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Monday, March 8, 2010

Surfing For The Lowdown

A month ago several of our Youtube subscribers started sending us e-mails asking us to produce videos about growing up. It has been so surprising for us to have this young teen audience. Why on earth would they want to watch two 40-something women talk about life? In our highest viewed video we told "period" stories that has now logged over 3,000 views. Sure, that is nothing in the world of Youtube...but it is many thousands more than our other videos. It made us sit up and take notice.

Last week we filmed our first "Ask Mom Series" of 5 videos. We linked an e-mail account to it and asked girls to send in their questions. If you wonder why we were quiet on our blog last week...that is why! Getting that up and running and answering their questions by e-mail has taken some time.


Why are these girls turning to Youtube for this information? As young girls we talked to our girlfriends and moms. Embarrassment about "growing up" topics couldn't override our need to discuss, face to face with people, how to handle them. That isn't the case today. The natural tendency for teens to turn inward, share less, seek privacy, and start to think for themselves is then coupled with the internet that requires no intimacy. This makes it so much harder for us as parents to reach out to our kids. Our kids can get answers (ones we may or may not agree with) without ever asking us anything.

In our videos we answer the questions and encourage them to take that information and talk about it with a trusted adult. One girl said that she sent a text to her mom when she got her period because she just couldn't get the words out. Does that make your heart ache? It makes me want to step up the quality time I spend with my 12 year old. Since we started this project, my daughter and I have had a date every weekend. I'm just seeing more clearly how I need to be a bigger presence in her life.

The quality and vulgarity of what is available online is horrible. This young audience is so vulnerable and hungry for information. How does this make you feel? Do you have any ideas to help us meet these needs in our videos? What would you want your child to know if they found our video series? We would love your input.

22 comments:

christy rose said...

Amen! It is so true that we need to be a big presence in our daughter's and our son's lives. The more you are a part of their world, the more they will share what is going on in their heart. Great post! And I think using youtube to get out great information for those that do not have enough parental presence is a great idea!!

Kathy said...

You are right ladies! I am always surprised when my daughter says "Oh, don't talk about that in front of my friends because they don't understand about talking to a Mom about stuff." Though, truthfully, not surprised because I did not talk to my mother about anything and I have made a great and constant effort so that it is different with my duaghter. And it is!

Ms Bibi said...

I have two boys and I think or hope that I have an open relationship with them so they can come and ask me or their dad anything. But you never know.

One thing I would like my kids to know would be that they can talk to me about anything without being embarrassed, scared or ashamed.There's absolutely nothing I wouldn't talk to my kids about and if there's something I can't answer I want them to know that we can find an answer together so we can all learn.

Ashley Stone said...

I think it's a great idea. I do think it's sad that the parents aren't more present in these young girl's lives.

Tami G said...

I think it's a GREAT idea!!!
there are way too many kids out there with parents who aren't even present at all... it's not just the lack of intimacy, it's also that so many young girls don't even HAVE anyone to talk to period. I think it's a great thing you are doing.

If you broaden it to boyz - give me a shout....I have a teenage boy that gives me fits most days, but we have a very open honest good relationship :)

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

I think this is great- it's generally easier for teens to talk to a more anonymous adult than their own parents, even when they have a good relationship. I never really asked my mom anything, I figured out a lot on my own, this would've been a wonderful thing for me as a teen!

Lluvia said...

WOW! this is a great way to influence young minds so very positively!!!!

i am very fortunate that i have always been able to talk to my mother about this things. she gave e lots of sex advice before i got married. yep; she gave me lots of advice on that area.

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

My daughter and I always talked so openly when she was young and we still do...it breaks my heart that others don't have that kind of relationship. I think what helped us was I started talking to both kids very early at levels they could understand. That way, I never had to have "the talk" on one specific day. I also bought them both books that were a bit more graphic than I was comfortable with...but it was information they needed to know. We talked about the questions they had after reading the books. Good for you...I'm glad you are helping these young girls.

Sue

Eva Gallant said...

