Photo by Anh Ðào Kolbe for Teen Voices
Have you ever found yourself sitting down at the computer and before you realize it, you’ve spent more than 20 minutes just on Facebook? According to a 2011 survey by the Pew Research Center, 80% of teens use the internet for social media, with girls ages 12-17 using it the most. Social media can be a great way to build and keep in touch with friends both near and far, but it’s not the only thing on the Internet! Entertainment, news, and culture are all a part of the world wide web. Since we can all access the world with just a click, there are plenty of opportunities we can take advantage of on our home screens. Whether it’s inspiration in the form of artwork or learning how to make your own pillowcases, there are lots of safe, fun, and enlightening things do online. Here are a few suggestions.
For an easy way to grab the news and stay up to date on current events that you care about, check out Nick News. Originally a television show, this website is updated weekly with national and global news that incorporates the voices and viewpoints of teens. It offers both videos and articles so you can experience and learn about the news in a digestible format. It also has video links where Linda Ellerbee, the host, discusses current world events with teen panelists. On this site you can gain insight into what’s going on in the world and you can form your own opinion about national and international issues. As important, you may see someone you think is worthy to look up to as a strong, powerful female role model!
Other news-oriented sites to check out: www.timeforkids.com/news
Through sunshine and rain, finding online do-it-yourself (DIY) activities is a great way to get creative and use your hands to make something entirely unique. Craft Gawker compiles different blogs with tons of DIY tutorials and projects. The website is mainly images of finished projects; it is easy to use—simply click on something you like to find a step-by-step tutorial on how to create your own. Recycle earrings missing a match, make a funky ring, or grab those t-shirts you don’t wear anymore and make a new scarf. With these tutorials, you can be green and create something unique that reflects your own sense of style and creativity.
Other creative art sites to check out: www.psimadethis.com
As social media becomes ever more popular, so do online blogs. Even our own Girl Talk that you’re reading now is a great way to hear other people’s perspectives and thoughts. While some people choose to write about their passions for food or fashion, others create pages that speak to individual beauty and empowerment. One blog we really like is Rookie magazine, a teen-focused fashion and lifestyle blog started by 16-year-old Tavi Gevinson. Her online blog is funny and it’s a fun place to read about the perspectives of other teens on school, growing up, and fashion. From Tumblr to WordPress, blogs are a fresh way to make your voice known to the world while exploring some new perspectives.
Other blogs to check out: www.neverseconds.blogspot.com
If your favorite part of class is when you get to watch a movie, then TED talks might become your new favorite place on the web. TED is a conference of intellectuals in Technology, Entertainment, and Design where people of all different backgrounds give lectures on innovative ideas and offer thought-provoking questions. While both women and men give lectures on really cool ideas, their visual aids beg viewers to follow along. TED also offers a section specifically sectored for teen viewers. Whether you choose to check out the original www.TED.com or www.TEDxTeen.com, you will be opening yourself up to a host of new theories, ideas, and some really unique people.
Other video sites to check out: www.youtube.com
Though these websites are just suggestions, there are plenty of other things to do online besides social media. Let us know what your favorite sites are!
** Note: Even if you’re not using social media online, it’s important to make sure you follow through with internet safety procedures and you have your parent’s permission to go to the specific online sites you want to visit.**