teenage consequences

By now if you live in the greater Philadelphia region you have heard about the latest thing out of Conestoga High School. Two very white girls vaping, out of it, saying the N-word. Repeatedly.

This is unacceptable.  There is no other way to couch it.

It’s racist. It’s ignorant.

And then there is the whole vaping thing with what looks like that Juuling contraption I read about in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The article written by Mari Schaefer says (and I quote):

Social media is a window into the growing use of Juuls. In June, there were 10,000 Juul-related posts on Twitter. By December that number had climbed to 150,000, Dobbins said.

Locally, a video of two Conestoga High School students that has made the rounds on social media, more for the use of racial slurs, also shows one of the girls using a Juul.

In an email, officials at the Tredyffrin/Eastown School District in Chester County stated that using a Juul “would be considered a code of conduct violation, which would be enforced.”

Calls to local school districts, including Philadelphia, about Juuling on campus went largely unanswered — though two Montgomery County districts acknowledged the use of the product in their schools.

On Tuesday, wellness counselors in the Lower Merion School District sent a letter to middle and high school parents about the Juuling trend, suggesting parents talk “openly and honestly” with children about not only Juuling but also drugs and alcohol.


Ok now two excerpts from articles on the whole N-word situation:

Video of teens using racial slur sparks outrage at Conestoga
By Linda Stein, lstein@21st-centurymedia.com, @lsteinreporter on Twitter
POSTED: 03/10/18, 4:45 PM EST | UPDATED: 2 DAYS AGO

DEVON >> A video featuring some Conestoga High School students casually using the N-word is now the focus of a school board investigation.

The video, which was not made during school, is going viral – and not in a good way.

The video shows two white, teenage girls who are apparently vaping, using the N-word and laughing. The video has been widely shared on social media like Facebook and Twitter. The two girls have not been identified.


Community Matters: The “N”-Word has No Place in T/E Schools — Or in Any Schools!
March 9, 2018

I received several copies of the recent live social media post by two Conestoga High School girls with racial slurs. The ‘white’ girls use the “N”-word multiple times in the racially offensive video which has since gone viral.

For African-American students living in some parts of the country, the use of the N-word by their white peers may be routine. But I admit that in 2018, living in the T/E School District, I found the racial vitriol  of the video shocking and extremely disturbing. Am I naive to think that this video by a couple of Conestoga High School students is an isolated situation or … is it symptomatic of a bigger problem in the school district?

Following the video going viral, the T/E School District families received a letter from Superintendent Gusick which contained the following message, “T/E School District strongly condemns this and all forms of racist language. Although this video was not made during school, it has hurt and offended many in our school community. This is unacceptable behavior, and it will not be tolerated. The school will investigate fully and apply consequences as appropriate. T/E School District will continue to stand for respect and inclusion, with schools where all are welcomed to learn and grow.”


Now one of the girls was identified.  And her father posted a public apology. One has to feel his pain as a parent.

The actions of two teenage girls are going to have very extended consequences.  As I peered into the social media of it all, I was struck by something profound that a friend said to me:

I’m not saying in any way that what these girls did was OK – but the level of hate towards them is close to a lynching mob.

I have to agree.  Hate begets hate but somewhere we all as a society need to pause and think, don’t we?

Someone else said:

A number of problems have surfaced in this district but schools generally reflect the norms of their community rather than form them in a vacuum.

Also somewhat true.

I feel I have to ask why is it that only the girl who was the field hockey phenom on a fast track to UNC as an early field hockey commit was named by name?  Two girls are in that video.

And let’s step back and look at the other lesson here: two teenagers have learned that actions indeed have consequences and words do wound.

Teenagers never want to listen when you caution them about social media.  Even after the nationwide news in June 2017 when Harvard University revoked acceptances on students over…wait for it…offensive social media posts.

Words wound. Actions have consequences.  Teenagers are of the invincible age.  They imagine they are like teflon and nothing bad can happen.

