A recent blog post by a mom of teenage boys writes an open letter to teenage girls expressing concern about the provocative way they present themselves in their social media images and posts; she advises that she is blocking their posts because “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.”
Marie Hall is the founder and Executive Director of BeMoneySmartUSA, a non-profit financial literacy training and employment center for youth in the Sacramento area, headquartered in Carmichael. She has a lot of experience working with teenagers, and two grown children (a son and daughter). She agrees that many teenage girls present themselves in very sexually suggestive ways in their media posts.
“I too have noticed many of my children's friends dressing and posing in provocative ways with short skirts, bikinis, etc. But, by the same token, I also notice kids taking their perfectly good bodies and piercing them to death, inking them with tattoos, gauging their ears and coloring and dreading their hair as their form of expression,” Hall said. “At the end of the day, all these kids are doing is expressing themselves for attention,” she said. “Sadly, one of the systemic problems of the internet is that it has kids believing that it is a ‘safe place of free expression’ where a ‘like’ and a ’comment’ offers them the immediate attention they crave.”
Hall sees a need for more parental guidance and equally important youth need parents who are genuinely interested in them and will simply listen. “As parents we owe it to our children to give them guidelines, keep open communication, listen, listen more and then listen even more and then -- be the role model. I've learned that listening was the best gift I could give my kids as they too fumbled through this awkward ‘who am I’ phase of their lives. Every generation has done it and will continue to do it.”
For more about teaching your child, tween or teen to use texting and social media in safe and responsible ways go to: A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media.
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