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Life with Teens Fall 2012


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The Fall 2012 issue of Life with Teens explores important topics such as social media, cyberbullying and a variety of others. It provides valuable insights, expert advice, and guidance.

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Life with Teens Fall 2012

  2. 2. Reserve your free SUBSCRIBE NOW IT’S FREE! ag + subscription Are You a Helicopter Parent? now. DIVORCE Parents, teen s, and experts weig h in. PUBLISHED BY VOL. 1, ISSUE m 1 10 TIPS FOR TEEN ON THE ROAD S FINANCIAL TO SUCCESS LOOK INSIDE Go to to keep receiving Life with Teens in your mailbox! Plus, you’ll get: 1. Unlimited access to our award-winning website featuring thousands of programs and opportunities for teens. e-Newsletter and popular 2. Our information-packed printed and digital guides. calendar of local events 3. Access to our community and volunteer opportunities for teens.Sign Up Now at
  3. 3. Welcome to The Magazine for Parents with Teens! t’s back-to-school time! Like most parents, I was always Plus, if you turn to page 37, you can nominate a teen happy when my kids headed back to school and my to be one of our TeenLife TeenLeaders. Two finalists will family could get back into a routine again. Although be selected for their leadership and outstanding community my two sons are not in high school anymore, they too service work. The prize includes a $1,000 scholarship! are getting back into the swing of things. My husband We hope you enjoy our fall issue! If you are not aand I just took one of my boys, Ben, back to college and I member of TeenLife, sign up at so thathelped my other son, Eric, move into his new apartment in you continue to receive your free digital subscription.New York City where he started working. Trust me when I I welcome your feedback and comments, so please reachsay, the teenage years fly by. out to me. And pass our magazine along to other parents you Not too long ago, I was in your shoes working hard to know with teens!raise confident, capable young adults. That’s why our newmagazine, Life with Teens, is so important to me. As you turn the pages of our second issue, you’ll see Marie Schwartz, President & Founder,that it is chock-full of relevant articles, personal stories, TeenLife Media, LLC, mschwartz@teenlife.comand expert advice on: • Teaching your teen to drive P.S. Spread the word! Connect with TeenLife on Facebook • Learning how to save on college tuition ( and Twitter (@teenlifemedia). Invite • Monitoring your teen’s social media use family, friends, and coworkers to sub­ cribe to Life with Teens s at International. Individual. Inspirational. British School of Boston Academically rigorous and internationally focused, Open Houses: featuring the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Wednesday, October 17, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. Serving toddlers through High School students. Saturday, November 3, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 5, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. High School Merit Scholarships Available Tuesday, January 15, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. NEW Toddler Program from 18 months 617.522.2261 • FALL 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS   1
  4. 4. omprehensive ollege ounseling Guiding students to become strong applicants PUBLISHER and find Marie Schwartz, President & Founder the right schools. MA R K E TI N G Cara Ferragamo Murray Vice President of Marketing & Communications Camille Heidebrecht Director of Marketing & Managing Editor Jon Blumenfeld Associate Manager, Social Media & Member Marketing A DV E RTI S I N G SA L E S • Assistance defining Stefanie Magner goals and needs Sales Manager, Dina Creiger • Information on colleges Account Director, suited to individual Mary Anne MacLean academic and social Account Director, needs and preferences O P E R ATI O N S • Advice on course Ellie Boynton, Vice President of Operations selection, extra-curricular Maria Kieslich, Director of Operations activities and testing Alice Vaught, Lesli Amos, Customer Service • Help with all aspects CO N TR I B U TI N G W R I TE R S of application process Sarah Buttenwieser, Randi Mazella, Caroline Metcalf-Vera, including essay writing Mary Michael Nibley, Kimberly Wolf, M.Ed. A RT & P R O D U C TI O N Achieve your child’s Kathryn Tilton, Designer goal with a minimum of stress. PUBLISHED BY Life with Teens, Volume 1, Issue 2 Fall 2012 is a quarterly publication of TeenLife Media, LLC. 1330 Beacon St., Suite 268, Brookline, MA 02446, (617) 277-5120,, LIMIT OF LIABILITY TeenLife Media, LLC (TL) does not verify claims or information appearing in any advertisements contained in this magazine. While advertising copy is reviewed, no endorsement of any product or Anne Weisholtz service offered by any advertisement is intended or implied by publication in Life with Teens. No part of this magazine’s editorial content may be reproduced without written consent by TeenLife. 201-568-9326 TL is not responsible for the accuracy of any description, or for mistakes, errors, or omissions of any kind, or for any loss or damage caused by a user’s reliance on the information contained in this publication. Information is subject to change without notice, and readers are advised to confirm all information about an organization before Member IECA, NACAC, making any commitments. NJACAC, HECA Trademarks: TeenLife Media, LLC and related trade dress are trademarks or registered trademarks of TeenLife and/or its affiliates in the United States and may not be used without written permission. Visit my website at Copyright © 2012 by TeenLife Media, LLC Published by TeenLife Media, LLC, Brookline, MA2  LIFE WITH TEENS  FALL 2012
  5. 5. A Leading ProgressiveConservatoireBA (Hons) MusicLeeds College of Music - the onlyEnglish conservatoire with All-SteinwaySchool status - offers an excitingand distinctive degree in Music withspecialisms in Classical, Jazz, PopularMusic, and Production.Visit the Leeds College of Music standat the New York City Performing andVisual Arts College Fair, Tuesday 16October, 6.30pm - 9.30pm, Jacob K.Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34thStreet, New York, NY 10001.Discover more about Leeds atwww.leedsliveitloveit.comCourse Enquiries+44 (0)113 222 @LeedsMusic
  6. 6. FALL 2012 8 CAREER TRACK: Why Study STEM? By Randi Mazzella 171 3 MONEY SENSE: Making College More Affordable By Mary Michael Nibley17 CAMPUS CONNECT: Putting Teens to the Test— A Well-Rounded Approach to SAT & ACT Prep By Kimberly Wolf, M.Ed.20 Parents and Teens and the Social Media Gap FEATURE: 29 By Sarah Buttenwieser27 VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: Does Your Teen “Do Something”? By Lesli Amos29 HEALTH & WELLNESS:and Parent: Demonstrate, Instruct, How to Be Your Teen’s Best Driving Coach By Kimberly Wolf, M.Ed.32 VIEWPOINTS: Cyberbullying— A Real Fear for Parents and Teens Today By Sarah Buttenwieser In Every Issue 6 NewYOU KNOW? stats DID groundbreaking 7 FAVORITE FINDS:and greatest Review the latest See page 7.43 2012 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR COLLEGE ADMISSION COUNSELING (NACAC) NATIONAL COLLEGE FAIRS STAY CONNECTED!44 2012 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR COLLEGE ADMISSION COUNSELING (NACAC) PERFORMING & VISUAL ARTS COLLEGE FAIRS FALL 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS   5
  7. 7. DID YOU KNOW? Daily Deals Work! 68% of daily deal buyers returned to the establishment even without another discount offer. and The About Group Research, June 2011 ERE BY 2016, TH WILL BE N MORE THA NE 4.4 million SMARTPHO USERS. teens volunteered Statista 2102 377 million hours of service in one year. Volunteering in America 20106  LIFE WITH TEENS  FALL 2012
