Teens In The News

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2/10/2017: 4 Articles You Need to Read This Week

The second week in February is nearly over, and we know you're busy--that's why we're keeping up on the news for you. Here are some of the latest articles about teen health that are worth your time. Check back every Friday for more headlines you may have missed!

 

1. Teenagers may return to childhood favorites to cope, but that isn't a bad thing

When teens are stressed, their coping mechanisms sometimes include returning to their childhood favorites, like Percy Jackson novels, and cartoons, like Spongebob Squarepants. Some teens also take on repetitive tasks, like ripping pieces of paper and taping it back together, to clear their minds and focus. This is all part of growing up, and learning to deal with all the neurological and hormonal changes that puberty brings. Recent research shows that taking on their own problems, known as approach-coping, allows teens to feel happier than those who avoid issues all together. Other research backs this up, proving that positive distractions help teens deal with chronic stressors. 

 

2. "Dripping" is the new, more dangerous version of vaping 

Teens are now putting drops of liquid nicotine directly onto the heated coils of e-cigarettes, which produces heavier nicotine clouds and a stronger hit. In a Yale study of 7,045 Connecticut teens published in the journal Pediatrics, 1,080 admitted to vaping, 282 of which took part in dripping. This dangerous practice could lead to teens inhaling more carcinogens and toxins, like formaldehyde, at higher temperatures.

 

3. Rural America poses challenges for teens when it comes to making a college decision

When it comes to making a college decision, students from rural areas sometimes feel trepidation. Often, they can't afford to pay for college, and other times they fear they'll be outcasts for having different beliefs. John Dunn, now at North Carolina State University, was the first of his family to graduate high school. Before heading to college, Dunn was afraid of being stereotyped as a redneck. Amanda Wahlstedt, grew up on food stamps in small-town Kentucky, and was the "token liberal" among her peer groups. Now, at Wellesley, she realizes she is more conservative on certain issues, and seeks to prove that her rural background will not hold her back.

 

4. Less than half of teens get flu shots and even fewer get vaccinated to protect against cervical cancer

In the 2015-2016 flu season, just 47 percent of 13-17 year olds received a flu shot. The CDC recommends striving for an 80 percent vaccination rate to help eradicate vaccine-preventable diseases. In addition, the number of teen girls getting three rounds of the HPV vaccination ranged from 24 to 68 percent, while the number of boys getting their HPV vaccinations ranged from 16 to 58 percent. Despite seemingly low turnouts, teen vaccination levels are at historic highs, and the disease these vaccines prevent are at historic lows. 

 

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2/3/2017: 3 Articles You Need to Read This Week

 

Welcome to February! (How is it already here?!) We know you're busy--that's why we're keeping up on the news for you. Here are some of the latest articles about teen health that are worth your time. Check back every Friday for more headlines you may have missed!

 

1. "Tinder for teens" is posing risks

An app called Yellow is being marketed as a friendship app for those 12 and up. It allows users to swipe yes or no to match with potential friends, and once users match, they have the option to chat. Adults around the world are nervous about the app because of its sexual content, and because essentially anyone has the ability to pose as a teen.

 

2. At Standing Rock, a group of teens and young adults launched a movement

After two of her friends committed suicide, Jasilyn Charger, a 19-year-old Native American, knew she had to make a difference for Native American teens, who are one and a half times more likely to commit suicide than any other group of teens. Charger's group, called One Mind Youth Movement, raised money to take Native American teens on trips to see the ocean, created a safe house for teens, and counseled those who were at risk. After the suicide rates began decreasing, the group became involved in in the campaigns against the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, establishing a retreat at Standing Rock to create community for teens and those feeling targeted. 

 

3. The brain circuits of bipolar teens may give clues to suicide risk

A new study, completed by researchers at Yale University and published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, looked at images of the frontal cortex of teens diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In teens who had attempted suicide before, there was a decrease in the brain circuitry that controls emotion and impulses, and in the connections between the parts of the brain that control these things. The hope is that this study will help provide methods to identify suicide risk and create therapies to strengthen connections in the frontal cortex of those at risk.

 

For more Teens in the News, be sure to check out our past updates:

 

 

 

 

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1/27/17: 3 Articles You Need to Read This Week

We know you're busy--that's why we're keeping up on the news for you. Here are some of the latest articles about teen health that are worth your time. Check back every Friday for more headlines you may have missed!

