TALK LA - American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 to Friday, 14 October 2016
Los Angeles, CA

On September 28, 40 members of our joyful community gathered at the Belushi residence to TALK with our featured speaker, Nancy Jo Sales, who presented on her latest book, American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers

The event was opened by our Los Angeles Committee co-chairs and board members, Jenny Belushi and Heather Mnuchin, who set the context for the discussion and linked the book’s content to Joyful Heart’s work to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. 

As parents, as adults with young women and men in our lives, and as a community that shares the vision of a world free from violence, we know that these are difficult subjects to talk about. But we have to be courageous and bold and talk about them anyway so that instead of future generations having to start a conversation about these issues, they can join one that is already going on. 

Joyful Heart’s CEO, Maile Zambuto, shared statistics from a study commissioned by the Avon Foundation: three out of four (73%) parents with children under the age of 18 said that they have not had a conversation about domestic violence or sexual assault with their children. And yet, 64% of Americans say if we talk more about domestic violence and sexual assault, it would make it easier to help someone. 

And so, the group dove into a most difficult topic—social media—and how it has shaped a very new experience of what is already a very complicated period of development. Nancy Jo shared her findings in traveling across the U.S. to speak with over 200 girls, ages 13 – 19, to talk about social media, online bullying, dating sites, consent, pornography, and rape culture. The discussion was both illuminating and provocative, but all with the goal of equipping parents with the resources necessary to support our youth as they navigate the on and off line worlds of friendship, dating, and growing up with technology.

For more information on educating yourself on technology and discussing these issues with your children, please read Nancy Jo’s discussion guide for parents. 

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