  8. 8. FAVORITE FINDS Here are some of our favorite new sites. Want a simple, safe, and smart way to share your photos and videos only with your closest family and friends— not the entire Internet? Sign up for Burst. It’s an easy way to share life’s SURE moments without the need for pri- MAKE ECK vacy settings. A free Burst account TO CHHILD’S includes the mobile app, secure C YOUR INGS! storage and backup, and a personal SETT Tom K! / media dashboard! Available for iPhone and Android devices. ALMOST 13 MILLION FACEBOOK USERS SAY THEY HAVE NEVER SET, OR DID NOT KNOW ABOUT, FACEBOOK’S PRIVACY TOOLS, SUCH AS BLOCKING APPLICATIONS AND CONTROLLING WHO SEES THEIR PROFILE. Consumer Reports, 2012 Lyst combines the best of social and shopping. Follow your favorite designers and bloggers and add the products you like to your personal “lyst.” Pinterest junkie? Link your account and the items you’ve pinned will also land on your lyst. When any of your items go on sale, you’ll get an QR alert! Go to and sign up for future shopping bliss. barcode scans have increased From impulse buying to saving for retirement to testimonials of entrepre- 157% in the past year. neurial success, Daily Worth provides ongoing tips to help women manage Scanlife 2012 money effectively. Their daily financial advice is definitely worth it! Learn more at FALL 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS   7
  9. 9. CAREER TRACK WHY STUDY STEM? B Y R A N DI M A Z Z E L L A ebekah Fraser, founder of the website Real World STEM (www.realworldstem. com), recalls an intense discussion she overheard between her middle school daughter and several friends about para- sitic mites that live on human eyelashes. Fraser was amazed that the girls were soknowledgeable about these creatures. She remarked, “Ihad no idea you girls were so interested in science!” Herdaughter laughed and said, “Ugh! No, I hate science,”and her friend added, “Yeah, it’s so boring!” Fraser says,“The girls had a complete disconnect to the fact thatwhile they may not like their science classes at school,they were fascinated and excited by scientific concepts.” Fraser’s daughter and her friends are not alone intheir thinking that subjects like math and science can bedull, difficult, and have no relevant application in theireveryday lives. Students may even question if there is aneed to learn these concepts at all. But a solid foundation in STEM (the acronym com-monly used for Science, Technology, Engineering, and at the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering &Mathematics) education will provide today’s teens with Applied Science, which provides a number of teen summerthe foundation for a wide range of exciting and lucrative programs says, “The study of engineering teaches studentscareers in the future. valuable skills such as problem solving, teamwork, and criti- cal thinking. These skills are transferable to a wide arrayWho should study STEM? of careers including but not limited to actually being an A solid foundation in STEM education is important engineer.”for all students. Judith Hallinen, an educator at Carn- Some students may feel they just aren’t math or scienceegie Mellon University says, “There is a misconception students and want to opt out these subjects. Joyce Plotkin,amongst some educators that STEM-related studies are founder and chair of the DIGITS Project, a STEM educa-meant for elite students.” David Cedrone, Executive tion program, says, “Yes, math and science can be difficultDirector, Governor’s STEM Advisory Council of Massa- but that doesn’t mean kids should give up; it means theychusetts adds, “STEM education is necessary at all levels should be encouraged to ask for help.” Parents can help toofrom high school to vocational school to PhD programs.” by urging their child not to give up on subjects they find Teens and their parents may think there is no need study engineering or technology beyond their typi- To increase teen interest in STEM subjects, Fraser says,cal science and math classes, unless they want a career “Educators need to illustrate how these subjects are relevantin these fields. However, Megan Doherty, Associate to their students ’ lives and find creative, interesting ways toDirector, International and Service Learning Programs teach these concepts so that kids want to learn more.”8  LIFE WITH TEENS  FALL 2012
  10. 10. What is a STEM career? cation can open many doors for stu- has shrunk to about 15 percent.” Christianne Corbett, a senior dents. (See page 10 for more details.) President Obama has been veryresearcher at the American As- Corbett highlights careers in vocal on the need for STEM-basedsociation of University Women, biomedical research, environmental education and the importance thatadds, “There is a misconception engineering, software engineers, and STEM-based careers will have on thethat having STEM a career means network systems and data communica- future of the United States. The U.S.working alone in a white lab coat tion as “hot” STEM careers for the Department of Commerce’s Econom-or that the only jobs in technology next decade. ics and Statistics Administrationare writing code.” The reality is (ESA) released a report in 2011 thatthat there are many different and Why pursue a STEM profiled U.S. employment in STEMexciting STEM careers. career? fields. The report showed that over Broadening public awareness According to Rodney C. Adkins, the past 10 years, growth in STEMof the many STEM opportunities senior vice president of IBM’s Systems jobs was three times greater than thatavailable in the workplace is the & Technology Group, “It is clear that of non-STEM jobs, and STEM jobsgoal of the Massachusetts based to benefit our economy and society, our are expected to continue to grow atWOW campaign. The campaign national priority should be on encour- a faster rate than other jobs in thehighlights the careers of fifteen aging more students to study STEM. coming decade. In addition, STEMvery different individuals including Unfortunately, the U.S. is trending in workers command a higher earninga video game designer, a meteo- the opposite direction. When I gradu- potential. They will earn 26 percentrologist, and a baseball statistician. ated from college, about 40 percent more than their non-STEM counter-The objective of the campaign of the world’s scientists and engineers parts and are also less likely to experi-truly illustrates how a STEM edu- resided in the U.S. Today that number ence unemployment.How parents can foster an interest in STEMEncourage students to take as many math and Eliminate negative learning classes as they possibly can in high school. Well-intended parental statements such as “I was neverThe key is for students to have a good foundation in good at math and I turned out fine” send students thethese subjects so that they can continue to build wrong message. Instead parents should encourage theirknowledge at a higher level of learning. Even if they child to take classes that may be difficult—and emphasizedon’t think they want a career in engineering or math- learning as a goal instead of always getting “the A.” Tryematics now, their career goals may change in the positive reinforcement with statements like, “I believe infuture. Without basic knowledge of STEM subjects, your abilities. I am proud of you for working so hard attheir potential for growth may be limited. something so challenging.”Encourage students to pursue STEM subjects Instill in your child a “growth mindset” instead of aoutside of the classroom. “fixed mindset.”Look into summer programs that offer fieldwork in Corbett explains that students with a fixed mindsetSTEM subjects and afterschool clubs such as FIRST believe their intelligence and talents are just fixed traits.robotics FIRST robotics is a not-for- With a growth mindset students understand that theirprofit organization devoted to helping young people talents and abilities can be developed through effort,develop a passion for STEM subjects through hands- good teaching, and persistence. A growth mindset allowson robotics competitions. students to achieve much more because they believe they can.Sean Amos, rising freshman at Worcester PolytechnicInstitute, says that FIRST strengthened his resolve to Be your own child’s role model.pursue a career in the STEM field of robotics. “It gave Rodney C. Adkins sums this up nicely, “My father me hands-on experience with designing, programming, encouraged me to deconstruct, analyze, and experimentand building—I loved it,” Amos remarks. with our home appliances. The insight I gained into how things work together opened my eyes to new Treat girls and boys as equals in the world of learning. possibilities and instilled in me a desire to create Eliminate the idea that a career is just for boys or just new technologies.”for girls. Instead encourage all children to follow theirpassion. FALL 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS   9
  11. 11. Meet the WOWsters Fifteen people with diverse occupations are spotlighted in the WOW Campaign, an initiative of the Massachusetts Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. Joyce Plotkin, Council Executive Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Public Awareness Committee that created the WOW Campaign, says, “This initiative is about identifying and shining a spotlight on professionals who exemplify the WOW of STEM. They are wonderful role models for our young people and they show the exciting work that STEM professionals do. My hope is that every state in the country will do a similar local campaign.” Here are some of the “WOWsters” featured in the 2012 campaign: Bill James is a statistician for Jim Toepel enjoys working the Boston Red Sox. James pro- on the cutting edge of technol- vides senior management with ogy as a video game designer. research analysis on special He is currently on the software projects and player contracts. development team at Harmo- He has been writing about nix Music Systems where he is baseball since 1975 and is the creating brand new experiences author of more than 30 books. for gamers. Mish Michaels is a meteorologist. Mikell Taylor is a Robotics Michaels has a Masters in Educa- Engineer who participated on tion with a concentration in Tech- the FIRST robotics team at her nology and a B.S. in Meteorology/ all-girls high school. Mikell cur- Atmospheric Science. Michaels rently works for Bluefin Robotics has worked on several weather Corporation, a company that programs including WBZ-TV builds and designs underwater in Boston and The Weather robots. Channel’s Atmospheres. Anna Mracek Dietrich is the Daniel Pratt is a real life CSI. Co-founder of Terrafugia, Inc., a With a B.S. in biology, he collects, company which is developing the preserves, and analyzes physi- Transition® Roadable Light Sport cal evidence and supervises the Aircraft—the first real-life “flying Crime Scene Response Unit for car”. Anna was named one of the the Massachusetts State Police. Boston area’s top 15 Innovators by the Boston Globe in 2010. Catherine Reyes was born and Andrew J. Jackson is currently raised in Columbia, and came to a chemist at Cubist Pharmaceu- the United States in 2000 as a tenth ticals. Jackson’s story reminds grade student. Reyes participated students that although math and in the school science fair and science may be challenging, to received an honorable mention, stick with it. To get to where he which sparked her enthusiasm is today, Jackson enrolled in a for science. Reyes attended the community college first where he University of Massachusetts and found a mentor in his chemistry has received a full scholarship to professor. Jackson then received Harvard Medical School where she a degree in general chemistry is currently a third year student at the University of California, pursuing family medicine. San Diego. For more information on the WOW campaign, or to order a poster or see the video, go to  LIFE WITH TEENS  FALL 2012
  12. 12. Large corporations such as IBMare jumping on board as well, withstrong initiatives in new grade 9-to-14schools that focus on STEM educa-tion. These schools pair students withcorporate mentors, who provide real-world insight into industry trends.Students graduate with an Associate’sDegree and the skills needed totransition directly into jobs in theinformation technology industry. Other STEM initiatives includeorganizations like CityScience( in New York.CityScience coordinates service-learn-ing projects that employ and engagestudents with STEM professionals.Together students and profession-als tackle real world challenges in astudents’ community. In CityScienceprograms, for example, high schoolstudents have studied the biodiversityof urban forests and used GeographicInformation Systems (GIS) to modeltopography. Teens in Tech Labs( providestools and resources that bring youthand technology together—and inspireyoung people to become early productentrepreneurs. building toys and video games than to promote girls and STEM. Their Rebecca Blank, Acting U.S. Com- their female peers, it is debatable DigiGirlz Program teaches highmerce Secretary adds, “Students who whether this is a result of a natural school girls about careers in technol-pursue jobs in science, technology, inclination or a reinforced behav- ogy and provides hands-on computerengineering, and math are the next ior based on societal stereotypes. and technology workshops.generation of creative entrepreneurs Corbett says, “Girls tend to under- There is also a disparity in termswho will make sure we have the best, estimate their abilities in STEM of fostering STEM education amongmost skilled workers in the world so subjects. But in fact, girls are just as minorities. According to Adkins, ofthat the jobs and industries of tomor- successful.” school-age children today, 43 percentrow take root right here in America.” When it comes to career choices, are of African American, Latino, or Corbett points out that women tend Native American descent. Yet of allEncouraging Girls and to be more concerned with making a the engineering bachelor’s degreesMinorities to Study STEM social contribution to the world versus in the U.S., less than 15 percent It is imperative that educa- men whose career choices are more are awarded to underrepresentedtors encourage girls and minority likely to be motivated by social recog- minorities. We need to reconcilestudents to study and pursue STEM nition and/or compensation. Corbett these opposing trends so that thecareers early on. says, “The social contribution of a composition of our STEM education There are several reasons why STEM-related career may not be as pipeline reflects America’s shiftinggirls may shy away from STEM obvious. But STEM careers can have demographics.studies and STEM careers. Corbett a very positive effect on the world, STEM education is paramountexplains, “Some STEM disciplines such as creating more drinkable water for all students. A background richhave long been viewed as ‘male do- or finding a cure for a disease.” in STEM makes for flexible, logicalmains.’” But while little boys Large corporations like Micro- minds, and increases the capacity fortypically gravitate more toward soft are jumping on the bandwagon all youth to continue learning. LWT FALL 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS   11
  13. 13. SENSE MAKING COLLEGE More Affordable B Y M ARY M ICHAEL NIB LEY he cost of college can cause a serious case What Constitutes a Financial Aid Package of sticker shock. Luckily, there are ways Customized aid packages assembled by colleges and to make earning a four-year degree more universities can take many forms. They can consist of affordable. Some strategies take long-term government-sponsored grants and/or loans contingent advance preparation while others come into upon a family’s income and assets, work-study jobs, andplay once the application process begins. Every parent, merit-based scholarships bestowed for accomplishmentseven ones with very young children, should keep this in (such as high GPAs, class rank, talent, athletic prowess,mind: it’s never too soon to start thinking about how to leadership, community service, and so on). Families canfoot the college bill. get feedback on whether they qualify for need-based A married mother of two teens was pleasantly sur- financial aid by plugging some basic personal financialprised by the generous aid package offered by the college numbers into free online tools before tackling the gov-her eldest daughter will attend this fall. After her daugh- ernment’s required Free Application for Federal Studentter was accepted by Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Aid (FAFSA). Government websites have a wealth ofPA, and also several other universities, she worked closely reliable information (See financial aid officers to decipher what was the best Sites sponsored by the College Board ( scenario at each school. She was surprised to as well as individual colleges and universitiesdiscover how schools compete over financial assistance. are also extremely helpful. “Anybody on the fence about “Muhlenberg’s offer beat the others and their finan- seeking financial aid should pursue it,” advises Cristincial aid staff was terrific to deal with,” the mother said. Viebranz, college counselor, at University School ofMuhlenberg College’s “list” price—i.e., full cost without Nashville.any aid—is about $54,000, which includes tuition, room That’s especially important in light of the soaringand board, and some miscellaneous expenses. But through cost of college. Department of Education statistics reporta combination of need-based grants, merit scholarships that between 2000 and 2010, the cost of tuition, room andto recognize her daughter’s musical theater talents, board—not to mention textbooks, supplies, and ancillarysubsidized loans, and a work-study job, the tab to attend fees—rose 37 percent at public institutions and 25 percentMuhlenberg will be significantly less than the cost of at private schools, after adjustment for inflation.sending her daughter to a larger state institution—another Private calculations are even higher, with manyschool at which she was accepted, at a price of roughly economists estimating college costs running at about 2.5$24,000 a year for New Jersey residents. times the inflation rate. The cost of earning a degree at a FALL 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS   13
  14. 14. private, four-year college is estimated options and providers,” explains Jeff FINANCIAL AIDto be $200,000. Weiner, Senior Vice President for COMES FROM CCO Investment Services. MANY SOURCESBuild Relationships with According to White, these ap-Prospective Colleges proaches are preferable to borrowing 74% Viebranz also recommends through government-sponsored financialutilizing the expertise of financial aid programs that have relatively highaid offices at prospective colleges. By interest rates. Rates on home equityestablishing a relationship with the loans currently hover in the 3% rangefinancial aid staff, families can have while taking out an unsubsidized loan Federal governmentin-depth discussions about their in- through the government’s Stafford Loan grants, loans anddividual needs. And the relationship program, for example, has a far steeper other aidshould not end once a student selects rate of 6.8%. Rates on PLUS loans,a school and submits paperwork seek- another government education financing 17%ing financial aid. Sometimes financial tool, are even higher—7.9%.aid packages can be adjusted if afamily’s circumstances have changed Money Saving Strategies forsince the original aid application was Receiving Financial Aidsubmitted. “Every year I see unique Stephanie Welder, a private coun- College grants/situations,” Viebranz notes. selor and founder of Access College and scholarships Scott White, director of guidance Career Consultants, reminds parentsat Montclair High School, Montclair, that there are things high school stu-NJ, believes the most affordable way dents can do before the college applica-to finance college is to save over timeby using 529 accounts or by borrow-ing against a secure asset, such as a tion process begins that will increase the odds of getting some form of financial assistance. Students should be active 5%home equity loan or a pension loan. in the community and seek volunteer State governmentNamed for a section of the Internal opportunities. They should maintain grants/scholarshipsRevenue Service Code, 529 accounts the highest possible grades and take theare education savings plans. most rigorous course loads possible. “A 529 plan qualifies for federally These factors can be a plus whentax exempt investment growth and,in some cases, additional state taxbreaks. Other benefits include profes- applying for non-need based scholarships and grants. They can also help students stand out among their peers and attract 4%sionally managed investment portfo- the attention of community organiza-lios, parental control, and flexibility to tions that provide scholarship funds to Private andchoose from a variety of investment deserving individuals. employer grants/ scholarships Be sure to take advantage of federal and college-provided funds, which add up to about 90% of all aid.• Nearly half of four-year college students attend a college with a sticker price of less than $9,936 a year—and thanks to financial aid, most of them pay even less than that.*• More than 6 out of 10 college students receive some sort of financial aid. The average student received a little over $12,400 last year to help pay for college.• The federal government last year awarded more than $132 billion in grants, work-study funds, and low-interest loans. Note: All statistics refer to undergraduate students. *Accounts for nonprofit colleges only. Sources: The College Board’s Trends in Student Aid 2011 and Trends in College Pricing 2011 reports.14  LIFE WITH TEENS  FALL 2012
  15. 15. In some cases it’s possible for EarthConnect: A Costa Rican Adventurehigh school juniors and seniors toearn credits by taking courses atcommunity colleges, which might Summer Programshorten the time needed to re-main in a four-year institution andthereby lower the price. Performingwell on Advance Placement (AP)and International Baccalaureate(IB) tests can also earn students for Teens ‘‘college credit. Another money-saving ap- Story after story came…proach is a bit more radical—andmay not appeal to students who are Spy hopping with theeager for the full college experi- dolphins, kayaking inence. It involves having studentsenroll in comparatively inexpensive, mangroves, meetinglocal, two-year community colleges locals and traveling byafter high school and then transferto a four-year school to complete a bus. What became clearbachelor’s degree program. to me was how much Given that for many profes-sions, employers want job applicants Sam enjoyed being withto have post-graduate degrees, the authentic people from aimportance of where and how theundergraduate degree was accom- foreign culture. When Iplished is less important. When asked him “Was it whatconsidering this approach, checkwhether the four-year institutions you thought it wouldwill accept the community-college be?” His response wascredits where students hope toeventually go. “Better, by far!” He According to the New Jersey was proud of the workmom, one of the best pieces ofadvice she has heard about coping he accomplished and allwith college admissions came from a that he learned. He gothigh school guidance counselor. Thecounselor always advises students more out of the program than I could have ’’and families to include a “financialsafety school” in the list of placesto apply. It should be a school that possibly expected.the student would actually want to —EarthConnect 2011 Parentattend but is more affordable thanother first-choice schools. For every family, finding a wayto finance college that fits indi- Chill Expeditionsvidual goals and needs will involveresearch and detailed discussions. Costa Rican Adventures Experiential Learning Adventures Since 1995Welder offered this advice: “Themost important thing to remember 800.551.7887 Toll Freewhen applying for aid of any kind requests@costaricanadventures.comis that there are deadlines and everysource of funds has a different cut- www.costaricanadventures.comoff point.” LWT FALL 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS   15
  16. 16. INTERVIEW WITH A COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID OFFICER TeenLife Intern Caroline Metcalf-Vera interviews her mother Melissa Metcalf, Associate Director of Financial Aid at Boston College. Q: How do parents and students apply for financial aid? Q: What are the financial aid deadlines? A: Families must complete a Free Application for Federal A: Deadlines can vary at each school, depending on Student Aid (FAFSA), a College Scholarship Services whether you are applying through admissions as (CSS) Profile, and often submit a recently-signed copy “early action”, “early decision”, or “regular decision”. of an IRS federal tax return (complete with schedules Most deadlines begin in November. These deadlines and W2s) for both parents and students. Many institu- are critical to the overall amount of aid you receive. tions require their own forms as well. Q: If parents are separated or divorced, do they both Q: Is financial aid based on merit or need? need to submit financial aid documents? A: Financial aid can be based on merit, need, or a A: For institutions awarding federal student aid only, combination of both, depending on the school to the custodial parent needs to submit the FAFSA and which you apply. Merit-based aid takes a student’s tax information for the custodial family. academic or athletic achievements, special talents, or demographic characteristics into account. Need- For institutions awarding their own money, most based aid is the difference between the cost of atten- colleges and universities require information from dance (COA) of that school and the estimated family both parents. Need-based aid is based on the princi- contribution (EFC) determined for that year. The EFC ple that both parents are responsible for paying for is determined through using standard federal and the cost of education. The custodial family should fill institutional formulas. Every school differs in the way out the FAFSA and CSS Profile and the non-custodi- they award a student’s financial aid package so asking al parent should fill out the Non-Custodial Parent questions and understanding the process for each CSS Profile Statement. institution is important. Most schools will consider waiving the non-custodial Q: Will a student’s chances of acceptance be requirement with documentation of special circum- diminished if they apply for aid? stances. Unwillingness is not usually a reason for waiving the requirement. A: Not always, some schools have a “need blind” admis- sions policy, which means that the admissions office evaluates each student’s academic credentials without knowledge of a family’s financial circumstances. Again, it can vary from school to school. Q: Do families need to apply every year? Will the financial aid be the same over the four years attend the college? A: Yes, students who wish to be considered for financial aid must apply each year. Need-based financial aid awards are based on demonstrated financial need; therefore your need may change from year to year. Significant changes such as increases or decreases in parent or student income, assets, tax liability, family size, or number of students attending college may impact your overall eligibility for financial aid. Your financial aid award will change accordingly. 16  LIFE WITH TEENS  FALL 2012
  17. 17. CONNECT Putting Teens to the Test A Well-Rounded Approach to SAT & ACT Prep BY K IM BERLY WO LF, M.E D. n a time when the admissions process continues to 1. Put the test in perspective. While the SAT get more competitive and the economy acts as a con- or ACT can play a significant role in a student’s college stant reminder that being successful in the workforce application, standardized tests make up just one part of requires better preparation than ever, all aspects of the greater picture. As AcceptU’s Dr. Stephen Friedfeld, college admissions can create a great deal of pressure a former college admissions officer, notes, “Admissions isfor parents and their college-bound teens. Because they a holistic process and all parts of the application will haveare much-hyped, arduous, and in many cases, required, the some importance.” While more selective universities willSATs and ACTs are significant drivers of this anxiety. typically place more importance on scores in order to dif- The good news is that parents and students can employ ferentiate among many highly qualified applicants, Fried-a variety of tools and strategies to ease the process and feld continues, “Grades and rigor of curriculum are alwaysmake it more manageable and rewarding. Putting the test in the most important part of any application.”perspective, starting preparation early, identifying the best Colleges also take into account a teen’s essays,resources, scheduling the time to focus on practice, and extracurricular activities, and “leadership potential.”supporting healthy habits can help inspire the confidence, Remember test scores only tell colleges one part of anskill, and clarity needed to succeed. applicant’s story. FALL 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS   17
  18. 18. 2. Start early. Sallie Oto, Director Start with the College Board (www. For instance, Huntington Learningof Tutoring Services for ArborBridge, and the ACT Centers (www.huntingtonlearn-notes that the students who perform ( websites to use full-length practicewell on exams are those who have gain a baseline understanding of the SAT exams to measure a student’sbeen studying for four to six months tests. Here, you can find descrip- progress.and “feel like the structure and con- tions of test length, question type,tent of the exam is ‘second nature.’” and format, as well as free full-length How experienced are your tutors?Beginning preparation at the end of practice tests, and tips for prepara- “Experienced tutors will know everysophomore year will give your teen tion. For the self-motivated student single question in the book of 10enough lead time to gain a sufficient and families looking for the most Real SATs, as well as the ten offeredlevel of comfort with test material. affordable quality course options, online,” Oto says. Whether yourFor an added bonus, “starting to plan these sites both offer online courses teen is taking the SAT, ACT, orand study early (and during the sum- for under $100. other standardized tests, make suremer lull),” Oto says, “results in higher For added support, opt for a tra- prospective teachers have a deepscores and stress-free test-taking for ditional class, in-person tutoring, or and thorough understanding of theall upcoming exams that fall in junior virtual programs. Test prep compa- material.and senior year.” nies like The Princeton Review offer all three ( How do you personalize your services?3. Identify your resources. Of course, the options are many, Many SAT and ACT prep servicesWhen it comes to studying for but asking a few key questions will will take your teen’s aptitude, learn-standardized tests, look to free online help you identify the highest quality ing style, schedule, and even per-resources and paid services to help services that best fit your teen. sonality into account when matchingproduce desired scores. A huge indus- them to a course or tutor. Ask howtry exists around SAT and ACT prep, Which teaching materials do you use? they assess new clients, what optionswhich means that there are tools avail- Oto emphasizes that the best teach- they offer for scheduling, and if theyable at a wide range of price points ers and tutors will work “primarily are tied to a location or able to con-that can be tailored to students with a with materials published by the test duct sessions virtually with the helpvariety of needs and learning styles. makers.” of Skype or similar programs.18  LIFE WITH TEENS  FALL 2012
  19. 19. 4. Schedule the time. bfa dual degree with tufts universityAccording to Steve Elefson of studio art diplomaSummit Education Group, “prep pre-college summer studioshould continue right up to thetarget test date. We don’t wantteens to make lots of progress overthe summer and then do nothinguntil test day; instead, they shouldkeep up the work during the schoolyear.” Even if teens are startingprep months in advance, Elefsonsuggests planning for consistentweekly test practice right up to the school ofexam. This can be easier said than the museumdone for today’s over-scheduled of fine arts,teens, but studying late at night bostonor over the weekends can help 230 The Fenwaystudents get needed practice hours. Boston, MA 02115“Some students aren’t ultra- to schedule a visit, call 617-369-3626productive by 9:00 p.m. at night,”Elefson says, “but others find that a school for artists, by artists, since 1876time works just fine.” If teens’schedules don’t allow for weekly smfa.edupractice, it’s time to startmaking trade-offs.5. Support healthy habits.In the days and even momentsbefore an important test, propernutrition and a good night’s sleepcan give students’ performance an Give your teen theextra boost. Dr. Alan Greene ofStanford Children’s Hospital discouragesconsumption of sugars, caffeine,energy drinks, and processed white confidence they need.flours before tests. These can Alleyoopcontribute to anxiety and inter-fere with sleep. Instead, he says,teens should “stock up on proteins,fruits, some grains” and “lots of fi-ber [which can] even out hormonal Academic Life Coaching Ten one-on-one sessions tailored to the individual student. Increase academic confidence and reduceswings.” To help teens get a good anxiety. Build personal confidence and self-awareness. Improvenight’s sleep before the test, en- communications, relationships and leadership skills; for school, for life,courage exercise to help tire them for your child.out, and “keep living spaces cooland dark. This can affect serotonin Gina Halstedlevels, which reduces anxiety, help- Academic Life Coaching students sleep better.” Keeping all of these test-taking 781•258•9085suggestions top-of-mind will lead www.ALCteen.comyour teen to SAT and ACT suc-cess. LWT FALL 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS   19
  20. 20. PARENTS & TEENS AND THE Social Media Gap The most important thing I realized as I researched this story about teens and social media is that the story is primarily about the parenting of adolescents. And yes, it’s also about social media. I was surprised to find myself thinking about social media-related questions differently than I’d imagined. by Sarah Buttenwieser20  LIFE WITH TEENS  FALL 2012
  21. 21. FALL 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS   21
  22. 22. Except, I’m not a teenager; I’m a writer and a blog- ger. Engagement in social media has become a fun—but occasionally timewasting—part of my work. We all use social media to learn things and to connect with friends—and to do some goofing off, too. However active adults are online, though, it’s unclear to many of us whether our kids use these networks as we do. My daily computer habits differ greatly from my teens’. My more typical teenage user listens to Spotify (a digital music service) while he chats with three or four separate friends at the same time he is reading an article. My less typical teenage user, my second son, makes a beeline for the computer Wednesday afternoons when he gets home from school in order to read the New York Times food section online. He keeps up with food blogs more faithfully than he does friends. I flip back and forth between work and social media, generally not while listen- ing to music. While my son’s banter most often occurs on Facebook chat or through texting, mine is as likely to happen on Facebook or Twitter or (kind of old-fashioned) e-mail. THE AGE OF DIGITAL NATIVES Let’s face it: children like ours, the ones who grew up with chubby hands on a mouse, are part of the Internet Generation. These “digital natives” have almost constant access to the web. According to researchers on the Digital Natives project at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, digital natives are defined “by their experience growing up immersed in digital technology, and the impact of this upon how they interact with information technolo- gies, information itself, one another, and other people and institutions.” As parents, the concept of raising digital natives is certainly not to be taken lightly. We must open a strong “digital dialogue” with our kids about both the positives and negatives of social media. have two teens. As a parent, I’m focused on rais- Texting is another issue that should be on parents’ ing healthy, independent young adults (and I hope minds. We are concerned that our children are texting too that we still like each other throughout the process)! much and not always appropriately. The research sup- Social media is a flashpoint that reveals my parent- ports this—teens are nearly sending 3,000 texts a month ing insecurities; my kids’ technological abilities are compared to about 200 minutes used to talk on the phone,fundamentally different than mine. Our journey requires according to the Nielsen Company survey in 2009. Send-some dialogue, some struggle, some trust, some wonder, ing sexually explicit messages or “sexting” often goes hand-and a good deal of my letting go. in-hand with texting. Only 12 percent of parents imagine Nearly half of all teenagers in the United States check these explicit and often illegal messages as a part of theirtheir social media several times per day. Facebook trumps teen’s life, but 43 percent of teens report that they haveTwitter for teens, with 68 percent reporting Facebook participated in sexting in a given their main social networking site compared to just 6 From discretion about the photos teens send to Face-percent saying the same of Twitter. And Instagram and book banter that could be visible to college admissions offi-Pinterest creeping up. Now, by this calculation, I am cers in the future, this plugged-in generation must considertotally a teenager. their social activity across not only their teen years, but22  LIFE WITH TEENS  FALL 2012
  23. 23. also their entire adult lives. Issues like Steyer believes adults need toidentity, privacy and safety, creativ- understand the huge impact that A Note from a Teenity, piracy and intellectual property, the Internet has on our lives: “Theand information overload will take up Internet is fundamental to the way “Growing up in the Digitalgreater prominence in our lives, and we all communicate and interact now. Age, teens are a part of a genera- tion of instant gratification—andbe fodder for academic research, legal Teens are part of a generation that has keeping in contact 24/7 throughresolution, and public policy. never known life without 24/7-access text and social media is a part of to any information in the world. It’s that. From my point of view, I findTEENAGERS’ SOCIAL changed the way teens communicate that Facebook, the leader in socialMEDIA USE: THE SAME OR and there’s no going back.” media, is fading out and Twitter is beginning to take the front seat. ItDIFFERENT FROM OURS? is easier for teens to interact with Parents of teens note that their DO PARENTS REALLY KNOW each other there. A new socialteenagers’ social inclinations are HOW MUCH THEIR TEENS media haven is Instagram, which ismirrored by their social media use. ARE ONLINE? a blog of your pictures. TogetherOne friend of mine, a parent to three It’s surprising to discover how Twitter and Instagram seem to be taking the place of Facebook.teens and a tween, says, “The more parents’ perceptions of their teens’social my kids are, the more they use Internet use diverges from teens’ Personally, I don’t know whereFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram. My actual use. Parents think teens are way I would be without social media.eldest, who just turned 19, goes to the less engaged online than they actu- Going into high school I movedmost parties and he spends hours after ally are—by about two hours per day. three towns away from my best friend. Along with texting, socialhe finishes his homework chatting While parents think their kids spend media is how I stay connectedwith friends, Skyping, and messaging. about three hours a day online, kids with her and updated on her life.My husband and I think of that sort of report spending more like five.thing like our hour-long phone calls in A snapshot comes courtesy of one When discussing with myhigh school.” She puts those calls and recent study by the security company mom a way to set boundaries on my Internet access, we came toher son’s multifaceted communications McAfee. The study polled about 1,000 the conclusion that the best wayin the same frame: “Even though we teenagers (13 to 17-year-olds) and to monitor my time on the Internethad seen someone all day, we still had 1,000 parents. It notes that there has and usage of social media wasso much more to say.” been a sharp increase in the percent- for my mom to be my Facebook Another friend, whose son is 14, age of teens who lie to their parents friend, and follower on Twitter and Instagram. So even thoughnotes, “All of his social media use about Internet use. Nearly 70 per- she isn’t monitoring my computerebbs and flows depending on who he cent of teens admitted that they hid usage all the time, she can stay onis this week and who his friends are.” their full Internet use from parents, a top of my activity.”Through his social media use, she’s sharp rise from 45 percent since thevery aware of the fact that the ground company completed the same surveybeneath teens often seems to shift two years earlier. Pair teens’ lies orwithout warning. omissions with parents’ gullibility— Jim Steyer, CEO of Common nearly half of the parents surveyedSense Media, reflects: “Social media reported that they are certain theyis the place where kids are becom- know “everything” their kids are doinging adults. Gender differences, hate online—and the gap between percep-speech, homophobia, and racism are all tion and reality is readily apparent.a part of teens’ lives.” We encounter Truthfully, parents don’t knowthese things as adults, and it is part of everything their kids do online,growing up to learn how to deal with because how could they? 53 percentthese issues. Steyer continues, “The of teens report that they clear thedifference in the digital world, how- browser history, and nearly half sim-ever, is the anonymity factor and the ply close or minimize windows whenimpulsive nature of mobile and online their parents walk into the room.communications. Social media has the About one-third hide or delete instantpotential to exacerbate age-old anxiet- messages or videos.ies and rites of passage in ways that Cover-ups are not necessarilyyesterday’s communications did not.” required: while about one-quarter of FALL 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS   23