Uhhh d’oh. Just because you think it’s cool to be an ass on social media, it doesn’t mean it won’t follow you.

Kids today live in a different kind of scrutiny filled world.  Instant communication is great, but now look at two teenage girls who have in essence, tanked their cozy little worlds for transmitting ignorance.

Someone else said to me today:

These girls were probably at home when they posted this video, not at school. So I don’t quite understand how it is the fault of the school district and not the parents. …There are so many good things that happen at Conestoga and so many amazing kids that go there. Just hate to see them all affected by the foolish actions of 2 students…please do not throw all the kids into one bucket. Take it from me, there are a lot of good things happening at Conestoga, You just don’t hear about them!


So we are back to the power of the Internet. Which, incidentally, is why we all hear about the negative things so often at Conestoga. And we have heard about a lot of negative incidents coming out of this school and the corresponding school district over the past couple of years, haven’t we? And while not indicative of every student, every teacher, every coach, and all parents it certainly does make one pause and wonder about an unpleasant culture that pops up every now and again, doesn’t it?

Expressions of hate aren’t cute little things to be tossed around while giggling with your friends.  Words wound and these are words that are just a big bag of wrong.

People speak of social media boot camps.  I think they should develop them for middle school and high schools everywhere. Make parents, educators, and students attend.

And as for the parents who will say things like they didn’t know.  Ok look, I am the step-parent of a teenager.  They are the secret society.  They communicate by text and various social media platforms and via their gaming systems .  But we are the adults.  And while we should resist the urge to be prison wardens, we need to be present.

Parents need to be clear that actions have consequences. Parents need to set boundaries. Have difficult or awkward discussions at times.

Teenagers need to realize that social media can and will follow them.  Even adults are turned down for jobs and even relationships because of what people see on social media.

Trust me, I know. I am a blogger.

I have the video the girls posted.  I was going to include it on this post, but decided NOT to include it.

I want to have a different conversation, and that is the conversation of how we can all work together as an extended community wherever we live to strive towards ending this crap.  

We as the adults in the equation need to set a better example for the future generations. We live in a crazy volatile world, as well as a crazy politically volatile country.

We need to teach our children well.

We need to appreciate differences in other.

And from the Lord’s Prayer:

And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.

I don’t know what else to say except, this whole situation saddens me. I feel like this country is spiraling out of control and it is reflected on every level of society and age group.

I am going to sign off now.  I have struggled with this post for hours.  I felt I had to write, but even now I wonder if in this situation are any words the right words?


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where’s my adults only dislike button?


Who else wishes that sometimes the easiest way to communicate with the teenagers wasn’t to send them a text even when you’re in the same house?

I am like the land of no fun in our house some days I think. And today I’m sure I will be even more because I decided it’s time for a mom vent. We’re allowed even as step parents, right? Where is my parental “dislike button” that solves all problems instantly in forever LOL? What??? There is no magic wand or button? No magic app? Come on! So not fair!

Take video games. I really don’t like video games, they have never intrigued me. I am definitely considered square as a result by the males in my house. What they don’t seem to get is I have less of a problem with video games, when things happen in moderation. But if you have a teen who is super into gaming, moderation goes right out the window. And all fairness to teenagers, I have seen adults do the same thing. It’s like they get sucked in and their brains with it.

And if left to their own devices kids totally into video games will literally game an entire day away or until their eyeballs bleed, whichever happens first. And some times they don’t even stop to eat or have anything to drink. And after a couple hours straight, they can get downright cranky, yelling at the TV screen and so on. And of course there is that social aspect where all the teens meet in their virtual world of gaming and talk to each other through their headphones. So how do you strike a balance without being the bad guy?2015/01/img_2947.jpg

Which is why when to comes to videogames I think a bank of hours works best. When the kid goes through the hours it’s their time management lesson. Sounds harsh but I almost miss the good old days when they went outside or read a book or had an actual conversation.

Next up? Social media/chat programs.

