8 Reasons to Rethink Teens & Sexting

megan-maasMegan Maas has written a blog on 8 Reasons to Rethink Teens & Sexting for the Huffington Post.  Here’s a few snippets from the blog which are essential reading for any youth worker:

… In order for us to address sexting in a realistic way with teens, we must first understand the sexual culture they live in that normalizes sexting.

1. Teens think everyone is sexting and it’s no big deal. 

2. Boys and girls engage in sexting for different reasons. Girls feel pressure to send sexts and are more likely to do so than boys. Boys feel more pressure to collect sexts and are more likely to receive sexts and share them with friends or post them online than girls. This poses an issue because it sets up a type of marketplace, where the boys are the consumers and the girls are the products to be consumed …

3. The sexual double standard is alive and well in sexting. We think nothing of a boy requesting a nude image or video, but when a girl participates, we think something is wrong with her …

4. Sexting can be a sign of self-objectification

5. We have a victim blaming culture, even when it comes to sexting. When I do educational seminars about sex and technology with parents and teachers, I overwhelmingly hear stories of “sexting scandals”. Usually followed by a, “Why would she send a nude photo of herself in the first place? Something must be wrong with her.”

6. We need to redefine female sexual liberation

7. We need to support girls to foster their own talents and abilities in multiple areas of life, and encourage boys to support them too. You don’t want your teen to sext? Try telling them not to do it. That didn’t work you say? Shocking. It’s important for parents of boys to acknowledge the pressure girls feel to prove they are sexy and to encourage them to recognize girls’ interests, talents and knowledge above their looks whenever possible. For parents of girls, it’s important to focus on their abilities and not just their looks or dress from a young age. It’s not that it is bad for teen girls to express sexuality, it’s just that we don’t want their only dose of daily self-esteem boost to come from a sexy selfie because her sexual worth is her only worth.

8. We need to hold boys and men accountable for their actions, they are capable of not acting on sexual impulses. 

Are tablets good for children?

The Guardians of Ancora blog recently highlighted a BBC article

There’s no question that tablet computers have swept into children’s lives in the past couple of years. But is this good, bad or neutral?

‘Parents,’ says the BBC iWonder website, ‘sometimes worry that time spent playing on screen devices may be stunting important development in areas such as social and communication skills. However, as devices and technology have evolved to be more intuitive and creative, they have opened up a world of possibilities for children who previously may have been frustrated by the constraints of their abilities and their environment.’

To help you think through this question for yourself, Professor Lydia Plowman and teaching fellow Juliet Hancock, from the University of Edinburgh, have put together a helpful guide.

Sir David Attenborough narrating Pokémon Go

You might think that David Attenborough and Pokémon Go was a marriage in heaven waiting to happen.

Who better than the beloved naturalist to narrate a popular game where people go hunting for exotic creatures in the wild?

Thanks to Lovin’ Dublin, the dream is now reality.

The mash-up features Attenborough describing Charmander as a “top predator” and giving a brilliant understatement on a Spearow – “It is, of course, a bird.”  But the best one might be his comment on those irritating Zubat: “Bats, with their fluttering zigzag flight are not easy targets.”


An Infographic on Anonymous Apps and Teenagers

One of the most frequent questions I receive from parents is about apps that teenagers are using and what a caring parents perspective should be on them.

The team from Rawhide.org have released a helpful infographic which gives a quick and concise overview of these anonymous apps – something you can share with parents.

Temporary and Anonymous Apps


Why your church needs to know about Pokémon GO

Pokemon Go

The Church of England has written a very helpful blog post on what your church needs to know about Pokémon GO:

The NSPCC has issued advice to parents of those children playing Pokémon GO in the UK. Whilst we would encourage churches to engage with those playing the game, be they adults or children, we also understand the concerns that the NSPCC have raised with regards to keeping children safe. Our first priority as a church should be to provide a safe place for children and vulnerable adults with regards to Pokémon GO.

Please make sure you read the advice on the NSPCC’s website here:https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/pokemon-go-parents-guide/

If you have any concerns in relation to those playing Pokémon GO, please feel free to talk to your Safeguarding Officer.


