in my ministry how little parents know about what’s happening. And because I’m not a parent, I feel terribly inadequate in telling you this.

But I can’t not tell you. After seeing the innocence in the eyes of ten year olds who’ve carried secrets nobody, let alone a child, should carry; after hearing some of the most horrific accounts from students I’ve ever heard this year, I cannot go one more day without pleading with you to open up and have these difficult conversations with your children. Would you prefer your son or daughter learn what a “fetish” is from you or from searching Google Images? Talk to them about abuse and yes, even trafficking.

Just this month I met a relative of a girl whose own mother was selling her body from the time she was five until now, when she’s sixteen. This was not in some drug-infested ghetto you’d see on a news story. It was in a very upscale town in a very upscale state known for its nature and beauty and summer houses. Abuse does not discriminate.

Your children need to know. If not for them, maybe for a friend. Maybe they can help bring context or see warning signs.

Ask them what they know. Ask them what they’ve done. Ask them what’s been done to them. Show grace and love. Stay far away from judgment and condemnation. If you feel ill equipped, ask a pastor or counselor for help. If you hear an answer you didn’t expect and your first instinct is to dismiss it – don’t. Find a counselor. Look for resources. Continue following up. If you struggle with this (and let’s admit it, statistically, a lot of us do), get help too.

Do the right thing, the hard thing, for the sake of your children. If we don’t do this now, I am terrified of how the enemy will continue stealing hope and joy from our youngest generation and how they’ll be paralyzed to advance the Kingdom of God as they mature.

We cannot let this happen on our watch.

*Specific details that could identify children have been changed in such a way that it does not affect the story and only protects the children. Mandatory Reporters reported confessions that involved abuse or neglect or situations that indicated a child was in any type of danger by using proper state laws and procedures.

Posted September 6, 2013 by sotpyouth in Family, Main, Technology

7 Common Back to School Hassles and Simple Parenting Solutions   Leave a comment

From Dr. Michelle Borba at http://www.micheleborba.com

 

7 Common Back to School Hassles and Simple Parenting Solutions

Posted: August 15th, 2013 by Michele Borba

 

Though back to school should be exciting, parents often describe frantic mornings, hectic evenings, and plain bad memories. Homework wars…lost library books…last-minute assignments…missed buses…sleepy heads…forgotten lunches…missed breakfasts…late starts are just a few of the  common parenting concerns.

The result: stressed parents…and stressed kids.

But it doesn’t have to—nor should it–be that way. There are practical solutions to the most common back-to-school, and hot button parenting hassles.

Not only will implementing those solutions help make the upcoming school year more positive and less stressful for all, but they’ll also help kids learns to be more responsible (which just happens to be a trait of successful students).

You can start making these simple adjustments now so that back to school really is smoother and even a tad bit easier for both you and kids. The real secret: don’t take this challenge on by yourself. Get your kids involved in identifying last year’s reoccurring problem. Believe me, they’ll remember. Then together brainstorm one simple solution that you commit to turning into it into a lifelong family habit. Take on only one solution at a time. Keep implementing it until it becomes a permanent family routine.

Here are the seven most common back-to-school parenting hassles and a few simple solutions to help create a smoother year.

More articles on back to school solutions are listed at the bottom of this blog including these topics: Saying Goodbye to A College-Bound Teen; Easing Kids’ School Jitters, Easing Young Children’s Separation Anxiety, Fitting Into a New School, How to Teach Kids To Make New Friends.

Hassle 1. SLEEPY HEADS (“Just let me sleep five more minutes!”)

If you recall most of last year screaming “Wake Up!!” it’s time for your kids to take ownership. Buy simple-to-use alarm clocks, and teach kids how to set it so you don’t have to be their “Big Ben.”

My favorite alarm for kids who are perpetually late is called Clocky. It gives your kid only one chance to get up, and if you snooze, he literally jumps off the nightstand and wheels around the room. I’m sure there are others but I shared this one on the TODAY show and both Hoda and Kathie Lee loved it.

Also start getting your kid back onto the right “time zone” at least before school starts so he can “ease” into that schedule. See  Helping Kids Sleep Better: The Overlooked and Crucial Key to School Success for more ideas on helping sleepless kids.

And use that oven timer to remind procrastinators that of time constraints. When it dings, you’re in the car – whether the kid is dressed and ready or not. Seriously! That solution only takes one time! Do alert the principal and teacher of your plan. They’ll be happy to help to ensure your child is in his seat and ready to learn.

Hassle 2. BREAKFAST MANIA  (“I don’t have time to eat!”)

If breakfast time is frantic and your kids seem to be missing the “most-important meal,” search for quick, healthy alternatives. Instant oatmeal in a cup, bananas, and juice boxes can be ready to grab-and-go. Extra protein bars can be stashed in backpacks for just-in-case hunger cravings. And put out those bowls and cereal the night before. If you’re really frantic stock your car with extra nutritious goodies. But don’t skip that breakfast!

Hassle 3. MORNING FRANTICNESS (“Where’s my homework?”)

Misplaced library books? “Dad, where’s my backpack?” Can’t find your keys? Identify last year’s one reoccurring nightmare that set off that morning panic attack and then institute one simple solution to cut morning frenzy.  Put a box by the door to “catch” those library books, screw in big hooks for coats, make an extra set of car keys (for your). The key is to turn the new solution into a routine until everyone (even you) adopts the new sanity saver habit.

If lost teacher notes, school notices, or conference schedules was a reoccurring problem, set a new family policy: “Walk in, open your backpack, and put any notes or graded papers in the basket.” Then put a basket near that door, and consistently check it nightly. Tend to those needing your signature, and put them ASAP inside your child’s backpack for next day delivery.

Hassle 4. WHO’S ON FIRST? (“Is it library day, violin, or soccer?”)

If your kids relied on you as their personal manager to recap their schedule, then it’s time to help them get organized. Buy a large white board and grease pens.

Use a different colored pen per child for each child can mark his own weekly music lesson, soccer practice, field trip, sharing day, and spelling test under the date and time.

Then put it in a central spot (such in the kitchen or on the fridge) so everyone instantly knows who goes where.

Photographs or drawings of the event and family member help even the youngest family member keep track of who’s doing what and where.

Hassle 5. WASTED TIME IN CAR POOLS (“Do we have to wait until his game is over?”)

Did you feel more like a taxi cab driver than parent or spend hours waiting in your car for your kid’s lessons to be over? Did your kids resent waiting for the other sibling’s practice to be out? Then set up the inside of your car as a mini-office to utilize that lull time more productively. Hang a shoe sorter over seat back as a toy organizer, have spare books or tapes to listen to, provide a small ice chest to stock with juice boxes and water which turns into a spare desk and  fill a bin with school supplies (pencils, pens, binder paper, flash cards, dictionary, calculator)

For a child to study those spelling words or homework while waiting for a siblings game to be over, stock cookie sheets under the front seat to pull out as an instant desk or tray. The stack perfectly and also make instant desks for kids to do their homework on. P.S. You can also put magnetic letters on the cookie sheet and your younger child can practice spelling on the tray without the letters falling all over the car. Most cookie sheets are magnetic. Be sure the one you use has the feature.

Hassle 6. MISSING TEACHER/COACH NOTES (“Did you sign the teacher’s note?”)

If missing teacher notes, coach memos, scouting policies, school notices, or conference schedules was a reoccurring problem, set a new family policy: “Walk in, open your backpack, and put any notes or graded papers in the basket.” Then put a basket near that door, and consistently check it nightly. Tend to those items needing your signature, and put them ASAP inside your child’s backpack for next day delivery.

Hassle 7. PARENT OVERLOAD (“Come on, Mom! We have to get going!”)

Did you feel like a hamster on a wheel – running in circles, doing it all, and never getting anywhere? This year it may be time to back off just a bit. Here are ideas:

Always rescuing? Then stop. Your kids need to take ownership and stop relying on you as their savior. After all, homework, sports gear, library books are your kid’s responsibility, not yours.

Adopt your new mantra:

“Never do for your kid what your kid can do for himself.”

Then announce it to your kids and stick to it. Do everything? Delegate some of those chores to your kids. Research says kids who do chores are more successful students but also turn out to be more responsible.

Say “yes” too easily? Write “No” on an index card and tape it to your phone. Anytime anyone asks you to take on one more thing, say you’ll have to think about it first and call back. The stall time gives you time to think whether you really want to take bake those cupcakes or drive one more place.

