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Some of the tricky topics we talk about...
+ CULTURAL AWARENESS
It is estimated that young people today are exposed to 3000-10,000 ads/branding messages per day¹. Further, on average an Australian 13 year old spends 150 minutes watching TV, 60 minutes on a computer and 45 minutes gaming per day². Meanwhile, the degree to which a young person's family informs their identity appears to be declining generation to generation³.
There are so many voices trying to get the attention of today's young people, but which ones are safe to listen to and which ones are best to ignore? In our cultural awareness workshops we seek to help young people answer this question so they can successfully navigate our rapidly changing culture.
Porn is nothing new, but new technologies have made it exponentially more accessible, especially to young people. A 2016 study found that 85.5% of Australians aged 14-17 own a smartphone¹, a device on which they can consume a virtually infinite amount of explicit content. And they are: one study suggests that 12-17 year old males are the most frequent consumers of pornography² with estimates of the average age of first exposure of between 10-13. This is a phenomenon completely unprecedented in human history.
In our balanced, empathetic, science-based workshops on porn we explore ideas such as:
- The science of porn
- The history of porn
- Trends in porn use
- The 'pornification' of culture
- Social impacts of porn consumption
- The concept of 'objectification'
We think we owe it to young people to help them understand the likely effects of pornography. Porn isn't going anywhere, but by creating a safe space where young people can really make up their own minds we think we can help them navigate this tricky and pervasive issue.
+ BODY IMAGE
The 2016 Australian Annual Youth Servey found that body image was an important issue of concern for 30.6% of respondents¹ (up from 26.5% in 2015 and 20.4% in 2012²), and was the third top issue of concern for young people (behind coping with stress and school or study problems)¹. What's driving this trend and what can we do about it?
In our body image workshops we explore ideas such as:
- The relationship between body image and social media
- The relationship between body image and advertising
- The history of beauty standards
- Seeing ourselves and others as more than our appearance
Young people are bombarded with ideas about how their bodies ought to look, ideas which are often unhealthy or just downright impossible. In our workshops we seek to offer the opportunity to reflect on where this pressure is coming from.
- The 2016 Australian Annual Youth Servey, retreived from: http://www.missionaustralia.com.au/what-we-do/research-evaluation/youth-survey
For many, relationships are a normal part of being a teenager. But how is a young person supposed to know what’s normal within a relationship? Between suggestions from friends, family, culture, and the young person’s partner this can be a very difficult question to answer. Further, one in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner¹, suggesting more needs to be done to protect young people entering relationships.
In our relationships workshops we look at ideas such as:
- Signs of an unhealthy relationship
- ‘Pornified culture’ and relationships
We think that by giving young people a safe space to decide for themselves how a relationship ought to look they can be empowered to safely navigate this vulnerable, yet exciting part of growing up.
- Davis, Antoinette, MPH. 2008. Interpersonal and Physical Dating Violence among Teens. The National Council on Crime and Delinquency Focus. Available at http://www.nccd-crc.org/nccd/pubs/2008_focus_teen_dating_violence.pdf
+ ADVERTISING AND CONSUMERISM
It is estimated that young people have gone from being exposed to 500 ads/branding messages per day in 1970, to between 3000 and 10,000 today¹. This bombardment of messages (from sources which do not have their best interests at heart) shapes young people’s idea of ‘normal’ deeply. Not all advertising is necessarily bad, but we believe young people deserve the opportunity to intentionally consider for themselves what they will and won’t accept as normal when it comes to the messages found in advertising.
In our advertising and consumerism workshops we look at ideas such as:
- Marketing strategies
- The history of marketing
- Deciphering advertisements
- ‘True self’ vs ‘external self’
+ SOCIAL MEDIA
We’re more connected than ever - but are we really? An American study of social isolation found that between 1984 and 2005 the mean number of confidants (real friends) a person had decreased from 2.94 to 2.08¹. Further, studies have found significant links between social media use and loneliness, anxiety, and diminished academic performance²³⁴.
There’s no use demonising social media, but since it’s here to stay, how can young people be equipped to engage with it healthily?
In our social media workshops we look at ideas such as:
- The history of social media
- Social media and mental health
- ‘True self’ vs ‘external self’
- Real Friendship
- McPherson M, Smith-Lovin L & Brashears M E (2006) Social isolation in America: Changes in core discussion networks over two decades. American Sociological Review, 7, 353-375.
- Lim M H, Rodebaugh T L, Zyphur M J & Gleeson J F M (2016) Loneliness over time: The crucial role of social anxiety. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 125, 620-630.
- Lee-Won R J, Herzog L & Gwan Park S (2015) Hooked on Facebook: The role of social anxiety and need for social assurance in problematic use of Facebook. Cyberpsychol. Behav. Soc. Netw., 18, 567-574.
- Junco R (2011) Too much face and not enough books: the relationship between multiple indices of Facebook use and academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior