Tag Archives: Middle School

Macalester College study: Girls’ body image affected by older peers in middle school

24 Sep

The media presents an unrealistic image of perfection for women and girls. What they don’t disclose is for many of the “super” models their only job and requirement is the maintenance of their appearance. Their income depends on looks and what they are not able to enhance with plastic surgery and personal trainers, then that cellulite can be photoshopped or airbrushed away. That is the reality. Kid’s Health has some good information about Body Image http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/body_image/body_image.html

Science Daily reported in the article, Middle school dilemma: Girls’ body image affected by older peers:

The media is highly criticized for contributing to body image issues in adolescents. However, a study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly finds a different source for body dissatisfaction among young girls: older girls at school.

A research team led by Jaine Strauss, Professor of Psychology at Macalester College, surveyed 1,536 5th through 8th-grade female students attending schools with different grade groupings. Some 5th and 6th graders attended school with older students (i.e. in districts that follow the “middle school” model) and others attended school with younger students (i.e. in districts where 7th and 8th graders attend a “junior high” apart from younger grades). The students completed three questionnaires asking about their eating habits, attitudes about appearance, and feelings of body consciousness.

The researchers, which also included a high school teacher and two high school students, found that female 5th and 6th graders who were educated alongside older girls reported a greater desire to be thin as well as less satisfaction with and more self-consciousness about their bodies. For example, 5th graders who attended school with 6th through 8th graders had a mean body dissatisfaction score that was 1.7 times higher than girls in the same grade who attended a typical elementary school.

“Elevated levels of body dissatisfaction, drive for thinness, thin-ideal internalization, body surveillance, and body shame may undermine young teens’ social, emotional, and academic well-being both during the early teen years and in later life,” the researchers commented. “Although body image tends to decline as girls move through adolescence, this study suggests that school grade groupings may influence the pace and timing of this decline….” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140918091424.htm

Citation:

Middle school dilemma: Girls’ body image affected by older peers
Date: September 18, 2014

Source: SAGE Publications
Summary:
The media is highly criticized for contributing to body image issues in adolescents. However, a study finds a different source for body dissatisfaction among young girls: older girls at school.

Contextualizing the “Student Body”
Is Exposure to Older Students Associated With Body Dissatisfaction in Female Early Adolescents?
1. Jaine Strauss1⇑
2. Jacklyn M. Sullivan2
3. Christine E. Sullivan2
4. Stephen J. Sullivan3
5. Chloe E. Wittenberg1
1. 1Department of Psychology, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN, USA
2. 2General Douglas MacArthur High School, Levittown, NY, USA
3. 3Lawrence High School, Cedarhurst, NY, USA
1. Jaine Strauss, Department of Psychology, Macalester College, 1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105, USA. Email: strauss@macalester.edu
Abstract
Research on teens’ body dissatisfaction documents the role of proximal social influences (e.g., peers and family) and distal social influences (e.g., mass media) but largely ignores intermediate contextual factors such as school environment. Is there a link between individual body image and student body? We assessed drive for thinness, body dissatisfaction, thin-ideal internalization, and body objectification in an ethnically diverse sample of 1,536 female students educated in U.S. school districts varying in the degree to which younger students (fifth and sixth graders) are educated alongside older students (seventh and eighth graders). We studied three different grade groupings: junior high (Grades K–6 housed together/Grades 7–8 housed together), middle school (K–5/6–8), and extended middle school (K–4/5–8). As predicted, fifth and sixth graders attending schools with older students reported more negative body experiences than their age peers attending schools with younger students; similar effects were evident among seventh graders who had been educated with older peers during fifth and sixth grade. Our findings highlight the importance of considering contextual factors in understanding young women’s body image.
• body image
• adolescent development
• objectification
• school environment
• peer relations

There are no perfect people, no one has a perfect life and everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, children do not come with instruction manuals, which give specific instructions about how to relate to that particular child. Further, for many situations there is no one and only way to resolve a problem. The Child Development Institute has a good article about how to help your child develop healthy self esteem. http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-development/self-esteem/
Beautiful people come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. The key is to be healthy and to live a healthy lifestyle.

Resources:

Helping Girls With Body Image
http://www.webmd.com/beauty/style/helping-girls-with-body-image

Characteristics of Middle Grade Students
http://pubs.cde.ca.gov/tcsii/documentlibrary/characteristicsmg.aspx

Middle School Education – Developmental Characteristics http://www.davidson.k12.nc.us/education/components/scrapbook/default.php?sectiondetailid=16059

The Young Adolescent Learner
http://www.learner.org/workshops/middlewriting/images/pdf/W1ReadAdLearn.pdf

Traits & Characteristics of Middle School Learners
http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/traits-characteristics-middle-school-learners-17814.html

Association for Middle Level Education: AMLE http://www.amle.org/

Know your students: Nature of the middle school student
http://undsci.berkeley.edu/teaching/68_nature.php

