group magazine: November-December, 1996
From: GROUP Magazine's November/December 1996 issue
Keywords: Home Schooling, Insight, Crime rate, Sex Gurus
Each issue, CyberTalk prints what kids are talking about on the Internet (kids use nicknames to respond).
From: Waifer222-Home schooling would have to stink...missing out on prom, dances, basketball games, party scenes, etc. Yeah, you'd have friends...but you'd still miss out on sooo much.
From: Poomba-Part of growing up and becoming educated is learning how to socialize with other kids your own age. Home schooling does not allow this.
From: JurassicBoy-Pro: You can learn a lot more, at your own rate, with individual attention. You can also stay away from distractions and bad influences at school. Con: Often few friends and you don't learn how to socialize/meet friends (as well, anyways)...
From: ValleyBop-Okay, I know this girl who's home-schooled since she was born-she's about 13 now and about three grades ahead of where she should be. She doesn't watch TV at all. I got to know her at a friend's church. And one of the first things that really struck me was that she was incredibly honest and direct...to the point that most people would consider rude (she told my friend he had a big zit on his forehead, in front of a bunch of people-she didn't think it was anything embarrassing since, of course, everyone had noticed).
I guess this could be considered a con, but I thought it was definitely refreshing compared to the bs we hear every day-the fake compliments and the meaningless "I love you's."
From: EgyptianCat-In the home-schooling group I'm in, we have over 100 families. Most have 3-5 kids-that's 300 to 500 kids of all different ages. When you hit the adult world, you're not going to socialize only with adults your own age. Most adults can tell I home school because of the way I interact with them-I'm not afraid to look them in the eye.
From: Tarzan2393-I agree that home schooling would be very positive if the home-schooled person was old enough, or fortunate to have aspirations and opportunities for diversified learning. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. In many situations, young children are home-schooled by parents for religious reasons (fundamentalists not wanting their kids to be exposed to sex education and evolution), giving them a very sheltered and limited perception of the world and society.
From: Thumper2290-While I agree that it's a shame when parents home school their kids for extreme religious reasons, it is a common misconception that many people do it. In fact, I've been home-schooled for five years, and I've never once yet come across a fanatic.
From: EgyptianCat-AHEM!!! My parents DID pull me out for religious reasons. If no religion is supposed to be in school, evolution should be out, too. I know about evolution, but I do not choose to accept it. Evolution is a theory. But, my teacher (in public school) did not tell me that it was an opinion; she told me it was a fact! I will never go to a sex education class. This is not my parents' influence either. I have made my OWN decisions.
From: Peaceaholic-Home schooling is quite obviously highly unethical, as it so clearly deprives children of their training to learn to interact, maintain relationships with, and work with other persons. This invariably leads to dysfunctional adults who cannot work with others. We cannot have these anti- socials in society.
From: Thumper2290-I'm sorry if I sound condescending, but what an uneducated thing to say. I can't tell you how sick to death I am of explaining to people that home-schoolers DO NOT SIT AROUND ALL DAY! We socialize a lot more than you do, I'm sure. You're all like robots, programmed to believe one thing, and you're too scared to face the brave ones who come up with ideas by themselves. So don't knock it 'til you've tried it-hey, I went to school, so at least I have something to compare it to.
"I believe that things happen that can't be explained, but so many people seem intent on explaining them. Everyone has an answer for them. Either aliens or things from the spirit world."
-Director, writer and actor Harold Ramis (co-star in Ghostbusters and director of Animal House), answering a question posed by a Psychology Today writer: "Do you believe in psychic powers?"
"My generation was so independent. I remember telling my dad, 'I'm going to go see Allison at her school in Vermont.' He'd say...'Okay.' I'd walk out the door. I was 13. It was great, but on the other hand, I think my parents thought this hands-off thing [was really working]."
-Actor Robert Downey Jr., who began smoking marijuana as a teenager and was recently arrested for drug possession
"Women are probably closest to God. We make life.
-Singer Me'Shell Ndegˇocello, a bisexual "rock and roll activist and funk philosopher," quoted in Rolling Stone
"I think the biggest mistake liberals ever made was the cockamamie idea that somehow or another a woman could raise her children just as well as a woman and a man."
-Democratic political consultant James Carville, architect of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign, quoted in Rolling Stone
"Is there anyone more arrogant and annoying than Christians?"
-CCM artist Peter King of Dakoda Motor Co., responding to complaints of Christian fans who "judge him" for his role as host of MTV's Sandblast show, quoted in CCM magazine
KID CRIME RATE STALLS
For the first time in a decade, the crime rate for teenagers has dropped. Amid superheated predictions of a future infested with kids who can't drive a car but know how to wield an Uzi, the overall arrest rate for adolescents is down 2.9%, and the arrest rate for murders by teenagers fell 15.2%.
The reason for the drop is difficult to pinpoint, but that hasn't stopped speculation among experts. "I think some of the glamour of being a thug, walking around with a gun is being removed," says Geoffrey Canada, president of the Rheedlen Centers for Children and Families in Harlem, "because people 13, 14, and 15 years old have seen so many of their friends or relatives being killed or going to prison."
DAZED AND CONFUSED
You'd think a culture that's just three years from the end of the millennium would have a better grip on what's what. But already Rolling Stone magazine has pegged the '90s as "the decade without a clue." In naming "confusion" at the "hot mood" in its annual Hot Issue, RS points to bewildering juxtapositions: a strong economy but rampant economic insecurity, recycling programs that people use but experts say are a waste of time and money, a higher murder rate in Minneapolis than in New York. An RS writer bemoans, "We used to think the center couldn't hold. All of a sudden, there doesn't seem to be a center at all."
WHAT THE SEX GURUS ARE TEACHING KIDS
If parents and teachers are afraid to teach kids about it (and studies say they are), where exactly do teenagers get the skinny on sex?
Introducing TV shows and fashion magazines-the sex gurus of choice among young people.
According to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation...
*more than half (53%) of all teenage girls get their sex education from TV and movies, and more than a third say that fashion magazines are an important source of information about sex;
*a third of all teenagers say the media encourages them to have sex;
*more than half (54%) of all teenagers say their parents have not talked to them about birth control;
*nearly a third (29%) say they've had sex; and
*the top reason teenagers have sex, according to girls, is a "boy pressuring them" (61%).
What's even more disturbing about this last statistic is that boys typically know little about their own sexuality and the consequences of sexual involvement. In a recent study of junior highers in Atlanta, a paltry 2.4% of boys correctly defined "ovulation," while a relatively whopping 26% knew exactly what "ejaculation" meant. The resulting knowledge gap translates to more than one million teenage pregnancies each year and three million cases of sexually transmitted diseases (that's one out of every four teenagers).
Kaiser's Matt James, in a USA Today interview, says, "We need to do a better job of explaining how you can negotiate sexual relations. Boys need to understand that sex isn't a sport." High school student Thuy Do says, "It's great to imagine everybody's taught by their parents. But that's not the real world. They're not all raised by parents who sit down and teach them."
MARKETERS SWOOP IN ON COOL KIDS
Suddenly, big corporations that fear they're about to miss the money boat are desperate for the lowdown on cutting edge teenagers-kids who can predict what average peers will be buying in six months. That's spawned a thriving teen-focused niche in the marketing industry and elevated fringe kids to consumer royalty.
One of the leading teen market-research companies, Teenage Research Unlimited, says its business has doubled in the last five years. In a Wall Street Journal interview, TRU president Peter Zollo says, "More and more clients want to be able to target the [cutting edge] group."
So, how do these firms ferret out prized information from teenage change agents?
*One firm sent three researchers with cameras to a Free Tibet rock concert. There they noticed kids with green hair, pierced lower lips, and service-station-attendant fashions (mechanicwear).
*Another firm focuses on kids who frequent underground dance clubs. A few years ago, club kids started wearing dark nail polish. The firm noticed the trend, and now mainstream kids have popularized it.
*Not long ago a marketing firm discovered that pagers were cool with kids. That directly led to Mountain Dew's widely publicized pager promotion-kids got a pager in return for massive consumption of the caffeine-laden beverage.
Of course, not every fringe trend translates to mainstream sales down the road. But the strategy works often enough to generate millions for savvy companies.
Some predictions for the spring:
*Guys in vinyl skirts
*See-through track shoes
*Suspenders with African-print shirts
*The Malcolm X look
*Skinny ties, white shirts, black pants
I WANT TO BE HAPPY, THAT'S ALL
All the buzz about values and morality in the last few years is finding a receptive audience-teenagers. According to The Mood of American Youth study, teenagers are surprisingly concerned about "the decline in moral and social values." And they're more concerned about building happy, long-lasting, satisfying relationships than kids in the '70s or '80s. A sampling of their responses to the study:
*Almost a third of kids (28%) say the one thing they want most from life is "happiness" (rounding out the top six responses: a "long, enjoyable life"-16%, "marriage and family"-9%, "financial success"-8%, "career success"-8%, and "religious satisfaction"-8%).
*Seven in 10 say religion is important in their lives (and half of all kids say they attend religious services regularly).
*Six in 10 say they don't approve of premarital sex.
*Eight in 10 say they don't think experimenting with drugs is part of growing up.
*Seven in 10 say they're better off than their parents were at their age, and they expect to do even better in the future.
*Kids' top five answers to the question "What's the single worst influence facing teens today?" are: drugs (21%), peer pressure (20%), sex/poor morals (12%), violence (12%), and gangs (12%).
Janis Cromer, an educational analyst interviewed by Parade Magazine, says, "In the 1970s, kids were challenging parents and authority. In the 1980s, their attitude was, 'I'm out to get mine,' and the top priority was making money. Today's kids want to have successful careers, but they know that, without family and love, they wouldn't be satisfied."
Let's say you've got a underenergized (that is, boring) activity on your youth ministry schedule, and you're searching for a way to get kids to show up. Just call it an "extreme" event-that'll get 'em there in droves. From ESPN's Extreme Games (now renamed the X Games-featuring in-line skating, road lugeing, stunt biking, sport climbing, sky surfing, and so on) to television ads for tacos, soft drinks, sneakers and even long-distance services, Extreme is the teenage cattle-call of choice. The word is so hot it's in danger of overexposure-similar to the name-defying popularity of "alternative" music. When kids are learning to in-line skate in gym class (and they are), doesn't that disqualify it as an extreme sport? Nope, says ESPN. So check it out: a Lamentations to the Extreme Bible study sounds about right.
HEROIN LEADS A DRUG ABUSE RESURGENCE
In the three years between 1992 and 1995, the number of drug-abusing teenagers almost doubled (rising 78%). LSD, cocaine, and marijuana account for most of the upsurge. But those are just bit players overshadowed by the comeback of an aging superstar-heroin. Hyped as "better than 1,000 orgasms" in the darkly cool British film Trainspotting, a more potent, less expensive vintage of heroin is the new drug of choice for the Pied Pipers in teenage culture-rock 'n' roll musicians and movie stars. The list of bands that've been linked to heroin abuse reads like a who's who of top teenage draws. Sizing up today's teenage abusers, singer Exene Cervenka says, "You got a million needles piercing their ears, piercing their noses, piercing their lips. You got a million needles shooting drugs into their veins. And to them it's all the same thing."