Teens Cry Out for Much-Needed Survival Resources
At OneSeventeen Media, we often talk about providing kids tools to survive their youth. We firmly believe that social-emotional learning, crisis intervention, relevant content and experience sharing are keys in helping our young people navigate the choppy waters of adolescent life. Two stories stuck out to me over the last week as examples that our collective youth are in desperate need of resources to help them survive and overcome the challenges of growing up; too often our teens seek out extreme, self-destructive measures as a means of emotional release.
The Today Show shared the story of Jesse Logan, the promising Ohio teen who hung herself as an escape from the torture she endured as part of a sexting breakup scandal. My heart aches for the Logan family, and I see two opportunities for communities of youth and adults to learn from their tragic experience. We’ve got to work on teaching kids to be savvy digital citizens and drive home the potential long-term ramifications of their short-term digital decisions. Secondly, we must improve and innovate upon the opportunities and resources we provide kids for coping with their emotional distress. In Jesse’s situation, her school administration and mother were both tuned in to her struggles, but Jesse still found herself unable to fully disclose her distress and find the help she needed.
This week, the New York Times did an intriguing piece on the young adult novel, Thirteen Reasons Why and its quiet rise to bestseller status. In full disclosure, I have not read the book (but will be reading it soon!). The NYT explains that Jay Ashers debut novel,
is made up of the transcripts of audiotapes that 16-year-old Hannah Baker recorded before committing suicide, interspersed with the reactions of a high school classmate who listens to them. Each tape reveals an anecdote about another classmate whose actions the girl blames for her death.
While this simplistic description may sound morbid, the story obviously resonates with its youth audience evident in its number three spot on the NYT Bestseller List. One student shared his takeaway after finishing the book,
“I think the whole message of the book is to be careful what you do to people, because you never know what they’re going through,” said Christian Harvey, a 15-year-old sophomore at Port Charlotte High School in Port Charlotte, Fla. “You can really hurt somebody, even with the littlest thing.”
Harvey’s understanding shares a powerful learning opportunity for students, and whether youth identify with Asher’s work as the victim, bully or bystander, their interest is evidence that relevant content carries tremendous weight. Students are hungry for information about the struggles of teen life, and as adults it is our responsibility to make sure we provide them the life-saving resources they need.
(Screenshot found here)
Entry filed under: Current Events, Cyberbullying, Digital Citizenship, Kids, Learning, News, OneSeventeen Media, Online Safety, Online Tools, Opportunities, Parents, Social Emotional Learning, Youth. Tags: bullying, Jay Archer, Jesse Logan, New York Times, teen suicide, Thirteen Reasons Why, Today Show.