Category Archives: Social Media

Listen Up. I Deserve to Be Heard.

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BY ABBY MAC

To be honest, I am quite slack at this blogging business. I relish the stages where I want to publish an update everyday and my post-it note wall is spewing with ideas and then there are the miserable phases where I don’t post for months (note: this post is the first one in almost five months). Now, don’t get me wrong. My intermittent periods of posting and then not posting are not driven by my desire to post. Not. At. All.

I always want to post, though at times my want is stronger than at others. The level of my posting is mostly dictated by the time I have available.

Currently, it is holidays so my post rate will quadruple. During school times my posts tend to dwindle off because Growing Pains ever so slowly dwindles to the very bottom of my “To-Do” list and on very, very rare occasions do I reach anywhere close to the end of the list.

However, what always draws be back to this blog is not primarily an abundance of time that I am gifted with. It’s the fact that without this blog I don’t have a voice greater than my home, school or friends. My voice can’t be heard, or it is limited, without this platform which I can vent, rage, embrace, love or call for change. I am constantly brought back to this blog because with Growing Pains, I can be heard by anyone, anywhere and at anytime. And, this excites me and is empowering.

Today, I opened up my computer to write after reading stories such as the refugee who walked free from child kidnapping due to “cultural differences” and saw no time in prison after the molestation of a child. Or, when the hair-removal company, Veet, published ads claiming that an unshaven woman becomes a “man”.

So, whilst I sat and read articles like the above, I became outraged and felt so small. How could I – a young woman who lives in tiny Suburbia and hasn’t yet even had the chance to vote – change all these wrongs which infiltrate our world? Then I realized, not every change-maker has started with a voice which can be heard by the many people who populate our world.

Nelson Mandela did not begin with a voice, Gloria Steinem was not listened to and Martin Luther King Jr was oppressed due to the colour of his skin, but still, these people have all accomplished the greatest of greats and shaped history like few before us.

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem raised her voice for the women’s movement in the 1970s.

I am lucky for the fact that I have this platform – the Internet – to express my opinion and not fear extreme penalty for telling the world.

Now, I vow, that no matter how far down the “To-Do” list my blog sits, I will write. I will write not for fame or money or glory, but because I deserve to be heard and my blog, is where I can be.

How do you use your voice to speak up? Do you sometimes feel silenced?

Time Magazine’s 16 Most Influential Teenagers.

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BY ABBY MAC

Time Magazine has released their annual list of “16 Most Influential Teenagers of 2013”, which notably only includes 15 names. This list is not necessarily the most successful or most empowering teenagers, just incredibly influential. Take a look at the list and the biography of each teenager from Time Magazine, and tell us what you think.

1. Hailee Steinfield, 16
“Steinfeld had nearly no previous acting experience when she was nominated for an Academy Award at age 13 in 2010 for her role in True Grit. Now she’s playing a student at a military space academy in the sci-fi film Ender’s Game. “I still consider myself very much a beginner,” she told the Guardian.”

2. Chloe Grace Moretz, 16
“Chloe Grace Moretz is a leading lady for the first time in Carrie, but the blood-drenched horror film is hardly this 16-year old’s first rodeo. The Atlanta native has had supporting roles in (500) Days of Summer and Hugo, and she’s an up-and-comer in the fashion world, too. Next, she’s starring opposite Kiera Knightly in Laggie, out in 2014.”

3. Beth Reekles, 17
“The Welsh high school student was looking for something to read other than stories about vampires and werewolves when she decided to write her own teen fiction book. The then-15-year-old used story-sharing site Wattpad to release her novel, The Kissing Booth, which earned more than 19 million views and caught the attention of Random House Children’s Publishers U.K. The author, now 17, scored a three-book deal with the U.S. arm of Random House and has since appeared on the Today show. But writing remains a hobby for the teenaged literary sensation, who plans to major in physics in college.”

4. Justin Bieber, 19
“The Canadian-born pop star has become an industry to himself, valued by Forbes at $58 million. He released his first single at age 15, and in 2010, he became the youngest solo male artist to hit #1 on Billboards Hot 100, with My World 2.0, since Stevie Wonder. His high profile breakup earlier this year with fellow star and girlfriend of two years Selena Gomez landed him in gossip sections the world over, as did an altercation in March with a photographer.”

5. Maya Van Wagenen, 15
“The 15-year-old author rose to fame for keeping a diary in her quest to become popular, following antiquated tips from the 1950s self-help book, Betty Cornell’s Glamour Guide for Teens. Her musings about applying lessons such as always wearing white gloves and pearls as she navigated the social scene of a small Texas town landed her a six-figure Penguin book deal for, Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, last month DreamWorks optioned the rights for the novel, making the budding author the “youngest non-actor to ever make a deal” at the film studio.”

6. Malia Obama, 15
“At high-profile events, like her father’s second Inaugural Address, Malia and her sister, Sasha, act with the poise of adults. Thanks in part to Michelle Obama, they seem to lead as normal lives as they can while still meeting the demands of being in the limelight. (Such as 15-year-old Malia’s satirical send up in the Onion.) President Obama often mentions his daughters in speeches, and says that they influenced his stance on gay marriage.”

7. Ionut Budisteanu, 19
“The 19-year-old scientist’s design for a low cost, self-driving car won first place and $75,000 at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for high school students in May. The prototype signals the potential of manufacturing autonomous driving vehicles to the masses, costing only $4,000 to build as opposed to Google’s $75,000 self-driving car. Budisteanu, a student in Romania, used artificial intelligence technology and a mounted camera on the car to identify traffic lanes, curbs, cars and even people.”

8. Kiernan Shipka, 14
“Mad Men’s Sally Draper is the sassiest character on TV, all thanks to Kiernan Shipka. The 14-year old actress has been playing Don Draper’s rebellious daughter since she was six and a half, but she’s still not allowed to watch the hit AMC show. Shipka also nails her red carpet appearances, with a quirky but age-appropriate style that gets her raves from the fashionable set. Watch out for her performance as incestuous Catherine in the Lifetime adaptation of V.C. Andrews’ Flowers In The Attic.”

9. Malala Yousafzai, 16
“In 2012, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by the Taliban on the bus home from school in Pakistan. Malala was a target because of her vocal activism to better the education of girls under Taliban rule. After surviving the attack, the now-16-year-old didn’t hide in fear but strengthened her voice. “I speak for education of every child, in every corner of the world,” she said, and the world has been listening. This year she received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and a Clinton Global Citizen Award. She was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.”

10. Danta de Blasio, 16
“Bill de Blasio might be the Mayor-elect of New York, but his 16-year-old son Dante is the city’s latest fashion icon. Dante’s now-iconic afro has starred in a campaign ad, inspired a New York Times Style section piece, and even gained President Obama’s attention. “Dante has the same hairdo as I had in 1978,” he said. “Although I have to confess my Afro was never that good. It was a little imbalanced.” A junior at Brooklyn Tech, Dante and his sister Chiara (known for her floral headbands) were front and center in their father’s campaign.”

11. Kendall and Kylie Jenner, 18 & 16
“The younger sisters of the Kardashian clan are no strangers to the spotlight. They’re featured in Keeping Up With The Kardashians with their half-sisters Kim, Khloe and Kourtney, but they’re making their own waves as well. Kendall, a swimsuit model, and her 16-year-old sister Kylie have raised eyebrows for their precocious behavior. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve shown an early talent for deal-making: the pair launched a clothing line with PacSun this year.”

12. Missy Franklin, 18
“The 18-year-old won six gold medals at the 2012 Olympics and in doing so not only claimed the title of winningest female swimmer ever at a world meet, but also became the fifth swimmer to capture six or more golds at Worlds or the Olympics. She won the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sportswoman of the Year award this year. And, she joined the Cal swim team, turning down millions of dollars of endorsements to get a college degree.”