 

1. A national survey found that teens have experienced more bullying since the election

The survey, which was done by the Human Rights Campaign, looked at more than 50,000 teens ages 13 to 18, across all genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds. Notably, the survey revealed that 79 percent of teens have witnessed an increase in bullying and hate messages since the election. One-third of the teens reported feelings of hopelessness in the last 30 days. On a positive note, more than half of the teens said they feel motivated to help those in their communities in response to the election. 

 

2. Teens may not be able to smell their own body odor

A new study, completed by scientists in Denmark found that younger people's sense of smell isn't as strong as adults, which is why teens may not notice their own sweat. In fact, teens ages 12 to 18 had trouble detecting the smells of sweat and cigarette smoke. 

For more information on teen hygiene, and how to teach those awkward body topics, be sure to check out our story, "A Survival Guide to...Your Body Right Now!" and this helpful guide from teacher-adviser Amy Lauren Smith.

 

3. E-cigarettes are not making teens smoke less

From 2013 to 2014, e-cigarette use among teens tripled, while traditional cigarette use continued to decline. Some perceived this as indicative of the idea that e-cigarettes were driving down teen smoking, but this may not be the case. In fact, teen cigarette smoking declined a steady 16 percent from 2004 to 2014, and in 2009, when e-cigarettes hit the markets, there was no drastic decline in teen smoking. That's why study researcher Lauren Dutra believes e-cigarettes are not discouraging teen smoking and are instead acting as a gateway drug to cigarette smoking. 

 

For more Teens in the News, be sure to check out our past updates:

 

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1/20/17: 3 Articles You Need to Read This Week

We know you're busy--that's why we're keeping up on the news for you. Here are some of the latest articles about teen health that are worth your time. Check back every Friday for more headlines you may have missed!

 

1. Teens are interrupting their sleep to check social media

Teens' excessive social media use isn't anything new, but now a recent report has found that many are also waking up in the middle of the night to check likes and read posts. About one-fifth of the 480 Welsh teens surveyed admitted to this. Of course, social media can be used for good, but when it becomes an inhibitor of things like sleep and school, it's definitely an issue that needs to be discussed.

 

Since the 1990s, Iceland has been working on a program to use extracurricular activities -- like dancing, skating, soccer, and playing music -- to keep teens from abusing substances. The results of this initiative, called Youth in Iceland, are almost unbelievable. In the first few years of the program, 23 percent of 14 to 16 year olds were smoking daily, and 42 percent had been drunk in the past month. In 2012, only 3 percent of teens smoked daily, and only 5 percent had been drunk in the past month.

For more information on teaching the dangers of substance abuse, be sure to check out out our stories "Heroin Took Over Our Town," "We Used to Be Drug Addicts," and "The Danger of Just One Drink."

 

3. Some lawmakers say a "training wage" may help teens get employed

In Washington state, the recent minimum wage increase may be a good thing for teens -- if they can even get hired, that is. A higher minimum wage also means more employer risk, which makes it difficult for inexperienced teens to land a job. That's why lawmakers are proposing a training wage for teens -- a rate around 85% of the minimum wage -- to encourage businesses to hire younger employees.

 

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1/13/17: 3 Articles You Need To Read This Week

We know you're busy--that's why we're keeping up on the news for you. Here are some of the latest articles about teen health that are worth your time. Check back every Friday for more headlines you may have missed!

 

1. Instagram can be a great resource for high school teachers

It's easy to think of social media as a something to be avoided in the classroom, but it can actually be a good way to engage teens and get them involved in classroom activities. Plus, you may be able to connect with other teachers to share ideas.

To inspire teens with social media, check out Where's My Story?, about Marley Dias, who used the hashtag #1000blackgirlbooks to make real change. And for more ideas on getting teens engaged on social media, see 9 Fantastic Social Media Advocacy Campaigns for Teens.

 

2. A bill was proposed in California to help teens spot fake news

The new bill, proposed by assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, would move to add curriculum standards that teach students how to identify false stories. Fake news became rampant during the recent presidential election, and Gomez believes passing this bill will prevent future generations from succumbing to these online hoaxes. 

 

3. Obesity-related illnesses are on the rise in teens

A new report reveals that illnesses like Type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure have risen sharply among kids and teens in past years. Insurance claims for Type 2 Diabetes for those under 23 more than doubled from 2011 to 2015. Claims for prediabetes and sleep apnea, also related to obesity, increased 110 percent and 167 percent, respectively. 

