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TALKING POINTS

There’s nothing like controversy and current events to kickstart conversation. Seize the day and get talking with your kids about these recent news stories…

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Social media hurts girls’ mental health and education potential, says UNESCO report (CBC, 26/4/24) 

“Worldwide, girls spend more time on social media than boys and it’s hurting their mental health, says the report Technology On Her Terms. They have more body image concerns, and how they’re treated on social media can make them disengage from educationc, while some content can lead them into disordered eating and low self-esteem. Instagram, says the report, makes 33% of girls feel worse about their body. Also they’re exposed to negative gender norms and discouraged from Stem (science technology engineering maths) careers”

 

TALKING POINT What signs do you see of girls reacting to social media? Read the article >

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Bluey introduces same-sex couple in The Sign season finale – but almost everyone missed it (Daily Mail, 16/4/24)

“In the final episode of this season of the Australian kids’ show Bluey, there’s a subtle hint about same-sex parents. Bluey's friend Pretzel says: 'When my guinea pig ran away, my mums told me he might come back.’ The quick reference to ‘mums’ went in over the heads of most viewers, but one said it was ‘the only thing missing’ from the show and another that it was handled ‘casually and organically’. One wrote: ‘This will mean the world to my son’

TALKING POINT Why do you think the remark was so quick and subtleRead the article >

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Lioness’s secret fear about wearing her white England kit while on her period (Metro, 17/4/24)

“Lioness footballer Karen Carney, age 36, says: ‘I had & still have heavy periods, so I had massive anxiety about wearing white. In major tournaments I’d ask my teammates: “Can you check that I haven’t leaked?” That’s the last thing you want to be thinking when you’re going out onto a pitch in front of thousands of people to represent your country. Imagine if I’d known more about what [menstruation] was doing to my body and psychologically.’ Unfortunately girls drop out of sport as puberty hits – and for 47.91% of young women aged 16-24, their menstrual cycle and period symptoms stop them from exercising”

TALKING POINT How can we help girls stay athletic as they grow up? Read the article >

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How 7 things that have nothing to do with rape perfectly illustrate the concept of consent (Upworthy, 27/4/24) See a version without swear words in the little box here

“The conversation about consent should start with prevention. So istead of telling women how not to be attacked, we should raise boys not to harm girls and women. Most sexual assault happens by people that women know and trust. These 7 cartoons, 3 boxes each, show how simple consent is. If we share these ideas, we can get people to think critically”

TALKING POINT Do these cartoons make you see consent differentlyRead the article >

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French experts recommend cutting screen time for children under 3 and social media for teens (Euronews, 1/5/24)

“Experts in France say kids under age 3 should have no screen time and up to age 6 it should be ‘strongly limited’; up to age 11 kids should not be allowed a mobile phone; kids under 13 should not have internet access on their phone; kids under 15 should be banned from using social media and kids 15+ should only access ethical platforms like Bluesky. Citing social media as a risk factor for depression and anxiety, and saying that kids have an ‘alarming’ level of exposure to porn and violence, they add: ‘Time spent on screens has consequences for children’s health, as well as the future of our society and civilisation’

TALKING POINT Which parts of the experts’ ideas do you agree with? Read the article >

And finally: to discuss…
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“Actor Zendaya, age 27 – of Euphoria, Spider-Man and Dune fame – says about acting on the Disney Channel from age 13…

I have complicated feelings about kids and fame and being in the public eye, or being a child actor. We’ve seen a lot of cases of it being detrimental.

 

I’m going through my angsty teenager phase now. I’d been thrust into a very adult position: I was becoming the breadwinner of my family very early, and there was a lot of role-reversal happening and just kind of becoming grown, really.

 

I’m very tense, and I think that I carry that from being a kid and never really having an opportunity to just try shit. And I wish I went to school.

 

It’s a massive anxiety of mine, this idea that people will just be like: ‘I’ve been with you since you were 14, but I’m over you now because you’re boring’”

MORE FROM ZENDAYA

 

• My beauty icons are the women in my life. My mom didn’t wear make-up. I don’t think she knew that, to me, it was empowering that she didn’t care. But I was super into it, so I’d go to my grandma’s house – she had all the good make-up. 

I got to see how women are able to navigate within the space of beauty. It’s self-defined.

• My mom wasn’t into the quintessential glamorous things. She focused most of her energy on being a teacher, but to me she was still extremely beautiful. I wanted to be like her. My grandmother liked getting dressed up and wearing heels. I learned to embrace all of it

 

• I don’t know what it’s like to have had Instagram be a part of my life from the beginning of time. It’s a different beast. Young people, we all kind of have this pressure: we feel we need to fix everything. It’s just how we choose to push through it

TALKING POINTS Who are the icons in your life? Are they beauty icons or other kinds of icons? Do you notice which women around you wear make-up and which don’t? What do you think of their wearing make-up or not? 

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