New York City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) has recently launched a new ad campaign aimed at teen pregnancy that has caused quite a stir — and rightfully so. The campaign employs some of the most shameful tactics I have ever seen in the name of preventing teen pregnancy. These offensive ads (pictured after the jump) feature crying babies and blaming language that the HRA hopes will turn teenagers off from becoming parents.
Much of the wording places the onus of teen parenthood directly on the mother. Only one ad talks directly to young men (focusing on how much money he’ll have to pay in support), while the rest weigh heavily on the shoulders of young women, with one specifically focusing on how it’s highly likely a teen mom will end up raising her baby alone.
Is becoming a teen parent ideal or easy? No. Nobody is saying it is. But the way to go about preventing teen pregnancy isn’t by shaming and blaming those who already are young parents. The money that was spent on this horrible (and most likely ineffective) ad campaign could have been put to better use in more widespread comprehensive sex-education programs within the city. Keep reading »
Asia is kind of notorious for its long-standing monopoly on bizarre “trends,” from bagel heads and tentacle porn to ANIMATRONIC CAT EAR HEADBANDS THAT MOVE WITH YOUR EMOTIONS. Sorry, I am a little stoked on that one (see also: cat cafes). So, as mind-bendingly strange as many of them are (so, so, so strange), I can’t say I’m ever shocked to hear that something new and batshit crazy is going on in Asia. And yet! Young people (I’m 80 years old) in Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia are getting into fashion braces. Like, for your teeth. Listen, it physically pains me to admit this, but I, too, wanted braces as a child. What the fuck, former self? I thought they were cool! Metal in your mouth! What isn’t cool about that? Keep reading »
Pediatricians should discuss emergency contraception with their teenaged patients and even write advance prescriptions, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended earlier this week. The morning-after pill should be taken 120 hours after unprotected sex, but is more effective the sooner it is taken. If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, Plan B is almost 90 percent more effective than saying “No babies no babies no babies!” three times fast. Advance prescriptions, the AAP, explained, would help prevent teen pregnancies and put MTV’s “16 & Pregnant” franchise out of business. Keep reading »
Earlier this week, The New York Post dropped the “exclusive” that nurses at 13 New York City public schools can dispense the morning-after pill and provide oral and injectable birth control, like Depo Provera and the Pill — “without parents’ permission.”
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Know a teen who’s hooked on porn? The Oxbow Academy, a boot-camp style facility in Utah, is treating teenagers with pornography addictions by using holistic therapy, banning phones, and insisting on lie detector tests, the Daily Mirror reports. Dubbed the Porn School, Oxbow charges heavily—nearly $9,000 a month—but is trying to tackle a problem that increasingly afflicts those who can’t refuse the easy access, experts say. Read more…
When Brianna Moore, a 6th grader at Shue-Medill Middle School in Delaware, raised her grades enough to make honor roll for the first time, her parents let her dye her hair pink as a reward. The next day she was kicked out of school and faced with a choice: bleach her hair, take classes via in-school suspension until the color faded out, or switch schools. It wasn’t until the American Civil Liberties Union stepped in that the school district finally backed down and reversed the decision. Today Brianna is rocking pink hair, a good report card, and an admirable attitude: “I need to stand up for myself when it’s right,” she said. As a fellow pink-haired lady, I’m beaming with pride. [USA Today] [Photo by Suchat Peterson of The News Journal]
My parents are cool. Very cool. In fact, in some ways, they are cooler than I am. They know they all the hot restaurants in New York City, and they’ve been to every new play. They stay out late at jazz clubs, and put together ensembles with the ease of stylists. Their apartment looks like a page out of Dwell.
However, when I was a teenager, I was absolutely mortified by my parents. I remember one time, I was a few minutes late meeting my dad, who had agreed to pick me up from a school dance. Because he didn’t have all day to wait around for me, he walked on into the gym to find me. As I saw him stroll through the pathetically ballooned gymnasium, I felt a tsunami of shame rush over me. As if having parents was something none of my friends and classmates could possibly relate to. I still can hear the awful tenor of the voice I used when my mom once dared to ask me if I’d done my homework when my cooler, older friends came to pick me up to go to a party one night. “Mooooom, you’re embarrassing me!” It’s a teenage refrain.
So I was felt a little better to hear that Kate Beckinsale, admittedly one of the coolest women in the world, has a teenage daughter who is thoroughly embarrassed by her. Keep reading »
My senior year of college I mentored a group of teen girls at an alternative high school outside of Portland, and it was one of the most powerful and moving experiences I’ve ever had. Not only did I meet my best friend in the process (she was my co-mentor), I saw what an amazing impact we can have on the lives of teens if we just give them a safe space to express themselves. The 5 young women in the group didn’t know each other that well, and they didn’t know my friend and me at all, but when we gathered around a table and asked them to tell us about their lives, the results were absolutely magical. I’ve always believed that since I made it out of adolescence relatively unscathed, the least I can do is offer other young women a little guidance and support along the way. Whether you’re an aunt, a big sister, or a family friend of a teenage girl, you can make a huge difference in that young woman’s life, so I encourage you to reach out and try.
Here are a few lessons I’ve learned in my years of mentoring. Every girl’s communication style is unique, and every interaction might not be perfect, but remember: every conversation is valuable, and every effort really does make a difference. Keep reading »
Sexting is, like, so not cool. Only one percent of kids age 10 to 17 have shared naked pics of themselves, according to new data released today in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers on the APA study disputed a commonly cited piece of data which said that one in five — or 20 percent — of kids ages 14 to 24 had sexted. But that definition of “sext” had included sexy text messages without photos, as well as photos “no more revealing than what someone might see at a beach,” according to the AP. This new study asked teens — and only teens — to be more explicit about the images that they send and receive. Clearly the past inclusion of twentysomethings in the survey pool skewed the results. In fact, the younger kids are, the less likely they are to sext.
Wait, you mean America was whipped up into a frenzy over a teen sex panic that turned out to be nothing? You don’t say! Keep reading »
Teen boys masturbate more than teen girls and start touching themselves at younger ages, according to a new study of 800 teens by National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior. You’re shocked, right? Keep reading »