NEA – Brain Development in Young Adolescents http://www.nea.org/tools/16653.htm

Emotional Development in Middle School | Education.com
http://www.education.com/reference/article/emotional-development-middle-school/

Related

Making time for family dinner
https://drwilda.com/2012/09/10/making-time-for-family-dinner/

Study: Girls as young as six think of themselves as sex objects
https://drwilda.com/2012/07/18/study-girls-as-young-as-six-think-of-themselves-as-sex-objects/

Social media spreads eating disorder ‘Thinspiration’
https://drwilda.com/2012/06/19/social-media-spreads-eating-disorder-thinspiration/

New emphasis on obesity: Possible unintended consequences, eating disorders https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/new-emphasis-on-obesity-possible-unintended-consequences-eating-disorders/

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University of Virginia study: Tell kids that middle school is not the end of life, cool kids in middle school often have problems later

4 Aug

Javier Panzar reported in the Los Angeles Times article, ‘Cool’ kids in middle school struggle in their 20s, study finds:

In the study, published Thursday in the journal Child Development, scientists tracked nearly 200 13-years-olds in the Southeastern United States for 10 years, gauging how much they valued their popularity, how important appearance was in seeking out friends and if they used drugs or had romantic relationships.
The study found that young teens who acted old for their age by sneaking into movies, forming early romantic relationships, shoplifting and basing friendships on appearance were seen by peers as popular. But as these “pseudomature” teens and their less adventurous counterparts matured, their behavior was no longer linked with popularity.
Instead, they were thought to be less socially competent by their peers and had more problems with substance abuse, said Joseph Allen, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and lead author on the study.
Allen said the average “cool” teen, by age 22, had a 45% greater rate of problems due to substance use and a 22% greater rate of criminal behavior compared with the average teen in the study.
“Teens are intimidated by these kids, and parents are intimidated because they think that these pseudomature kids are on the fast track,” Allen said in an interview Thursday with the Los Angeles Times. “These kids are on the fast track, but it’s really to a dead end.
“They are gaining the appearance of maturity, but they are not gaining actual maturity.”
Researchers suggest that these kids spend so much time trying to gain status, they don’t develop the positive social skills needed for meaningful friendships.
The study followed 86 male and 98 female middle school students for a 10-year period beginning in 1998, and it yielded some surprises, Allen said. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-cool-kids-study-20140612-story.html

Here is the University of Virginia news release:

News Updates
For Middle Schoolers, Research Shows It’s Cool Not to Be Cool
06/16/2014
New research by Youth-Nex faculty affiliate Joseph Allen shows that trying to being cool in early teens predicts more problems in early adulthood.
“According to the study, which surveyed 184 seventh- and eighth-graders and then followed up with them 10 years later, the kids who were involved in minor delinquent behaviors or precocious romance and obsessed with physical appearance and social status were much worse off in adulthood than their less “cool” friends.
Allen found that at 22 or 23 years old, these kids had 45 percent higher rates of alcohol and drug problems and 22 percent higher rates of criminal behavior; their ratings of social competency — their ability to have normal and positive relationships with others — were 24 percent lower than their peers.”
Read Study. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cdev.12250/pdf
Wall Street Journal Video: “How Long Does the ‘Cool Kid’ Effect Last?” http://live.wsj.com/video/how-long-does-the-cool-kid-effect-last/5B2198BA-501C-43CF-9EEC-7B26C0575F78.html#!5B2198BA-501C-43CF-9EEC-7B26C0575F78

New York Times, “Thirteen in Years, but 10 or 15 in Thoughts and Action” http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/18/thirteen-in-years-but-10-or-15-in-thoughts-and-action/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=1&
Other Media:

CNN Video – Cool kids study offers ‘revenge’ for nerds http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/12/living/cool-kids-study-parents-duplicate-2/

The Boston Globe, “Being a ‘cool’ kid has downside later on, study shows” http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2014/06/26/being-cool-kid-has-downside-later-study-shows/93xNSnbVBSxdCh5YTQgGmK/story.html

The Washington Post – The middle school ‘cool kids’ are not alright http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2014/06/12/the-middle-school-cool-kids-are-not-alright/

Business Insider – Researchers Figured Out What Really Happens To Cool Kids When They Grow Up http://www.businessinsider.com/being-popular-in-high-school-leads-to-problems-in-adulthood-2014-6#ixzz34o7Ix28L

Here is the news release from the Society for Research in Child Development:

12-Jun-2014
[ Print | E-mail ] Share [ Close Window ]

Contact: Hannah Klein
hklein@srcd.org
202-289-0320
Society for Research in Child Development

New study sheds light on what happens to ‘cool’ kids
Teens who tried to act cool in early adolescence were more likely than their peers who didn’t act cool to experience a range of problems in early adulthood, according to a new decade-long study. The study, by researchers at the University of Virginia, appears in the journal Child Development.
While cool teens are often idolized in popular media—in depictions ranging from James Dean’s Rebel Without a Cause to Tina Fey’s Mean Girls—seeking popularity and attention by trying to act older than one’s age may not yield the expected benefits, according to the study.
Researchers followed 184 teens from age 13, when they were in seventh and eighth grades, to age 23, collecting information from the teens themselves as well as from their peers and parents. The teens attended public school in suburban and urban areas in the southeastern United States and were from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.
Teens who were romantically involved at an early age, engaged in delinquent activity, and placed a premium on hanging out with physically attractive peers were thought to be popular by their peers at age 13. But over time, this sentiment faded: By 22, those once-cool teens were rated by their peers as being less competent in managing social relationships. They were also more likely to have had significant problems with alcohol and drugs, and to have engaged in criminal activities, according to the study.
“It appears that while so-called cool teens’ behavior might have been linked to early popularity, over time, these teens needed more and more extreme behaviors to try to appear cool, at least to a subgroup of other teens,” says Joseph P. Allen, Hugh P. Kelly Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, who led the study. “So they became involved in more serious criminal behavior and alcohol and drug use as adolescence progressed. These previously cool teens appeared less competent—socially and otherwise—than their less cool peers by the time they reached young adulthood.”
###
The study was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Mental Health.
Summarized from Child Development, What Ever Happened To The ‘Cool’ Kids? Long-Term Sequelae Of Early Adolescent Pseudomature Behavior by Allen, JP, Schad, MM, Oudekerk, B, and Chango, J (University of Virginia). Copyright 2014 The Society for Research in Child Development, Inc. All rights reserved.
Middle school aged students are particularly vulnerable because they are in the midst of emotional and physical transitions.

Goodlettsville Middle School posted a good list of characteristics of the average middle school student:

Developmental Characteristics of Middle School Students
Intellectual Development:
Are egocentric; argue to convince, and exhibit independent, critical thought
• Face decisions that may affect long term academic values
• Are intensely curious
• Personal-social concerns dominate, academics are secondary
• Move to abstract ways of thinking which allow for:
o projection of thoughts to the future
o establishing of goals
o consideration of ideas contrary to fact
o questioning of attitudes, behaviors, and values
o ability to think about thinking and how they learn
• Prefer active over passive learning experiences and cooperative learning activities
• Enjoy learning skills to apply to real life problems and situations
Physical Development:
Concerned about their physical appearance
• Experience accelerated physical development marked by increases in weight and height
• Experience fluctuations in metabolism causing extreme restlessness and listlessness
• Mature at varying rates; girls develop physically earlier than boys
• Lack physical health and have poor level of endurance, strength, and flexibility
• Have appetites for peculiar tastes; you adolescents may overtax their digestive systems with large amounts of improper foods
Psychological Development:
Easily offended and sensitive to criticism
• Exhibit erratic emotions and behavior
• Are moody and restless; often feel self-conscious and alienated, lack self-esteem, and are introspective
• Are optimistic and hopeful
• Search for adult identity and acceptance
• Strive for a sense of individual uniqueness
• Are vulnerable to one-sided arguments
• Exaggerate simple occurrences and believe that person issues are unique to themselves
• Have an emerging sense of humor
• Have emotions that are frightening and poorly understood, often triggered by hormonal imbalances. These may cause regression to more childish behavior patterns
Social Development:
Act out unusual or drastic behavior. At times, they may be aggressive, daring, boisterous, and argumentative.
• Confused and frightened by new school settings that are large and impersonal
• Are fiercely loyal to peer group values and sometimes cruel and insensitive to those outside of the peer group
• Are rebellious toward parents, but still strongly dependent on parental values
• Negative interactions with peers, parents, and teachers may compromise ideals and commitments
• Challenge authority figures and test limits of accepted behavior
• Distrust relationships with adults who show lack of sensitivity to adolescent needs
• Use peers and media role models as sources for standards of behavior
• Sense the negative impact of adolescent behavior on parents and teachers
• Desire love and acceptance from significant adults
Moral and Ethical Development:
Ask broad unanswerable questions about the meaning of life
• Depend on influence of home and church for moral and ethical choices and behaviors
• Explore the moral and ethical issues that confront them in the curriculum, the media, and daily interactions with their families and peer groups
• Are idealistic and have a strong sense of fairness in human relationships
• Are reflective, introspective, and analytical about their thoughts and feelings
• Experience thoughts and feeling of awe and wonder related to their expanding intellectual and emotional awareness
• Face hard moral and ethical questions for which they are unprepared to cope http://www.mnps.org/Page49120.aspx

There are no perfect people, no one has a perfect life and everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, children do not come with instruction manuals, which give specific instructions about how to relate to that particular child. Further, for many situations there is no one and only way to resolve a problem. The Child Development Institute has a good article about how to help your child develop healthy self esteem. http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-development/self-esteem/

