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I have a male friend who calls his daughter’s ‘friends’ emotional terrorists. When his child was 9-years-old she was the target of cruel smears and gossip for a year. This culminated in the day she came home and said ‘Dad, I wish I was a boy like you, ‘cos then they’d punch me and move on. But girls leave a mark on your soul.’Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Melinda Tankard Reist
Readers wanting something of substance from Dolly’s June issue would do best to skip the first half and go straight to the second. Articles on self-harm, hate pages and unhealthy attitudes toward food redeem the insubstantial nature of the pages that go before.
‘Would you “like” a hate page?’ explores the phenomenon of online hate pages. A hate page is explained as any page set up on social media to incite hatred, violence or racism towards a group or individuals. Susan McLean of Cyber Safety Solutions explains there are more hate pages around now. “Many people who participate in hate pages wouldn’t behave this way in the real world. There’s a lack of accountability online, so people think they can get away with it,” McLean says. A pack mentality can also be at work, where the more ‘likes’ a page gets the more others join in. Readers are reminded that under state cyber bullying laws, people posting comments or threats on hate pages can be charged. Psychologist Meredith Fuller explains that ‘liking’ the page is the cyber equivalent of looking on while someone gets bullied. Readers are encouraged to report hate pages. A related piece is ‘How I fight bullying’, with three girls telling their stories of addressing bullying in groups including The Hope Project, Angels Goal and Student Harassment Investigation Team (S.H.I.T).
The feature on self-harm is very welcome. Exploring the distressing phenomenon of ‘cutting’, Dolly tells the story of Emily, 15, who started cutting when she was 12. “I do it in secret and hide it as best I can. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that the only relief I can get is to hurt myself,” she says. An estimated 10 percent of teen girls self-harm. It should not be put in the category of attention-seeking (most girls try to hide the habit) – it is a response to intense emotional pain. Those who engage in the behaviour get a temporary sense of relief, with emotional pain transferred to physical pain. Jasmine, 16, shares her journey of recovery, replacing the act of cutting with positive activities until the urge to cut has passed and talking to trusted people about it. Jasmine has a blog called Perks of Recovery (perksofrecovery.tumblr.com).
‘Why should eating this be so #shameful?’ is an important piece about judging and shaming based on food choices, especially online. A black and white habit of thinking about food can leave people vulnerable to the viscous cycle of an eating disorder, says Rebecca Wickham, Family Support Office with Eating Disorders Victoria. Labelling foods ‘good’ and ‘bad’ can lead us to judging ourselves as good or bad based on the foods we eat. The negative thoughts of shame and guilt can contribute to poor food choices. Readers are told the key is to notice judgemental thoughts but not buy into them.
Real Life stories include Tanisha, 14, whose house burn down – “This experience taught me that people care. We were given so much, even by people we don’t know” – and Amanda, 19, a leader in World Vision’s youth movement, VGen. I’m a fan of the first person story in girls’ mags, as you know (see here http://melindatankardreist.com/2013/06/real-life-stories-that-bring-you-to-tears-girlfriend-june/).
The sealed section opens with ‘What Happens after sex?’ answering questions such as ‘How will I feel?’, ‘What if I regret it?’, ‘Who should I tell?’ and ‘What if I miss a period?’ Given that this is a magazine read mostly by underage girls, it would have been helpful if Dolly had included information about age of consent laws. The magazine does at least include two accounts of girls who felt empty and used so at least there is a suggestion that it is best to wait until you are really read and not assume that the first time will be fantastic.
‘Are you stuck on rewind?’ aims to help girls stop replaying negative memories in their heads. Psychologist Louise Adams says: “Dwelling is a form of problem-solving – we go over something trying to figure out what went wrong. But if you can’t let go of something, to the point where it’s making you feel depressed or anxious, that’s when it becomes a problem”. Seven tips are given, with an emphasis on distraction – channelling the mind onto other things. The suggestions are basically OK but some readers whose heads may be dominated by harmful memories, resulting in depression and anxiety, may need more than walking the dog or checking out You Tube. Seeking professional help isn’t mentioned.
They are the better articles.
The sex-industry term ‘pimp’ gets a bit of a work out in this issue, with ‘Let Dolly Pimp Your Formal’ (amounting to not much more than a promotion for Veet hair removal) and even ‘Pimped snacks’. What is a pimped snack? I have no idea.
