In the Classroom – Chemistry

Recently, Ms. Hewitt’s Chemistry class investigated calorimetry by burning some of their favorite snack foods, like Doritos, Funyuns, and baked potato chips.

The heat transferred from the burning snacks was absorbed by water, allowing students to measure the value of the energy contained within the foods, which they then compare to the caloric value on the nutrition label.

APH Welcomes Back Softball Coach Paige Eaton

An exciting advancement in the Athletic Program is the softball team’s transition from a club to a full interscholastic team with a busy schedule of games this spring.  Coach Paige Eaton is returning to APH this Spring and is looking forward to working with a talented group of players as our team looks to make its mark on the softball scene.

Last year the club team had two scrimmages, one of them against the APH Faculty. Paige is “excited to tackle a full schedule of games this year, playing JV and Freshman teams throughout the area, and testing ourselves out against these schools.”

Paige is from Rockport and played softball at Rockport High School and Regis College in Weston. Prior to working at APH, she held a coaching position at Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical High School in Lexington. In Lexington, she coached both Girls Softball and Basketball.
 These days Paige enjoys playing softball in recreational leagues in Boston and Gloucester. She loves to hike and took on a section of the Appalachian Trail in Maine last year. She currently lives in Gloucester and is a website developer for non-profit organizations.

Welcome back, Coach Eaton!

The Art of Communicating With Your Daughter

Listening to and talking with your daughter is key to a healthy relationship.  Effective communication can help both of you feel happier and more connected. Communication and connection help your daughter gain confidence in navigating all of the relationships in her life and increases her ability to resolve conflicts.  

One of our goals at APH is giving your daughters the opportunity to work things out and speak up for themselves. They don’t always get it right but it is all part of the learning process.  Creating a safe environment for your daughter to problem solve and self-advocate helps her become more independent, achieve challenging goals, and find the confidence to make her own decisions.
Communication is an art – and truly meaningful conversation requires asking creative questions.
Here are some tips for more effective communication:
  1. Find time in the “in-betweens” of life. This could be driving to school, cooking together and other times where it is more comfortable chatting without eye contact.  These opportunities can be helpful because we are not looking directly at each other. And this arrangement can be incredibly effective.
  2. Accept how she communicates. She may need to simply complain and express her emotions, while at other times she may feel ready to talk through her struggles.
  3. Be calm. Some things she shares will be intense and some things will be trivial. No matter what she shares, be aware of how you are reacting and let her know that you are there.  As Ms. Zink says, “Don’t get on the rollercoaster.”
  4. Actively listen. Open conversations by sharing your own stories and then listen to your daughters’. Ask open-ended questions like, “How did that make you feel?” and be attentive to her responses.
  5. Avoid jumping in with advice. Instead ask her “What do you think is the best thing to do now” or “What are you going to do about that?” Later on, you can ask her how it played out by adding, “what have we learned?”

It may be helpful to ask your daughter what she wants or needs from you in a conversation, whether that be advice, a sounding-board, or help in dealing with feelings or problem-solving.

 Remember to show empathy, be available, understanding and supportive.

School Psychologist

Hank Phillippi Ryan Visits APH

The latest in the series of powerful and accomplished women to address the APH community, Ms. Ryan had an inspiring message for our APH students as she drew on 40 years of investigative reporting experience, activities which had the effect of changing significant public policies, in addition to her very successful later-in-life turn to crime fiction.  Certainly, her testimony of incredible drive with an eye toward the unlimited potential available to us in life was stirring and very well received — her presentation was met with applause from the community several times.

“Yes, every person has a song.  Now, go find yours and sing it out loud.”

The message Ms. Ryan brought to the community was an inspiration, centered on taking chances, never knowing what exactly lay around the next corner, pursuing dreams, acting on personal principles, and holding fast to one’s values.  “If you can’t own it, you can’t be it,” she stated, “follow your dreams and your soul.  Take a chance on what you truly want to accomplish, and that will change your life.”  Her directive for our students was definitely one of women’s empowerment, with a focus on never accepting an unfair world, leaving a mark on history, and doing something that makes a difference.  Ms. Ryan was part of an active and ambitious group of women (she counts Jane Pauley among her peers in this effort) who fought to break the gender barrier and bring women to greater roles in media and politics.

The conversation certainly hit home with the APH students.  Norah Como ’21 stated afterward, “I really liked her emphasis on taking chances and looking for possibilities around every corner.”  Similarly, Ellie Pollard ’21 noted, “Her presence was so impressive.  It was very inspiring to hear her story.”

Ms. Ryan’s message is one of energy and bravery.  Quoting musician Judy Collins, she stated, “We all have songs.  It’s never too late or too early to find and follow your dreams.  Be confident, be brave, and someone will say, ‘Yes’ to your ideas.”  To this, she added, “Use your intelligence and honor and combine them with a desire to change the world.  All it takes is one gem of an idea to open up infinite possibilities.  Look for moments, it could be anything, anywhere, and will always be unexpected.  That’s where books and actions are born.” In a response to a question by student Hannah Verdun, Ms. Ryan recalled being bullied at age 14, but refusing to accept or tolerate that bullying with the powerful thought of “Yes, I am.”  In closing, she gave a final challenge to our APH students:  “Yes, every person has a song.  Now, go find yours and sing it out loud.”

Olympian Abbey D’Agostino Visits APH

Olympic runner Abbey D’Agostino stopped by APH this week and gave a very interesting and inspiring talk to the school community about her experience as an athlete, her wins and also her losses.

At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Ms. D’Agostino received international media attention following an incident during a 5000m heat in which both she and New Zealander Nikki Hamblin fell. The two women helped each other finish the race and were allowed to compete in the final. Both athletes were praised for their sportsmanship and “Olympic spirit” and were awarded the Rio 2016 Fair Play Award by the International Fair Play Committee.

The APH community was silent and rapt as Ms. D’Agostino expanded her story beyond that moment, going back into her formative years as she started running and working through a number of sports-related injuries in the ensuing years.  Sometimes Ms. D’Agostino’s lesson was to push forward, through pain and defeat, and back to her sporting life, other times she had to be reminded to take it easy on herself, not push too hard and save time for the self, live one day at a time in the face of frightening odds. 

Her message was one of pursuing dreams, balancing demands, having faith, and living for the moment.  In this, Ms. D’Agostino stated, “Resilience is the lesson.”  She shared the progress of her scholastic and professional lives, noting that she went from finding her identity solely in her successes (a drive which exacerbated her sports injuries) to finding the importance of gratitude for moments both rewarding and challenging.

PH students were clearly moved by the talk.  As Julia Sullivan stated, “Her resilience is really notable, especially after she fell at the Olympics.”  Emily Osborn was impressed by Ms. D’Agostino’s personal drive to be the best: “Don’t let yourself, much less anyone else, tell you what to do.”  Molly Geaney summed up the experience briefly:  “She has accomplished so much in her life, it’s really amazing.”  Resilience is a watch-word at APH this school year, and it was truly a joy to have such a heroic and resilient woman such as Ms. D’Agostino come by for an inspirational visit!

Club Spotlight: Mock Trial

by Lila Caplan ’20

Going into this season of Mock Trial, I don’t think anyone knew what to expect. Seeing as last year we got so close to winning some of our trials, we had our game faces on and we were determined to take home at least one win. We did just that.

From working with our Mock Trial leaders Molly Martins and Bryon Williams to studying with our attorney coaches, APH Board of Trustee member, Lyn Acari, and my dad, attorney Andy Caplan, to practicing with our witnesses, we prepped for our trials.

This year the trial was an insurance case. A man died due to an explosion from a propane tank in the back of his truck. The plaintiff side was fighting for the family stating that this was an accident and that the insurance company needs to pay out the $5 or $10 million death benefits that they owed.