A friend of mine commented recently on how she thinks teenagers today are actually missing out on old school dating rituals for lack of a better description. She talked about the “good old days” when you took your girlfriends to check out a guy or vice versa, the furtive late night phone calls, and the fact that we have such awesome music to choose from growing up!

Here, I found it. This is what she said:

“Perhaps technology is taking away from the teen crush/dating experience. So many ways to communicate without the dreaded visit or phone call to the love interest’s house and through the parent “screening process” or the visit to their (potentially rival) hang out (like a pond or park) and through the friend “screening process.” This, combined with bad music, makes me feel badly for them.”

To that I add they are missing out on the talking and having actual conversations that enable them to truly get to know each other because all they do is TEXT. And I also wonder if that has something to do with how dates are planned now, which is often fairly last minute.

There are a million chat and text programs and apps out there. They change as quickly as clothing styles and hairstyles. Apps come in apps fall out of fashion. Do you really know what your kids are doing on any of these apps or programs?

Where is the balance of giving them their privacy but wanting them to be safe? Some parents are overly involved in this aspect of their kids lives and some rival Captain Oblivious in this area. Where is the middle ground?

Today a member of a parenting group I belong to posted what I am about to post. I will warn you it’s a little graphic, but it’s reality. Here it is:

Hey guys……. Let’s talk PHONES. Laptops desktops. iPads and Internet. Filtering. And social media and our kids. Especially as it relates to sexual conduct. I’m going out on a branch here to open up this conversation because Id like some feedback from this group.

I have recently become aware of some VERY disturbing things going on with kids. Are you filtering? Do your kids have iPhones? Data? Are they allowed on Instagram? Snapchat? Kik? Do you restrict their access to porn? Do you allow phones in room at night? Do you allow sleepovers? Are they allowed with phones in rooms at night on sleepovers? Are you aware of parents at other houses police any of this? Do you care?

I’m curious what others are doing, or not doing, because I have been made acutely aware that they think certain “things” are considered normal and common such as “group masterbation while watching porn on phones general porn watching on phones, “bro jobs” soggy waffle (nice) “Pansexuality” anal sex among 14 yr olds and a variety of other activities that are being cast as the new “norm”.

Number one. Are you aware of this? Number two what is anyone doing to help their kids. Thanks. Hope this post doesn’t deliver *crickets* lol

Unfortunately she’s not just whistling Dixie. How do you strike a balance without being the parental hate police? Tweens and teens are by nature secretive. They also think they know everything.

I am all for electronics being taken out of the bedrooms at night. I can only control what goes on in my house, I can’t control what goes on in the houses of the kids my kid is friends with. And for the most part I’m really lucky he knows good kids. But still….these programs and apps are worrisome.

A lot of these chat things the tweens and teens use promote ugliness like cyber bullying. I’ve seen it I know it happens. One website I find absolutely vile and astounding that any parent would allow their kids to have is an account on ask.FM.

And then there is what kids post. The young teen girls in particular don’t get the whole Lolita of it all. But then again you have to look at what some of the parents are posting. No one gets it some days.

Maybe I’m more aware of a lot of this because I’ve been a blogger for a few years. Maybe I’m more aware of some of this is because as an adult I was cyberbullied for a few months straight. Or maybe I just think too much and I shouldn’t post this post after all…

Someone pointed out this web article:

Crosswalk.com 9 Most Dangerous Apps for Kids

Here is the list they compiled:

Whisper , YikYak, kik ,ChatRoulette , Omegle,snap chat, Tinder (This app, and similar apps such as Down, Skout, Pure, Blendr are all about the hook up), Poof (hides apps on your phone screen),

Now this website is a faith based one, which isn’t necessarily my cup of tea, but they aren’t necessarily wrong about raising awareness of apps and what they do. I don’t see Vine as particularly harmful, either.