Resources:

Characteristics of Middle Grade Students http://pubs.cde.ca.gov/tcsii/documentlibrary/characteristicsmg.aspx

Middle School Education – Developmental Characteristics http://www.davidson.k12.nc.us/education/components/scrapbook/default.php?sectiondetailid=16059

The Young Adolescent Learner http://www.learner.org/workshops/middlewriting/images/pdf/W1ReadAdLearn.pdf

Traits & Characteristics of Middle School Learners http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/traits-characteristics-middle-school-learners-17814.html

Association for Middle Level Education: AMLE http://www.amle.org/

Know your students: Nature of the middle school student http://undsci.berkeley.edu/teaching/68_nature.php

NEA – Brain Development in Young Adolescents http://www.nea.org/tools/16653.htm

Emotional Development in Middle School | Education.com http://www.education.com/reference/article/emotional-development-middle-school/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

University of Southern California study: Teen who receive sexts six times more likely to engage in sex

1 Jul

We live in a society with few personal controls and even fewer people recognize boundaries which should govern their behavior and how they treat others. Common Sense Media has some great resources for parents about teaching children how to use media responsibly. Their information Talking About “Sexting” is excellent.

That picture’s not as private as you think
• 22% of teen girls and 20% of teen boys have sent nude or semi-nude photos of themselves over the Internet or their phones.
• 22% of teens admit that technology makes them personally more forward and aggressive.
• 38% of teens say exchanging sexy content makes dating or hooking up with others more likely.
• 29% of teens believe those exchanging sexy content are “expected” to date or hook up.
• (All of the above are from CosmoGirl and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2009.)
Advice for Parents
• Don’t wait for an incident to happen to your child or your child’s friend before you talk about the consequences of sexting. Sure, talking about sex or dating with teens can be uncomfortable, but it’s better to have the talk before something happens.
• Remind your kids that once an image is sent, it can never be retrieved — and they will lose control of it. Ask teens how they would feel if their teachers, parents, or the entire school saw the picture, because that happens all the time.
• Talk about pressures to send revealing photos. Let teens know that you understand how they can be pushed or dared into sending something. Tell them that no matter how big the social pressure is, the potential social humiliation can be hundreds of times worse.
• Teach your children that the buck stops with them. If someone sends them a photo, they should delete it immediately. It’s better to be part of the solution than the problem. Besides, if they do send it on, they’re distributing pornography — and that’s against the law.
• Check out ThatsNotCool.com. It’s a fabulous site that gives kids the language and support to take texting and cell phone power back into their own hands. It’s also a great resource for parents who are uncomfortable dealing directly with this issue. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/talking-about-sexting?utm_source=newsletter02.17.11&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=feature1-text

Common Sense Media has other great resources. Parent must monitor their child’s use of technology.

Science Daily reported in the article, Young teens who receive sexts are six times more likely to report having had sex:

A study from USC researchers provides new understanding of the relationship between “sexting” and sexual behavior in early adolescence, contributing to an ongoing national conversation about whether sexually explicit text messaging is a risk behavior or just a technologically-enabled extension of normal teenage flirtation. The latest research, published in the July 2014 issue of the journal Pediatrics, found that among middle school students, those who reported receiving a sext were 6 times more likely to also report being sexually active….. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140630094751.htm

Citation:

Sexting and Sexual Behavior Among Middle School Students
1. Eric Rice, PhDa,
2. Jeremy Gibbs, MSWa,
3. Hailey Winetrobe, MPHa,
4. Harmony Rhoades, PhDa,
5. Aaron Plant, MPHb,
6. Jorge Montoya, PhDb, and
7. Timothy Kordic, MAc
+ Author Affiliations
1. aSchool of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California;
2. bSentient Research, Los Angeles, California; and
3. cLos Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles, California
Abstract
OBJECTIVE: It is unknown if “sexting” (ie, sending/receiving sexually explicit cell phone text or picture messages) is associated with sexual activity and sexual risk behavior among early adolescents, as has been found for high school students. To date, no published data have examined these relationships exclusively among a probability sample of middle school students.
METHODS: A probability sample of 1285 students was collected alongside the 2012 Youth Risk Behavior Survey in Los Angeles middle schools. Logistic regressions assessed the correlates of sexting behavior and associations between sexting and sexual activity and risk behavior (ie, unprotected sex).
RESULTS: Twenty percent of students with text-capable cell phone access reported receiving a sext and 5% reported sending a sext. Students who text at least 100 times per day were more likely to report both receiving (odds ratio [OR]: 2.4) and sending (OR: 4.5) sexts and to be sexually active (OR: 4.1). Students who sent sexts (OR: 3.2) and students who received sexts (OR: 7.0) were more likely to report sexual activity. Compared with not being sexually active, excessive texting and receiving sexts were associated with both unprotected sex (ORs: 4.7 and 12.1, respectively) and with condom use (ORs: 3.7 and 5.5, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: Because early sexual debut is correlated with higher rates of sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancies, pediatricians should discuss sexting with young adolescents because this may facilitate conversations about sexually transmitted infection and pregnancy prevention. Sexting and associated risks should be considered for inclusion in middle school sex education curricula.
Key Words:
• sexting
• sexual risk
• middle school
• adolescents
• cell phone
• Accepted April 17, 2014.
• Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics
1. Published online June 30, 2014

(doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-2991)
1. » AbstractFree
2. Full Text (PDF)Free http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/06/25/peds.2013-2991.full.pdf+html
Young teens who receive sexts are six times more likely to report having had sex
Date: June 30, 2014
Source: University of Southern California
Summary:
A study provides new understanding of the relationship between ‘sexting’ and sexual behavior in early adolescence, contributing to the ongoing conversation about whether sexually explicit text messaging is a risk behavior or just a technologically enabled extension of normal teenage flirtation. The latest research found that among middle school students, those who reported receiving a sext were six times more likely to also report being sexually active.

Here is the press release from the University of Southern California:

Tweens and teens who receive sexts are 6 times more likely to report having had sex
Study shows that middle school students who send more than 100 texts a day are also more likely to be sexually active
Contact: Suzanne Wu at suzanne.wu@usc.edu or (213) 503-3410; Tanya Abrams at tanyaabr@usc.edu or (213) 740-6973
LOS ANGELES — EMBARGOED UNTIL Sunday, June 29, 9 p.m. PT/Monday, June 30, 12:01 a.m. ET — A study from USC researchers provides new understanding of the relationship between “sexting” and sexual behavior in early adolescence, contributing to an ongoing national conversation about whether sexually explicit text messaging is a risk behavior or just a technologically-enabled extension of normal teenage flirtation. The latest research, published in the July 2014 issue of the journal Pediatrics, found that among middle school students, those who reported receiving a sext were 6 times more likely to also report being sexually active.
While past research has examined sexting and sexual behavior among high school students and young adults, the researchers were particularly interested in young teens, as past data has shown clear links between early sexual debut and risky sexual behavior, including teenage pregnancy, sex under the influence of drugs or alcohol, experience of forced sex and higher risk of sexually transmitted disease.
“These findings call attention to the need to train health educators, pediatricians and parents on how best to communicate with young adolescents about sexting in relation to sexual behavior,” said lead author Eric Rice, assistant professor at the USC School of Social Work. “The sexting conversation should occur as soon as the child acquires a cell phone.”
The study anonymously sampled more than 1,300 middle school students in Los Angeles as part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Respondents ranged in age from 10-15, with an average age of 12.3 years. The researchers found that even when controlling for sexting behaviors, young teens who sent more than 100 texts a day were more likely to report being sexually active. Other key findings:
• Young teens who sent sexts were almost 4 times more likely to report being sexually active.
• Sending and receiving sexts went hand-in-hand: Those who reported receiving a sext were 23 times more likely to have also sent one.
• Students who identified as LGBTQ were 9 times more likely to have sent a sext.
• However, unlike past research on high school students, LGBTQ young adolescents were not more likely to be sexually active, the study showed.
• Youth who texted more than 100 times a day were more than twice as likely to have received a sext and almost 4.5 times more likely to report having sent a sext.
The researchers acknowledge that despite anonymity, the data is self-reported and thus subject to social desirability bias, as well as limitations for geographic area and the diverse demographics of Los Angeles. However, the dramatic correlation between students who sent sexts and reported sexual activity indicates the need for further research and summons attention to the relationship between technology use and sexual behavior among early adolescents, the researchers say.
“Our results show that excessive, unlimited or unmonitored texting seems to enable sexting,” Rice said. “Parents may wish to openly monitor their young teen’s cell phone, check in with them about who they are communicating with, and perhaps restrict their number of texts allowed per month.”
Overall, 20 percent of students with text-capable cell phones said they had ever received a sext, and 5 percent report sending a sext. The researchers defined “sext” in their survey as a sexually suggestive text or photo.
Jeremy Gibbs, Hailey Winetrobe and Harmony Rhoades of the USC School of Social Work were co-authors of the study. The data collection was supported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (grant 5U87DP001201-04).
For the embargoed PDF of the study, contact the American Academy of Pediatrics at commun@app.org. To arrange an interview with a researcher, contact USC News at uscnews@usc.edu.

