As someone whose teen years are miles away in the rear view mirror, I often find myself using that trite expression, “Back when I was a kid,” with my teenage children. Cue the eye rolling. No wonder. The time before Internet, cell phones, Snapchat, even answering machines, must seem like the dark ages to them. Where we had to comb through World Book encyclopedias and spend hours in the library, teens today have a wealth of resources right at their fingertips. On the downside, social media and the pressure to have a 24/7 online presence only add to the academic, social, and sexual pressures they’re already feeling.
As a mother of teens and a writer of YA fiction, I’m not only interested in what life is like for teens today, it’s crucial research for my writing. Luckily there are several recent posts that provide the latest info on what teenagers think, feel, and want. For you YA writers out there, I hope these links help you generate ideas and/or write accurate portrayals of teens and their interactions with their friends and family. For parents, you might find useful information here to better understand your teens.
• In Business Insider’s State of the Union on the American teenager, 60 teenagers reveal what they think is cool — and what isn’t — in 2016
• Arlington Magazine interviewed teens from the Arlington, VA area who give it to us straight in 9 Things Your Teens Wish You Knew.
• As part of the Booklist series, Schooled Unexpectedly or Talking with Teens about Tough Issues, on The Hub, high school librarian Alicia Abdul presents her picks of books that deal with tough issues for teens.
• In her book American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, Nancy Jo Sales looks at the pressures on teenage girls socially and sexually. David Greene interviews her about her book on NPR.
• Finally, say hello to Clover, a new feminist newsletter that recognizes that young women are interested in more than just how to get a guy and stay trendy.