13. Nick D’Aloisio, 18
“When Marissa Mayer decides to buy your app for $30 million, you know you’re doing pretty well. When you’re only 17 at the time, “doing pretty well” is an understatement. Programming whiz kid Nick D’Aloisio sold Summly, a news-reading and summarizing app, to Yahoo in March. Other investors include Wendi Murdoch, Yoko Ono, and Ashton Kutcher.”

14. Lydia Ko, 16
“A New Zealand golfer born in South Korea, 16-year-old Lydia Ko has multiple LPGA wins. She turned pro this year—the LPGA waived the age requirement for her to join—and she’s already fifth in women’s world rankings after just 23 tournaments. She’s the youngest person ever to win a professional golf tour event and the youngest person ever to win an LPGA tour event (and the only amateur to ever win two LPGA Tour events).”

15. Lorde, 17
“The just-turned 17-year-old New Zealander rocketed to international fame this year with the release of her first album, Pure Heroine. Proof: New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who won the election on a message railing against economic inequality, walked onto stage to Lorde’s defiant “Royals.” The child prodigy—she signed with a label at 13—is already competing with pop’s biggest stars, surpassing Miley Cyrus in September for the top spot on iTunes with “Royals.” The singer-songwriter, whose real name is Ella Yelich-O’Connor, is forging her own path, turning down an opportunity to join Katy Perry on tour because, as she said at the time, it ‘didn’t feel right.'”

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So, there’s a couple of huge names. Quite interesting to group significant figures such as Justin Bieber and Malala Youfaszai together, however, it is the most influential. I thought there were a couple of names missing from this remarkable list, so I have added my own incredible teenagers.

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Who do you think deserved or did not deserve to be on Time’s List? What teenagers are influential to you?

To read more of Time Magazine’s List, click here: http://time100.time.com/2013/11/12/the-16-most-influential-teens-of-2013/

To read more about the film, Girl Rising, click here: girlrising.com/

Urgh. Is This All Teenagers Are Interested By?

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BY ABBY MAC

When I started Growing Pains, it was intended for teenagers. I published this blog because I felt there was gap in the market for online sites providing real, educated and down-to-earth opinions on issues affecting teens and issues that teens are thinking about. It’s a blog written by young women who are actually experiencing being a teenager, not a professor with a bunch of letters next to their name who references studies when talking about what it is like to be a teen and pretends to have a clue. Growing Pains is real.

That’s why I talk about topics that seem broader than teenage issues, such as GoldieBlox toys, advocacy and domestic violence. There’s a misconception that teenagers only think about Instagram, themselves or the opposite sex and to be frank, that’s just rubbish. Sure, plenty of teens are addicted to themselves but there’s also a good lot of us that think deeply, critically and carefully. Often, these teens are lessened, ridiculed and silenced for wanting to learn and think, not just by teens but adults as well, such as the case of conservationist, Bindi Irwin who spoke out against over human population. At this age, teenagers are immediately associated with brains incapable of thinking and it is this thought that angers me and from there, Growing Pains is born.

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Apparently, this is all teenage girls do.


Once a week, I research ideas for posts and under the websites I investigate, there are many teenage-inspired ones. I am not typically blown away with content or ideas from these websites, in fact, I rarely get anything at all, but posts to be angry at, such as “The How-To Guide On Getting the Sexiest Boy at School”. You know, that sort of stuff. Most of the time, I sit in anger about these “How-To Guides” for 5 minutes, consider writing a post about it and then find a great, INTELLECTUAL idea on another website and write about that, instead. But today, I am not. Don’t worry, I have written all those intellectual ideas down, however, I finally need to let some steam off about these embarrassing, degrading, condescending, absurd and disgusting (EDCAD) posts that you find on those other teen websites.

To avoid legal matters, I won’t name these teenage sites but I have compiled a list of the Top 10 EDCAD posts from the most prominent teen websites (in no particular order).

