Rebecca Sparrow is an author (amongst other things) and champion of tween and teen girls. Her book, Ask me anything, is one of my favourite resources for teens. She has a PDF of free resources available on her website including a list of inspirational people and organisations to follow on social media, great books to read and websites to visit. You can sign-up for it here.
This might seem alarmist, but many of us are addicted to our devices like our grandparents were addicted to smoking. I love my iPhone, but I think I need to stop checking it so frequently and start talking to people face to face more.
Teens who spend less time in front of screens are happier.
The Sydney Morning Herald recently reported that, according to research in the US, the more time teens spent on their devices, the more their psychological well being decreased. Increased mobile phone use has also been linked to depression and anxiety. Teens who spent 20 hours or more on their devices each week were least happy. So basically, teens who spend less time in front of screens are happier. You can find out more here.
The Supre Foundation, together with the Telethon Kids Institute and Headspace, have put together this fantastic little book about Bullying. It is full of useful tips and information about bullying, friendship, self-esteem and staying safe online. Best of all, it is free! You can pick one up at your local Supre store or download one here.
I spent a couple of days last week exploring the magnificent Karijini National Park in the North of Western Australia. It is both physically and technologically isolated. There was no phone coverage or wi-fi. It took a little while to adjust, but it was good to have a forced break from technology and social media.
I think it's good for the soul to spend time in the natural environment too. We spent hours exploring the gorges each day. Even if you can't escape to a national park (though there are ones much closer to the city), why not go for a walk by the beach or river or visit your local park. Take a friend, turn off your phones and talk to each other.
Wally is a free budget app that allows you to track your spending and provides graphs so that you can track what you're spending your money on. There are no ads, all information is private and you can save photos of receipts. Whether you have a part time job or just get pocket money, budgeting is a useful life skill. It is a good habit to develop before you get a 'real' job and start earning big bucks.
Teenagers who spend more than three hours a day on social media are at a higher risk of mental health issues (according to a 2016 study by US Department of Health and Human Service). Author Rachel Macy Stafford recently wrote an article about social media usage (Hands Free Mama). Here is a short excerpt:
While you are online, your mind, your thoughts, your core values are drifting to wherever tech companies want you to go. The remedy is to limit the time you spend drifting in the online world and tether yourself to real life.
To real people, real conversations, and real scenery.
To furry animals, interesting books, good music, the great outdoors.
To spatulas, hammers, cameras, paintbrushes, and yoga mats.
No-one is saying don't use social media, they're just saying don't use it too much - don't forget to connect to 'real' people and 'real' things. Also, be aware of the way it manipulates the way you think your body and life should look.