A recent book by journalist and author, Nancy Jo Sales, titled “American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers,” examines the impact smartphones are having on a generation of young users, and especially the affect on teenage girls.
The author recently sat down with PBS “NewsHour” and discussed her findings. Here is a brief excerpt:
HARI SREENIVASAN: Joining me now is author Nancy Jo Sales.
So, what are the challenges that American girls are facing today that are different from the ones they have always faced?
NANCY JO SALES, Author, “American Girls”: Girls use social media lot. They’re on their phones a lot. And I think most parents are aware of that.
So, really, the question is, what is happening there, and how are these kind of — some regrettable trends that we have seen happening for some time, such as the sexualization of girls, bullying, how are these moving on to phones and on to screens? And what is this environment doing to the life of girls and boys?
HARI SREENIVASAN: You paint a picture almost of these young girls at this kind of intersection of the existing angst that a teenage girl has, combined with this technological leap that we’re all taking together, combined with pornography.
NANCY JO SALES: Yes, I think the kind of elephant, maybe dinosaur in the room right now is pornography. Pornography has been available online for some time.
But I don’t think we have really begun to have a conversation about what that is doing to kids. And we know that they’re watching it. They’re teenagers. They’re going through puberty. They’re curious. They’re watching pornography.
But this tends to be more and more violent pornography that is also, one could I think reasonably say, very degrading to women. And this is where a lot of teenagers now find their sex-ed. And porn is also — the porn aesthetic is also really engulfing social media. And social media is just full of really explicit sexual content.
And whether or not your child wants to see it or intends to see it, they are likely to see it.
You can read the complete interview here on the PBS site.
You can also purchase her book here.
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