On Thursday June 8th, Dr. Gail Barouh, CEO of the Long Island Network of Community Services, Inc., hosted a group of young women for an event of empowerment and education. Over a dozen motivated, ambitious girls attended the event where an accomplished panel of female executives, directors and management, discussed the challenges, as well as the advantages, of being a woman in a position of leadership.
Harriet Gourdine-Adams, Chief Officer for Care Coordination at LIAAC, explained that this event originated during a discussion of the unique challenges female executives face and the desire to share the trials and the triumphs of being a female executive with the next generation of young ladies. She believes that it is very motivating for a young girl to see a woman in a position of power. Dr. Barouh stated that she wanted to introduce the girls to “accomplished women who came to do this work from different walks of life, at different times in their life” to show that there is no single path to success. She explained to the girls that this was a unique experience for them, as at most companies you would not see a panel of its top leaders being female.
The girls participated in a question and answer session, where they discussed skills necessary to be a good leader as well as how to balance work with personal life. Throughout the discussion, Dr. Gail Barouh offered the girls her insight on what it means to run a company, make hard decisions, and tackle obstacles. She talked about being adaptable, along with the stresses of having to make decisions that some people may not always agree with. Dr. Barouh told the girls “it is harder to be a woman in business, and in life” but that with confidence, open-mindedness, and hard work anything is possible.
The young ladies in attendance shared their dreams for the future. Among them were wishes to be a news reporter, an animator, a doctor, lawyer, marine biologist and fashion designer. Though each child has a unique future and path, they gained from this lesson the notions of female empowerment, being supportive of one another, and to always work hard and dream big.
We live in a day and age where information is at your fingertips. Teens and young adults can access the internet through PCs, laptops, tablets and even cell phones. Through these devices, pictures and information can be shared with anyone at any time. Nearly one out of every two 10-13 year olds and 83% of 13-18 year olds own a cell phone. The cell phone has been a tool utilized by parents to keep in contact with their children while they are not home. As technology has become more advanced, the cell phone has become a tool for teens and young adults to keep in contact with one another through text messaging and the usage of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The average teen generates 50-70 text messages a day or about 18,000 messages a year. About 27% of teens who own a cell phone use it to access the internet.
While this does not look like a big deal, the type of information being shared over these text messages and social media sites is. Over the years, there has been a rise in the amount of cyberbullying taking place over electronic devices among teens and young adults, but a new frontier has come along that parents and teens should be made aware of: Sexting. Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photos electronically, between cell phones and on social media sites like Facebook and AOL Instant Messenger. About 20% of teens between the ages 13-19 have posted or sent nude/semi-nude photos of themselves. Teens send sexually suggestive content to be fun and flirtatious, to be sent as a “sexy present” or a “joke”, but what teens do not realize is that these messages can be damaging to any of the parties involved in the act.
Sending sexually explicit pictures and messages to someone can lead to several different outcomes such as; the messages or pictures that were sent can be shared with others who are not meant to see them; the pictures or messages can be posted on social media blogs and sites for an entire audience to see. States are being forced to apply adult laws to teens for sexting and if the person who receives these messages/pictures shares them with others, this person can face criminal charges for child pornography and have to register as a sex offender.
The reason for the growing concern about Sexting is due to the pitfalls and misconceptions that surround it. A misconception that is common among teens and young adults is that what they send will remain private but about 40% of teens and young adults say they have had sexually suggestive messages shown to them. There is also a misconception that any sexually explicit messages, posting or pictures will go away once deleted, but what teens do not realize is, even when you do hit the delete button, it can still be accessible in cyberspace. One of the reasons why teens send these sexually suggestive messages or images out is to impress a potential boyfriend or girlfriend, but sending these messages can have legal consequences such as sex offender charges or jail time.
There are ways to prevent teens and young adults from sexting and suffering the consequences that come from this act. Parents can talk with their children about sexting and the legal consequences that can come from it; teach your child that just because you deleted a photo, does not mean it is gone forever; monitor the text messages being sent and the social media sites your children are on; and talk with your cell phone provider about plans that can eliminate the type of texts your child can receive and the amount of access your child can have on their phone to the internet.