126: Teen Support Groups & X App

126: Teen Support Groups & X App

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The Power of Support Groups: Why They Matter and How You Can Make a Difference

Support groups play a crucial role in our society, providing individuals with a safe space to connect, share, and heal. But it can be complicated for teens to find an appropriate group. Costs can be prohibitive, timing is hard with busy school schedules, and the stigma of anything mental health related can sometimes be an issue. Especially at such a sensitive time of life.

So let’s delve into why our Teen Support Groups are different from what you might think, why they are so effective, and how you can contribute to this vital cause.

But first, let’s understand the essence of Support Groups.

What are Support Groups?

Teen Life Support Groups offer teens a safe place to talk with peers about what is going on in their lives under the guidance of a trusted adult. Our facilitators are community volunteers who have been vetted and trained to be good listeners and guides.

Because Teen Life Support Groups focus on forward-reaching solutions and skills, they are not therapy and should not be considered as such. This actually makes them more accessible and less intimidating to most teens.

In these groups, students will learn life skills that will help them deal with stress, relationships, school, and more.


Our curriculum helps teens learn to manage stress and make decisions based on the future they want. So teenagers come away with stronger self-discipline and a better grasp on where they are and how they can improve- academically, socially, and within their family.


Whether there is a specific issue they are facing or they just need someone understanding to talk to, teens will leave with resources that will help them face life’s challenges.

Our groups also take place during the school day on school campuses. We have found that students are more invested and consistent when they don’t have to leave school to participate.


Why do Support Groups work?

  1. Connection to Peers
    One of the most significant advantages of support groups is the sense of belonging they provide. Participants often find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in their struggles. Connecting with peers who have faced similar challenges can reduce feelings of isolation and increase empathy.
  2. Connection to an Adult
    For young individuals, support groups can bridge the gap between their experiences and the guidance of an adult. They offer a unique opportunity for adolescents to connect with older individuals who have valuable life experience and can serve as mentors. One caring adult can change a teenagers life.
  3. An Easy Entry to Therapy or Counseling
    Support groups can act as a gateway to professional help. Many individuals are more willing to seek therapy or counseling after experiencing the benefits of sharing their feelings and challenges within a supportive group environment.
  4. Life Skills
    Support groups often provide practical guidance on coping mechanisms and life skills. Participants can learn effective strategies for dealing with their specific issues, empowering them to navigate life’s challenges more successfully.
  5. Hope
    Perhaps the most powerful aspect of support groups is the infusion of hope. When teens feel connected and know that they aren’t alone in their struggle, they are better able to see beyond it.

What can you do?

  • Donate
    Consider contributing to Teen Life. Your financial support gives the gift of hope to teens.
  • Volunteer
    Becoming facilitator is a meaningful way to get involved. Our schools Support Groups rely on dedicated volunteers to facilitate Groups. We hear over and over what a life-changing experience it is for the facilitator and the Group!
  • Advocate for Support Groups at Your School
    If you’re a student or a parent, advocate for the implementation of Support Groups within your school or educational institution. These groups can make a significant difference in the lives of young individuals at no cost to the school or the students.
Serving teenagers does not ever mean feeling like you have to relate to teenagers because that’s a moving target.
We encourage you not to feel like you have to relate but to be curious. Connect through curiosity!
Chris Robey

Also in this episode

Twitter becomes X

In July, Twitter underwent a significant transformation, rebranding itself as the “X App,” a move attributed to none other than Elon Musk. The platform introduced a new logo resembling a cracked screen with an X at its center.

Elon Musk explained this shift by stating, “The Twitter name made sense when it was just 140 character messages going back and forth – like birds tweeting – but now you can post almost anything, including several hours of video. In the months to come, we will add comprehensive communications and the ability to conduct your entire financial world.”

While these changes are still in their early stages, it’s possible that we may witness the emergence of shopping features and paid subscriptions on the X App in the future. Stay tuned for more updates!

In this episode, we mentioned or used the following resources about teen support groups and the X App

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

Chris Robey

Chris Robey


Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

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More Resources You Might Like

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Helping Teens Struggling in School

Ep. 44: Suggested Content & Winter Olympics Drama

Ep. 44: Suggested Content & Winter Olympics Drama

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Have you noticed content in your social media feed that you didn’t sign up for? Chris and Karlie talk suggested content in episode 44- how it’s chosen for you and how to stop seeing content you didn’t choose to follow. Then, if you followed the winter olympics at all, you probably saw the drama on the ice. We’ll explore what happened and why it matters. Don’t miss this episode’s tip either! It’s sure to be fun for the whole family.

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:
Chris Robey

Chris Robey


Chris has worked with teens from a variety of backgrounds for over a decade. He has a desire to help teenagers make good choices while also giving their families tools to communicate more effectively as choices are made.

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

Follow Us

Hey Mom, Put Down Your Phone!

Hey Mom, Put Down Your Phone!

I had an interesting conversation in my group the other day. We got to talking about the students’ relationship with their parents, and it quickly turned into a discussion on family time and phone distractions. For probably the first time in one of my Support Groups, every single group member was on the same page! Here are some of the things I heard around the table that day:

  • My mom makes us have “family time” and watch a movie but stares at her phone the whole time.
  • My parents are constantly on Facebook or playing Candy Crush when we are together.
  • Why do they say I’m always on my phone when they are even worse than I am?
  • My dad always sends emails at the dinner table, but I get in trouble if I look at my phone.
  • I tell my parents “family time” doesn’t count if they are on their phones but they say all that matters is that we’re in the same room.
  • Were your parents always on their phones too?

First, let me just admit that I am not yet a parent, but I struggle with this as well. When I sit down to watch a show with my husband, it is easy to mindlessly scroll through Instagram or Facebook out of habit. Sometimes I don’t even notice I’m on my phone until he points it out! Second, it is never fun to get called out by teenagers, but my group issued a challenge that I feel obligated to pass on!

Also on a side note, I laughed out loud when they asked about my parents and their phone use when I was a teenager. When I was in high school, we didn’t have internet on our phones, and we certainly didn’t have fun games like Candy Crush (RIP Snake Game). This is fairly new territory for parents!

Technology isn’t going anywhere, phones aren’t going to phase out, and social media will probably always be king of the internet. So how can we better model how to balance family, work, and fun? We have to be the example in this area; otherwise, our kids will never learn acceptable boundaries and healthy practices.

Before I offer some suggestions, there are a few things I would like to point out about their statements and questions.

1. They watch you and notice.

You know the phrase, “Do as I say and not as I do”? That doesn’t fly with teenagers. They watch you. They see what you do and will push back if what you do is different than what you say. Telling teens to put down their phones while yours is still in front of your face sends a clear message that you probably aren’t intending to communicate.

2. They don’t see a difference between work and social media use of phones.

They don’t care if you are on your phone for work – if they see your phone out, it is a distraction no matter what it’s purpose. Sending email, making calls, checking your Facebook, it is all the same to them. If you are on your phone when you should be spending time with them, your excuses don’t matter – just so you know 🙂

3. They think you have a technology problem.

This absolutely cracks me up! As adults, we read books, listen to podcast, and attend seminars on helping our teenagers manage social media and their phones. We talk about this generation and their problems with connection, but they think adults are the ones with the problem! I am not saying that teens have technology under control or use it appropriately all the time, but until we prove them wrong, I do believe we are the ones with the problem.

4. They actually care about “family time.”

When they were having this discussion, they weren’t upset that they had to be present for family time. They were mad that their parents were violating the time that they set aside. One student even said that he enjoys hanging out with his mom when she isn’t distracted by her phone.

I really don’t want you to miss this point, so I will say it again in case you’re still in shock…teenagers actually care about “family time”! Even when they act like spending time as a family is the worst inconvenience, the stories they tell when you aren’t around would say otherwise.



As I said above, this is a newer problem for parents. Just like we are trying to figure out how to help our teenagers have boundaries, we are walking the same blurry line. I want you to have a good relationship with your teenager. I want you to be able to take advantage of family time – if they are willing to set aside their phones, don’t ruin it by being on yours!

While I could write several blogs on this topic, let me start with two tips that I believe could make a huge difference in your home!

Do what you ask of your kids.

This seems simple and like a no-brainer, but the more I talk to teens, the more I realize that we are failing at this. While their are perks to being an adult and setting the rules, when they are around and watching you, follow your own rules! If you ask them to put away their phones for a specific time or activity, do the same. Do they have a time limit on how much they can be on their phones? Try to stick to a similar schedule!

They are watching you, and you set the example of how to interact with your phone. This is especially true for when you drive. Ouch…but if you don’t want your teenager to text (or tweet) and drive, put your phone away in the car. Don’t text, don’t have phone conversations that can wait until you get to your destination, don’t be catching up on your Facebook comments while you are driving your kids. Show them how to be responsible and safe!


Make “family time” sacred.

Find small ways to make the time you spend as a family special. While it may be unrealistic to expect your teenager to put their phone away anytime they are are with a family member, you can set aside specific times that are phone-free. Some examples could be dinner time, the first 15 minutes after they get home from school, special family activities, or when you watch tv or a movie as a family. Once you ask them to make the activity you decide on phone-free, follow the rule above and put yours up as well!

This might mean that you put your phone on “do not disturb” to keep you from reading texts, checking email, or answering phone calls. Unless it is an emergency, anything on your phone can wait until that sacred time is over. You communicate the importance of family time by your actions. Distractions and phones can kill a family moment – don’t let your teenager down by not giving them your full attention!

So, what do you think? How have you set boundaries in your home? How have you made family time sacred and special? Share with us – we always love new ideas!
Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Karlie was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and has always had a heart for teenagers and the vulnerable life stage they are in. She has a wealth of experience to share from working with teens in ministry and leading support groups.

Why Parents Need Snapchat

Why Parents Need Snapchat

You need Snapchat. Or Facebook. Or Instagram. Or Twitter. Or all of them if you are a real overachiever!

Before you get your defenses up about how you’re too old for Snapchat or how you can’t stand the rants people post on Facebook or how you don’t understand the draw of Twitter, hear me out! If we want to know more about teenagers and their culture, we need to be where they are. And they are on social media all the time. According to Pew Study in 2015, 92% of teens say that they go online daily while 24% of those teenagers are online “almost constantly.”

For these teenagers, social media is not just an app or a hobby, it is their social life. It is where they connect with friends, find out about the latest gossip, watch the video everyone will be talking about tomorrow, flirt with the opposite sex and define their social status through likes and followers.

Earlier this week in one of our Support Groups, I was talking to a boy who was about to go back to his home campus and leave our group. When he asked how we could stay in touch after the group, his first question was not, “What’s your email?” or “Could I have your phone number?” No. The question he asked was, “Are you on Snapchat?”

Now, I could write an entire blog on setting social media boundaries with teenagers who aren’t related to you (and maybe I will soon!), but even though I am not going to connect with him on Snapchat, it is telling that it was his first step to connect outside of face-to-face interaction. To teenagers, where else would you go to talk? How else would you keep up with friends?

If social media is that important to our teenagers, then we need to be willing to go where they are. That doesn’t mean that you should write embarrassing things on their wall or post baby pictures that will cause social homicide, but being on the platforms they are on gives you credibility and something to talk about. It gives you insight into those “scary apps” that you hear about from other parents or mommy blogs and puts you in control of what platforms they are allowed to participate on. Before you knock Snapchat, try it! You might like seeing short videos and pictures throughout your teenager’s day. You’ll probably laugh at the goofy filters and voices they use. You might even find out a little more information about where they are and who they are spending time with.

Social media can be a good thing both for teenagers and for parents, but we must take the fear and anxiety out of these apps. The easiest way to do that is to get informed! If you are still unsure about the whole social media thing, give this podcast with Sarah Brooks a listen, or find out more about Snapchat with this podcast!

I will make one note about social media interactions with those who aren’t your children: a safe rule is to make sure that your interactions with teenagers are public on social media – Snapchat might not be the best place to check in on teens of the opposite sex or to go back and forth with private snaps throughout the day. Keep Facebook interactions public and on their wall – maybe even wait for them to friend or follow you first! Above all, be smart about how you interact with teenagers in any situation, whether digital or not.

What apps are your teenagers using? What do you think about getting on these social media platforms yourself? Try it and let us know how it goes!

Karlie Duke was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and now is our Communications Director. She is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories.