Category Archives: Resources for tween and teen girls

Before You Hit Send – social media tips for parents + tweens + teens

STEP 1.  BASIC ONLINE DO’S & DONT’S

  1. Don’t use your child’s photo or real name when setting up apps or certain social media accounts.
  2. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know in real life.
  3. Don’t agree to meet up with people you don’t know in real life.
  4. Don’t chat to randoms online – even if you think they’re kids. Social media and gaming apps are stalked by adult predators looking for children to groom. 
  5. Don’t give out your address, school or phone number online to anyone. And don’t share your passwords!
  6. Most importantly – check the privacy settings on the platform or app you are using (see tips below)
  7. Follow Susan McLean – Cyber Safety Expert, Leonie Smith – The Cyber Safety Lady and Be Web Smart on Facebook to get regular updates on the latest dangerous and dodgy apps and safety tips for your tech devices. 

 

STEP 2. SECURE YOUR DEVICES

  1. You want to stop strangers from finding out where you live, work or go to school which they can easily do from the photos and videos you post.  Turn off Geo-Tagging on your camera.  Otherwise geographical information is added in the form of metadata to photos, videos, SMS, websites. Go to  LOCATION SERVICES and turn it off for your camera and any apps that don’t need it. (See Social Media Reputation Management booklet for instructions)
  2. TURN OFF Frequent Locations which can tell anyone who picks up your phone where you live.  
  3. If your device gets stolen or your friends decide to play a prank by hacking your account — you want to be able to stop them from accessing your device!  Have a pin number on  all your devices. And don’t tell your friends your pin numbers or log in details.
  4. Again to stop people accessing your accounts – set up Two-Step Verification On Accounts:                  Facebook:  Account > Settings > Security > Login Approvals          Apple          Google          Twitter
  5. Set up restricted viewing on Google, YouTube, your Mac or PC. Click here to access notes on setting YOUTUBE to “Restricted Mode”
  6. For younger kids (10 and under) Use YouTube Kids, Kiddle  or Safe Search Kids (powered by Google) . Remember: no amount of net filtering replaces parent supervision!

USEFUL LINKS

FREE Social Media Reputation Management’ booklet from the Australian Federal Police. It details privacy settings for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat and mobile devices.

Social Media Platform Safety Centres: FULL LIST of contacts

FACEBOOK: Basic Privacy Settings  and   How Can I See What My Facebook Profile Looks Like To Other People?   YOUTUBE TUTORIAL

INSTAGRAM:  Privacy & Safety Tips for Instagram

SNAPCHAT: Safety Tips for Snapchat

SAFE SEARCH ENGINES FOR KIDS:  YouTube Kids, Kiddle, Safe Search Kids 

Who’s Chatting To Your Kids?: Queensland Police Force

The advantages of helping kids navigate the digital world – The Atlantic 

15 Useful  iPhone Hacks including setting ‘Do Not Disturb’ on your phone so you can’t receive messages while you’re studying 😉

More iPhone hacks including getting more storage

How to save data on you iPhone: the small hack that can make a difference to your data use.

 

USEFUL APPS

HELP ME – The Denise and Bruce Morcombe Safety App.  Download this app for 99cents and any person can call for help at the push of a button.   “The ‘Help Me’ button sounds a warning and allows you to send off an SMS text to two (2) nominated ‘safety’ numbers, as part of your Trusted Safety Network. Included in the text are GPS co-ordinates from where the text was sent, so the sender can be located or a last known place of contact is indicated.”

Checky  This app will tell you just how often you  (or your child) check your phone! 

Send This Instead  Humorous ways to respond when you’re asked for a naked pic

OurPact  Free parental control app that limits screen time and access to apps and sites.

Colour Therapy Popular free colouring-in app

Chore Bank:  The app that lets you keep track of your kids’ chores and the pocket money they’ve earned.

Canvsly: a clever app to help you digitally store your children’s artwork 

 

YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT

Set up a Google Alert for your name and email address so you can keep track about what’s said about you on-line. 

The resume is dead: your next click might determine your next job – The Guardian

Your digital footprint matters – Huffington Post

Be Social Be Smart – the power of positive posting. A terrific Brisbane-based company who specialise in presentations for year 10-12  high school students on their digital footprint. 

 

CELEBRITIES TALKING ABOUT STEPPING AWAY FROM SOCIAL MEDIA

Gigi Hadad on social media increasing her anxiety and her decision to take a month away from social media. 