 

For more Teens in the News, be sure to check out our past updates:

 

 


 

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1/6/17: Articles You Need To Read This Week

Welcome to the new year! It's 2017 and we know you're busier than ever--that's why we're keeping up on the news for you. Here are some of the latest articles about teen health that are worth your time. Check back every Friday for more headlines you may have missed!

 

1. Has the legalization of marijuana changed how teens think about drug risks?

As more and more states legalize marijuana, some teens are now perceiving the substance as less of a threat, says a new study. Since legalization in Washington state, marijuana use has increased among eighth and tenth graders by two percent and four percent, respectively. In addition, eighth graders are 15 percent less likely to perceive marijuana as harmful. Yet in Colorado, teens views of marijuana didn't show a change in perceived harmfulness. For more information on teens and marijuana use, be sure to check out our story, Is Pot the Next Legal Killer?


2. Workout supplements may be dangerous for teens

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Sports Medicine both discourage minors from using workout supplements like creatine. Yet, it seems that these supplements, which are not regulated by the FDA, are often recommended to teens by the companies who sell them. In a new study, a researcher called 244 health food stores in America, pretending to be a teenage athlete who wanted a product to increase muscle. Two-thirds of sales associates recommended creatine. Though it is a natural amino acid found in meat and fish, too much creatine can damage the kidneys and other organs.
 

3. As little as an hour a day on social media can affect teen wellbeing

A new study conducted by the IZA Institute determined that children ages 10 to 15 who spend a minimum of one hour "chatting" on social media are, overall, 14 percent less satisfied with nearly every aspect of their lives, except friendships. (This affected girls more than boys.) However, the news isn't all bad: the study also found that chatting on social media can increase empathy, so put your teens' screen time to good use with our 9 Fantastic Social Media Advocacy Campaigns For Teens. For more information on how phone use affects the teenage brain, check out our story Help! I Can't Put Down My Phone

 

Curious about Choices? We're the award-winning health and life-skills magazine for teens, published by Scholastic. For more information, be sure to head over to Choices.Scholastic.com and discover what we're all about!

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Teen Drug Use Has Reached Surprising Lows

By
Bethany Radcliff

We spend a lot of time talking about disturbing new teen drug trends, but finally, there's some good news! According to recently released federal survey data, teen drug use is, for the most part, tracking lower than it's been in 25 years.

The Monitoring the Future report looked at the illicit drug, alcohol, and tobacco use of 50,000 teenagers in grades 8 through 12. They found that 5 percent of eighth graders, 10 percent of high school sophomores, and 14 percent of seniors had tried illicit drugs in the previous 12 months. In 1991, these percentages were 13 percent, 18 percent and 21 percent across the same grade levels.

Similarly, the number of teens who had participated in binge drinking in the previous two weeks dropped, with just 3 percent of eighth graders to 16 percent of twelfth graders engaging in the activity. Binge drinking has been declining steadily in recent years.

When it comes to smoking cigarettes, twelfth grade participation has fallen from 63 percent to 28 percent in the past 25 years, and vaping has declined for the first year since it became part of the survey in 2011. Even heroin usage among teens has declined, from 1.5 percent in 2000 to 0.3 percent among twelfth graders in 2016. (These results are positive, but by no means undermine the dangerous heroin epidemic that we covered earlier this year.)

Unfortunately, not all of the news is positive, as marijuana is on the rise among older high school students. For seniors, the numbers have held at a steady rate since 2011--36 percent reported using pot this year. Though that percentage seems high, it's not as alarming as it sounds. With all the grades combined, marijuana usage has actually declined over the past few years. And with changes in legalization among states, the overall decline is a surprise that's leaving experts a bit dumbfounded--suggesting that this generation is safer and more careful than previous generations when it comes to consuming drugs.

Still, marijuana usage often gets teens comfortable with saying yes to other drugs, so it's all the more important to make sure your teens understand the dangers that all drugs--including marijuana, alcohol, and cigarettes--pose to their overall health and quality of life. These results are positive overall, but they don't erase the problems and dangers that remain. After all, these percentages are merely a number--no matter how large or small, they represent actual issues that affect teens.