The defense side was siding with the insurance company stating that it was a clear suicide. Due to the fact that he got the insurance so close to when he died and since in the contract it states that if suicide is committed within a certain amount of time, the insurance company does not owe a cent.  From there we looked through the trial book with a fine-toothed comb for little bits of evidence to help prove our case.

There were three trials that we competed in. The first was against Reading Memorial. We sadly lost by only a few points. All of us were a little shaky as it was the first trial of the year. I will say that the girls who had never done it before truly rose to the challenge and kicked some butt.

The second trial was amazing. It was against Bishop Fenwick and it was our first win for the team ever. We really seemed to click and work together and we really just nailed the other team and caught them off guard. Two of our girls scored perfect 10s during this trial.

In the last of the three trials, we were up against St. John’s Prep. we fell short of a few points but we put up a great fight against such an established team. Again, during this trial we had one of our girls score a perfect 10 as a witness.
All in all, we had an amazing run and I cannot wait to see what next year has in store. Unfortunately, we are losing two of our members as they are seniors and are graduating this year. We will miss them both very much but we are also very excited to get new members and to grow!

Encouraging the Student Response to the Parkland Tragedy

Given the recent tragedy in Parkland Florida, I want to offer some resources to help your daughters process these difficult events.  As the nation’s long-running debate on gun rights continues, it has also sparked a youth-led gun control movement spearheaded by survivors of the attack.

Dr. Deborah Gilboa, a parenting expert, says parents should ask their teens if they have heard about the latest tragedy and allow them to share their feelings. You may find your daughters saddened, confused, and perhaps, fearful.  Schools should be a place where students not only feel safe but are safe and these events are both saddening and unsettling.  “Teenagers are looking for hypocrisy and solutions and this generation believes in collaboration and social justice. And they are going to ask ‘What are you doing,’” she says. “You can answer and then ask ‘what are you doing? What would you like to do? What can we do together?”

According to Gilboa, teaching teenagers to work toward change will help them be resilient. She stresses that parents still need to listen to their teens’ feelings and display empathy: “I think for anyone, action makes us feel effective…what we want our kids to do when [they] see something wrong is to try to fix it.”

It is helpful to watch television or internet coverage with your daughter, to talk about your own values, and give her the opportunity to express her thoughts. She may have questions and ideas about the steps she would like to take within her world. We are in this together and we need to support and comfort each other in order to help those in need. All steps great and small can make a difference.

The speeches of students who experienced the shooting are filled with emotion and idealism. Delaney Tarr, a student from Parkland High, spoke about the movement: “It is based on passion and it is based on pain. Our biggest flaws, our tendency to be a bit too aggressive, our tendency to lash out, things that you expect from a normal teenager, these are our strengths.”Mary DeLorenze School Psychologist
 
The teens of our country are calling us to action and we need to give them the love, support, and encouragement they need to have a voice and bring forth positive change.
 
Here are some resources that you may find helpful:
Tips for Talking to Students About School Shootings
National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Mary DeLorenzo
APH School Psychologist

A Light In Winter Update: Yellow House Answers the Call

How are you a ‘Light in the Winter’ for others? Our students in the Yellow House answered that question by having a menstrual product drive for homeless women as their community service project. This thoughtful group of young women and house leaders collected 42 boxes of tampons, 1,516 individual tampons, 19 boxes of pads, 543 individual pads, Plus $120 in donations. All materials were brought to The Open Door & Period Partners.

Winter 2017-2018 Athletic Season Boasts Growth

The Winter 2017-2018 season was another example of growth for the Penguin Athletics program, as each of our winter sports recognized new feats while continuing to display the teamwork and sportsmanship we expect of our student-athletes.

