Snapchat + Teen Hairstyles + First Cell Phone Advice | Ep. 133

Snapchat + Teen Hairstyles + First Cell Phone Advice | Ep. 133

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Are you ready for your child’s first cell phone?

There’s a lot to consider before putting your child’s first cell phone under the tree this Christmas. If you’re not sure what to look for or how to set your teen up for success, keep reading or hit the play button! We’ve got talking points, tips, and phone options to consider before you complete your order.

We’ll also give you the latest on teen hairstyles for boys and girls and what you need to know about what’s new on Snapchat.

What’s new on Snapchat?

Before we jump into the latest features, let’s go over the basics of Snapchat for those who are new to the platform. Snapchat is a multimedia messaging app that allows users to share photos and videos with friends and followers. The defining feature of Snapchat is the ephemeral nature of its content – messages, photos, and stories disappear after a set time, adding a sense of spontaneity and impermanence to the experience.

New Features

Live Maps

With Live Maps, you can see where your friends are and, in return, they can see your location. To enhance privacy, you can enter “ghost mode” in your settings, ensuring your location remains hidden. Live Maps also showcases “Hot Spots,” allowing you to explore trending areas and see other users’ posts, even if they’re not in your friend list.


Snapchat’s answer to the popular short-form video format seen on Reels and TikTok is called “Spotlight.” This feature lets users create and share short video content with a wide audience, giving you a chance to showcase your creativity and gain followers.


For those who want an enhanced Snapchat experience, Snapchat+ is available for a monthly fee of $3.99. With Snapchat+, you can customize your Snapchat experience by moving or removing the Snapchat AI chatbot, setting custom story expiration lengths, personalizing badges, enjoying Story Boost, and having extra Snap Replays. While some of these features may seem trivial, they can be a fun way to personalize your Snapchat usage.

Family Center

The introduction of Family Center is a significant step by Snapchat to address concerns about child safety on the platform. This in-app tool allows parents to monitor their teenage children’s interactions on Snapchat without invading their privacy. Parents can see who their children are interacting with, and Snapchat has plans to enhance this feature in the future. However, parents cannot set time limits for app usage or eavesdrop on private conversations.

Pros of Snapchat Parental Monitoring

The Family Center feature allows parents to keep an eye on their teenage children’s Snapchat activity, providing an extra layer of security.

Discover Fun New Places on Snap Maps

Live Maps and Hot Spots make it exciting to discover new places and activities, both locally and globally.

A Way to Stay Connected

Snapchat remains a popular platform for staying connected with friends and family through photos, videos, and messages.

A Way for Young People to Get News

The “Discover” tab offers a unique way for younger users to access news, trends, and entertainment.

Cons of Snapchat Limited Monitoring

While Family Center provides some parental control, it’s not as robust as some parents may desire, lacking features like setting time limits.

Location Tracking

The Live Maps feature, while exciting, raises concerns about location tracking and privacy.

Disappearing Messages and Photos

The ephemeral nature of Snapchat content can be a double-edged sword, as it can lead to misunderstandings or miscommunication.

Whether you love Snapchat or not, it remains one of the most popular apps among teens. It’s crucial to be aware of and use its features responsibly- to be aware of the privacy implications, especially when it comes to location tracking and the ephemeral nature of the platform. With the introduction of the Family Center, Snapchat is taking steps to address these concerns and make the platform safer for young users. As always, staying informed and using the platform wisely is the key to enjoying Snapchat to the fullest!

What’s trending in teen hairstyles

Hairstyles have always played a pivotal role in expressing individuality and cultural heritage. Keep reading for a look at the hottest teen hair trends for 2023, as well as the 2019 legislative development initiated by Dove, the CROWN Act.

Trending Styles for Boys


The ’80s-inspired mullet is making a fierce comeback. This iconic hairstyle, characterized by shorter hair on the sides and back with longer hair at the top, offers a unique blend of vintage charm and contemporary flair. With modern variations and a hint of rebellion, the mullet is capturing the hearts of young boys looking to make a statement with their hair.

