Tag Archives: teens

To the Carpenter

How early is too early to get a cell phone? I have nieces and nephews that get their first phone or Android-based electronic device as young as five and six. Children in high school and even middle or elementary school are becoming emotionally dependent on these seemingly ubiquitous devices. From online lessons and homework to simple entertainment, cell phone use is quickly supplanting face-to-face outdoor activities for indoor sedentary ones. But for every benefit, there appears to be a hidden cost.

For instance, it appears to be linked to an increase in teen depression and suicide rates [1]. Since 2012, there have been several spikes in the rates of suicide and depression, for those who spend three or more hours a day, regardless of what content is being consumed.  The article offers suggestions on how to manage children’s time online and even goes so far as to say 14 is a good time for kids to get a cell phone.

But high school is an especially tumultuous time in the development of a teenager. They are just as likely if not more to withdraw from the world, either through social media, video games, or some other form of escapism. A phone would only exacerbate that. Further, the suggestions only treat the symptoms; the underlying cause remains relatively unknown. Certainly, everyone has their favorite political agenda, and are more than happy to co-opt these mental health issues to lend moral imperatives to their respective crusade.

To the carpenter, the whole world is a nail, and it’s easy to reframe an issue to take advantage of new data, new trends, or new crises. When you’re focused on how society has wronged you, any perceived slight is a good reason to tear it apart. And who feels more wronged than teenagers? Give them a popular cause and they’ll zealously support it just to fit in. They won’t stop until well into their 30’s when they start to question the relative worth of fitting in over finding out who they are and being themselves. If they ever question it. Young activists often find their ideals indistinguishable from their identity within a group and on occasion rarely move past that.

So what cause can we give the youth of today to positively channel their angst? Because rest assured, they will find something to throw their time and energy at. When they do, we have to be prepared to reap the rewards.


[1] https://www.npr.org/2017/12/17/571443683/the-call-in-teens-and-depression

Cover Photo from Pumpic

PSA: Don’t eat Tide Pods

You would think that the title up above would be enough to stop someone from eating a “Tide Pod” but no… Just because your favorite YouTuber attempted the challenge doesn’t mean you should and here’s why.

DON"T EAT THEM... YOU WILL GET SICK; photo from huzlers.com
DON”T EAT THEM… YOU WILL GET SICK; photo from huzlers.com

Tide Pods are more or less, laundry detergent in a convenient pod that you throw in your laundry machine. Chemicals like polyvinyl alcohol (you will find this in your glue), Denatonium benzoate (this chemical will burn every tissue in your body), Fatty acid salts (soap), Alcoholethoxy sulfate, Disodium distyrylbiphenyl disulfonate (long word here, which means its not something to eat), and Mannanase.

If you can’t pronounce most of these words or all of them, maybe you should think twice before eating them. As a old saying goes “If you can’t say a word that’s in your food, maybe you shouldn’t eat it.”

Without the challenge, Tide Pods are still a major problem. Over 10,000 people were hospitalized last year and since 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed them as a “serious health threat” to children under the age of 5 and adults with dementia.  In 2015, the companies selling the laundry pods added a coated chemical that made the pods “taste nasty” before someone bit into them and made the outside container without showing the pods.

These changes have not worked and actually the number rose to a peak of 12,594 in 2015 before dropping back down to 10,570. The pod still looks like a piece of candy to the young child or adult with dementia. In 2018, in just 25 days (date of the article) over 37 teens have eaten the pods with half of them being intentional.

The makers of Tide Pods, Proctor & Gamble have release statements and even had NFL Tight End for the New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski do a video telling teens not to eat the pods.

Well people, we have reached a point in our lives where we need to go back in time to the laundry detergent in the bottle and to forget these pods for good. (Maybe when people start to grow-up, we can have nice things). Well if not because of the teens, maybe stop selling them to look like candy. No need for them to look more appetizing than actual candy.

Is “Pretty Little Liars” a bad influence?

On any given Tues. night, thousands of girls on and off Radford University’s campus wait anxiously for the newest episode of the hit television show “Pretty Little Liars.” It’s a teen mystery show set in a town called Rosewood, following the lives of best friends Emily, Aria, Spencer and Hanna. The girls try to uncover the truth behind the murder of their friend Allison.

I’d never watched the show before, but after my roommate’s continuous begging and because of my own curiosity, I decided to give it a shot. Continue reading Is “Pretty Little Liars” a bad influence?