A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak at the Arizona Conference for Women. I had never been to Scottsdale before, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I was surprised at how flat Arizona is- as someone who spent years running cross-country up and down hills when I was in middle school!
At conferences, you’re either on a panel with different people or completely alone: on this occasion, I was the only person speaking, which is nerve-wracking but also gives me the entire time period to talk. Most of the discussion was surrounding my nonprofit Media Impact and Navigation for Teens, that I work on on the side of A Life in the Fashion Lane. The demographic of people in the room skewed older, with some people actually over the age of 60, so I tried to get as deep into the topic of social media without confusing anyone in the room. The ladies who were 60 actually seemed to know more than the few teens who were in the room!
I presented my TED talk powerpoint with images of what the human brain (adult vs. teen) looks like when they go on social media, along with statistics on depression and suicide in Arizona and New Jersey. After the talk, I got tons of questions from the teens and the adults on the effects, positive and negative, on social media and the teen brain. One of the males in the room, who I assume was also a school therapist or counselor, asked about why we don’t touch on too many “risky” topics during M.I.N.T. talks (I think you know which ones he meant, one in particular) and I explained that it’s because schools don’t want us to come in and talk about topics that some kids haven’t started learning about yet. He was adamant that schools should be investigating and talking more openly about taboo topics, and I agreed, but also have to abide by the schools rules.
Or I’d probably get kicked out of every talk, and I got kicked out enough during classes in high school for talking to much already.