 

CYBERBULLYING

The most important thing to remember if you are being cyberbullied is that you’re not alone and there are adults who can help you.

Keep evidence of the bullying (save emails, take screenshots of messages or posts), delete and block the bully and report the problem to the Safety Centre of the platform or app (you can find a full list here).  And most importantly tell an adult you trust. And keep telling adults until someone does something to help you. 

How To Take A Screenshot On Any Device 

Report Cyberbullying: Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner

Legal Aid Queensland: Laws surrounding cyber-bullying and what to do about it. 

The National Children’s and Youth Law Centre, can provide free legal advice for anyone under 18, or anyone acting on their behalf.

Bullying No Way website for kids, teens, parents and teachers

 

HOUSEHOLD INTERNET AGREEMENT / PARENTAL CONTROL APPS

FREE Family Internet Safety Agreement created by the Australian Federal Police.

List of different parental control apps

FREE OurPact parental control app that limits screen time by blocking internet and app access.

Review of OurPact app by the Be Web Smart site.

How To Find Hidden Apps On Your Child’s Phone

 

CONSENT/PORN/NAKED SELFIES

Avalanche of Violent Porn Affecting Our Young

The National Children’s and Youth Law Centre, are experts in sexting and the law, and can provide free legal advice for anyone under 18, or anyone acting on their behalf. If you find naked images on your child’s device, take a breath and ring these guys first to get some clear, calm advice on how to proceed.

Legal Aid Queensland: The law surrounding sexting and sharing naked images

Send This Instead:  a free app providing humorous responses to help young people say no when pressured to send intimate photos.

It’s No Coincidence A Vile Instagram Account Was Set Up By Boys From An Elite Private School by Catherine Lumby

A Letter To My Son About Porn by Harriet Pawson

Consent is like a cup of tea — a video designed to help young men  and women understand the concept of consent. IMPORTANT!

 

RECOMMENDED READING

The advantages of helping kids navigate the digital world

Sexts, Texts and Selfies by Susan McClean (Australian)

Keeping Kids Safe Online by the Leonie Smith, the Cyber Safety Lady (Australian)  

 

RECOMMENDED SITES
The Cyber Safety Lady  (Australian)

Be Web Smart: For the analog parent in a digital world (American)
CommonSense Media (American)

 

RESOURCES FOR YOUR TEEN WHEN THEY NEED HELP

Headspace: National youth mental health foundation 

Youth Beyond Blue

Kids Helpline or call 1800 551 800

Parentline: 1300 30 1300 www.parentline.com.au

Lifeline: 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au

Relationships Australia: 130 364 277 www.relationships.org.au

1800Respect Online: 1800 737 732 www.1800respect.org.au

Child Safety Services (Qld): 1800 177 135

www.communities.qld.gov.au/childsafety/protecting-children

The List: My go-to resources for tween and teen girls …

Here it is. My go-to list. (If you’re looking for my list of resources for teenage BOYS click here)

I feel like so many parents are feeling anxious and panicked about the world our daughters currently live in. Every day we’re faced with screaming headlines about teenage sex. Binge drinking. Eating disorders. Depression. Risky online choices. ARGH! But let’s not panic. As someone who is regularly in high schools talking to teenage girls — the girls I get to meet are smart and funny and strong BUT that’s not to say they don’t need help navigating this new world we’re in. (I cannot tell you how glad I am that smart phones didn’t exist when I was 14). So what I’ve listed below are just some of the terrific websites, books and docos I would recommend to anyone who has a tween or teen girl in their life. The most important thing I can say to you is that there is no ONE conversation to have with your daughter about online choices (or friendships or sex or whatever for that matter). All of these topics are BIG and it’s about having lots of conversations all the time. Start a running dialogue which includes items in the news, storylines in books or movies or TV shows and other issues that come up day to day. Keep talking. Everything is a “teachable moment”. Think back to what it was like being in high school. And practice listening to your daughter.

This list is just a starting point. There are loads of other great books and sites out there. List your suggestions in the comments! And I’ll keep adding to this list too.BiMsRN3CIAAS2fg

Here’s to raising strong, smart, fierce girls who refuse to play small ….

Bec Sparrow xxx

SOCIAL MEDIA pages for you and your daughter to follow

Here’s the thing with social media (whatever platform you use Instagram, Facebook etc) is that you need it to work FOR you not against you.  If the only people you’re following are friends (or friends of  friends of friends!) then you’re mostly just looking from side to side.  Make sure your  feed is full of people who make you look OUTWARDS.  Fill it with people who inspire you, who call forth your best, who remind you of your values or what you stand for or who simply make you laugh.  This is about protecting your headspace —  so think about curating your feed so that what is given priority are those people and organisations who make you smile rather those who leave you feeling less than.

