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Madiha Rizvi Group

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Siegfried Lazarev
Siegfried Lazarev

Young Teen Photos

Her daughter, Angela, is now a year old. Joan crouched on the floor, folding up her lanky teenage limbs and fed Angela fingers-full of steamed rice, crimped strands of instant noodles and fermented anchovies from the family's small communal bowl.

young teen photos

Sisters Joan (center) and Jossa Garcia (left), both teen mothers, hang out in a boat with their children and their younger sister. Each year, 1.2 million Filipina girls between the ages of 10 and 19 have a child. Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

The main reasons for the high rate of teenage pregnancies are inadequate sex education (some girls do not know that having sex can result in pregnancy or fully consider the responsibility of having children) and a lack of access to birth control.

"It was one step back [for] adolescent health," said Dr. Juan Perez III, executive director for the Philippine Commission on Population and Development. The law improved access to birth control for women, but it became harder for teenagers to get birth control.

That was the finding of a 2016 study by the United Nations Population Fund. By age 20, a teenage girl in the Philippines who gets pregnant and drops out of school earns 87 percent of the average 20-year-old woman's pay. Perez said the lower income continues further into adulthood.

Sisters Joan (left) and Jossa Garcia (right), both teen mothers, are seen in their home in the Navotas fish port with their children, Angela and JM, respectively. Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

Like Joan, her older sisters had babies when they were young and left school before they graduated. No woman close to her has ever had a good job. Her mother occasionally finds a day of work cleaning mussels on the concrete floor of the fish port. Her father brings in some money doing odd jobs at the port. The family is often hungry and thirsty, and survives by begging sailors for food and water.

Girls like Joy are classified among the poor, a vast category that encompasses 20 percent of Filipinos. Among teenage mothers of all income brackets, the poorest girls are the least likely to be able to finish their high school education after having their first child.

Inevitably, when Vere turns to the page in the photo workbook that shows an array of penis sizes and shapes, the teenagers break into peals of laughter. They cover their eyes and hide behind one another. Vere fields their questions: Why are some bigger than others? Why is that one crooked?

While the teenagers were fascinated with the practicalities and hygiene of sex and puberty, they struggled to discuss the process of conception. Bring up the difficulties and cost of raising a child, Vere said, and the teenagers would shut down or quickly change the subject.

The women who come to her are too poor to raise another child or unwed and ashamed or so young, she said. "They still think like children." The midwife, who has delivered more babies than she can count, believes abortions are wrong, but she pities the women.

In 2017 (left), Ralyn Ramirez, then 17, had just given birth to her first child, a baby girl. She'd tell other teenagers that becoming a teen mom was not wonderful. But in 2019 (right), Ramirez became pregnant a second time. Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

She says she blames herself for not finishing high school and for having a baby so young. "Sometimes I cry just thinking about it," Ralyn said. When other girls ask her if it's wonderful to have a baby, she tells them "no."

In November 2019, 18-year-old Ralyn Ramirez curls up with her second child, a boy. In between giving birth, she had warned other teens about having a baby. Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

Sitting at small sundries shop in Manila North Cemetery, where she lives (as thousands of people do) in one of the mausoleums, Ralyn chats with Margie, a 15-year-old who is seven months pregnant. In front of the shop, another young girl sits on a bench, her dress stretched over her belly. Ralyn points out a teenager walking down the path and says she was a child mother, too. Margie says she knows an even younger girl who gave birth when she was just 12 years old.

Ralyn Ramirez spends time with her family, including a daughter and a son. She and her boyfriend thought they were ready to have children after seeing other teen parents. "But it turns out I wasn't," she says. Hannah Reyes Morales for NPR hide caption

Social media has given teens the ability to instantly connect with others and share their lives through photos, videos and status updates. Teens themselves describe these platforms as a key tool for connecting and maintaining relationships, being creative, and learning more about the world. But they also must contend with more negative aspects of social media use, such as drama and bullying or feeling pressure to present themselves in a certain way.