With a roster double the size of last year’s squad, the basketball team was able to take on a heavier game schedule, including the program’s first-ever match-up against a varsity opponent when the team faced off against Christian Covenant in early February.  Improving over the course of the season, no clearer progress could be measured than the jump from a 47 point loss to St. Mary’s in December to a January rematch in which The Academy’s basketball team traded leads with that very same opponent before finishing with a narrow 46-39 loss.  The team scored a program-high 43 points in a thrilling overtime game at Lowell Catholic in January and set another program record with 7 wins this season.  The team finished with an overall winning record of 7-6. To see more pictures of our Basketball team visit us on Facebook.

Our swimming club spent the winter season building a foundation for future program growth.  Heading into the season with the expectation that the club would be in the pool twice a week to learn, exercise, and push themselves but not have any meets, when presented an opportunity to compete the Penguins rallied as a group and took on the challenge with enthusiasm.  The team loaded up in the van and traveled down to Wayland where 7 swimmers from APH took on the 20+ swimmers of the host team in our swim program’s first ever interscholastic competition.  On display at the meet were impressive sportsmanship and encouragement on the part of both teams, for their teammates and opponents alike.  The Penguins, many of whom had never competed in a meet before, took on as many as 5 events apiece and poured every bit of energy into their efforts in the pool.  It was an impressive showing on behalf of all involved.  To see more pictures of our swim team visit us on Facebook.

This past winter also marked the inaugural season of our fitness center program, which will continue to be offered in seasons going forward.  Each afternoon from Monday through Thursday, a group of students made use of our new fitness center, enjoying a variety of exercises introduced by our fitness center coach as well as some fitness activities of their own choosing.

Many thanks to our players, their families, and our coaches for an outstanding Winter 2017-2018 athletic season, and congratulations to all involved for the mark you have made on the growth of APH Athletics.  Go Penguins!

Kate Reardon

Athletic Director

New Noises Playwriting Festival

This semester our 25 Play Production students will be participating in the New Noises Playwriting Festival at Boston Playwright’s Theatre of Boston University. Our students will be writing their own original 10 minute plays to be submitted for the festival.  Two of our students will be chosen by a panel of Boston Playwright’s Theatre Company Members to have their plays rehearsed and staged by professional theater artists from the Boston area on the day of the festival, April 25th.  The festival will be an exciting day of creative celebration for all of our students culminating in performances of our two plays along with eight more from four other participating area high schools.

As part of this fantastic festival, we were visited by Boston area playwright Bill Lattanzi.  Mr. Lattanzi is an accomplished television documentary writer, producer, end editor. His extensive track record of success includes science and history programming for cable (Discovery, History, Nat Geo, TLC); PBS (Nova, American Experience; and the web (Shoetube.tv).

His awards as a playwright include the John Gassner Award for Best New Play and The Massachusetts Cultural Council Award.  He has taught at Brandies, Bentley, and MIT.

Mr. Lattanzi spent the first of two workshops with our students today and will return in mid-March.  He will be working with the students to shape ideas, critique drafts, and help provide skills and techniques to create dramatic writing.

From Banned Books to Urban Planning to Russian Literature

At APH, we are always striving to expand the horizons of our students with new and interesting academic opportunities.  The second semester is seeing important growth in elective courses which diversify and expand the classroom experience at APH.  These courses offer new ways for our students to think and grow and truly show the depth of expertise in a variety of fields that our faculty brings to the community.  These courses are sure to bring all sorts of new ideas to your dinner table!

In the Humanities, students are examining what lies beneath the impulse to censor material in a free society in the Banned Books class, reading such “objectionable” material as The Outsiders and The Handmaid’s Tale.  Speaking of community norms, the Cultural Psychology class explores the value systems and social structures that influence individuals and groups across cultures, looking deeply into contemporary events and ethical dilemmas across the globe.  One particular culture is under close examination in the new Introduction to Russian History and Language, which not only exposes the students to the language but will explore Russian literature and cultural activities as well.  The Mythology of Greece and Rome course takes a close look at this unique and influential world, its traditions and its stories, and the ways in which the ancients viewed the world and themselves.  The American Dream and the organization of the nation post-WWII is the topic of Introduction to Urban Planning, which includes the race, class and gender expectations that make up towns and cities across the country and in our region.