In truth, a close relationship with your child will probably be more effective than spying. Put down that Blackberry, iPhone, and Droid and try connecting with your child. You should not only know who your children’s friends are, but you should know the parents of your children’s friends. Many parents have the house where all the kids hang out because they want to know what is going on with their kids. Often parents volunteer to chauffeur kids because that gives them the opportunity to listen to what kids are talking about. It is important to know the values of the families of your kid’s friends. Do they furnish liquor to underage kids, for example? How do they feel about teen sex and is their house the place where kids meet for sex? See, 10 Tips for Talking to Teens About Sex, Drugs & Alcohol which was posted at the Partnership for A Drug-Free America http://www.drugfree.org/10-tips-for-talking-to-teens-about-sex-drugs-alcohol/

So, in answer to the question should you spy on your Kids? Depends on the child. Some children are more susceptible to peer pressure and impulsive behavior than others. They will require more and possibly more intrusive direction. Others really are free range children and have the resources and judgment to make good decisions in a variety of circumstances. Even within a family there will be different needs and abilities. The difficulty for parents is to make the appropriate judgments and still give each child the feeling that they have been treated fairly. Still, for some kids, it is not out of line for parents to be snoops, they just might save the child and themselves a lot of heartache. https://drwilda.com/2012/06/07/talking-to-your-teen-about-risky-behaviors/

Resources:

Sexting Information: What every parent should know about sexting.
http://www.noslang.com/sexting.php

Social Networking and Internet Safety Information for Parents: Sexting
http://internet-safety.yoursphere.com/sexting/

Teen Sexting Tips
http://www.safeteens.com/teen-sexting-tips/
Related:

New study about ‘sexting’ and teens
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/new-study-about-sexting-and-teens/

Sexting’ during school hours
https://drwilda.com/2012/08/05/sexting-during-school-hours/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

Helping middle school students succeed in high school: ‘Countdown to High School’

21 Nov

Education.com posted the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s article, Teens and Middle School:

The transition to middle school is a major life event for parents and youth.
Students worry about:
• Getting to class on time;
• Finding lockers, classes, and bathrooms;
• Keeping up with the work; and
• Getting through the crowded halls.
Students may also be struggling with concerns about:
• Aggressive or violent behavior from other students;
• Less connection with their parents;
• Less free time;
• Attractiveness and peer status;
• Physical development differences between males and females;
• Increasing peer pressure;
• Development changes associated with puberty;
• Increased parental expectations; and
• More responsibility.
All of this is normal and the best thing you can do for yourself is to talk about your feelings, fears, and thoughts with your friends, family, parents, or other caring adults. You are not alone – other youth your age are dealing with these same concerns….http://www.education.com/reference/article/teens-middle-school/

Some school districts are trying to ease the transition from elementary school to middle school to high school.

Suzi Parker of Takepart wrote in the article, High School Success May Depend on Lessons Middle Schools Don’t Teach:

Leaving middle school for high school can be a scary time for teenagers. Scarier than they even know.
Not only do ninth graders suddenly have more responsibility, more homework, and more life stress, without much guidance on how to cope, but high school is when the dropout risk looms largest.
Countdown to High School, a Boston program, is trying to aleviate some of this stress for teenagers and help keep them in school.
The program began a few years ago when Neema Avashia, a civics teacher at Boston’s McCormack Middle School, along with a few other educators, realized that kids, even high-performing kids, were desperately struggling in their first year of high school….
The program, based on national and local research, began as a pilot program for middle and high school teachers with funding in six schools. In two years, the program grew to 34 schools. Then last year, the funding ended, and the group had to rethink their model. Now, Countdown to High School is a three-hour stand-alone graduate course that 50 teachers in Boston have participated in so far.
For students, the program begins at the end of 8th grade when trained teachers present a series of lessons that address issues 9th graders grapple with.
In Boston, like in many U.S. cities, students don’t have to attend a school near their home but rather can choose where they want to go. In many instances, students have to participate in a lottery process. Other schools make students pass exams. Some pilot schools require students write essays and obtain letters of recommendation. It’s a complicated process without much guidance, Avashia says. So her program helps kids through it.
Once they know where they’re going, students are asked find the quickest public transportation route to their school. They are made familiar with the websites where this information is found. They also talk about scheduling and decide on a wake-up time.
GPA is another issue the curriculum covers. One student in a video short about Countdown to High School sums it up by saying, “Don’t be so caught up in friends. Don’t hangout in the hallways. Students do that, I mean that’s the first thing they do. Stay on top of your schoolwork from the beginning. A lot of people decide to slack freshman year and say, ‘Oh I have two or three more years up until I become a senior and that’s when I can start building.’ But think about GPA. Your GPA has to be good from the beginning, not just the middle of the year.” In Countdown to High School, students are taught how to correctly calculate a GPA and are told how truancy can negatively affect it.
The program also asks kids to be real with themselves if they begin to miss classes. They are encouraged to ask themselves about why they are cutting—is it that they’re not waking up early enough or that their friends are pressuring them or that they just don’t feel comfortable in that class, or in school in general? Countdown gives them tools to make relationships with teachers and deal with any of these scenarios.
After middle school graduation the students are greeted by similar lessons as they begin 9th grade. This ensures that students are thinking in advance about how to deal with the new challenges as they begin their high school careers.
But it’s not all left up to educators. Avashia says many times parents also don’t know where to turn to help and teachers may not know the answers. That’s why the course also requires teachers to write a school plan memo that includes how families will be meaningfully engaged in the choice and transition process.
Transition programs for students or teachers are rare in the United States. Washington has one called “Project Graduation” that includes a “Gear Up” component to identify 7th- and 8th-grade students needing help and a four- to six-week summer program to help them. Hawaii has a plan to help 9th-grade students receive the instructional and support services they need to complete high school, including tutoring and academic summer camps….http://news.yahoo.com/high-school-success-may-depend-lessons-middle-schools-195823440.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory
Here is information about Countdown to High School:
Welcome to the Countdown to High School Wiki!
The Countdown to High School (CD2HS) initiative is a program designed to support 8th and 9th grade students in Boston Public Schools (BPS) as they make the transition to high school. This website is filled with curriculum and materials you can use to help 8th and 9th grade students with this transition. The CD2HS initiative is run by BPS teachers and administrators who are continually revising and updating materials. Please review all materials prior to using them to ensure they are adapted to your school’s needs.
We always welcome feedback: cd2hsboston@gmail.com
What is Countdown to High School?
CD2HS is run by teachers and administrators in BPS. We propose a series of interventions to facilitate the transition to high school, thereby reducing student failure and increasing the likelihood that students will go on to complete the college application process four years later. We firmly believe that students are entitled to clear, consistent support structures as they make one of the most important decisions and transitions of their educational careers.
We intend to provide support to students on both ends of the transition–8th graders who are in the process of deciding what high school to go to, and 9th grade students who are entering new schools, and trying to navigate the transition.
Why is there a need for such a program?
A recent Boston Public Schools-commissioned report showed that only 53% of high school students at Boston’s non-exam schools make it through high school in four years; about three out of four of the students who don’t graduate in four years ultimately drop out. Importantly, this study pointed to the 8th and 9th grade years as critical ones in predicting whether students graduate.
Having over 30 high schools to choose from, all with different themes, different services, different class sizes, different application processes, and different academic outcomes can prove to be an overwhelming decision for middle school students and their families, particularly given the lack of readily available information about the schools
Even after students have chosen a high school, there continue to be challenges inherent in the transition such as: transportation, attendance, change in academic expectations, lack of structured afterschool time, decreased communication as students get older, and appropriate school match.
Here is a list of topics addressed at the site:
1. home
2. 8th Grade Lessons
3. 8th Grade Resources
4. 9th Grade Lessons
5. 9th Grade Resources
6. Calendar
7. Family Resources
8. Graduate Course 2012-2013
9. Meeting Handouts
10. Surveys
11. Transition Coordinator Information
http://cd2hs.wikispaces.com/

RAND’s policy brief, Problems and Promise of the American Middle School details the issues students face in middle school:

Today in the United States, nearly nine million students attend public “middle schools” — schools that serve as an intermediary phase between elementary school and high school, typically consisting of grades 6-8. The middle school years represent a critical time for young teens. Middle schools have been blamed for the increase in student behavior problems and cited as the cause of teens’ alienation, disengagement from school, and low achievement.
What are America’s middle schools really like? RAND Education researchers undertook a comprehensive assessment of the American middle school, made particularly timely and important by the passage of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), which emphasizes test-based accountability and sanctions for failing schools. The researchers describe their findings in Focus on the Wonder Years: Challenges Facing the American Middle School. The RAND Corporation report includes some practical advice about how to deal with the challenges middle schools face and proposes a research agenda that might yield additional information for improving the schools.
The State of the American Middle School
In the 1980s, reformers endorsed a new middle school “concept” intended to change the traditional junior high school to create an educational experience more appropriate for young adolescents. The goal was to make the old junior high more developmentally responsive by changing the grade configuration from grades 7-8 or 7-9 to grades 6-8 and introducing new organizational and instructional practices (e.g., interdisciplinary team teaching).
Today, many schools are organized around the 6-8 configuration, and the well-being of middle school students generates tremendous interest from committed educators, innovative reformers, and private foundations. However, in spite of these well-intentioned improvement efforts, middle schools do not yet fully serve the needs of young teens, and several challenges remain. RAND’s main findings and recommendations are summarized below.
Separating the Middle Grades Is Associated with Transition Problems
The history of reform indicates that a separate middle school has become the norm more because of societal and demographic pressures than because of scientific evidence supporting the need for a separate school for young teens. In fact, there is evidence suggesting that separate schools and the transitions they require can cause problems that negatively affect students’ developmental and academic progress. RAND recommends that, over the coming years, states and school districts consider alternatives to the 6-8 structure to reduce multiple transitions for students and allow schools to better align their goals across grades K-12.
Progress on Academic Outcomes Is Uneven
Data show slow but steady increases in achievement scores since the 1970s. However, about 70 percent of American 8th-grade public-school students fail to reach proficient levels of performance in reading, mathematics, and science on national achievement tests. This is particularly true for Latinos and African Americans, who continue to lag behind their white counterparts, even when their parents have had college educations. We recommend adoption of various forms of supplemental services that have been proven effective for the lowest-performing students, including summer school programs before 6th grade and additional reading and math courses after 6th grade.
Conditions for Learning Are Sub optimal
Conditions for learning are factors that can enhance or diminish a student’s ability to learn. Particularly relevant to young teens are motivational and social-emotional indicators of well-being that are related to academic performance. Disengagement and social alienation not only are related to low achievement but also predict dropping out. National school safety statistics suggest that physical conflict is especially problematic in middle schools, and student concerns about safety predict emotional distress that can compromise academic performance. Such findings underscore the need to examine a variety of student outcomes in addition to academic indicators. Schools need to adopt comprehensive prevention models (e.g., school wide anti bullying programs) that focus on changing the social norms that foster antisocial behavior.
The Vision of the Middle School Has Not Been Fully Implemented
The continuing lackluster performance of middle schools might also be explained, in part, by inadequate implementation of the middle school concept in most districts and schools.[1] Core practices such as interdisciplinary team teaching and advisory programs tend to be weakly implemented with little attention to the underlying goals. A sufficient level of fidelity to many of the reform practices is not possible without substantial additional attention, resources, and long-term support.
Middle School Teachers and Principals Lack Appropriate Training and Support
Many middle school teachers do not have a major, minor, or certification in the subjects they teach or training in the development of young adolescents. Evidence-based models of professional development for teachers should be adopted to improve the subject-area expertise and the pedagogical skills of teachers.
Principals face similar training issues, in addition to another challenge: Disciplinary issues increase a principal’s workload and can decrease the time and effort the individual has to spend on other leadership functions. Different management approaches need to be considered that permit principals to delegate their managerial duties and foster a school climate that is conducive to teaching and learning.
Parental Support Wanes
Research shows that parental involvement declines as students progress through school and that middle schools do less than elementary schools do to engage parents. Middle schools should provide information about school practices and offer concrete suggestions for activities that parents and teens can do together at home.
New Reform Models Show Promise
Our review of whole-school reforms and professional development practices identified some promising models that address both academic achievement and the development needs of young teens. If fully implemented, these models might propel our schools forward toward the high levels of achievement that are the goal of NCLB.
Looking Ahead
Today’s emphasis on higher standards (such as those NCLB articulates) and on increased accountability through academic testing poses at least two challenges for middle schools. First, as legislation focused solely on academic achievement outcomes holds greater sway, the developmental needs of children might take second place, even though the two are highly interrelated. Second, it is unclear whether adequate federal and state supports are available for schools and students to meet the new standards. Regardless of the nature and scope of the next middle-grade reform efforts, state and federal support is needed at this time, and the efforts of various agencies, organizations, and foundations should be well coordinated. Continuity of effort is likely to provide the right conditions for student growth, institutional improvement, and educational progress. While NCLB creates a feeling of urgency, that urgency should be translated into steady, reasoned attempts to improve the schooling of all our young teens.
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[1] R. D. Felner, A. W. Jackson, D. Kasak, P. Mulhall, S. Brand, and N. Flowers, “The Impact of School Reform for the Middle Years: Longitudinal Study of a Network Engaged in Turning Points-Based Comprehensive School Transformation,” Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 78, No. 7, 1997, pp. 528-550, and R. Williamson and J. H. Johnston, “Challenging Orthodoxy: An Emerging Agenda for Middle Level Reform,” Middle School Journal, March 1999, pp. 10-17.
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This product is part of the RAND Corporation research brief series. RAND research briefs present policy-oriented summaries of individual published, peer-reviewed documents or of a body of published work.
This research brief describes work done for RAND Education documented in Focus on the Wonder Years: Challenges Facing the American Middle School by Jaana Juvonen, Vi-Nhuan Le, Tessa Kaganoff, Catherine Augustine, and Louay Constant, MG-139-EDU (available online), 2004, 152 pages, ISBN: 0-8330-3390-5. It is also available from RAND Distribution Services (phone: 310-451-7002; toll free in the U.S.: 877-584-8642).
Copyright © 2004 RAND Corporation
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit research organization providing objective analysis and effective solutions that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors around the world. RAND’s publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.
http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB8025/index1.html

See, How to Prepare Your Tween for the Middle School Transition http://www.parentmap.com/article/how-to-prepare-your-tween-for-the-middle-school-transition

PBS Kids has some great information for parents at It’s My Life. http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/school/middleschool/
Some kids need more support than others, but most will require some support in making the transition to middle school.

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