For more information on teaching drug awareness in the classroom, be sure to check out this Teaching Tough Topics guide. Don't forget to share our story, "Heroin Took Over Our Town" with teens, and encourage them to get involved in the fight against drug abuse by spearheading interactive campaigns like this one from DoSomething.org.

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12/16/16: Articles You Need To Read This Week

We know you're busy--that's why we're keeping up on the news for you. Here are some of the latest articles about teen health that are worth your time. Check back every Friday for more headlines you may have missed!

 

1. Teenagers want their parents to be like potted plants

We already know that parents are important to teen development, but sometimes all it takes is sitting in the same room with them, according to a new study. Even if you're just folding laundry or reading a book, that time can be beneficial. In fact, many teens say they wish their parents were around more often.

 

2.  Teen drug use is down, new survey says

According to a new federal survey, teen drug use has reached lows that haven't been seen since the 1990s. The survey looked at 50,000 teens and found that illicit drug use (other than marijuana) was lower than it has been since 1991. Alcohol use is down too, from 67 percent in 1991 to 36 percent in 2016. And the same goes for cigarette usage, which has more than halved from 63 percent of teens having tried them in 1991 to 28 percent in 2016. For more on these findings, check out our Ideabook post on the same findings

 

3. Texas is starting what may be the largest study yet on high school athletes and brain injuries

Concussions and other serious brain injuries are one of the most risky aspects of high school sports. To try and rectify these issues, Texas will be tracking two dozen high school sports to see if improvements in rules or protective athletic wear is the solution to preventing deadly brain injuries. 

 

 
 

 

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12/9/16: 3 Articles You Need To Read This Week

We know you're busy--that's why we're keeping up on the news for you. Here are some of the latest articles about teen health that are worth your time. Check back every Friday for more headlines you may have missed!

 

1. Social media sites are places where teens feel safe

Apps and sites like Instagram, YouNow, and WattPad, aren't just entertainment and time-wasters for teens. These apps provide a place for connection and solace--a place where Gen Z teens can be open about their feelings and struggles. For example, Justin uses YouNow to document his life as a trans teen, Ajala uses the Instagram hashtag #PerfectlyMe to support body positivity, and Rachel's YouTube cooking channel has boosted her self-confidence. 
 
 
2. Across America, math skills are lagging far behind those of other countries

When it comes to math, American high schools are "losing ground," compared to the rest of the world, Education Secretary John B. King Jr. says. More than half a million 15-year-old students from over 70 nations took part in the International Student Assessment, a test on an 1,000-point scale. The average U.S. math score was 470--20 points below the world average of 490. The U.S. scores in reading and science were fairly unimpressive as well, ranking right at average. 

 

3. From 2011-2015, e-cigarette use by teens has increased 900%

A new report from the Surgeon General warns that in 2015, 60 percent of teens were vapers. Experts suggest that they likely became interested in smoking because of the interesting flavors. Though vaping is harmful to everyone, it is especially dangerous to teens, because they are in a crucial developmental stage.

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12/2/16: 3 Articles You Need To Read This Week

We know you're busy--that's why we're keeping up on the news for you. Here are some of the latest articles about teen health that are worth your time. Check back every Friday for more headlines you may have missed!

1. A glossary of teens' secret language

Teens have long used slang words to communicate with each other, create bonds, and sometimes to keep adults in the dark. But with social media, teen language evolves even faster. This glossary, created with the input of teens, goes through common slang right now, creating an interesting picture of the way teen communication is unique. 

2. What does it mean to be a teen in 2016?

NBC Today interviewed a group of 15-17-year-olds to find out what it means to be a teenager in 2016. Some of the findings: it's more acceptable to hookup with someone than it is to hold hands at school; because of nearly-constant engagement with social media, they feel that they have no privacy; and they also feel more pressure to excel in school and be well-rounded in order to get into the best colleges.

3. A middle school uses kindness to put an end to bullying

A middle school in Idaho is taking an interesting approach to teaching bullying by launching a kindness campaign. One teacher had students write down the rude things they hear people say to each other, like "moron" and "dumb." Then, the students were instructed to squeeze out a tube of toothpaste and put it back in the tube. It was nearly impossible. One student, 13-year-old J.J. Martin, explained the meaning of this activity: "If you say something once, it's hard to take it back," he said. The students turned over their papers and covered them with kind words, an exercise in combating bullying with kindness.