First of all, what is Pokémon GO?
Pokémon GO is a mobile and tablet app game which lets players find Pokémon (Animated creatures, first created in the 90′s, which players have to catch, train and battle with). The game takes place in augmented reality (meaning the game combines real life action with virtual gaming) by using GPS as you walk around towns, cities and other locations to find the Pokémon.

The game has been an overnight sensation with millions playing it around the world.

Why does your church need to know?
Your church might be a ‘PokéStop’ – real life buildings and landmarks that players have to visit to get certain items they need to play the game. Your church could also be a ‘Gym’ where players can battle their Pokémon. (Being Gym means people spend significantly more time battling Pokémon.)

Pokémon Go is therefore giving churches around the country a great opportunity to meet people from their area who might not normally come to church. However, we all need to be aware that this game means that children under the age of 18 may come into contact with people who may present a risk.

How do you know if your church is a Pokestop or a Gym?
Download Pokémon Go on your mobile or tablet. Through the game you will be able to see if your church is a PokéStop or a gym.

You might also spot people standing outside the church on their phones who may be playing the game and at your ‘PokéStop’.

What can your church to do get involved?

  • Place welcome signs outside: encourage them to come inside and offer them drinks and snacks. The game also uses a lot of battery so why not create a battery charging station? If you’ve got it, let them connect to the church’s wifi

  • Speak to players about the game: learn how to play it yourself, it’s a good way to start a conversation that may lead on to other things.

  • Hold a Pokeparty like Christ Church Stonehttps://www.facebook.com/events/246500169067368/

  • Tweet about it: Just like St Stephens Rednal and Hope Church Islington did. Don’t forget to use #PokemonGo

Children’s & Youth Work links

Here’s some links from the last few weeks that are worth taking a few minutes to read if you’re involved in children’s and youth work:


Social Media Image Sizes 2016 Infographic

Social media is a key communication channel for youth workers.  One of the challenges is that all the different social media networks constantly change the goal posts in terms of how best to share your story.

The image sizes that Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and YouTube all use are all completely different.  Here’s a helpful infographic for these sites


Via makeawebsitehub.com

How popular is your surname?

Often in youth work we have sessions where we talk about how popular is a name.  This website helps you to know how popular your surname is, where your surname originated from? Or indeed how many people in the world might share it with you?

Well this online tool can give you some answers.

Smith surname popularity

Did you know that while Smith is commonly believed to be one of the most popular names it’s actually the 117th most popular name in the world with only 4.2m people!

Millennials Selfies: young adults will take more than 25,000 selfies in their lifetime!


Millennials average 9 selfies per week, spending an average of seven minutes perfecting each one before posting. That’s adds up to about 54 hours per year spent on taking & posting selfies according to this report in the International Business Times:

A recent survey from Luster Premium White, a teeth whitening brand based in Boston, calculated that the average millennial could take up to about 25,700 selfies in his or her lifetime. Ninety-five percent of young adults admitted to having taken at least one such picture of themselves.

Millennials, usually defined as people between the ages of 18 and 34, have proven particularly drawn to selfies. More than half of young adults have posted a selfie to a social media website, compared to 24 percent of Generation X-ers and 9 percent of Baby Boomers, Pew Research Center discovered last March.

Respondents to the Luster survey said they took an average of nine selfies a week and put the average amount of time needed at seven minutes. That adds up to about 54 hours a year of taking selfies, according to the survey, which included responses from 1,000 young adults.

That may sound shocking, but high numbers like those aren’t unheard of. The average 16- to 25-year-old woman spent 16 minutes taking an average of three selfies per day, or five hours a week, according to Beauty site FeelUnique, which commissioned a study earlier this year, Refinery29 reported.

Despite these figures, only 10 percent of respondents told Luster they were addicted to taking selfies.

The Optimal Length for Social Media Updates [Infographic]


Many of us use social media, but these days if you want people to engage it is so important that you make sure your posts are the optimal length.

Check out this infographic from Buffer to help you know what is the optimal length for not just social media updates but also for hashtags, blog posts and titles, and even subject lines for emails.