The Atlas of Beauty:  ‘Female photographer Mihaela Noroc travels and captures the natural beauty around the world showing the diversity of our planet through portraits of women.’
Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls – Who doesn’t love Amy Poehler? Right? This is a great resource for female role models and women doing cool things around the world. Official blurb: “Founded by actor and writer Amy Poehler and producer Meredith Walker, the Smart Girls organisation is dedicated to helping young people cultivate their authentic selves.”
A Mighty Girl – A Mighty Girl is the world’s largest collection of books, toys, and movies for parents, teachers, and others dedicated to raising smart, confident, and courageous girls
Beauty Redefined — A not-for-profit site dedicated to redefining the meaning and value of beauty in our lives.
The Body Image Movement  Celebrating body diversity and body positivity – a site created by Australia’s Taryn Brumfitt. (AWESOME! And Australian!)  While you’re there also show them the Dove Evolution video. Yes, I know it’s Dove. And it’s been around for a while but this video is still a great reminder to tween girls about AIR BRUSHING OF IMAGES!
Enlighten Education  Enlighten Education runs programs in schools to help girls decode the mixed messages they receive. Enlighten is all about girls developing their self-worth. AMAZING Australian organisation run by Dannielle Miller.
Geena Davis Institute On Gender In Media  “If she can see it, she can be it.”  Great feminist site about the representation of women in media.This site will arm you with facts and stats. “The Institute is the only research-based organization working within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate, and influence the need to dramatically improve, gender balance, reduce stereotyping and create diverse female characters in entertainment targeting children 11 and under.”

Hey Sigmund: where the science of psychology meets the art of being human.  This is a GORGEOUS, USEFUL website for parents and non-parents alike. Psychologist Karen Young offers wisdom + the latest research on everything from relationship break-ups to parenting young kids and teens. GREAT RESOURCE.

Orange Sky Laundry: This is what good men look like.  Two Brisbane men (uni students and mates) created the first mobile laundry service providing homeless people with access to free washing/drying facilities. LOVE.

UN Women Australia “Empower a woman, empower a nation. The Australian National Committee for UN Women is one of 18 National Committees worldwide. We are committed to gender equality and the empowerment of women. Join us in supporting women and girls worldwide by ending poverty, ending violence against women and creating a better future for all.”
Children’s Books Daily — this site run by award-winning Brisbane teacher-librarian Megan Daley is my go-to source for kids and YA recommendations. Megan KNOWS books like nobody else. If you or your tween/teen are looking for reading recommendations, Megan has them.

Words With Heart – an Australian company who produce eco-friendly notebooks and journals for girls and women. Fantastic covers! And part of the profits go towards educating girls around the world.  The WWH Facebook page is always full of interesting posts about women and feminism.
Penguin Teen (they do a great FB page on what’s hot in YA books)
Smiling Mind – teaching kids and adults about mindfulness and meditation. Their app is TERRIFIC.

GIVIT and GIVIT KIDS (a great not-for-profit site that encourages people to donate their unwanted, no longer needed items to specific people in genuine need. Givit Kids allows Australian kids to help other Aussie kids in need.)
The Women’s Legal Service Queensland Interesting articles and stats on domestic violence as well as how to spot it and how to get out.

RIZE UP:  Providing practical assistance to Australian families affected by domestic violence.

Charity Spam: An Australian hub for all things socially kind. Get involved in your community.

 

A FEW OF THE INTERESTING WOMEN I FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA 

Here are just a few you may not already be following …

Celeste Barber:  This Australian comedian’s hilarious Instagram account pokes fun at the ridiculousness of many celebrity social media posts.  LOVE.  
Lucy Perry CEO   I love Lucy Perry – she’s the CEO of Sunrise Cambodia and she regularly posts inspiring, smart, cool stuff. She’s brilliant.

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Turia Pitt – Um. it’s TURIA PITT. She’s fierce.

Emma Watson  Actress (beloved for her portrayal of Hermione in the Harry Potter films) she is a feminist, UN Global Goodwill Ambassador and actor.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied   2015 Queensland Young Australian of the Year, Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a mechanical engineer, social advocate, writer and petrol head. At 16 she founded Youth Without Borders. Born in Sudan, raised in Australia she is a force of nature! 