Stressed out? Hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign for a few minutes at the same time each night with a strict rule: No one may disturb you until you remove that sign.

Remember: A happier, less-stressed parent turns out happier, less stressed kids.

So what’s your biggest reoccurring back-to-school hassle? Now is the time to come up with a solution.

Happy back to school!

Michele

Dr. Michele Borba, Parenting Expert

Follow me on twitter @MicheleBorba or my bi-weekly parenting blog, Dr. Borba’s Reality Check. 

– See more at: http://www.micheleborba.com/blog/2013/08/15/solutions-to-7-back-to-school-parenting-hassles/#sthash.8ZU9Nfpw.dpuf

Posted August 19, 2013 by sotpyouth in Family, School

Guess What Parents – Snapchat photos have been leaked   Leave a comment

If you recall my post from December 2012 (http://wp.me/p2gSP3-6H) I warned you why should be concerned about a popular app called Snapchat. As a refresher, It’s an app that allows users to take a picture, add some text if they want, and send it off. When the recipient receives it, the picture deletes itself up to 10 seconds after it has been seen.

I came across this article from MSN (you can read it here – http://goo.gl/dZ05C). I have posted it below for your information.

By the way, a lot of your kids are still using Snapchat…Please, to protect them, talk to them about the dangers of Snapchat and let them know that their photos are being leaked.

Be cautious about following any links or going to this website. Although I haven’t been there I assume it is not a pleasant site.

From MSN-

Hey Snapchat users — a website is posting all of your naughty pics

20 hrs ago

Here’s another thing you really should have known. Not only are the photos you sent over Snapchatnot being deleted, they are also being posted on the Internet. Of course they are. The very NSFW Snapchatleaked.com is posting all of your private, supposed-to-delete-after-10-seconds photos for everybody to see. That is, when the website can load again. Due to heavy traffic, it is currently breaking the Internet. Of course it is. According to UK Metro, the site contains mostly pics of “boobs, bums and other body parts,” and has drawn major traffic in the last day. Snapchat users, be ye not so stupid. Keep your boobs and bums away from your smartphone. — By Michaela Gianotti [Source]

Posted May 29, 2013 by sotpyouth in Family, Media, Technology

Bang With Friends. . . We’ve Got an App For That! . . .   Leave a comment

 From Walt Mueller @ http://learningmylines.blogspot.com

bangI’ve waited a few weeks to blog anything at all about this new ingredient in the soup of today’s youth culture. I wanted to see just where it was going. . . and now we now. . . at least in part. It’s a new Facebook App that appeared a few weeks ago called “Bang With Friends.” The app is self-billed as a way to “anonymously find friends who are down for the night.” Friends. . . anonymous. . . down for the night. There you have it. That’s what sex has become in these days. Pretty straightforward in today’s hook-up culture, huh?

Here’s how it works. First, you download the app. Then, you log in. What you see are pictures of your Facebook friends. When the app first launched, the faces you saw were of your opposite-sex friends. Of course, that will most likely change pretty quickly in today’s sexual climate. Under each of their photos is a button that says “Down to Bang.” Click on the buttons under the photos of the friends you’d like “to bang”. If they use the app and click on your face, you get a notification email telling you that you’ve got a match. Then, you and the other person just take it from there. Are Facebook users using “Bang with Friends?” To date, the number of people who have downloaded the app is close to a million, and it’s believed that the app is responsible for a couple hundred thousand “matches.”

This week, the SXSW annual music, film, and tech festival in Austin has become a “Down to Bang” hot spot. The app launched a new landing page for SXSW attendees who want to hook up with each other. This too, is a

sxsw_bang_with_friends

sign of things that have not already arrived on the cultural landscape, but of the future.

No doubt, all of us who have a history of struggling with sexual pressures, temptations, and sin in our teenage and young adult lives are thankful that something like this wasn’t a part of our cultural landscape. But we do have to be concerned for our kids. . . for so, so many reasons. . . . far too many to mention here.

