Category: Teen Life

How to Break Up With Mark Zuckerberg (and Other Social Media Stalkers)

Guest Post by Emma Fuller, Omlet

At first, Mark seemed like the perfect guy:  He “shared” regularly, “checked in” often, kept you “fed” with the latest news, and paid attention to what you “liked.”

But before you knew it, Mark began to change:  He invaded your privacy, started keeping tabs on everything you did, he manipulated you, and even gave your secrets away to all of his friends. That’s crazy glue! If a guy did that to you IRL, you would kick him to the curb.


I thought it would be fun to think about our relationship with Facebook like a relationship with a boyfriend. What makes a good relationship, what makes a bad relationship, and how does Mark measure up? For me, the biggest thing is trust. Can I trust someone with my deepest secrets? Can I trust them not to betray me, and share my most private things with other people?

My relationship status with Facebook (in Mark’s own words): “It’s Complicated.” Why? Deleting Facebook sounds great, but is it really practical? No, I don’t think it is. The problem isn’t just Facebook, it’s us. We’ve chosen to be in this relationship, and to share all our personal info with them. We need to start making better choices when it comes to what we share, and how often we share.

Think of it this way: Would you share your diary with the world? I know I wouldn’t even share it with my best friend. All your data adds up, and even if you think your sharing a little, they know a lot about you. Pandora can tell with 80% accuracy what your political leanings are just off the music you listen to!

So how do you set boundaries between you and Facebook?

>>  STEP #1:  Don’t Wait By the Phone

Turn off mobile notifications so that Mark doesn’t message you throughout the day.  Browse and post on Facebook only when it’s convenient for you.

>>  STEP #2:  Limit your “Liking” habit?

Facebook sells your likes and interests to advertisers so that they can specifically target YOU.  I might see an ad on Facebook that is targeted towards 20-25 year old females who like Buzzfeed and the San Francisco 49er’s. We spend time carefully choosing what to like to make our profiles look good to our friends, but rarely do our friends check over it. Facebook encourages this habit so that they have more information to sell.

>>  STEP #3:  Only Post the Big Stuff

Post a photo or two here and there, say “Happy Birthday” to a friend, RSVP to an event, and then LOG OFF.

>>  STEP #4: Only Trust Yourself with Your Data

There are other options for your more personal conversations, whether they be serious, or you just want to share all those photos from the concert you went to last week with your friends. Options that respect you and don’t sell your data.

For example, there’s Omlet a super fun, easy and social chat app that lets you easily message friends, share photos, post videos, and express yourself without Mark or anyone looking over your shoulder. With Omlet you’re as safe as you can be while still keeping in touch with all your friends. It’s your data, you should be able to control it AND still have a fun conversations with your friends and family.

[Note to teens: this guest post was written by someone from Omlet…we are running it because its kind of cute but it is intended as promo and you should keep that in mind]

Perfect Bars – Tasty, Wholesome Nutrition From a Family-Owned Business

Let’s face it. A lot of the food which is mass-produced by large conglomerates is simply not good for you and only intended to addict your taste buds while enriching owners. Just walk down the center aisles of any supermarket and you will see tons of artificial colors, synthetic preservatives, massive amounts of refined sugar and cheap, low-quality fats in those brightly colored packages. Profit, rather than the well-being of their customers, is obviously the priority for many firms.

Fortunately, consumers are starting to catch on and make better choices when shopping. And some smart manufacturers are taking advantage of this and making foods without all the nasty stuff inside that still taste great.

The Perfect Bar is a product which fits the “healthy while still being tasty” bill perfectly.


First a little background. Perfect Bar was created by a health and fitness pioneer named Dr. Bud Keith, who was a friend and associate of original fitness guru Jack LaLanne. He took organic peanut butter and blended it with other wholesome ingredients, including honey, veggies and fruit, and announced, “It’s Perfect!” In 2005, his eldest children took his recipes and launched the Perfect Foods Bar, now simplified to just Perfect Bar.

From the company: “Perfect Bars are gluten free, high in protein, packed with vitamins, contain 20+ organic superfoods and boast an ingredient label that is easy to pronounce and understand. Plus, they are sweetened with honey and contain NO refined sugars, artificial ingredients or preservatives—ever.”

We were recently sent a sample pack to taste the different varieties, which are Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Cranberry Crunch Lite, Carob Chip, Fruit and Nut, Vegan Almond Coconut and Almond Acai Lite. The bars are substantial and dense, and none of us at TWK studios were able to finish an entire one at once without sharing. All of them were fantastic, with our preference leaning towards the more exotic bars such as the Cranberry and Acai ones. The bars also come in mini sizes, and these are definitely easier to consume in one sitting.

Inside each variety are things most teens know are good for them but rarely like to eat, such as kale, flax seed, rose hips, papaya, dried tomato, and even spinach. The amazing thing is that you cannot taste them…the bars are delicious and sweet. They are not diet food, but will leave you feeling full for a while, while satisfying your sweet tooth.