‘Future You’ aims to help girls get career-inspired by creating a ‘mood board’ – cutting out pictures and headings (from magazines like Dolly) and pasting them onto cardboard. If you cut out pictures of groups of people it “could mean you like working in a team”, if you include objects like a microphone “You might be the next Beyonce.” Reality check anyone?
‘Friendship lessons we can learn from girl bands’ looks at the relationships between members of popular (or once popular) girl bands – Little Mix, Fifth Harmony, Destiny’s Child, Spice Girls, The Saturdays – and what girls can take from these. Lessons include hand- selecting friends, don’t talk behind her back, bail on plans, compare or reveal her crush, and being loyal to ‘the sisterhood’ (i.e not ripping each other to shreds as some have been wont to do, though we are not reminded of that less sisterly reality).
’24 things to make you happy’ is more about cute things you can look at online than anything of lasting substance. For example ‘Catch celebs mid-bite!’ by visiting yumceleb.com “for funny and random snaps of stars who love food”, Google pet memes and Conspiracy Cat (‘The litter tray is empty again, someone stealing my poop’), ‘Stare at the Biebs for five secs. Go!’ and create fangirl memes, for example of Zayn (‘I was dropped as a baby? Yeah, into a pool of sexy’). In the middle of this appears profound quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt – “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” – and Aristotle – “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore, is not an act but a habit”. Like repeatedly googling ‘Catch celebs mid-bite’?
It is disturbing that Dolly describes The Janoskians as their ‘faves’. Is that an endorsement for the boys’ public masturbation stunts? An example of their behaviour is given here : “And in the most disturbing scene of all, one of the boys approaches a woman with a baby and says I love little kids.’ When she goes to walk away, he follows and still with his hands down his pants – says ‘I think it’s sexy, show me the kid.’”
Something of an improvement is ‘The Odd One Out’ – what to do when you don’t fit in. Examples include when your parents are divorced, when your parents are (super) strict, your friends play a sport that you don’t, you’re the only single one, or you’re the only one in a relationship. Also more useful are two pages on practical study tips, for example having your phone on silent and away from where you’re studying. I wonder though about the advice to only check messages “every 15 minutes”. That’s four times every hour, which could still be very distracting.
We’re introduced to the six model search finalists. The two youngest are 14. There’s little body diversity. My opinions on Dolly’s model search previously expressed here. Dear Dolly. Please make this the last model search.Posted in Culture & Society, Mental Health & Wellbeing | Tagged body diversity, cyber-bullying, eating disorder, mental disorders, model search, racism, relationships, Social Media, teen girls, violence | Leave a comment
Throughout June I was involved in a project with channel nine to highlight the fact that if we are part of the digital world we already will most likely have a large amount of personal information online and if other users wish to gain access to that information, whether directly or indirectly, it’s not a difficult thing to do.
The purpose of the segment wasn’t to cast aspersions on any program, company or person but to outline the fact that we as users may not be as anonymous as the screen makes us feel.
Cyber Predators – Brett Lee on A Current Affair — Watch video HERE
via Brett Lee.Posted in Cybersafety | Tagged children, cyber safety, generation next, identity, Mental Health, Positive Psychology, Video, wellbeing, young people, youth | Leave a comment
Just like you, the genes in your brain follow a daily routine. But that natural rhythm may be thrown off in people with depression, a new study suggests.Mental Health & Wellbeing | Tagged Brain, Depression, genes, natural rhythm, study | Leave a comment Mental Health & Wellbeing | Tagged international suicides, notes on suicide, Statistics, suicide, youth suicide | Leave a comment
In the US, at least 9% of schoolchildren are on medication for ADHD.
In Australia it is estimated that 11% of children and adolescents fulfill the criteria for ADHD.
In France the figure is .5%. As in POINT five. Half a percent.
Why is this?
Well, first of all the way in which French psychiatrists view ADHD compared to their US and Australian counterparts is significantly different.
In the US, psychiatrists consider ADHD to be a biological disorder with biological causes. As such they treat it with medications such as Ritalin.
However, across the Atlantic, French psychiatrists see ADHD as a condition that has social and situational causes. They seek to ascertain what issues in their social setting are causing the child act the way they do.