  24. 24. teens report lying, the same percent-age claim that they use computerstheir parents never check. That’sbecause most parents don’t seem ter-ribly worried about their kids’ onlinepractices. 78 percent believe their kidsare hanging out with friends online;about half of the parents surveyedthink kids go to Facebook or itsequivalent “daily.” About 25 percentof parents say they don’t have time tomonitor their children’s Internet use. So, if we aren’t exactly in tunewith the amount of time our kidsspend online with social media, orthey cover up their online activities,what should our strategy be? Whatis the best approach to getting closerto reality? TIPS TO MONITORING YOUR CHILD AND THINK ABOUT A SOFT Braun believes parents should SOCIAL MEDIA APPROACH TO PARENTING be reminded that “there are tools here 1. Set “no technology” zones. SOCIAL MEDIA that can change lives, because you can Designate the dinner table or Dr. Lynn Clark, a media studies ask questions and find answers. Being family events as places where expert, did interview-based research able to access information that can help cell phones and technology are off limits. with teens and parents focused on the you to grow is a pretty amazing thing.” topics of digital and mobile media use Applying strict rules for social media 2. Embrace technology. Become your child’s friend for her forthcoming book, The Par- use is not always the answer. on Facebook and follow them ent App: Understanding Families in a One parent, totally on top of on Twitter and Instagram. It’s Digital Age. She makes some valuable social media for her own work, says easier to observe their activity points: her relatively newfound expertise and stay connected personally. Parents must be well informed about required a sharp learning curve, and 3. Know your child’s passwords. social media. she wonders how people who are It’s perfectly reasonable to check your teen’s social media Dr. Clark recommends parents not versed in social media can make use, even text messages be well informed about social media appropriate guidelines for teens. It occasionally. Just make sure in general in order to be both credible goes beyond monitoring their use you’re monitoring, not and capable of asking good questions. or imposing rules; it requires time snooping. Librarian Linda Braun, who navigating and using social content 4. Configure privacy settings. describes herself as formerly “anti- themselves on a regular basis. Teach your child how to computer” hopped on the bandwagon “Experts who came to my kids’ establish privacy settings. Social media posts should once she noticed teens using the high school suggested rather strict only be shared with close library’s old computers. She realized rules that were totally unrealistic,” she family and friends. that she needed to become social adds. “From what I can see, parents 5. Discuss the rules of the media savvy. Braun says she believes and even experts often don’t interact Internet. Remind your teen parents are afraid in many ways, via the Internet to their own profes- that whatever they share including many who are harboring a sional or personal networks beyond online can be used against them down the line. Colleges fear that their teens know more about email and links to static websites. and future employers may technology than they do. The only That renders them social media eventually look them up. solution, she believes, is to do some illiterate. It is no surprise that the learning. rules that parents lay down are so24  LIFE WITH TEENS  FALL 2012
  25. 25. easily circumvented.” received were all about not talking everyday lives. Social media is not only She continues, “I opted for a to strangers. Most bullying, most just changing our relationships, but itdifferent tactic; attempting to foster inappropriate behavior for that matter is also changing the way teens accessgood habits and awareness of what an doesn’t occur online from strangers, information in very positive community means. It seemed however. Bullying isn’t better if the Teens Build Relationships througha much smarter preparation for adult people bullying are friends or people Social Medialife than simply imposing rules my you’re acquainted with, but all these The original purpose of social me-kids could wiggle around.” worries about some far-off threat, dia can get lost with all the different Develop a strategy around dialogue it’s just not the concerning issue,” features it has to offer. However, theand trust. she says. “I think it’s easy to blame most important feature—connecting Rather than a demand to be technology for what are really societal and maintaining relationships—is stillfriends on Facebook, Dr. Clark issues, like bullying. What’s on the evident for teens. A Common Sensebelieves that “Many parents seem to Internet is really no different from Media report based on surveys over ahave better success when they ask anything offline.” one-month period (February to Marchtheir teen for a Facebook tour every 2011) to 1,030 teens aged 13-17 years,once in a while, or ask a game player says that the single largest effect teensto teach them how to play a favorite report (29 percent) is that social mediagame.” She continues, “Ask your Rather than a demand makes them feel less shy.teen to show you a favorite YouTube to be friends on Facebook, Half of teens report that socialvideo. The reason is that each of these Dr. Clark believes that networking helps their relationships,actions allows parents to demonstrate “Many parents seem to have especially friendships with peopleconcern and interest and to learn better success when they ask they can’t see on a regular basis. Teensabout their teen’s world.” This easily believe social media helps them get toopens up dialogue and trust. their teen for a Facebook know schoolmates better and to con- Don’t blame the Internet for lack of tour every once in a while, nect with new people joined togetherprivacy—educate yourself. or ask a game player to around a shared interest. In a New York Times article, an- teach them how to play While most social media use isthropologist and professor Dr. Danah a favorite game. positive, it is also worth noting thatBoyd frames adults’ fears about the teens also report strife: one-third ofInternet as just another example of the those questioned say they’ve arguedcurrent era’s anxiety-fueled helicopter So Braun’s advice to parents is with friends online; one-fifth sayparenting. She asserts that the world pretty simple: it’s to be “willing to they’ve lost friendships; under 10isn’t nearly so dangerous as people talk—and to listen—about every- percent have feared for their safetyfear, and says normal teenage “hang- thing.” She suggests parents have a or gotten into physical fights overing out” has just moved online. real conversation with their teen, and something that happened online. One- In the article, she explains, “We realize that the work isn’t to teach quarter of teens reported that they gotneed to give kids the freedom to them so much as to learn from them. into trouble in school due to onlineexplore and experience things online Then, she says, offer information and incidents. For all of this online en-that might actually help them. What suggestions on very specific issues. gagement though, about half of teensscares me is that we don’t want