One caveat: the bars are made of real food and have no toxic preservatives, so they do best under refrigeration. You can have them at room temperature for about two weeks, but any longer and the natural oils will begin to separate. That’s a minor inconvenience for such a fresh, power-packed product!

To sum up: we highly recommend these bars to teens everywhere. Ditch the Snickers and get some of these instead…your body will thank you for it.

Find a local retailer here:

Watch the story of The Perfect Bar and the family who runs it here:

Mother’s Day Recipes any Teen Can Make

A lot of teens struggle with what to get their moms on Mother’s Day. While she always appreciates the hand-made cards and extra hugs, why not surprise her with a tasty treat?

To help you out, the stars of the upcoming movie “Moms’ Night Out,” in collaboration with eMeals, have provided some easy-to-make, delicious recipes that even teens can try. If you are not an experienced cook, might want to have Dad or another adult help you out.

Here they are:

Actor – Trace Adkins
Bones’ Bacon-Cornmeal Pancakes
Treat Mom to these Natural & Organic big pancakes with bacon in them. Bones approves of the popular maple and bacon flavor pairing.

4 slices bacon
2 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
Pure maple syrup

  1. Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp, and crumble.
  2. Combine cornmeal mix, flour, sugar, and crumbled bacon in a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and 4 tablespoons oil in another bowl.
  4. Add to cornmeal mixture, stirring until blended.
  5. Brush a large nonstick skillet with 1 tablespoon oil; heat over medium heat.
  6. Pour about 1/2 cup batter onto hot skillet for each pancake.
  7. Cook until tops are covered with bubbles.
  8. Turn and cook other side until golden brown.
  9. Serve with syrup.

Actress – Sarah Drew
Ally’s Berry-Almond Breakfast Quinoa
Allyson loves this Clean Eating quinoa recipe to start off the day. Surprise mom with this healthy fare, and let the kids help slice the strawberries.

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups low-fat milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sliced strawberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
4 teaspoons honey

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Combine milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a small saucepan; cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes or until warm.
  3. Divide quinoa evenly among 4 breakfast bowls; pour warm flavored milk over quinoa.
  4. Top with strawberries and almonds.
  5. Drizzle with honey.

Sunrise Smoothies
Mother’s Day means it’s strawberry season, too. Pair this smoothie with Ally’s Breakfast Quinoa.

16 oz package frozen pineapple chunks
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
Grated rind and juice of 1 orange
2 cups low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 cup crushed or cubed ice

  1. Combine pineapple chunks, strawberries, orange rind, orange juice, yogurt and ice in a blender.
  2. Cover and pulse until blended, scraping down sides as needed.

Actor – Sean Astin
Sean’s Shrimp and Grits
Here’s the ultimate comfort food, equally as good for a special occasion brunch as for dinner.

1 cup quick-cooking grits
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
4 slices bacon
1 small green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
1/2 cup white wine (or sub chicken broth)
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  1. Cook grits according to package directions. Stir in Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons butter and garlic salt.
  2. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon, reserving drippings in skillet. Crumble and set aside.
  3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper, green onion, garlic and Creole seasoning; cook 2 minutes. Add wine; cook 2 minutes or until wine evaporates. Increase heat to medium-high. Add shrimp, and cook 3 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Stir in lemon juice.
  4. Serve shrimp over grits; top each serving with crumbled bacon.

Actress – Patricia Heaton
Sondra’s Favorite Cream Cheese-Stuffed French Toast
This is a messy but awesome Healthy Breakfast splurge for Mom. Change directions and make it indulgent by using thick slices of French bread and add whipped cream.

French Toast:
1/2 cup cream cheese spread, softened
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
8 slices whole grain bread
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Tropical Compote:
1 1/2 cups frozen pineapple chunks, thawed
Juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted

  1. Stir together cream cheese and orange rind until well blended.
  2. Spread mixture evenly over 4 slices bread.
  3. Top with remaining 4 slices bread, pressing gently around the edges to seal.
  4. Heat a large griddle or large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.
  5. Whisk together milk, sugar, vanilla and eggs in a shallow dish until well blended.
  6. Dip 2 sandwiches in egg mixture, soaking 30 seconds on each side.
  7. Add sandwiches to skillet; cook 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.
  8. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 sandwiches.
  9. Combine pineapple chunks, orange juice and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until syrupy. Stir in coconut.
  10. Serve Tropical Compote over French toast.

In addition to making some tasty food, make sure to check out the upcoming family comedy “Moms’ Night Out” coming out May 9th! Here is the trailer:

And one last thing: to help make the best recopes you can, get some quality kitchen equipment, such as mixing bowls. Read the full info here.

