Are Teenagers Replacing Drugs With Smartphones?

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Amid an opioid epidemic, the rise of deadly synthetic drugs and the widening legalization of marijuana, a curious bright spot has emerged in the youth drug culture: American teenagers are growing less likely to try or regularly use drugs, including alcohol.

With minor fits and starts, the trend has been building for a decade, with no clear understanding as to why. Some experts theorize that falling cigarette-smoking rates are cutting into a key gateway to drugs, or that antidrug education campaigns, long a largely failed enterprise, have finally taken hold.

But researchers are starting to ponder an intriguing question: Are teenagers using drugs less in part because they are constantly stimulated and entertained by their computers and phones?

With Hair Bows and Chores, YouTube Youth Take On Mean Girls

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Thirteen-year-old girls aren’t generally known for their oversize bows these days, but JoJo isn’t your typical teenager. She just signed a multiplatform deal with Nickelodeon, which includes consumer products, original programming, social media, live events and music.

Shauna Pomerantz, a sociology professor at Brock University in Ontario and an author of “Smart Girls: Success, School and the Myth of Post-Feminism,” said school administrators had historically policed girls for wearing skirts that were too short or having exposed bra straps, not for an accessory reminiscent of the 1950s. “JoJo stands for being nice,” she said. “And the bow is a representation of JoJo. Ultimately the goal of that video is to suggest that meanness isn’t cool, and niceness is cool.”

In a world where parents of children ages 8 to 14 have long been concerned about hypersexualized clothing, early puberty and overly sophisticated media messages, JoJo is part of a growing group of girls documenting routine, age-appropriate behaviors and activities such as being nice, doing their chores, divulging what’s in their backpacks, making dresses out of garbage bags and working to pay for their own clothes.

Judy Blume used to teach young people about the world, now it’s YouTube

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Am I normal? It’s a question everyone asks at some point in their life, most urgently during adolescence. When will I get my period? Will I grow facial hair? Why do my parents argue? Can you get pregnant in a hot tub?

Bringing these questions to your mom hardly ever feels natural. Our parents got answers from scout troops, Sunday school, advice columns, Sassy magazine, and friends’ older siblings. But since 1970, one of the most influential sources was author Judy Blume…

In summer 2015, YouTube announced its users uploaded 400 minutes of video every minute, or over 1,000 days per month. Today, young people are watching more YouTube than television. But they aren’t simply catching PewDiePie’s latest vlog. They’re using the platform to seek answers in much the same way their parents once turned to Judy Blume for advice on itchy private parts. When children don’t get adequate answers to that age-old question — “Am I normal?” — they turn to YouTube for help. The video-sharing website offers a package complete with role models, entertainers, educators, and hopefully, other kids just like them.

 

The Secret Language of Girls on Instagram

Close up of teenage girl texting on mobile in bedroom

Excerpt from this article (an “oldie but goodie”):

Here are a few of the ways that girls are leveraging Instagram to do much more than just share photos:

To Know What Friends Really Think Of Them

In the spot where adults tag a photo’s location, girls will barter “likes” in exchange for other things peers desperately want: a “TBH” (or “to be honest”). Translation? If you like a girl’s photo, she’ll leave you a TBH comment. For example: “TBH, ILYSM,” meaning, “To be honest I love you so much.” Or, the more ambivalent: “TBH, We don’t hang out that much.

To Measure How Much a Friend Likes You

In this case, a girl may trade a “like” — meaning, a friend will like her photo — in exchange for another tidbit of honesty: a 1-10 rating, of how much she likes you, your best physical feature, and a numerical scale that answers the question of “are we friends?” and many others. Girls hope for a “BMS,” or break my scale, the ultimate show of affection.

As a Public Barometer of Popularity

To Show BFF PDA

A Way to Retaliate

Angry at someone? Don’t tag the girl who is obviously in a picture, crop her out of it entirely, refuse to follow back the one who just tried to follow you, or simply post a photo a girl is not in. These are cryptic messages adults miss but which girls hear loud and clear. A girl may post an image of a party a friend wasn’t invited to, an intimate sleepover or night out at a concert. She never even has to mention the absent girl’s name. She knows the other girl saw it. That’s the beauty of Instagram: it’s the homework you know girls always do.

A Personal Branding Machine

A Place For Elaborate Birthday Collages

Selfies, Snapchat and sassy ladies: a teen’s guide to social media

Lucia Hagan

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Facebook is over

There are only two types of social media anyone my age uses: Snapchat and Instagram. Snapchat is for giving everyone a constant insight into your life, without it being as annoying as posting loads of videos and photos on to Instagram (Snapchat posts disappear). Instagram is basically the same thing, except your uploads are more spaced out. The only people I know who use Facebook are my parents; mostly it’s a place where people dump their non-Instagram-worthy pictures every couple of months.

I use YouTube quite a lot, usually to watch makeup tutorials, but I always end up clicking through different videos until I end up on a weird conspiracy theory (usually Shane Dawson’s web series, where he covered the killer clowns). That’s when I know it’s time to stop.

The Unspoken Rules Kids Create for Instagram

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In one focus group I held recently with seventh-grade girls in an affluent suburb, all the girls were avid Instagram and Snapchat users. It was clear that they understood the dynamic of presenting a persona through the images they posted. It was also clear that they had a definite set of “rules” about pictures.

Aware of their privileged socioeconomic status, they talked about how it would not be O.K. to share vacation pictures of a fancy hotel. They used an example of a classmate who had violated this rule. Like many unspoken social rules, this one became vivid to these girls upon its violation.

As part of a school project, the girl had displayed pictures from a vacation at a foreign resort. Her classmates considered that an immature form of “bragging.” They said other kids had gone on even “better trips” or lived in “amazing houses,” but “knew better” than to post about it.

The same girls identified another peer as “too sexual,” a judgment that some of their parents even encouraged. A few of the girls said that their moms did not want them to hang out with her because she “acts too sexy.” One of the girls expressed this very sentiment in a group text that included the peer in question, causing hurt feelings and conflicts.

 

On the Internet, to Be ‘Mom’ Is to Be Queen

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In one particular shot, captured in an elevator and posted to the star’s Instagram (with 2.5 million likes), Beyoncé stares fiercely into the camera, her hand placed protectively on her young daughter’s arm, as her princess dress overtakes the floor.

As you may have expected, the Bey-hive (that’s Beyoncé’s fan base) went nuts: “SLAYYYYYYY,” they commented. The photo was “everything,” they squealed. It was so fierce they were all “dying” — like, literally, physically rolling in their graves.

And then there was this response, from a variety of fans:

“MOMMMMMM.”

 

“Will you be my mom?”

 

“Beyoncé is everyone’s mom.”

Like most things internet, the origin of “mom” — or at least, how most of us learned about it — can be traced to Kim Kardashian West. In 2014, when Ms. Kardashian West posed for a Paper magazine cover with her oiled backside glistening in full force, Lorde, the 20-year-old pop star, tweeted the image with only one word: “mom.”

 

At first, fans wondered whether she was critiquing Ms. Kardashian West. (Was she criticizing the new mom’s decision to pose naked?) Luckily, a fan wrote to Lorde’s Tumblr asking her to explain, for those of us who don’t speak internet, and Lorde set the record straight.

 

“I retweeted kim’s amazing cover and wrote ‘MOM,’ which among the youthz is a compliment,” she wrote. “It basically jokingly means ‘adopt me/be my second mom/i think of you as a mother figure you are so epic.’”