Still, thinking for the last couple of weeks about the advent of “Bang with Friends” has kept me pondering  what happens every time a person steps out of God’s grand and glorious “YES” and design for sexuality. Recent research on the chemistry and composition of the brain shows that we are integrated and marvelously made beings who God has wired for sex. The sex that he’s wired us for is to be between one man and one woman within the context of a monogamous covenantal marriage. God made it so that a couple commits to each other in marriage, then they consummate that commitment in the glorious act of sexual intercourse. Research on the brain shows that when a couple does that, an amazing complex release of brain chemicals occurs that binds the couple together and makes them want to come back for more. In effect, God has made us to be “addicted” to each other. Sadly, the same addiction occurs every time a person engages in sex. . . either alone, with another, or with an image on a screen. . . . and it messes us up when it’s not with our spouse.

If you haven’t done so already, every one of us who are parents, youth workers, pastors, etc. should take the time to talk to the Facebook-using kids we know and love. And the conversation should start with this sentence: “I want to talk to you about ‘Bang with Friends” . . . ”

Posted March 11, 2013 by sotpyouth in Uncategorized

How Do You Know Your Child Isn’t Having Sex?   Leave a comment

young couple
IS YOUR CHILD HAVING SEX? ARE YOU SURE???
The truth is that we really don’t know. Especially if we’ve never talked to them about it. Friends, I hate to say this, but Middle School and High School students all over are engaging in sexual activity.
This is about having “the talk” with your children. Quite honestly, there are about 500 painful things I would rather do than talk to my children about sex. I’m sure you’re right there with me. It’s important, though. Our children need to hear from us, their parents, about the correct information about sex and casual hookups can lead to a lifetime of pain. They definitely should not be hearing what the entertainment industry (TV, movies, magazines, etc.) thinks they should learn about sex. If you think your son or daughter is too young to learn the truth about sex, think again…If they watch TV, go to the movies or read magazines, they are learning about sex. But, is is what they should be learning?
Here are a few things to ponder:

  • Among kids ages 15 to 17, 44% of boys and 39% of girls have engaged in some kind of sexual activity with an opposite-sex partner. (CDC)
  • Although 73% of mothers tell researchers they’ve talked with their teenager about sex, only 46% of teens strongly agreed they had. (Girls Uncovered)
  • More than 80% of parents who have sexually active teenagers know that their kids have had intercourse, but only 45% of parents whose teens said they’ve had oral sex knew it. (USA Today)

Again, although these are things we would probably not like to know, those statistics you have just read show alarming reasons why we parents need to have “the talk”. And not just the “mechanics” talk. We need to have the “I am concerned about how our culture says that casual hook ups are ok/you don’t find your identity in how you look and how good you make someone else feel/I am going to fight for you to have a healthy mental state, healthy attitude about sex, and have a disease free future” talk about sex. It’s not teaching our kids about remaining a “technical” virgin until marriage. It’s about deciding to live a pure life so that our kids don’t have to worry about engaging in dangerous, casual sex hookups and the emotional and physical damage that can happen from them. It’s so important for our kids to know that their identity comes from their creator and not from what some boy or girl thinks about them because they won’t give in to the pressure bestowed upon them.

Check out what the February 2013 issue of “The ParentLink” from Group Publishing says about our “hookup culture”:

happy_couple_2TACKLE THE LIES OF OUR HOOKUP CULTURE
Casual encounters have replaced dating among many young people, as glamorized in movies such as Friends With Benefits and No Strings Attached. These promiscuous “hookups” accentuate the devil’s diabolical skills:

  • Mental impact—Satan uses the false promises of promiscuity as a primary temptation to overcome a low self-image: “If you can get a guy or girl to sleep with you, it proves you aren’t as [ugly, fat, awkward, unpopular, generally undesirable] as you think you are.”
  • Physical impact—God created sexual foreplay and intercourse as a celebration of unity between a man and woman who’ve vowed to stay together forever. But the devil flaunts sex as just something physically fun to do—a recreational pastime with no downside.
  • Spiritual impact—Satan promises relationship through physical intimacy but leaves us with only wounds and damage to our ability to be in relationship with God and others.

The hookup culture is so enticing that conventional approaches to helping kids avoid its traps are nearly useless. Young people need to hear about positive relationships, about how God treasures them as his children, and about his limitless forgiveness.

It’s probably wise to think about the following questions to ask yourself before you have “the talk”:
  • How has the hookup culture affected your kids’ attitudes about sexuality? How has it affected your views?
  • For you, what’s the most challenging aspect of discussing sexuality with your teenagers?
  • What’s the most important message you’d like to convey to your kids about sexuality—and how can you do that?