There are new electives in the Visual and Performing Arts as well.  Students will learn to view and think critically across the ages in Art History, using their knowledge of religion, history, politics, and literature as they learn the artistic history of our world, from the Paleolithic to the contemporary.  Gender and the musical form is the focus of the new Women in Music course, where students will participate in listening and creating music while considering the important roles women have played in that world.  Drama is also a touchstone in the new course offerings:  Play Production gives the students opportunities to act as writers, actors, producers and more as they develop an original play from the ground up and perform it for the community at the end of the semester.  Shakespeare for Modern Actors bridges the gap between today and the Elizabethan world, with students becoming “versed” (get it?) in the language and style of the Bard while bringing his work to the modern world.

We are excited with all these new course offerings because of the opportunities they offer to our students to explore the world in unique and specialized ways.  We are so proud of our accomplished faculty and the breadth of experience and skills they bring to our learning community.  There are plenty of new things “under the sun” here at APH!

Maria Stephanos Inspires the APH Community

By APH Staff

Journalist and WCVB Channel 5 News Anchor Maria Stephanos gave up her cameras and teleprompter for an inspiring talk on bravery, compassion and opportunity this Monday at APH.  “Wow!  What an environment!” she began, going on to tell many stories from her life and career, from making college choices to interviewing presidents.

She gave the girls a very important message: “Find your way in life, never say no to opportunities, and don’t let others say no to you. Kick down shut doors, and “be exactly who you are” to be successful and change the world.” Ms. Stephanos likened the environment at APH to her own experiences of growing up in Groveland and attending Emerson College, noting that “smaller makes everything bigger.”

Ms. Stephanos shared her life as a learner, urging the girls to be lifetime learners themselves, because “learners will shape the world.” From her time at Emerson College, through her early broadcasting career and into more recent experiences, Ms. Stephanos demonstrated how to “keep asking and don’t be afraid of mistakes.”  She recalled taking inspiration from Barbara Walters, but also from a challenging run-in with White House press corps stalwart Helen Thomas, where she learned from experience that “You can’t let anybody stop you, no matter who they might be,” and that “You must wear yourself with confidence at all times. Whoever you are, embrace that. Don’t change for anybody.”

Our APH students had interesting questions for Ms. Stephanos. In reply to one question about her favorite interviews, Ms. Stephanos recalled interviewing a young Barack Obama and a number of acting presidents.  “Face to face, just realize they are the same, just a person. Don’t be afraid of anybody.”

Abby Mastrocola ’21 stated about the talk, “She embraced the idea that we are not dependent on others.  We can truly do things for ourselves.”  Shayla Saad ’21 said that the talk “inspired me not to be scared to follow my own beliefs.”  Certainly, Ms. Stephanos’ message to our students embraced much of the philosophy here at APH: “leap, fall, and get back up to new possibilities; you never know where the experience is going to take you. Be the one who says ‘I’ll do it.’”

The Verdict Is In!

APH’s Mock Trial team is at it again this year, with student attorneys and witnesses gathering to compete in the Massachusetts Bar Association’s litigation competition.  This year’s case for all teams statewide is an interesting one, a civil case involving a fatal accident…or possibly murder, with an exploding truck and a stake of ten million dollars.  APH students are responsible for representing both plaintiff and defendant in the case as attorneys and witnesses.

APH came out with a win against Bishop Fenwick High School in the second of three meets on February 2nd, with the judge commenting that our APH students performed as well as any of the students he had taught at Boston University School of Law.  APH did not win an overall point-based victory in the first of the preliminary trials recently held, however, they did walk away with a winning verdict based on the legal merits of their presentation.  The third trial will see APH’s team up against St. John’s Prep.