There are some age and gender differences in the topics teens share on social media. Older teens are more likely than their younger counterparts to post about their romantic relationships: 26% of teens ages 15 to 17 say they post about their dating life on social media, compared with 16% of 13- to 14-year-olds.

Although the proliferation of smartphones has given teens the ability to constantly share different aspects of their lives, this survey finds that many teens regularly forego posting selfies, videos or other updates of their lives to social media.

There is some demographic variation in the types of content teens say they post to social media. Girls are much more likely than boys to post selfies: Six-in-ten girls say they often or sometimes do this, compared with 30% of boys. And while two-thirds of black teens and about half (51%) of Hispanic teens report regularly sharing selfies on social media, that share drops to 39% among white youth. Black teens are also much more likely than whites to say they at least sometimes post things they want to go viral (41% vs. 25%).

The survey also presented teens with four pairs of words and asked them to choose the sentiment that most closely matches how they feel when using social media. In each instance, teens are more likely to associate their social media use with generally positive rather than negative feelings. By relatively large margins, teens indicate that social media makes them feel included rather than excluded (71% vs. 25%), confident rather than insecure (69% vs. 26%), authentic rather than fake (64% vs. 33%) and outgoing rather than reserved (61% vs. 34%).

Interestingly, there are few demographic differences on these questions. For example, teen boys and girls are similarly likely to view their social media use in these ways, as are older and younger teens.

Just as relationships get forged and reinforced on social media, friendships can turn sour and require teens to prune their friend or follower lists. More than four-in-ten teens (44%) say they at least sometimes unfriend or unfollow people on social media, including 14% who say they do this often. But a somewhat larger share of teens say they engage in this behavior relatively sparingly. Just over half of young people report that they rarely (39%) or never (14%) unfriend or unfollow people on social media.

Teens who at least sometimes unfriend or unfollow people provide several reasons for deleting people from their friend lists on social media. But by far the most common reason (mentioned by 78% of teens who engage in this behavior) is that the person in question is simply creating too much drama.

In addition, more than half of these teens (54%) say they have unfriended or unfollowed someone because that person posted too much or too often, and a similar share disconnected from someone because the person bullied them or others.

Majorities of teens believe social media helps people their age diversify their networks, broaden their viewpoints and get involved with issues they care about. Roughly two-thirds of teens say social networking sites helps teens at least some to interact with people from different backgrounds (69%), while a similar share credits social media with helping teens find different points of view (67%) or helping teens show their support for causes or issues (66%).

While some youth play an active role in controlling the content they see in their social media feeds and preventing various figures of authority from viewing what they post there, a large share of teens rarely curate their online presence in this way.

At a broad level, 46% of teens say they at least sometimes organize their feeds to only see certain types of content, although just 15% say they do this often. Indeed, 29% of teens say they never organize their social feeds in this way.

The vast majority of teens (90% in this case) believe online harassment is a problem that affects people their age, and 63% say this is a major problem. But majorities of young people think key groups, such as teachers, social media companies and politicians are failing at tackling this issue. By contrast, teens have a more positive assessment of the way parents are addressing cyberbullying.

When it comes to the overall findings on the six experiences measured in this survey, teenage boys and girls are equally likely to experience cyberbullying. However, there are some differences in the specific types of harassment they encounter.

Girls also are more likely than boys to report being the recipient of explicit images they did not ask for (29% vs. 20%). And being the target of these types of messages is an especially common experience for older girls: 35% of girls ages 15 to 17 say they have received unwanted explicit images, compared with about one-in-five boys in this age range and younger teens of both genders.2Online harassment does not necessarily begin and end with one specific behavior, and 40% of teens have experienced two or more of these actions. Girls are more likely than boys to have experienced several different forms of online bullying, however. Some 15% of teen girls have been the target of at least four of these online behaviors, compared with 6% of boys. 041b061a72


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