They left off Ask.fm . Seriously that site is vile. An article released today indicates they are trying to “clean up their act”:

Ask.FM cleans up its act Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY 9:04 a.m. EST January 15, 2015

LOS ANGELES — In the five months since Ask.com has taken over the controversial anonymous app Ask.FM, usage has dropped as the new owner has tried to clean up practices.

From its peak of 200 million users before Ask bought Ask.FM last summer, the app now has 150 million monthly users. Ask.com CEO Doug Leeds doesn’t mind.

“We’re in it for the long haul. We’ll get great growth when we get the message that it’s now a safe place to be,” he says.

With the app, used heavily by teens around the globe, you can anonymously ask people questions, ranging from “Do you think I’m cute?” to “why are you so unpopular?”

Before IAC unit Ask.com bought Ask.FM, the Latvia-based app was targeted by several district attorneys after teens committed suicide, apparently after bullying from users of the app.

Tech4Mommies lists their problem app list as Poof or Hide App, SnapChat, Whisper, Kik, YikYak, Tinder, Vine, and Ask.fm. CheckupNewsRoom.com lists their problem app list as: YikYak, SnapChat, Kik, Poof, Omegle, Whisper, and Down. EducateEmpowerKid.org lists as their list Tinder, SnapChat, Blendr, Kik, Whisper, Ask.fm, YikYak, Poof, Omegle, Down.

My take away is it doesn’t matter if it’s a faith-based website or just a parent-centric website, there is a commonality in as much as the list of what problem apps are. So are we paying attention to these things? Are we being too laissez faire or too hypervigilant? Or none of the above? And what are our schools doing really? Are they leaving this up to us as parents or are they really in fact an active partner in figuring this all out? As far as schools go, I’m leaning a little more towards the lip service category. It’s like cyber bullying – they seem talk a good game and have “policies” but what do they really do?

I also found this interesting:

“Facebook Is Dead To Us”: What Teens Think About 11 Of The Biggest Social Networks Tuesday, January 13, 2015 by Ari Herstand

19 year old, Andrew Watts, is a sophomore Management Information Systems major (marketing minor) at the University of Texas in Austin and penned an interesting glimpse into the world of teenage (and college) consumption (or lack thereof) of the biggest social networks. We see studies day in and day out from Gallup or Pew on polling that is then interpreted by all the hot tech blogs, but very few articles actually cite real, blood pumping teenage humans. And by the time the studies are published, most likely, the stats are dated – as teenage trends move in and out so quickly. What do they actually think, in their own words, about the various social networks? Watts lays it out:

Watts states: “It’s dead to us. Facebook is something we all got in middle school because it was cool but now is seen as an awkward family dinner party we can’t really leave.” ….“Snapchat is quickly becoming the most used social media network.” He explains, the difference between Snapchat and Instagram is in the etiquette. On Snapchat people will post photos and videos of their night as it happens. The good, the bad and the fugly. On Instagram they post “the cutest one of the bunch.”…..Yik Yak is simple. There are no profiles and no followers. Anyone can post anything and it gets up or down thumbed (ala Reddit). Everything from “I just farted” to “Going to the girls basketball game tonight at 8.” He says everyone is on it before class, during class, and after class to find out what is going on around campus. Yik Yak is hyper local (only shows posts within a 10 mile radius). So he says completely unused during school breaks.

Related to above:

Medium.com: A Teenager’s View on Social Media Written by an actual teen

Medium.com: An Old Fogey’s Analysis of a Teenager’s View on Social Media

I discovered a website that seems to make things pretty pretty balanced. It’s called ConnectSafely.org . It’s geared towards teens, parents, and educators.

The thing is this: we want to encourage kids to make smart choices. We want to keep the lines of communication open as well. The problem is we’re talking about tweens and teens and they don’t want to talk to us a lot of the time. Get real ……did you want to talk to your parents about stuff you didn’t want to talk to your parents about it when you were their age?

It’s frustrating. I am the first person to admit it. And I have been at this parenting game a lot fewer years than a lot of the rest of you out there. How do you strike the balance? A lot of that balance has to do with being a friend versus being a parent. Add to that when your kids come in contact with the parenting styles of their friends’ parents. And what works and some families doesn’t necessarily work in others.