Adult advisors to the team are APH’s President Molly Martins and instructor Bryon Williams, as well as area attorneys Lyn Acari, an APH Trustee, and Andrew Caplan.  The team itself is comprised of Caroline Roman and Kathryn Ward, class of 2018; Marietta Atkins, Saoirse Coyle, Fiona Kelley, and Lainy Turner, class of 2019; Lila Caplan, class of 2020; and Abigail Allworth, Fiona Brymer, Morgan Comito, Ava Mantenuto, Maddie Mogavero, Gracie Morrison, and Shayla Saad, class of 2021.

Regarding the APH team, Ms. Martins states, “Every day I am inspired by how confident our young women have become.  They are prepared, articulate and convincing in their arguments and positions.  I am proud to stand behind them at every meet”.  Mr. Williams also notes that this year’s team is a young one, impressive in holding their own against older students and more seasoned teams in the competition.  More importantly, though, Mr. Williams also spoke of one way in which the Mock Trial competition fits the overall mission of APH: “The courtroom, even within this competition, is a very male environment.  It is wonderful to see young women take the leadership  roles that in the competing teams are typically given to male students.”  Mock Trial gives our young women significant leadership opportunities, and they are certainly rising to the occasion.

Indeed, the verdict is in — APH’s Mock Trial team is moving forward in its second year, proving the capability of our students in a very real-world environment, empowerment in action.

Want to know more?  Contact Bryon Williams for information.

APH, the ‘Light in Winter’ in Action

This past Monday we had our first all-school assembly, one of the wonderful benefits of the new Semester. The young women in our Events and Traditions club organized an afternoon of reflection, inspiration for service, and fun to help us to celebrate APH, the Light in Winter house service project.

Shine your light

We gathered for our assembly in the WOW (Windows On the World) room with folks wearing the vibrant colors of our five Houses. This interfaith prayer service was planned and led by students. Through readings, reflection and a shared greeting of “Peace be with you,” we recognized that as a community we are called to find ways to spread and share the light of our compassion in service to those in need. We had the special pleasure of opening and closing the service with the beautiful sounds of our Acapella group, the “Ruby Slippers.”
Alex Lang, ‘21, shared a Buddhist passage, followed by an invitation to reflect on how our random acts of kindness can lead to chain events of spreading simple joy and comfort: “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the single candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
Norah Como, ‘21, read a passage from the Gospel of Matthew and invited us to reflect on what it means to each of us to let our light shine: “You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify God in heaven.
Holly Carney, ‘20 offered words of wisdom from writer Brené Brown, along with a reminder that kindness grows when we are vulnerable enough to reach out to each other. “Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but… Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
This time gathered together for reflection as a community set the stage for celebrating that we are indeed the light in winter working to transform ourselves, our school and our world.

House Spirit of Service

Over the past two weeks, each House collectively researched ideas and then selected an organization or agency to support in a service project. The second part of the assembly was all about House spirit as each group presented their plan to the rest of the school. It was wonderful to witness and here are the highlights!
 
Yellow House — Team Yellow’s empathy led them to a pragmatic and often overlooked service opportunity. Women living in poverty don’t have easy access to menstrual hygiene products. This basic need is not covered by food stamps or WIC programs and is rarely included in donations to food pantries and homeless shelters. The yellow house is sponsoring a drive for tampons and pads to create care packages that will then be donated to Period Partners, founded by 26-year-old, Gloucester native Lucy Gross, and The Open Door food pantry. As added motivation, girls from any house who make a donation will receive a yellow ribbon that lets them earn the fun of wearing pj’s to school on Valentine’s day!
Gray House– At their first planning session, the students of Gray House made a few discoveries. One is that according to data from the Greater Boston Food Bank, 1 in 10 people in Eastern Massachusetts suffers from “food insecurity.” Armed with a long list of disturbing statistics about hunger in our own communities, Gray House had found its cause! They also knew it would be almost impossible to work around all their busy schedules to find one common hands-on service project, and hands-on is what they wanted.  Their creative and effective solution was to stick with the cause, and rally in small groups for ongoing work in places like Beverly Bootstraps and soup kitchens, food pantries and food banks all over the North Shore.
Green House– Women experiencing homelessness experience a unique set of issues and for women in Boston, Rosie’s Place is committed to helping them secure the resources they need. Rosie’s Place, founded in 1974 as the first women’s shelter in the United States, provides meals, shelter and a wide range of support services. The young women in Green House are aware of the gift of being at an all-girls school and were inspired to focus their service project on this organization that serves women in need. Students were particularly moved by the fact that women and children are the fastest growing population experiencing homelessness. They were also struck by how hard it is for women to maintain the basics of self-care and hygiene when their lives are not stable. Our students are sponsoring a drive for toiletries and personal care items and will have flyers and more information available about specific needs. They hope this will be an ongoing project.
Red and Blue Houses — Sweet Paws Rescue is a non-profit organization that finds new, loving homes for rescued dogs. Several students from APH have ties to Sweet Paws, including Maddie Mogavero ‘21 , Julianna Caruso ‘20 and Shay Saad ‘21, and Red and Blue Houses have teamed up to help. According to Maddie, before dogs are adopted, there is process that commonly includes a 48-hour stay at Sweet Paws’ facility before they can go into foster homes. Supplies needed are pretty specific and information for donations can be found on the Sweet Paws Amazon wish list, and on flyers that will be at school. This upcoming weekend Sweet Paws is getting a shipment of over 80 dogs and they are in need of more foster homes. Maddie asks that you check out the website for more information and to let her know if you can share your puppy love by fostering a rescued dog.
As you can see, the amazing students, teachers, staff and families that comprise our community truly do make APH the Light in Winter. Thank you for all YOU do to help make this a reality!
Campus Minister

5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Student Reduce the Use of Her Phone

By Mary DeLorenzo, School Psychologist

During our recent Parent Coffee, the topic of technology came up.  The world in which our teens live today is shaped by the smartphone, which has made it a challenge to create balance. In the September issue of the Atlantic Monthly, Dr. Jean Twenge’s article titled, “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?”  suggests that teens today are more anxious and depressed than previous generations. This generation tends to go out less, dateless, drive less and waits longer to take on the responsibilities and pleasures of adulthood.

The average teen spends about two and a half hours a day on electronic devices outside of school, doing their homework, texting, sharing, trolling, and scrolling. When surveyed, teens indicated that they primarily connect with others through social media, and often keep themselves occupied on their phones until way past bedtime. With their phones in hand, teens do not need to leave home to spend time with their friends. They are home more often with their parents under the same roof but are not necessarily closer given that kids and parents are spending a great deal of time on their devices.

Modern teens are learning to conduct most of their communications while looking at a screen and are not looking at each other. With digital socialization, they are missing out on critical social skills given that they are less able to speak directly, develop friendships with real-time interactions, take risks, and practice relating to people.

Research suggests that teens use of social-media often leads to feelings of unhappiness, they tend to over document on snap chat, Instagram, or Facebook, seeking affirmation through “likes” or comments and those who are not right there, are feeling left out.
There is a relationship between social media, social disconnection, and poor mental health, and our teens are not alone. Phone addiction has become a global issue given that the use of technology has become an essential part of daily lives. Parents share the feeling of pressure to stay plugged in and responsive to emails and to keep up with news and events.

In an effort to find balance, here are a few ways that you can help your teen reduce her technology use:

5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Student Reduce the Use of Her Phone
Meal times are technology free times – create a space for conversation without the temptation for technology.
Limit tech time and help her build a safe and reasonable relationship with her phone.
Charge your phones at night in another room other than the bedroom.  – Keep your student’s room for studying and sleeping.  Also reduces the temptation of checking one’s phone at night.
Encourage her to participate in sports, theatre, music, clubs, a job, or real-time with friends, which are much healthier than screen time.
Make time to do the things that give you and your daughter a sense of purpose, bring you joy and time together.
                                       Learn from yesterday,
                                            Live for today,
                                       Hope for tomorrow.
                                               -Albert Einstein