Lauren Surprenant, a ministry director for Youth for Christ, suggests these redemptive approaches to engaging with young people on the topic of sex:

  • 65e27476Ignore the awkwardness. Instead, open your mouth and start talking. Kids may giggle, but they’ll still talk to you. So be adult enough to tackle the topic. You won’t be a magnet for tough questions until you’ve proven you can navigate choppy waters.
  • Be “for,” not against. Rescuing kids from the hookup culture is centrally about being for the beauty and power of a redeemed relationship with God.
  • Move from the givens of promiscuity to the starting point of “asexuality.” Calling kids into a commitment to asexual behavior (no sex) generates more interest and discussion than does the use of churchy words. The asexual standard isn’t simply targeted at intercourse. If kids wouldn’t want Grandma watching them do something, then it isn’t “asexual.”
  • Cancel the condemnation. Share the good news of the redemption behind Jesus’ sacrifice. No matter how destructive and repugnant the behavior, it isn’t an impediment to God’s grace and mercy.
  • Speak the Truth. If teenagers are turning to sex to fill their God-shaped hole, then they haven’t yet discovered their place in that epic adventure. Remind them that they’re in the story.

A Template for “The Talk”

Expert Insights for Parents of Teenagers

By Lauren Surprenant

Use this guide for discussing sexual choices with teenagers. Also pray for the Holy Spirit to give you the words he wants you to say to your kids.

young love 1

  • I’m not going to preach at you; I just want to help you understand the long-term ramifications of sex-too-soon with someone besides your spouse.
  • First, you could get pregnant—and you won’t be on a TV show that pays all your bills. Having a baby won’t provide you with someone who will love you unconditionally. (If that’s what you want, get a dog.) If you’re a girl, look at your relationship with your mother; for boys, look at your father. You’ll be just like her (or him), and your child will be just like you. Your child will always have greater struggles, and your life will be over because you’ll exist for your child. And if you think using birth control will prevent these consequences, you’re wrong.
  • Next, consider the impact of intimacy and how your sexual involvement will impact your future spouse. The level of intimacy you have with your sexual partner should enhance a life-time commitment. When you save that treasure for the soul mate you marry, sex isn’t a heat-of-the- moment act but a true expression of love. When you hookup as a teenager, however, you will be having an awkward conversation later with the person you’d like to marry—and that could be a deal-breaker.
  • Premarital sexual involvement also leads to drama and damaged reputations. Don’t give people “something to talk about.” And don’t do stuff that will come back to haunt you in the future.
  • Finally, remember that Jesus sees you as wholesome, valued, and pure. He knows what’s best for you, so consider trusting him by doing things his way. Step away from “sex too soon” and live a life of purity, repenting and walking away from sin.

(Group magazine)

Holding_Hands
I close with this thought – If God were to give you an item, say a really cool watch or something, and He said “I want you to take special care of this. I am sharing it with you, but you need to follow my directions in taking care of. Don’t let it get dirty, and don’t break it. I need it stay as new as it looks now. Someday I will come for it and give it to someone else, someone very special who will then take care of it for you”, wouldn’t you treat it like the priceless gift it is and follow God’s instructions to the letter? That’s what He did with our children. They are not ours. They are His and we are charged to take care of them in any way we can until the day comes that He gives them to their bride or groom. That just might mean having an uncomfortable talk with them.

Posted February 27, 2013 by sotpyouth in Dating, Family, General, Main

Mom Gives Her 13-Year-Old Son An iPhone For Christmas — Plus An 18-point Contract To Go With It   Leave a comment

From Zagg.com and huffingtonpost.com

In this day and age, it’s more and more common to see a teenager with a smartphone. Prices on devices have dropped in recent years, and the monthly service reasonably affordable, too.

electronics_teen-on-cellphone_146801320-thumb-240xauto-4970One mom, Jannel Burley Hofmann, bought her 13-year old son Gregory an iPhone for Christmas, and wrote the following letter / contract to accompany his gift. So check out her letter to him and let us know what you think: is she being perfectly fair and reasonable? Too controlling and restrictive?