1. 10 Sex and Hook-Up Tips From Our Fav Reindeer, Rudolph
2. Guess the Celebrity Legs
3. The 24 Most Important Selfies of 2013
4. If Male Celebs Wore Make-up
5. Meet Your Next Date At The Airport
6. Things to Never Tell A Directioner
7. 10 Secret Things You Do During Sex You Don’t Want to Admit
8. I Can’t [Get] This Guy Off My Mind, Will We Hook Back Up? (Ask a Dude)
9. 10 Ways To Tell That You’re A Bad Kisser
10. Jamie Dornan Will Go Full Frontal in 50 Shades of Grey

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This is all I ever dream about. Not.


Urgh. These are all teen websites which promote themselves as covering all the issues and problems relating to teenagers. Sure, occasionally tongue-in-cheek posts can be written, such as my one on Teenage Fashion Judgement, but do we really need thousands of websites telling young adults all the ways to be better kissers and score the person of their dreams? My answer to that is no.

It’s time to boycott these ridiculous sites which take advantage of this culture that teenagers are limited to only thinking about their hair. As adults, encourage teenagers to discuss and debate politics, human rights and society etc. and as teens, promote among your friends and family that you are more than the clothes on your body.

I’m sick of it. So, for heaven’s sake, I’m going to do my best at stopping it. Join me, whatever age you are and tell the world that teenagers are beyond reading “How to Find The One” even though we’re only 15.

What do you think? Are teenagers beyond those sorts of posts?

Being Careful: It’s Not Victim-Blaming

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BY ABBY MAC

After recent tumultuous events involving women being violated, hurt and even murdered, a fight for women, but not limited to, to be safe on our streets, has ignited.  People from all ages, no matter what their gender should be allowed to walk down the streets at any time of night, by themselves wearing whatever clothing they choose and not be frightened of predators.  As women, we should be allowed to feel safe walking wearing high heels and a skirt, at 11:00 p.m. down a shadowy alley.  That would be wonderful.  I would never feel afraid again.  However, expecting this is unrealistic.

Girl Alone

We live in a world with many positive aspects and many rapidly improving negatives, from the fight for gender equality to environmental considerations.  We are constantly changing and with these changes, I enjoy seeing parts of our world blossom.  And as much as I would like to add to the list, women feeling comfortable on weird streets late at night, I can’t because it’s simply not true.  Sure, there might be some exceptions to this rule but generally, I stress this generalisation, I would be called a liar. 

We see horrifying stories flash on our television screens describing the despicable acts committed to women whilst trying to walk home or to their parked car.  We are then reminded of the reassuring statistics such as that it is more likely than not that, that women will sexually assaulted a male they know than a stranger.  80% of sexual assault victims know their perpetrators (Better Health Channel).  We are then falsely placed in a sense of security.  Why?  Because there is still that chance that we can be hurt by a strange man on the street.  True, right?

Being oblivious to the fact that you can still be attacked by a strange man is surely just being ignorant?  There are tips my mum and other adults have given to try and be safe on the street like holding the sharpest key between my fingers, how to stop and quickly defend myself against attacks, not wearing high heels and if I am, how to use them and other implements as weapons.  I know, I know.  Some may say slightly over the top, however, it is being equipped with the best possible plans of attacks and knowledge if I was to be put in a similar, unlikely situation.  It is not victim-blaming.  It is being real.  And living in the world that not following safety measures is your way to be a feminist or show the world that not being a victim-blamer, then you’re not being real.  

I am outraged that people suggest that women need to stop going out at night or have a drink in case a man attacks them.  There is victim-blaming.  This is where the line stops, where people suggest it’s the women that need to change than the indescribably contemptible men who commit such acts.  That is victim-blaming.  Being careful is not. 