Mia Freedman:  Creative genius, feminist, entrepreneur, empire-builder, tea-lover and the co-founder of the Mamamia Women’s Network. BOOM.  Mia’s podcast No Filter is where she has extraordinary conversations with some of the most fascinating women (and men) in the country.

Chrissie Swan:  hilarious, brilliant TV and radio host. Mum to three small people. I love her.

Caroline Overington: Caroline is a two-timeWalkley-award winning journalist and best-selling author.  You want your daughter to be following smart, strong women? Caroline Overington is one of them.

Meshel Laurie: Meshel is more than just a comedian, a columnist and a radio host, she’s an activist. Following Meshel’s Facebook page and listening to her podcast (The Nitty Gritty Committee) I have learned so much about so many marginalised groups and people in Australia.  Meshel is using her time in the sun to spotlight important social justice issues.

Tara Moss author, speaker, feminist and ambassador for the Full Stop Foundation  (an organisation dedicated to putting an end to sexual assault and domestic violence).

Natasha Stott Despoja Natasha is Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls. She is a  former politician and former leader of the Australian Democrats. Natasha’s Twitter feed is always informative and inspiring.

Gloria Steinem:  Feminist icon, writer, activist.

Jean Kilbourne:  Jean Kilbourne is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising. She is must famous for her documentary KILLING US SOFTLY

Malala Fund Inspired by teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, this page is focused on allowing girls to go to school and raising their voices for their right to an education.

Melinda Gates  Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, businesswoman, and mother. Dedicated to helping all people lead healthy, productive lives.

Michelle Obama: Because, you know, it’s MICHELLE OBAMA

J.K Rowling:  No explanation needed, really.

Jamila Rizvi – writer, presenter, political junkie.  I fully suspect Jam is going to end up as our next female Prime Minister. Just watch …

Maya Angelou: Facebook page of the late, great author, poet and  feminist

Elizabeth Gilbert  the official FB page of author Elizabeth Gilbert is hilarious, fiesty and kind. She does swear a lot so keep that in mind if your daughter is younger and/or you are easily offended.

Carly Findlay – award-winning blogger, writer and appearance activist

Brene Brown:  Brene is a research professor at The University of Houston studying vulnerability, courage, shame, and authenticity. www.brenebrown.com

Cate Campbell and Bronte Campbell:  Olympians, World Record Holders, Australian swmming legends

Laura Geitz: Captain of the Queensland Firebirds and the Australian Diamonds. Netball, baby!

Gretchen Rubin   The New York Times best-selling author is a happiness expert. Gretchen posts lots of links and interesting research on habits and happiness.

Other great names for teenage girls to have on their radar:  journalists Sarah Ferguson, Julia Baird, Annabel Crabb, Leigh Sales, Susan Carland, Kate McClymont, Dr Fiona Wood, indigenous author Dr Anita Heiss,  Captain Catherine McGregor, indigenous author Tara June Winch, the late disability activist Stella Young, Olympian Anna Meares, cook Poh Ling Yeow, entrepreneur Therese Rein, Australia’s first indigenous woman elected into the Lower House Linda Burney MP and former politician and now Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott Despoja.

 

BOOKS – NON-FICTION for you and your daughter to read

 

Fantastic book for tween and teen girls

Fantastic book for tween and teen girls

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls  – 100 tales of extraordinary women. This book is FANTASTIC.  Makes a terrific birthday present for a tween or teen girl.

Amazing Babes by Eliza Sarlos (this book is BRILLIANT — gorgeous hardcover brimming with female role models. Makes a great present!)

Girls Think Of Everything: stories of ingenious inventions by women by Catherine Thimmesh and Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran My favourite book on feminism by comedy writer Caitlin Moran she covers everything from brazilians to strip clubs to abortion to workplace sexism.
Girl Stuff by Kaz Cooke (this is the bible on everything relating to teenage girls — great resource to have. Note: there is a new edition coming out for girls aged 8-12)

 

Speaking Out by Tara Moss (I haven’t read this yet but it comes highly recommended)
Half the Sky: turning oppression into opportunity by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Embrace by Taryn Brumfitt
The Girl With The Butterfly Tattoo by Danielle Miller
Lovability: an empowered girl’s guide to dating and relationships by Dannielle Miller and Nina Funnell (Great book!)
The Gift of Fear (and other survival signals that protect us from violence) by Gavin De Becker
For Foxes’ Sake: everything a fox needs to know about sex by Row Murray – this is a really great book by an Australian author that dishes up terrific advice about sex and your body. Highly recommend.
Ugly by Robert Hoge

How To Be Happy (a memoir of love, sex and teenage confusion)  by David Burton

Everything to live for by Turia Pitt
If you are Christian and want something reflecting those values then go for books by Sharon Witt.

