Risky Years Column

Ten Tips for Teenagers and Parents: Understanding Adolescent Marijuana Use

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Dr. Ponton’s editorial, “Not the Right Prescription,” appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on Dec.31, 2009.

  1. All teenagers take risks as a normal part of growing up. Risk-taking is the tool an adolescent uses to define and develop his or her identity, and healthy risk-taking is a valuable experience.
  2. Most adolescents try marijuana with their friends. Over forty percent* of teenagers report that they have tried it. They are often unaware of the dangers that this drug poses for them.
  3. Brain growth and development continues throughout life but there is a period of rapid growth in adolescence (more…)

Teen “Sexting”

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

At the end of last year, a study conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies was published which reported that 22% of teen girls and 18% of teen boys said that they had sent nude photos of themselves online.  The study also reported that one third of teen boys and one quarter of teen girls admitted to receiving nude photos electronically.  I read this study with interest and concern, already aware that most teenagers are avatars of the internet far more knowledgeable than the adults they live with, and simultaneously searching for ways to reveal their developing sexuality to the world.

Not long after this article was published, I began to receive phone calls from parents. Three calls came in rapid succession, all from parents who had recently discovered nude photos or videos of their daughter online. These calls were followed by a series from parents of sons who had been caught sending nude photos of girls. (more…)