“12/25/2012

Dear Gregory

Merry Christmas!  You are now the proud owner of an iPhone.  You are a good & responsible 13 year old boy and you deserve this gift.  But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations.  Please read through the following contract.  I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it.  Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.

I love you madly & look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come.

1. It is my phone.  I bought it.  I pay for it.  I am loaning it to you.  Aren’t I the greatest?

2.  I will always know the password.

3.   If it rings, answer it.  It is a phone.  Say hello, use your manners.  Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad”.  Not ever.

4.  Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30pm every school night & every weekend night at 9:00pm.  It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30am.  If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text.  Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.

5.  It does not go to school with you.  Have a conversation with the people you text in person.  It’s a life skill.  *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.

6.  If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.  Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money.  It will happen, you should be prepared.

7.  Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being.  Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others.  Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.

8.  Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

9.  Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room.  Censor yourself.

10.  No porn.  Search the web for information you would openly share with me.  If you have a question about anything, ask a person – preferably me or your father.

11.  Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public.  Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being.  You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

12.  Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts.  Don’t laugh.  Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence.  It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life.  It is always a bad idea.  Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you.  And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear – including a bad reputation.

13.  Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos.  There is no need to document everything.  Live your experiences.  They will be stored in your memory for eternity.

14.  Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision.  It is not alive or an extension of you.  Learn to live without it.  Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO – fear of missing out.

15.  Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff.  Your generation has access to music like never before in history.  Take advantage of that gift.  Expand your horizons.

16.  Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

17.  Keep your eyes up.  See the world happening around you.  Stare out a window.  Listen to the birds.  Take a walk.  Talk to a stranger.  Wonder without googling.

18.  You will mess up.  I will take away your phone.  We will sit down and talk about it.  We will start over again.  You & I, we are always learning.  I am on your team.  We are in this together.

It is my hope that you can agree to these terms.  Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the iPhone, but to life.  You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world.  It is exciting and enticing. Keep it simple every chance you get.  Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine.  I love you.  I hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone.  Merry Christmas!

xoxoxo

Mom”

Posted January 20, 2013 by sotpyouth in Family, Media, Music, School, Technology

5 Things Our Kids Will Wish They Had Done Differently   Leave a comment

I do this…I find myself asking, “what if I had done this differently?” It’s not that I’m not happy with the way things have turned out. I don’t want a different “now”. I love my “now”. But I do wish I had acted different in other situations in my life, like treating people better, acting in better ways, saying different things.
I stumbled upon this blog post from R. Eric Tippin over at  theinksociety.net. I think us parents can take what he wrote to his fellow millennials and use it to guide our children.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

BY R. ERIC TIPPIN
NOVEMBER 28, 2012

 

Eric is a freelance writer, a reader and a man. He blogs at The Ink Society and tweets on Twitter@rerictippin.