Mia Freedman, author of mamamia.com.au, conducted a controversial interview with feminist and fellow author Caitlin Moran about the idea of victim-blaming, where the real and on-line world was erupted by their thoughts.  Outraged by their opinions.  Criticising their positions as feminists for their comments.  Here is part of the interview:

Mia and Caitlin

Mia Freedman and Caitlin Moran

“M: There was a very tragic case in Melbourne recently, about an Irish girl who was walking home from a bar, and who was married and lived 800 metres from a bar, and was walking home and was just randomly abducted and raped and murdered. And it’s really been one of those watershed moments for the whole country.

There have been peace marches, and reclaim the night marches, because it is that thing that we all fear, a woman walking alone, randomly taken from the streets, and it’s really divided a lot of women. Because there have been those who have said, “don’t blame the victim, we need to be free to walk the streets at any time, it’s men who need to be taught not to rape and murder.”

And of course it should never be about victim blaming but I worry about the idea of saying to women “don’t change your behaviour, this is  not your problem!”. I feel like that’s saying, ”You should be able to leave your car unlocked with the keys in the ignition, or leave your front door unlocked, and expect nobody to burgle you.”

C: Yes. It’s on that basis that I don’t wear high heels – other than I can’t walk in them – because when I’m lying in bed at night with my husband, I know there’s a woman coming who I could rape and murder, because I can hear her coming up the street in high heels, clack-clack -clack.  And I can hear she’s on her own, I can hear what speed she’s coming at, I could plan where to stand to grab her or an ambush.

To be honest, I agree with them completely.  There are definitely times where victim-blaming occurs.  Where people assume that just because a woman gets raped means that she is a slut.  Definitely.  No doubt.  But helping yourself be safe is not.  We don’t live in a perfect world surrounded by perfect people who all want the best for us, so we need to stop treating it that way.  Not recognising this is simply lying to yourself.  It’s not blaming the victim.  It’s helping you not become the victim.

What is your perspective on victim-blaming?  Is being safe victim-blaming? 

She died. But I knew her.

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BY ABBY MAC

A few weeks ago, a girl I knew, got into the passenger seat of a car and went joy riding. She was 16 and the driver, also drunk, was 18. Then, at 3:30am the car they were driving slammed into a power pole and tore half the car apart leaving one half at the power pole and the other 10 metres further up the road. What followed was the most frightening. Silence. Those who lived on the road or close by didn’t hear screams for helps and the girls moaning in agony. It was totally silent.

Both the driver and passenger were killed which left police reporting it as a ‘horrific’ scene and one that is unforgettable. Unlike all the crashes broadcast upon televisions, newspapers and the internet, I knew that girl. I knew that girl, who I know was judged for being an out of control teen who couldn’t identify the fine line that ran between right and wrong. I knew that girl who left parents tutting and lead as a model to everything that the child shouldn’t be.

At the time of the accident, I was holidaying and so I wasn’t aware of the crash until three days ago. I was told by a friend that a girl from my previous school had died in a car accident but she didn’t know and so I was left to mull over taking second guesses and who it was.

I knew the girls were drunk and at a party so I quickly created a profile of what I thought the girl was like; untamed, popular and risky. At that stage, I didn’t know who had died but I judged her, nevertheless. As soon as I arrived home, I scoured the internet for anything on the two girls or the crash.

Then, I saw her face. I knew her. I knew that girl. I read story after story, describing what type of girl she was. The media painted her a profile that sickened me. They ensured parents would only feel more comfortable tutting her. By the way the media painted her, people think they know her. They know her type. But, they did not know her. Everyone was happy to accept that she was just another teen who got drunk, jumped in a car and crashed. Just like I have in the past, people think that there is only one type of teen that gets drunk and crashes a car. But there’s not.

I think that there is a naivety in how many teens did what that girl did. The naivety spread across other teens, parents and adults. Before I hit high school, I didn’t know that people in grade eight were getting drunk, smoking and having sex. Before I hit high school, I thought the law and common sense could stop this. I know girls who are loved and adored by parents and teachers, represent their school as a captain or leader and also the girls who get drunk Friday night, smoke pot and end by having sex.

I am not saying that all teenagers get drunk, smoke or have sex. Not at all. I don’t do that. But what I trying to stress is that there is not one type of teenager who does that. It is not necessarily the teen whose ear is decorated and earrings and runs the popular crowd nor can we rule out that it is the middle school captain who is adored by everyone in the community. Eventually, our naivety spreads to ignorance. We don’t want to believe that the good girl is also the bad one. Truthfully, it is easier to believe that it is the bad girl and feel safe knowing that your friend, son or daughter or pupil isn’t them.

The way the media portrayed this girl, she was the bad girl. But she really wasn’t. I didn’t know her very well, but she definitely left and imprint on me when I did talk to her. We both played hockey at school and since some trainings different teams trained together, I started to get to know her. I particularly dislike training with her team due to the criticism I would receive for being fitter, faster and more skilful than them. While I ran laps around (literally), her and all her friends, she was the only one that wouldn’t try to trip me as I ran or would yell different taunts at me as I ran. She was that girl who stuck up for me. However, the media failed to portray this side to her. Because it was easier if she was the troublesome girl.

For the sake of her privacy, I will call her Elizabeth. Elizabeth wasn’t troublesome, she was just troubled. Like everyone, she had multiple different faces and sides which only certain people would see certain sides. At school, with her friends, she was the one everyone liked. At home, she created trouble. For me, she was very kind and thoughtful.

A part of me feels wrong for grieving for her loss. I didn’t know her that long. I think that it isn’t my right to cry and feel a sense of loss for someone I only talked with weekly and eventually stopped because we no longer trained together. Though, sometimes I cry not just for her loss but for other things as well. I cry because of the way she has been portrayed in the media. I cry because she is now helpless to defend herself against the tuts and the stories her family are now telling the media. I cry because the last face being shown is the troublesome one.

I cry about death itself. I have never really experienced it and I don’t even know if this loss counts as an experience but death is inevitable. For me and everyone I know. Death is something that cannot be stopped yet we dance around the idea of dying. We place an age on death, when really death is not an age but the end to your story. For Elizabeth, death was an age and not the end to her story. Death was not a car slamming into a power pole at a high speed and the car being torn apart.

I still find it hard to get my head around this loss of life. Not life as in her heart stopping beating and her body no longer functioning but how her spirit and her essence is so easily taken from this world. How can that girl who once galloped around the hockey fields, limped to her semi-formal because her foot was broken and stood up for me now gone? Before Elizabeth died, I placed an age on death as well.

It’s not anyone’s fault that she and her friend died. If we blame someone for it, it is much the same as judging what Elizabeth was like. I wish from the bottom of my heart that what happened didn’t happen. I really do. But, that wish is impossible and I think the best I can do is learn from this event and portray Elizabeth in a light so many haven’t. I have decided to write her a letter.

Dear Elizabeth,

I hope you are feeling okay. I hope you don’t feel wrong that I am grieving for your death even though we haven’t talked for a while. I want you to know that what you did for me was really special and eased the pain of going to those trainings. I can’t really repay you now for what you do but I am doing my best. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that you’re gone. That slamming into a pole could take away all of you. Your essence of life and kindness but that’s what death does.

I am sorry for assuming the type of person you were in that car. But I know now that you were so much more. I am sorry you didn’t even get to finish school and be proud of your achievement. I am so incredibly sorry for your death.

Your life and death has changed me.

Abby.

Acts of Kindness.

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BY ABBY MAC

I ask myself everyday whatever happened to the human race. What happened to this evolved race where people could be kind, thoughtful and sincere? What happened to these general actions that are so much easier than being unkind, selfish and insincere?

There are so many actions and things I desperately want to change or help throughout my life. The list varies from domestic violence, bullying, mental health and equality but the first is to revive humanity. To bring back to life simple acts of kindness and generosity. Where it wasn’t a burden for the check-out girl to serve you; a place the elderley can hope for those younger would willingly help them in times of need and where being kind wasn’t exceptional but a way of life.