My kids grew up when the internet was just beginning, and they did not have access to it until after they graduated from high school; for that I am gratefull. But I worry about my grandkids!

Miss Caitlin S. said...

Very good post. I think it's crucial to establish an open discourse with your children about the perils of life. I'm 25 and not a mom yet, but I know that one of the blessings I did have was being able to talk to my mom throughout high school. Kids will get the information they need no matter what... but if you are there to talk to, you know they're getting the correct information.

Raoulysgirl said...

I am so glad you ladies are doing this (because I know you are honestly good people) but this absolutely shocks the hell out of me!!! When in the world did it become necessary for young girls to find life info on the 'net? I did a post the other day about a video that I was afraid would attract the attention of impressionable young girls...don't know if you saw it or not.

That said, I must say again that I am SO GLAD that you two are putting your voices out there to these young kids! It's good to know that there is positive, morally sound source of info in the works here!!! It scares me to think of what else there may be lurking around!!!

Kristin said...

I think it is incredibly important what you are about to take on...a safe place for questions that could be embarrassing for a young girl. No advice...just wow. I'm in awe of your bravery!

Patrice said...

I would definitely include things pertaining to sex. Look around, it is everywhere! even in the cartoons and those supposedly innocent movies on the Disney channel.
Even though now I am a young adult, I too found it difficult to talk with my mom. I don't blame the internet though. My situation is rooted much deeper than that, but I do see and believe that this is the type of information teens crave these days. They need proper sex ed. So much are getting wrong advice from their "girlfriends"...

Ed said...

I am learning so much here.

I will totally be ready when I get my period.

ScoMan said...

I wonder how many of those 3,000 views left disappointed when the period blog wasn't what they thought it would be.

I think it's great what you two are doing helping out young people like that. You're right, there is a lot of bad information out there and if you can push even a few of them in the right direction and have them talking to people they know and trust rather than looking for information on the Internet, you've done a good job.

I'm not even going to mention the fact you've broadcast information over the Internet in an effort to negate some of the information that's on the Internet.

Maybe I'll mention that once.

Holly said...

That is a lot to think about...it is hard for me to fathom that my daughter will not one day be able to come to me. I was horrified by the entire "growing up experience" and did not want to talk about it at all, but I had someone I could talk to. I will put some serious thought into this..I was a big sister and many of the girls had no one to turn to.

SafeHomeHappyMom said...

Hi, I am your latest follower and I love love your blog!!! I will be hanging around for awhile to read more about it.

You can also follow me at www.safehomehappymom.com

Cameron said...

wow, you have tapped into an incredible opportunity here to reach out to these THOUSANDS of young girls who don't have a role model or mom they can talk to. When i was a kid i couldnt talk to my mom. there are many things that could have turned out a better way if i had someone to talk to. I'm so happy you are doing this. talking about sex, drugs, abuse, all the hardest stuff to deal with......letting them know they are not alone. I'm stoked you are doing this.
Cameron
www.conquerthemonkey.com

Tracie said...

My kiddo surfs YouTube all the time. The things he stumbles upon horrify me. It's nice to see someone putting positive things out there that are aimed for kids.

JennyMac said...

MiniMac is too little to surf the internet..thankfully. I think your video idea for your kids is wonderful and in the process, you could reach so many other kids who don't have open dialogue with their families.

Liz in Virginia said...

This is a great idea!

I do have to say that I am not as saddened by the girl who texted her mom when she got her period as you may be. She did text her mom, after all -- instead of keeping it from her completely.

I use texting and Facebook with my high school kids. The texting is primarily a tool for logistics: "I need a ride;" "can a pal come home with me for dinner?" But the tall boy in particular texts me with good news: "I got the lead in the school play!" and playful banter, like random Dr. Seuss quotes on the great man's birthday.

And Facebook is a great way to keep an "eye" on who they interact with.

This is too long, but I just wanted to emphasize that as parents we should not just focus on the scary aspects of the internet where our kids are concerned -- but rather embrace all the ways we can stay connected to them.

Liz in Virginia said...

As a re-read my comment, I want to also acknowledge that the scary part really is very scary. . . .