Treatment then invariably involves counseling and psychotherapy – rather than using drugs.
The French also use their own system for diagnosing conditions. They prefer not to use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as we do in Australia and the US.
You may well have read of the concern that the redesign of the DSM may well lead to more people being labeled with a condition, and as such provide a bigger target for the pharmaceutical companies.
I must make it clear. I am NOT a mental health professional, but as a parent of a boisterous 5 year old, and a teacher of 15 years, I have a vested interest in this debate.
There are many sides to this discussion, and I plan to explore them in more depth in coming blog posts. I encourage others to respond with their thoughts… especially professionals and parents of kids with ADHD.
As a start point, how about this article by Marilyn Wedge (it’s very clear what side of the debate she’s on.)
Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, consultant, and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at http://danhaesler.com/ and tweets at@danhaeslerPosted in Culture & Society, Mental Health & Wellbeing | Tagged adhd, adolescents, biological disorder, children, Info for your children, medication, mental health professional, psychiatrists, psychotherapy, school, Teacher | 5 Comments
This morning, the Australian Human Rights Commission launched a new
online anti-racism resource, What you say matters, to educate and engage
young people about racism and to empower them to respond safely when
they experience or witness racism.
The resource has been developed after extensive consultation with young
people. It includes a hip-hop video clip and online educational content,
and is designed to encourage 14-17 year olds to reflect and to act
safely in response to incidences of racism at school, in their peer
group, sports club or communities. The music video clip features
Indigenous hip hop artist Brothablack and was created with the
participation of students from James Meehan High School in south western
You can find the resource on the “Racism. It Stops with Me’ campaign
What you say matters seeks to answer the key questions that young people
we surveyed told us they wanted more information about:
* What is racism?
* Why are people racist?
* Who experiences racism?
* Where does racism happen?
* Why is racism a problem?
* What can you do?
* What does the law say?
We would appreciate any assistance you can provide in promoting the
resource through your networks.
What you say matters has been funded by the Department of Families,
Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) under the
National Anti-Racism Strategy.Posted in Culture & Society, Cybersafety | Tagged anti-racism, Australian Human Rights Commission, Families, National Anti-Racism Strategy, school, young people | Leave a comment
The number of happy faces on Lego toy mini-figures has been decreasing since the 1990s, and the number of angry faces has increased, giving rise to concerns that children could be affected by the negativity of the toys.
In a study of 3,655 figures produced between 1975 and 2010, Dr Christoph Bartneck, a robot expert at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, said the manufacturer appeared to be moving towards more conflict-based themes in its toys. Bartneck’s study considered the range of facial expressions across various Lego sets – now often in themes such as Star Wars, pirates or Harry Potter.
“It is important to study how to create appropriate expressions and how these expressions are perceived by the users. Children’s toys and how they are perceived can have a significant impact on children,” said Bartneck. “We cannot help but wonder how the move from only positive faces to an increasing number of negative faces impacts on how children play.”Culture & Society | Tagged angry faces, children, children's toys, expressions, happy faces, human behaviour, lego, study, toys | Leave a comment
The more tobacco advertising teenagers see, the more likely they are to start smoking, according to a new study.
Every 10 tobacco ads that teens view increases their risk of starting to smoke by nearly 40 percent and boosts their chances of becoming a daily smoker by 30 percent, the German researchers found.Culture & Society, New Media | Tagged advertising, German researchers, smoking, study, Teenagers, tobacco | Leave a comment
Lately, we read a lot about the so-called ‘over diagnoses’ of our children. An increasingly popular view suggests we are medicalising completely ‘normal’ aspects of childhood.
Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome and Oppositional Defiance Disorder are just some of the conditions we hear about more often these days – and that attract considerable scepticism in some circles.
There is no denying that we have seen an increase in the number of children being diagnosed with mental health disorders, but are there more children with these disorders – or are we just better at diagnosing them? Some suggest our society is labelling children as disordered if they don’t comply with our ideas about the perfect child. You know the one: talking in sentences by eighteen months, playing piano and violin by the age of two, killing their first NAPLAN on the way to their law degree. But is this really what’s going on, or is it an urban myth?Culture & Society, Mental Health & Wellbeing | Tagged Autism, childhood, children, disorders, mental health disorders, over diagnoses | Leave a comment ← Older posts