No matter what type of dream, perfection is the goal at the end. However, perfection isn’t possible or wanted at the same time. Perfection means nothing to work for and improve on; perfection would be a bore. So, when I say I want humanity to be revived, I know that there will be people who won’t follow. Some terrible actions would never cease. It won’t be perfection.

If my first dream, for humanity to be restored, was to be started, it would see aid in solving most, if not all the points on my list. I like to fantasise that it could help see the end to war, terrorism, human trafficking, poverty and homelessness, but unfortunately I can’t spread my ideals too far. Some of those movements are a large battle to fight, and surely one worth fighting for, but at this stage, I shall start small and move in a ripple effect.

Every day, I see people become more disillusioned and acts of kindness are a rarity. Few wave as signal of thanks in cars; show appreciation to the stranger who just picked up the pen they dropped or donate the 5 cents someone else is short. So, when I experienced a genuine act of kindness yesterday, it made me stop. Since, not being used to such things, I wondered whether this person is pranking me or just joking. They were not. It was an act of kindness.

I was miserably failing at Twitter. I tweet every day, I follow other people and I regularly read my home page but I was having trouble gaining followers and creating more interest for the blog, which is my main priority. Anyway, in my normal ‘following’ spree, I actually had someone follow me back – Lisa Andrews. As usual, I sent the normal message thanking them for their follow and to have a look at the blog. Typically, no one replies but Lisa did. She had actually looked at my blog and had taken an interest in what I wrote. It was from there, that Lisa has promoted Growing Pains and me on Twitter and she also helped on a few other things.

One could respond to this in two ways; believe that they are pranking or setting you up or to accept that there is another person in this world with the ability to be kind. I’ll take the latter. Since our society is very much a technological one, more and more acts of kindness will be acted not face to face. Of course, we have to take precautions in protecting ourselves from those who aren’t so kind, but I do believe sometimes we need to accept these acts for what they are.

Lisa didn’t have to say what she did or help me so much. She didn’t have to take her time out for me. But she did. And that’s what means the world to me. Unlike others, I say thank you Lisa for doing what you did. I truly appreciate it.

Every day, I think I become surer that humanity is dead but yesterday I was never so sure that it was so alive.

What do you think of acts of kindness? Do you show them or show thanks for them? Why? How often have you experienced an act of kindness?

 Lisa Andrews is 52 years old turning 53. She lives in Perth, Australia but is originally from Portland, Oregon in America where she trained to be a Real Estate agent. Aged 22 she moved to Perth and studied communications at UWA and is now an Advertising executive and CEO for her company Arangio. She has 3 daughters so she know how important it is for women to follow their dreams. Her twitter is @Lisaandrews1960

Abby: Why I Deleted My Facebook Account.

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BY ABBY MAC

Facebook can connect us to friends and family all over the world. It allows us to share photos, videos and information about ourselves and as the viewer; we can like and comment easily on people’s lives. But for me, Facebook can no longer offer this glossy cover. As a teen, it has been infiltrated with hate, misery and falseness which is enjoyable to the people causing it.

I deleted my Facebook account for a variety of reasons but the biggest one was that some of the users, particularly teens, had lost sight of what the true purpose of it was. It was hard every day to see some form of bullying and sadistic comments from these faceless people behind their computer screens.

Media and other adults often portray the biggest threats online to be strange predators that are 50 year old men looking to find you, though they are serious threats, there are other predators which can easily be friends of Facebook; the people that you share your photos, videos and information with, every day.

For me, Facebook was no longer a place of sincerity but teens sharing their lives only to be let down and bullied by their ‘friends’ (friends on Facebook; not necessarily friends in real life).

It seems that your Facebook profile is meant to be perfect and glossy with perfect pictures of yourself, or stupid pictures of yourself which still make you look cute and sexy. But that’s not my life. I don’t take a perfect picture every time. When I look stupid in a photo, I genuinely look stupid not cute and sexy.