Stop Bullying – One Teen’s Story

We reached out to teenage anti-bully crusader Rebecca Parkin, from England, to write a piece for us on her experiences and to talk to a few adults about the subject. Here is her article:

bully stopLiving in a society is very hard for everyone. However sometimes people take being ‘normal’ too seriously and bully or harass those who are different or unique. My mission in life is to make my community and those around me bully-free. Not only do I want to create this positive atmosphere around me; I want to inspire people from all walks of life from all over the world. When I was younger I was always the odd girl out. Everyone fit into these cliques, except me. I was the outsider, the one that didn’t fit in, but stood out.

I spoke to several people about their thoughts on Bullying.

  • David Nicholson, a youth patron for Ambitious about Autism said; “from personal experience, bullying can have a detrimental impact on mental health, confidence and self-esteem. I was bullied at school and it made me lose confidence. I wasn’t happy. Bullying is unacceptable and we need to stamp it out.” David was different from the other pupils at his school and they used that against him. Nobody deserves to get bullied, not now not ever.
  • Claire Ryan, a parent patron for Ambitious about Autism said; “Talk to someone, get help and support as soon as possible. You don’t have to deal with it alone.” I totally agree here, victims of bullying really need to speak out. Never hide what’s happening even if a bully has threatened you if you do tell anybody; the bully is only saying this because they are scared that others will find out what they are doing, and honestly it is very shameful.
  • Eva Firios, a talent agent and actress from Colorado said “It’s really bad here and the parents of the child who is the bully don’t care and they stand up for their child, saying it his or her right to do so.” This was one statement that I found most disheartening. How some parents agree to let their child continue this awful and damaging behaviour is beyond me. Parents need to understand what’s actually happening because of bullying: there’s more suicides, more depression…what happened to loving each other and compassion?
  • Michael Hering, CEO and President of LodoCinema, during a conversation I had with him about bullying, told me, “One of the biggest problems about bullying is that it causes a decrease in the quality of life by both parties. Bullying is an act of hate — plain and simple. I think the issue goes further than the obstruction of a happy healthy mental attitude of the individual getting bullied. The real issue is the culture and society the bully is influenced by. If we can unlock the root causes that create the need to bully, we can begin to make steps towards a better society.” This is true. We need to educate our children to love one another and show compassion. Parents need to take responsibility too,.If a child is being hateful you need to find out why. Have they learnt it from you? Is something negative happening in their lives they need help with? Are they depressed? All things that need investigating.

bully girlsThe people above are doing great things in the world and understand bullying and the effects it causes with not only young people, but adults too.

I was a victim of bullying, I have Autism and I was labelled the “weird” or “strange” girl in school. I may have been different in some ways, but I still wanted the same things from life; love, happiness and compassion. Because of my Autism I found it extremely difficult to socialise with others my age, as my brain worked in a slightly different way from my peers.

During my younger years I constantly moved schools due to lack of understanding from the educators and my peers. I went to five primary schools and I’ve been to two high schools. At my old high school, teachers would mock me in class in front of other pupils who bullied and harassed me outside of the classroom. There were young people who threatened me online and physically beat me up in school because they wanted to ‘show off’ and look good in front of their friends. I had no friends. I had nobody to turn to during these times.

However I had one supportive teacher who I still have to thank today for helping me during those years. I wouldn’t have made it without her. She spoke to the people who were bullying me because my head of year [in Britain, the teacher in charge of all the students in a particular year in school].didn’t do anything. She was like a friend, someone who cared about me. There was a time when I was afraid of being in school, unaware of what could happen. There were days when I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t want to continue fighting.

The other thing that helped me through was my faith in God. I turned to my religion when I needed help. I prayed and prayed and God answered and he guided me through this life and that’s the reason I’m here today. I have to say that Demi Lovato, my idol was also a major contributing factor to the reason I began to fight — the reason I wanted to follow my heart and show that I have a lot to offer and I’m not just that girl who’s kind of weird and different, but I’m a girl who can change, inspire and influence other people’s lives.

I’m very blessed to have the opportunity to say that I finally made it, it took a while but I’m through the other side and I can’t wait to continue on my journey.

I want every single young boy or girl who’s currently a victim of bullying to know that one day you will make your mark on this world and everyone will follow your footsteps, because you’re the ones that stand out, the ones people are envious and curious about. Just believe and let your heart go wild and never ever stop dreaming!

rebecca parkin facebook

I’m 16 years old and I’m an Anti-bullying Activist, I was bullied when I was younger and this is a subject I am very passionate about, I want to help young people understand and realize there is nothing to be ashamed of and things do get better. I’m a Young Journalist for ChildLine, I write their column in First News. I am a Youth Patron for Ambitious About Autism and I represent the charity internally and externally. I am a member of Rotherham’s Youth Cabinet representing young people’s voice in our community.

I do singing, acting and public speaking in my spare time. I love to express myself using the voice I’ve been blessed with.

You can find me on: