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

Thursday, 1 December 2016
New York, NY

On December 1, 2016, 40 members of our tri-state-based community gathered at the home of Joyful Heart board member Sukey Novogratz and her husband, Mike, for a TALK event. Nancy Jo Sales, author of American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, discussed how social media shapes and influences the minds and hearts of young girls, and its connection to violence against women.

Sukey started the program by welcoming the guests, including fellow board members Jessica Ambrose, Durk Barnhill, Mariska Hargitay, Danielle Herzlich, and Debbie Millman.   

Joyful Heart’s CEO, Maile Zambuto, then shared the Avon Foundation statistics that 73% of parents with children under the age of 18 have never had a conversation about domestic violence or sexual assault with their children, although 1 in 3 adolescents are victims of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. Those who are affected are more likely to suffer from substance abuse, eating disorders, promiscuity, and violent behavior or attempt suicide.

Maile then introduced Nancy Jo Sales, who spoke about the unique and complicated experience of adolescence and how social media is negatively affecting this period of development. Nancy Jo shared her findings in traveling across the U.S. to speak with over 200 girls and boys, ages 13 – 19, speaking to them about social media, online bullying, dating sites, consent, pornography, and rape culture. 

She noted: 

“As parents and 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.”

After her presentation, the group had a lively discussion and shared personal experiences with their own children, and how to support them as they navigate on- and offline worlds of friendship, dating, and growing up in world consumed by technology.


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