Un-Facebookfied

This is un-facebookfied. It isn’t perfect! But look! Do you like my pyjamas?

When I say ‘Facebook’ as a general term, I mean the Facebook world constructed by teens. Facebook, by teens, is no longer about sharing our lives, not the real ones anyway. It is a fake, perfected life for all those ‘friends’ to ‘hate on’ or ‘like’ and then ‘unlike’ only to be mean. You’re not meant to share the photo of you still in your pyjamas eating birthday cake at 9 am but in fact the beautiful, already ‘Instagram(med)’ photo with all your friends wearing high heels and way-too-short dresses in the city. Apparently, I’m unlike the rest of the teenage population on Facebook and don’t own a way-too-short dress (that I wear in the city at 9pm at night) and I don’t celebrate my birthday by taking enough cute and sexy photos to fill a real photo album.

This perfected Facebook life isn’t fair on the rest of us ‘normal’ or ‘unperfected’ people. People like me. People who then strive to have a perfect Facebook page. It became that a lot of photos I took and activities and I joined in on, were based upon what I could get out of it for Facebook. For instance, ‘If I go to this dance, I’ll be able to take these photos with my friends and then upload it onto Facebook’ or I went into this weird extreme place thinking if a photo isn’t good enough to be on Facebook, it was deleted. It didn’t matter whether it was going on Facebook or not.

Facebook-fied

That’s ‘perfect’. No, it’s just boring. My pyjamas were way cooler.

Fake photos, videos and the status updates don’t connect our lives to people. They only share very fleeting parts of our lives that are ‘Facebook-ready’ and are good enough to not be attacked online. The photos that girls put on Facebook with their flat tummies and beautiful bikinis aren’t real. They have most likely stood there for 50 or so shots, with either the peace sign, sitting down or pretending that they don’t know the photo is being taken to find the ‘Facebook-ified’ one. And my least favourite part – when they then have the caption ‘ew my bod is disgusting. just want to die.’ That’s not fair. It’s not fair on so many levels but the biggest one is, they have taken a photo of their beautiful body and then demean themselves in hope to be presented with 189 likes and 67 comments all saying ‘ew no. your bootfiul. i just want to die now.’ or ‘get some ugly.’ It’s these photos and comments which make the rest of us all sit back and be brain washed with all these beautiful girls saying their ugly and as a result, we are feeling twice as ugly as them.

It would be nice to think that Facebook is still living up to its true purpose in the teen world, but it’s not. I can’t stand the bullying and the falseness. People trying to be someone they’re not. Whilst we continue to be tricked that everyone’s life is just so perfect, we will continue to feel how imperfect we are.

Facebook is like a reality show; it’s meant to be real but it is just so fake.

Did you delete your Facebook page? Why? How do you use Facebook? Do you think Facebook is changing?

Auto Corrected Text Messages.

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BY ABBY MAC

They’re those text messages that everybody hates. They’re inevitable. But, nevertheless, everybody tries to do their best to avoid them. We read and reread our text messages just make sure our text messages haven’t been ‘auto corrected’ and therefore made that sentence completely incorrect.

One day, my friend ran madly into school, screaming ‘Oh my gosh! I accidentally sent ‘give me sex’ instead of ‘give me a sec’ to Ben [her boyfriend]! Heeeeeeelp!’ Although it isn’t a text message, I almost published a post titled – ‘What do you want from Satan?’instead of ‘What do you want from Santa?’

Though these sorts of mistakes can be humorous (if explained), many don’t result in the way which we ever predicted. Technology is not as instant as speaking face to face and sudden errors like the ones before cannot be so swiftly fixed. What happens if you’re not even aware that you asked for ‘sex’ instead of a ‘sec’?

We’ve compiled a gallery of all those awkward text messages. (damnyouautocorrect.com)

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Just another first world problem to add to the list.

Have you ever sent a text message where silly ‘auto correct’ has ‘helped’ you? Have you received an ‘auto corrected’ message? What do you do?