My non-fiction books for teenage girls …AMA
* Find Your Tribe (and 9 other things I wish I’d known in high school) by Rebecca Sparrow
* Find Your Feet (the 8 things I wish I’d known before I left high school) by Rebecca Sparrow
* Ask Me Anything (heartfelt answers to 65 anonymous questions from teenage girls) by Rebecca Sparrow

BOOKS – FICTION for you and your daughter
My current recommendation (which was given to me by Megan Daley at Children’s Books Daily) is:
Saving Jazz by Kate McCaffrey – this is a YA novel which is incredibly powerful about online behaviour, consent and the ramifications of sharing naked images without someone’s consent. It’s blunt and realistic – expect f-bombs but it will speak to many teens. Great to see a novel dealing with the issue of sharing naked images from the point of view of three perpetrators (two male and one female).

 

BOOKS – NON-FICTION FOR PARENTS
Girls and Sex: navigating the complicated new landscape by Peggy Orenstein (this is BRILLIANT)
Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein
Sexts, Texts And Selfies by Susan McLean (also known as the Cyber Cop)
Queen Bees and Wannabes (helping your daughter survive cliques, gossip, boyfriends and other realities of adolesence) by Rosalind Wiseman
Keep an eye out for articles online written by Mia Freedman who writes terrific stories on feminism for Mamamia.com.au
The Butterfly Effect: raising happy, confident teen girls by Dannielle Miller
Rising Strong by Brené Brown
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Everything to Live For by Turia Pitt

VIDEO FOR PARENTS:  Rosalind Wiseman (author of Queen Bees and Wannabes). This is talk she gives on parenting teenagers.

DOCOS

Big Bad Love: With young women 18-24 being most at risk of abuse, Australian comedian Becky Lucas sets out to understand what an abusive relationship looks like, how it begins and why it’s so hard to intervene.

Killing Us Softly 4 – Advertisings image of women:  this doco is based on Jean Killbourne’s lecture on gender stereotypes and the image of women in advertising.

Miss Representation – this 2010 doco explores how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in influential positions by circulating limited and often disparaging portrayals of women.
Embrace by Taryn Brumfitt (pre-order on iTunes now) ** this is a must-watch for all tweens and teens
He Named Me Malala (the story of Malala Yousafzai)
Bully

VIDEOS

We Should All Be Feminists TEDX Talk by Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  This Ted Talk is brilliant and discusses the importance of feminism. It’s so powerful that Beyonce sampled part of this speech in the opening of her song Flawless.

Consent is like a cup of tea — a video designed to help young women understand the concept of consent. IMPORTANT!

Texting While Driving — some young drivers talk about their texting and driving habits and then are faced with a woman who lost her family to texting driver.

INTERESTING ARTICLES/COLUMNS

Anxiety in Kids: How to turn it around and protect them for life

This one phrase will stop gossip immediately

Charm Offensive: A surprising red flag for domestic violence (Sydney Morning Herald, 2016)

Four Things To Remember During Schoolies Week by Rebecca Sparrow

To The Men I Love About The Men Who Scare Me

The Day Iceland’s Women Went On Strike

PODCASTS

There are thousands but a new one to give a whirl is Eliza Starting at 16 by Eliza Rubin ( Eliza is the teenage daughter of Happiness researcher Gretchen Rubin).

Also No Filter by Mia Freedman will introduce you to some of Australia’s most fascinating people past interviewees include Lisa Wilkinson, Captain Catherine McGregor, Ita Buttrose, Sarah Ferguson and Gloria Steinem.

The Nitty Gritty Committee hosted by Meshel Laurie is an education in being human.

 

STATIONERY

Words With Heart is an Australian company who produce eco-friendly notebooks and journals with fantastic covers for girls. Covers that say things like “She believed she could so she did” and “Small acts can change the world” and “Be Bold Be Brave Be Kind”. Best of all the company donate a percentage of their profits to educating girls around the world.

POETRY (!!)

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

The Storms Will Come by Tyler Knott

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

The Journey by Mary Oliver

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

 

RESOURCES FOR YOUR TEEN WHEN THEY NEED HELP (I’m only listing a few — I have a full long list at the back of each of my books)

Headspace: National youth mental health foundation 

Youth Beyond Blue

Kids Helpline