It’s never fun when you are young to think about growing old and feeble. That time of life seems ages away, hazy and irrelevant to twenty-somethings in the prime of life and health. Alas, the truth remains, unless the FDA approves a magical elixir of youth and wonder, we have no option but to age, lose our hair and hearing and start using words like, “youngsters” and “fiddlesticks.” But, when sinful humans with consciences age, they accumulate something other than wrinkles—namely, regrets. Inevitably, we who are young will someday be old and look back to younger days and say, “Fiddlesticks! I regret some things about my life as a youngster (coughing fit).” Though these regrets are an inevitable part of being human, they can be predicted and, with a little determination, limited. The hope is that, years from now, when you are sipping V8, playing Bocce Ball, wearing a knit cardigan and reminiscing with your friends in “the home,” you never find yourself saying any of the following:
1. “Most of my spare time was sacrificed to social media.”
Collectively, Americans spend 100,000 years on Facebook every month. (Don’t tell Einstein, but it looks like the space-time continuum has been broken.) That means the average Facebook user chooses to spend six and a half hours of his or her month feeding Zuckerberg’s chubby brain child. Add Twitter, Pinterest and other social sites and multiple days of the year disappear like Facebook’s stock value in May. These are lost days that could be spent learning an instrument, writing, cooking experimentally, praying or even having coffee with an old friend.
TIME WASTED NOW WILL BE TIME REGRETTED LATER.
Undoubtedly there are exciting, constructive uses for Facebook, Twitter and the other platforms, but there is a colossal difference between building relationships through social media and replacing them with social media. When you’ve spent twenty minutes on Facebook, are you satisfied deeply and are your relationships strengthened or are you just letting it fill the passing time—one of our most precious resources? Because time wasted now will be time regretted later.
2. “I knew more about celebrities than I did about my neighbors.”
Many people will protest this. “Tabloids make me nauseous!” and from the more dramatic “I’d rather die than follow Taylor Swift’s ‘love’ life!” But even if you distance yourself from the 3 billion dollar tabloid industry, you cannot escape “celebrity.” For in its pure sense, it has only to do with popularity among the masses, and, in the information age celebrities abound—celebrities of sport, celebrities of entertainment, celebrities of politics and even celebrities of the church. As with social media, the institution of celebrity in itself is not sinful or inherently bad, but, like social media, it demands that its followers invest large swaths of their time in order to feel connected. There are two troubles with this: (Run away! A list within a list!)
a. Much of the information learned about celebrities will prove untrue or irrelevant within your lifetime.
b. The relationship with a celebrity is one way and two-dimensional. In other words, you have no opportunity to affect their lives, only observe them.
Most of the time, it is simply not worth your time. Celebrities are people, and it is natural to wish to invest in people—especially pretty people. But why not take the advice of that frantic man on YouTube to, “Leave Britney alone!” and invest that time and effort in our neighbors and classmates. Make someone down the street your new “celebrity,” and change their lives.
3. “I was so set on buying things, I never got the pleasure of making them.”
We are the generation of pre-made pie crusts, instant streaming music, ready-made suppers, waterless shampoo, faux taps bugles, prewashed jeans and even click and grow plants. In many ways it is simply glorious. A colorful and reasonably edible dinner can be cooked and eaten in fifteen minutes so there is more time to apply pre-painted pres-on nails while watching the Do it Yourself (DIY) Network and sharing delicious recipe ideas on Pinterest.
In all this instantity we find ourselves falsely assuming the only reason for doing something is finishing it. But there is another truth that has obviously been shoved behind the microwave: The process of making something can be enjoyable and deeply satisfying. Ironically, we have more opportunity than any of our ancestors to “make for pleasure” and our conveniences make this possible. Instant dinners and dishwashers can make for longer evenings of carpentry, song composition, beer brewing or novel writing. If we pass up this unique privilege history has given us, we may be sorry.
4. “I wasted my life entertaining myself.”
The key word here is self; what Dickens called the, “Grasping, eager, narrow-ranging, overreaching self.” As long as we are preoccupied with self-entertaining, we have little time for reflection on the needs of other people. And—because of a little invention called the computer chip—our available self-entertainment options are stunning. The gaming industry pulls in 10.5 billion dollars of revenue each year. Video games hold no charm for you? How about the 1.3 billion dollar romance novel industry or the 2.2 billion dollar college football industry? Now, the problem here is not video games, college football or romance novels, it is a matter of math. We have manufactured hundreds of new ways to spend our time, but found no substantial way of increasing that time. Every moment of our lives, we will be faced with the choice of self and selflessness. If we indulge the former, our lives will be wasted.
“LIVE LIKE YOU WERE AN EIGHTY-YEAR-OLD WITH A TIME MACHINE.”
5. “I never found time to be quiet.”
Little needs to be said here, especially if this is being read aloud. Our lives are full of noises: humming refrigerators, buzzing lights, dripping coffee pots, roaring interstates, pumping earbuds, ringing phones, and chattering televisions. It is difficult to escape all this constant droning noise, but we need just that. And when we do, we’ll realize that silence isn’t really very silent after all; it only hushes bigger voices so we can hear the small. God spoke in a “still small voice” at least once before. Let’s not miss it when he does again.
It seems like every other singer-songwriter on the radio charges us to, “Live like you are dying,” But it might be more helpful—if less catchy—for them to sing, “Live like you were an eighty-year-old with a time machine.” Or “Don’t let the old you scold you.” Our generation has unprecedented opportunities for excellence and unprecedented temptations toward mediocrity. Let’s go for excellence and make our future crusty old selves proud.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Parents, are we going to be content content with letting our kids speed through life forgetting the important things? Are we content with speeding through life forgetting the important things?
Peace, Greg

Posted January 7, 2013 by sotpyouth in Family, General

Facts & Dreams

"Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet." -Victor Hugo