You can’t wrap your kids and cotton wool and you can’t shield them from the world. They have to experience life on their own terms, and one of the hard things I’m learning about being a parent is trusting them and letting them go enough to do that. You can provide them with a good moral compass, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to shield them from the inappropriate in life. It’s part of life, after all.

To me, I keep coming back to balance and moderation. I also have to be accepting of the things that I don’t like and what my teenager doesn’t like that I don’t like. Somewhere in the middle I think lies the answer. Rules and common sense don’t hurt either.

But as parents we can’t be ostriches a stick our heads in the sand and say. “La la la la this isn’t happening” any more than we can be the parent police. So I guess as much as it can be uncomfortable for both sides of the fence as in teens and parents, it’s an ongoing work in progress and necessary conversation isn’t it?

I will close by saying I’m a modern woman with an old-fashioned side I’m discovering when to comes to parenting. I’m not the cool parent who going to say let’s have a co-ed sleepover I think that’s bunk and to an extent asking for trouble. I am the parent who is going to ask questions, because in as much as anything else it’s how I learn about things….not just the inner workings of the teenage mind.

I try not to be the Parental Spanish Inquisition but when you’re dealing with teenagers sometimes everything is the Parental Spanish Inquisition. And in a way this is a brave new world for me because growing up there was a lot I did not feel like I could talk to my parents about safely, so I have to learn how to talk to kids about certain things.

The flip side of course is sometimes teenagers could give their parents less of a hard time. I know, I know. That is the age old battle time in memoriam isn’t it?

Thanks for stopping by.


women and social media


One of my mother’s favorite expressions is “never complain, never explain”. As I flip through Facebook this morning while having my coffee, I thought I would pass it on. Some people might actually need it cross stitched and framed. Do you sense sarcasm here? Just a little bit? Sorry, I just find women and social media an oddity at times.

There is a lot of glass half empty and what the world owes people going on online. But maybe that is just social media: our own personal platforms for way too much grexing. (“Grexing” is Pennsylvania German for whining, complaining, or brutzing.)

I understand that everyone has troubles at different points in their lives and I totally get feeling the need to vent now and then, but there are some who are always seeming to be this way. I don’t know if they are this way in person all the time at this point or if this is just their online persona. But it’s like they are constantly negative and chronically angry and how is that healthy?

Trust me, I can whine with the best of them. But when you seem to be barraged with it from certain people all the time it gives you pause for thought. Is the glass really always half-empty? Why isn’t it ever half-full?

None of us are perfect, but do some of us simply expect too much of other people without looking to see what we can do by standing on our own two feet? It’s just that when I see some of what some people are putting “out there” for the world to see versus friends I have who lives with horrible diseases every single day and are among the most positive people I’ve ever met, it just makes me stop and think. I know women who are living with diseases like multiple sclerosis and metastatic breast cancer. Truthfully, these are the women that inspire me. They have every right to complain, but they don’t. They live. And they live positively and with love.

Whatever happened to personal accountability? Why is the world responsible for everything that goes wrong in our lives? We are all capable of free will, so unless we are being dangerously coerced or abused, aren’t we the ones making those decisions? From businesses to kids to life to men it’s giant gripe-fest some mornings. In some cases I can’t help but wonder if it’s karma, and I feel bad even thinking that, but when you treat other people poorly or rudely for long enough, what happens? Is it the old adage of everything that goes around eventually comes around?

A dear friend’s husband said to me that I need new people in my sphere, and I don’t think I necessarily that but I think some need a new outlook. And I’m not Pollyanna every day, so don’t misunderstand me, it’s just sometimes I am left silently asking these people a question. That question is how are we responsible for your personal happiness? And I am not silently asking that question to be mean. I want to know how it is we are supposed to be responsible for own lives and our families and their happiness? And yet we are called disloyal and worse if we don’t jump on the online bandwagon of support, which I don’t get. Do these people want true friends or sychophants?