Perm Fronts

Perms are no longer limited to your grandma’s era. Boys are embracing perm fronts, adding texture and volume to their hair while keeping the sides short and neat. This trend allows boys to experiment with their style and achieve a unique look that stands out.


Swoops are all about bangs and fringes that create a dramatic, eye-catching effect. They add a touch of sophistication and can be adapted to various lengths and textures, giving boys the flexibility to express their personality through their hairstyle.

Trending Hairstyles for Girls

Bangs (Taylor Bangs & Curtain Bangs)

Bangs never go out of style, and this year we’re seeing the resurgence of Taylor bangs (inspired by Taylor Swift) and curtain bangs. These styles frame the face beautifully, offering a chic and timeless look that can be customized to suit any hair type or length.

Natural Curls

Embracing natural curls is a growing trend that emphasizes the beauty of one’s hair in its true form. Girls with naturally curly hair are flaunting their stunning locks, and many are opting for shorter, textured cuts that emphasize their curls’ natural bounce and vibrancy.

Heatless Curls/Crimped

Girls are exploring heatless methods to achieve those coveted beachy waves and crimped textures. Heatless curls and crimps are not only more gentle on the hair but also showcase a fun and effortless style that’s perfect for any occasion.

Embracing Natural Hair

  • 80% of Black women reported having to change their hair to fit into the workplace.
  • Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from the workplace because of their hair.
  • Shockingly, 100 percent of Black elementary school girls in majority-white schools who report experiencing hair discrimination state they experienced the discrimination by the age of 10.

Starting from September 1, 2023, the CROWN Act came into effect in Texas schools, marking a significant step forward. The Texas statute clearly states that any dress or grooming policy adopted by a school district “may not discriminate against a hair texture or protective hairstyle commonly or historically associated with race.” This law is a beacon of hope for a more inclusive and respectful world where people are free to express their cultural heritage and personal style without fear of discrimination.

In conclusion, 2023 is all about embracing diversity and individuality in hair trends. Whether you’re a boy looking to channel the spirit of the ’80s or a girl proudly flaunting your natural curls, your hair is a canvas for self-expression. Additionally, the CROWN Act’s progression is a significant step towards fostering an inclusive society where everyone is free to be themselves, with their natural hair celebrated and respected. So, go ahead and embrace the hair trend that resonates with you and remember that your hair is a beautiful reflection of your unique identity.

Are you thinking of getting your kid their first cell phone this Christmas?

The holiday season is approaching, and if you’re contemplating whether to gift your child their first cell phone, you’re not alone. The question of when to introduce your child to a smartphone is a topic that many parents grapple with, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. In this blog post, we’ll explore the complexities of this decision and offer some guidance to help you navigate this milestone.

No “Right Age” for a First Cell Phone

It’s essential to understand that there’s no universal “right age” for a child to receive their first cell phone. While the “Wait Until 8th” pledge has gained popularity, it’s worth noting that it’s becoming less practical in the modern age of technology. The demands of school, the need for communication, and the prevalence of digital tools make the decision more complex than ever.

Recent Trends in Kids’ Smartphone Ownership

Recent survey data shows that 42% of kids in the United States have their first cell phone by the age of 10. By the time they reach 14, smartphone ownership climbs to an astounding 91%. While these numbers offer a snapshot of current trends, they shouldn’t be the sole basis for your decision.

Developmental Readiness Over Age

Experts emphasize that developmental readiness is more important than age when considering a child’s first cell phone. Some important developmental milestones that might guide your decision include:

  1. Complex Thoughts and Improved Reasoning: Can your child handle more complex thoughts and reasoning? Are they capable of making responsible decisions?
  2. Developing Solutions: Is your child showing signs of developing their own solutions to problems? Are they becoming more self-reliant?
  3. Empathy and Consideration: Is your child demonstrating empathy and thinking of others? Are they mindful of how their actions affect those around them?
  4. Understanding Right and Wrong: Are they developing a stronger sense of right and wrong? Are they able to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate behavior?
  5. Respecting Boundaries: Is your child responding appropriately to limits and boundaries set by parents and teachers?

