Teen using cell phone. Photo by Clay Duda for JJIE.org

For Growing Number of Teens Cell Phones Aren’t for Talking, Study Says

The average American teen is sending more text messages than ever before, quickly becoming their primary means of daily communication according to a report published last month by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The report, entitled “Teens, Smartphones & Texting,” was penned by Amanda Lenhart, and notes several major statistical changes regarding teenager cell phone use in just over a two-year period. According to the report, a typical teen ages 12 to 17 was sending approximately 60 texts per day in 2011, up from 50 in 2009. Additionally, the report finds that older teens, boys and African-Americans are texting in greater numbers than in 2009. The research indicates that kids ages 14 to 17 are sending a median of 100 texts per day, almost doubling the median number of texts the same age group was sending in 2009.

Disney, Take Beyond Scared Straight Aff the Air

An Open Letter to

Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Company

Dear Mr. Iger:

I know Disney is a large company and you, like Rupert Murdoch of News Corporation, can’t oversee everything. So I want to let you know about one of your company’s investments — Disney’s one-third equity stake in the A&E Television Networks. Since it is not fully under Disney’s control, maybe that’s why you haven’t been watching A&E’s “Beyond Scared Straight.” Certainly if you had, you would have intervened and pulled it off the air, but alas last week marked the beginning of its second season.

Benjamin Chambers On Why Treating Teens for Substance Abuse Issues Matters

Does it really matter if we screen and assess teens for alcohol and drug problems?  Most adults, after all, started experimenting with alcohol or other drugs before they turned 21 — and if they didn’t, they almost certainly knew a lot of kids who did. And most of them (though not all) survived into adulthood. So what’s the big deal if we turn a blind eye to identify teen drinking or drugging?  Federally-funded research shows why it’s a big deal from a public health standpoint:

(Click the image for a larger view.) It’s taken from an excellent presentation, “Characteristics, Needs and Strengths of Substance Using Youth by Level of Involvement in the Juvenile Justice System,” given by Dr. Michael Dennis, Senior Research Psychologist at Chestnut Health Systems, at the Reclaiming Futures Leadership Institute held in Miami last month. I’ll be posting more slides from his presentation soon – stay tuned! Here’s Dr. Dennis’ notes on the slide (emphasis added):

This figure shows …

Probation Domination

Probation was the most serious verdict in one-third of teen crime in the U.S. In 2007, 1.7 million delinquency cases were handled by courts with juvenile jurisdiction. This has increased 34% over the past three decades. Nearly 60% of the cases were ordered by the court while the remainder agreed to some form of voluntary probation. This is according to a report by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Abusive Teenage Relationships on the Rise

Thompson High School student Shakira Hudson was 15 when she was killed.  Audrey Atkinson of Covington was 19. Jasmine Harris of Atlanta was 17 and pregnant. All three died in 2010. Boyfriends or ex-boyfriends were charged with their murders. The girls’ deaths were among 130 recorded by the Georgia Commission on Family Violence and the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence in the 2010 Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Report, the largest number of such homicides since the first annual report in 2003.