Personally, I am someone who can be extraordinarily hard on myself. I am probably harder on myself than anyone else ever is. But when I see other people’s negativity head on it gives me pause, and makes me look inward at myself and my attitude too for that matter.

And then there are the women I see in groups who ask questions of total strangers that I don’t know that I would even voice out loud to people I know. Some of the questions range from the “lady you need boundaries that’s very personal” to “say what did she really just say that?”

And in group forums, there are some women who seem to view everyone else as the Shell Answer Man for lack of a better description. Sometimes I wonder if these people can get out of bed in the morning without seeking consensus first. Looking for referrals for a doctor, hair salon, restaurant, service provider I get those questions. But what I don’t get is when people post things like they have a cheating spouse and spouse was a cheating person before they married them and they just caught them at it again and what should they do should they just stay or should they leave? Really??? This is something you ask a thousand strangers ??

Another another favorite topic in the group forums is what to pay the babysitter. I’ve come to the conclusion there are a lot of cheap women out there.

And then there are the women who seek actual medical advice from a thousand strangers they don’t know and who definitely aren’t medical professionals- yes, that consensus seeking syndrome again. And I’m not talking about their asking medical related questions in a group that is geared specifically towards a disease or disorder. I’m talking about the women who should be filed under the category of “there are no boundaries on this bus”. And really, I don’t need to read what color your kid’s poop is either. (Yes seriously I have seen people post things about that.)

The thing that amuses me about some of these women when I see what they’re writing in public (and if it’s on Facebook or Twitter or other social media, it’s in public) is that these are often the type of women that I would run into a few short years ago who would say “I don’t know how you can blog. It’s so public.” And the tone of voice and face that would accompany comments like this was like I was doing something well, dirty.

Yes, to an extent, the Internet is like a giant bathroom wall. Which means what exactly? A society we are changing how we share? Or it’s just nice to have a place to vent? Or we should learn to once again to occasionally curb the streams of flowing consciousness?

Another amusing thing about women and social media are the ones who try to develop a particular persona that’s really not who they are in real time. I’m talking about the ones who are all so sickly sweet and posting cute little phrases often with photos constantly while they God bless everyone and thank God for blessings everything. And I am not speaking of the people I know who are truly good and Christian women, I’m talking about the ones that think we don’t know how they treat other people in real time and how viciously they gossip when they’re off their social media pages.

I really respect women who are who real and true online and off.

One of my favorite things hands-down still about connecting with women I know on social media is it’s a way to keep up with relatives and friends who are spread out and scattered to the four winds. It’s really nice to see pictures of their kids, and hear about what everyone is doing. One of the sad things however, is you can also see those who are starting to self-destruct and disintegrate. It makes you wonder why their families don’t see it too at times.

And then we all know people who seem unable to have actual conversations any longer, yet you can read all about it on social media. Maybe I am showing my age that I lament the lost art of conversation and even thank you notes. But I do think people don’t talk to each other enough any longer. Texting and tweeting and Facebooking are not talking. They might be a form of communication, but it is not the same nor a substitute for speaking and having conversations. And this doesn’t just occur with adults, it occurs with the young – our kids. And I think our kids need to be able to communicate and express how they’re feeling traditionally not just via social media and texting. And a lot of times they can’t.

I know some people I know are going to be annoyed or almost paranoid by this post I’ve written. Ladies, rest easy, the one thing that has never changed with me in all these years is telling you exactly how I am feeling person to person. If I had an issue with you I wouldn’t allude to it vaguely on a social media feed or in a blog post, I would tell you. In other words I’m not gonna play whisper down the lane behind your back yet in front of your face like a lot of people do on social media, this is just something I was thinking about as I was drinking my coffee this morning.

Thanks for stopping by and please, try to see the bright spots in life. It’s really easy to be negative, it’s much more work to be positive but so worth it. Life, every day, is a gift.