Talking About Expectations

Before you decide to get your child a cell phone, it’s crucial to have a conversation about expectations. Consider creating a contract together that outlines how they will and won’t use their phone. Here are some important questions to get the conversation started:

  • What would you use the phone for, and why do you need it?
  • How much daily phone usage do you think is appropriate?
  • Where will you charge your device at night?
  • Are there times during the day when phone use should be restricted?
  • What are the rules about using the phone at school?
  • What consequences should be in place if the phone is lost?

Alternatives to Smartphones

If you’re not comfortable giving your child a smartphone but want to provide them with a communication device, there are alternatives to consider:

Smart Watches
Options like the Gabb Watch, Apple Watch SE, Gizmo Watch, and TickTalk Watch offer limited functionality, allowing communication without full internet access. However, be aware that many schools are now banning smartwatches in the classroom, so they may need to remain in lockers or backpacks during school hours.

Kid Phones
Devices like the Gabb Phone, Pinwheel, Light Phone 2, and Wisephone are designed for children and provide essential communication features without the distractions of a full-fledged smartphone.

Flip Phones
Consider getting a basic flip phone with no internet access. While this may limit some features, it can provide a communication tool without the added distractions of smartphones. The decision to get your child their first cell phone is a personal one that depends on many factors. Focus on your child’s developmental readiness and have an open, honest conversation about expectations and responsibilities. There are various communication alternatives to consider if you’re not ready to provide a smartphone.

Ultimately, the key is to make a decision that aligns with your family’s values and ensures your child’s safety and well-being in the digital age.

In this episode, we mentioned or used the following resources about your child’s first cell phone, teen hairstyle trends and Snapchat.

Have a question?

If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!

About Us

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Tobin Hodges

Tobin Hodges

Program Director

Caleb Hatchett

Caleb Hatchett

Podcast Host

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5 Apps to Ask Your Teen About

5 Apps to Ask Your Teen About

Life has been crazy lately – especially for teenagers who are facing a school year full of unknown. But with disrupted summer plans, teens are spending more time online than ever before. They have had to go online for school, to talk to friends, to keep busy, and to stay connected to the world outside their homes.

If you’re like my family, screen-time limits have flown out the window, and we are all in survival mode to keep kids happy, entertained, and connected. It is understandable that expectations around devices are different right now, but one thing should remain the same – you should be talking to your kids about what they are viewing, watching, and downloading.

As adults, we need to help teenagers think critically about what they are consuming online. Here are a few areas where you can ask questions and engage your teen in conversation!

1. TikTok

This newer app is extremely popular with teens. If you haven’t heard of it, I would encourage you to do some research, but it is an app where users can create content (most are lip-synching videos) and watch other user-generated videos. It is fun and addictive, but many videos include adult language and content.

Ask teens if they have downloaded the app. Have they created videos? Who do they follow? Have any strangers tried to message them? What are their privacy settings?

2. Streaming Apps

There are a lot of streaming apps that have incredible content. Between Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Starz, and more, teenagers have endless choices of movies and tv shows to watch. While this opens up great options for family-friendly movies and educational shows, it also includes content that might be inappropriate for teens. There is not consistency among age-based content ratings, so do some research on what your teens are watching.

Ask some of these questions: What have you been watching lately? What do your friends like to watch? How do you know if a show or movie is appropriate to watch?

**You can also easily check the “recently watched” or “continue watching” lists to see what your teen is viewing.

3. Instagram

Instagram is not new, but it continues to be one of the most popular social media platforms for teens. It never hurts to check in on apps you know your teen has and loves, so start a conversation about Instagram! Encourage teens to follow accounts that will encourage and help them grow. It is easy to use Instagram as an unhealthy comparison game, but teens can choose who they follow and what content they digest.

Start by asking this: What Instagram accounts encourage you when you see their posts? Who do you follow that looks different than you? Is there anyone that you need to unfollow? How can you use your own Instagram to encourage others?

4. FaceTime/Zoom

Social-distancing guidelines are constantly changing, which might encourage teens to use video chat apps to connect with friends and family. This is a great way to stay in touch, play games virtually, or interact with friends “face-to-face”. However, since these apps are readily available on phones and computers, it can be tempting to use them inappropriately, especially if there is little adult supervision.

Check in by asking the following: Who do you talk to most often on FaceTime/Zoom? Has anyone asked you to do anything inappropriate while on video chat? What boundaries would help protect you while using video chat?

5. Gaming Apps

More time can also mean that teens will turn to gaming apps/consoles to keep their hands (and minds) busy. These can have cognitive and social benefits, but we should also encourage teens to find non-technology-related ways to occupy their time. Whether it is Candy Crush, Call of Duty, or Yahtzee, teens need to make sure their time is balanced.

What games do you like to play on your phone/gaming system? Have you checked your screen time lately? What could you do to lessen your screen time average by an hour this week? How else could you fill your time if you took a tech break for an hour every day?

Technology is incredibly helpful to learn, connect, grow, and entertain. The apps listed above are far from bad, but it is still important to be intentional about how we use our time. As we enter the last half of the summer, I hope you will look at your own tech usage and start conversations with your kids about how they can use technology to make a positive impact on their day!

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Marketing & Development Director

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and now is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories. She has gained experience working with teenagers through work, volunteer, and personal opportunities.

New Technology, New Threats

New Technology, New Threats

Our world is constantly coming up with new ways of advancing technology and bringing it into our homes. Children have robots that can talk and play with them. Teens have smartphones constantly glued to their hands. The majority of the working population is online 8-10 hours a day. In my home, we have to make a conscious effort to not be on a screen when we are spending time together. I know we are not alone in the struggle to disconnect from our screens and connect with each other.

This is a list of helpful resources and ideas that I have put together through, experience, research, and education on online safety:

  1. Create boundaries: know what is and is not okay to share online. We need to teach teens that their address, where they go to school, and even where they work is information that can make it easier to be found by people who may be dangerous. It is much better when they have their accounts set to private. Talk about what types of pictures can be shared on media, even SnapChat. Images last longer than most of us wish online; show them the consequences of having inappropriate pictures shared. Understanding why safety is necessary online is an essential step in helping teens feel responsible for what they say and do online.
  2. Have tech free time: the whole family should disconnect at least weekly to create real life connections. Take a walk, play a board game, make a meal, eat at a table screen-free, do anything to show that you are interested in what teens have to say. Teens are observant and will react to adults putting their screens away. It may be difficult to give up our screens, but it can lead to deeper relationships and more conversation, especially when everyone participates. Don’t believe me? Watch this video from Today to see for yourself how teens felt after giving their phones up for a week.
  3. Model how to act online: talk about what is helpful versus harmful to share online. We have all seen comments of harassment, cyberbullying, and people committing crimes on live stream. Teens react to these situations all the time. The pressure to bully or harass others online can be overwhelming and many teens do not know how to report the behavior or get scared they will get in trouble. We all need to be vigilant in sharing what is appropriate and how to report harmful behaviors online. What we tend to forget is that there are real people on the other side of comments with feelings that are stomped on when we post negative, harassing comments. Teen Life works at helping teens recognize and use empathy in situations, but we should all be aware that we say online can have a lasting impact on a life.


Here are some links to some awesome and free resources that can be used by anyone to keep their families safe in this overly connected world:

    • Google has Family Link which creates an account for your children but is fully linked to your account & lets you manage settings.
    • Google also has a Safety Center that has great resources that can be utilized.
    • ReThink is an app that has the potential to help ourselves from making a potentially life-changing mistake by detecting cyberbullying.


What apps and resources have you used to help yourself and your teen be responsible with technology? Try some of the resources we’ve listed above, and let us know how it goes!

Shelbie Fowler is currently an intern for Teen Life while completing her Master’s in Family Studies. She is passionate about being an advocate for family life education in order to grow families stronger.