to look “Rather than try to teach them about questioned say social media comes inat the things that make us uncomfort- privacy, what parents can and should second to face-to-face So rather than see what teenagers be on top of are things like Facebook’s Impact in the classroom.are showing us online about bullying privacy settings, which require updat- Social media is enhancingand suicide and the problems they’re ing practically every week. Make sure communication between educatorsdealing with and using that infor- your kids know how to update the set- and parents. From classroom andmation to help them, we’re making tings. They are generally really open homework blogs to parent portals,ourselves blind to it.” to changing them.” educators have begun to use tech- Braun thinks that parental fear nologies so parents can be activelyof strangers (bullies and pedophiles) NEW MEDIA AS A involved in their children’s education.reaching their children online is really USEFUL TOOL Dr. Clark confirms, “Social andjust the same as their fears offline. “It’s As parents, we also need to be mobile media are transformingreally just like fears other genera- reminded that social media can be a learning spaces today. There aretions had when the warnings children good and practical tool in our teens’ exciting ways that some educators FALL 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS   25
  26. 26. are incorporating game design, socialmedia, and data analysis into their cur-riculum.” She observes that parentalbuy-in is easier when the learningvalue is clear. For educators, Twitter may serveas a useful tool to assist with role-play-ing activities and to support develop-ment of concise storytelling skills.Interviews with lecturers via Twitteror students’ tweeting during lecturesto encourage commentary in real-timeabout the lecture are becoming someof the newer classroom modalities.Some educators create a Facebookpage—or have their students doso—about a curriculum topic such astheorems or literary characters. As Calvin Stowell, Social MediaStrategist for notes,“Teens are super passionate, whetherit be about a brand they care about or say they have talked with a partner their families, and their friends.a cause. Social media was born as a about safer sex and a quarter who Around 40 percent of teens agree—means to communicate those passions, report having visited a doctor or other somewhat strongly—that they’dand because of that it’s not only easy, health provider or gotten tested for like to unplug briefly. Although it’sbut also rewarding to engage with HIV or other STDs did so because of common for parents to wish that theirteens positively. It’s all about meeting the campaign. 28 percent of respon- teens would detach from their devices,a teen where they are and listening to dents under 18 reported that due to 21 percent of teens wish their parentswhat they have to say, not just telling the campaign, they had a conversation spoke less on cell phones or werethem what we think.” Taking this per- with a parent or other adult regarding less frequently attached to electronicspective on teens into the classroom, a sexual health issue. devices, too.many educators successfully boost Social media allows teens to It’s probably no surprise thatstudent engagement, and fun. foster change. many teens are uncertain about the Teens use the Internet and social Social media has the capacity to impact of social media upon their lives,media to gather information. give teenagers a powerful platform, positive or negative; they have little Take sex: teens go to the Internet one that might be harder to find with- or no comparison to previous genera-for information about sexuality. 36 out it. This past spring, 14 year-old tions. However, it is clear that teenspercent report that they have looked Julia Bluhm took to the Internet with are surrounded by social media andup information on STDs and preg- a petition drive aimed at glossy maga- technology that allows them to stay innancy. A collaborative initiative of the zines’ unrealistic depictions of teen contact with friends 24/7, and this isKaiser Family Foundation and MTV girls’ bodies. She lobbied for Seventeen unlikely to change any time soon.attempts to reach young people with Magazine to publish at least one image While parents should set bound-information on pregnancy prevention each issue that isn’t airbrushed. Three aries that are appropriate for theirand STDs. The partnership grew from months and about 84,000 signatures teens, it’s more important that theya realization that the Internet could later, the magazine has agreed to be communicate with their childrenserve as a safe, judgment-free, go-to more transparent about its images and about the positives and negatives ofplace for factual information young has launched what it calls the Body social media use. Of course, Face-people want and need. Peace Project. book and Twitter have changed the The initiative’s recent survey of way people communicate with one500 teens reveals that nearly half of TAKE TIME TO UNPLUG another, but the basics of parentingthe respondents reported behavior It’s also worth noting that teens remain the same—stay informed andchanges that they credited to the recognize an increasing reliance upon involved in your teen’s life, but givepartnerships’ efforts. Nearly half who electronic gadgets for themselves, them room to grow up too. LWT26  LIFE WITH TEENS  FALL 2012
  27. 27. VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT Does Your Teen “Do Something”? BY LESLI AM OS ith its Celebrity sponsorhips, social media, and a mission statement that declares, “We love teens,”’s edgy vibe and teen-targeted initiatives empower teens to take action. Founded in 1993 by Melrose Place actor Andrew Shue,’s innovative campaigns allow teens andyoung adults up to the age of 25 to do service work in areasthey are passionate about. In 2003, Nancy Lublin becameCEO (affectionately referred to as “Chief Old Person”) andmoved the organization online after recognizing that teensare extremely Internet and tech savvy: surfing the web andtexting is where teens connect. Today, DoSomething.orgchampions their causes by texting more than 500,000 teenmembers on a regular basis. Ben Flajnik Dave DeLuca, the Head of Campaigns for the orga- from ABC’s nization, comments, “Teens are wired, and so are we. We The Bachelor inwork hard to create engaging content on social media. In a Times Square Aeropostale store fact, we’re finishing up our first successful Facebook ‘cause this year.campaign,’ The Bully Project, where over 120,000 teenstook a survey encompassing the state of the problem in theirschools and lobbied to host the documentary Speak Up in the site, search the “action finder” for opportunities, andtheir school.” The survey results have yet to be published. specify a particular time commitment—literally ranging And while taking the survey may seem like a somewhat from one minute to one year. Teens can also find theirsmall contribution, reminds students that passion in any one of eleven categories, including bully-every bit of activism counts. “People always believe that you ing, the environment, human rights, and so forth, basedhave to become a hardcore activist to make change,” DeLuca on their specific service interest.notes. “And while those people are amazing and make a huge Of course, parental guidance is an importantimpact, small things can make a difference as well.” component of raising goal-oriented teens, but when Lending to its success, makes teen it comes to actually participating at the ground level,participation extraordinarily easy. Teens can simply go to motivates teens to take over the reins. Parents need “to believe in their kid, trust them—and get out of their way,” says Deluca. That is not to say parents Help teens get involved and influential adults shouldn’t point them in the right with direction—look at how their teen can become a member Encourage teens and their friends to: of, or peruse the many grants or scholarships available. • Become a member Another part of’s appeal is the • Sign up for a current campaign celebrity factor. Many young actors and musicians • Start a club support’s viral creativity. A recent • Apply for scholarships campaign against texting and driving, Thumb Wars, was FALL 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS   27