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Teens live in a social media world that most grown-ups know almost nothing about.

Being connected to your friends all day is fun. Just don't take it too seriously.

Teens live in a social media world that most grown-ups know almost nothing about.

The social life of a teen is as virtual as it is physical.

Teenagers have been glued to their phones for decades. Of course, a phone used to be for talking with friends for countless hours.


These days, talking's the least of what a phone is for.

It's all about the exciting forms of connection the Internet offers. "Social media," "social networking" — the key word is "social." And most teens are fanatically social.

Of course, there are horror stories.

With online bullying and other forms of predators, parents can easily be overwhelmed by their kids' online ambitions. Site age limits? Whatever. Kids fudge their ages and stories, and the peer pressure to join in or be left out is intense.

Parents wonder if kids understand the dangers.

Parents may know Facebook, and they might know about Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, but how it all folds together for a teen is something they can really only imagine. Parents are left with the choice of terrifying their child with how bad the world can be or just trying to remain as vigilant as possible.

Lots of parents end up just praying their kids have some common sense.

Dr. Gregory Dillon got together with some teens to talk about their strategies for dealing with the anxieties of online life.

"When you go digital, you're basically amplifying yourself way out. And so the question is how much can you handle." — Dr. Gregory Dillon

On the one hand, by interacting with a larger audience, you might get more approval than you're used to in the physical world. But, on the other hand, you also stand to be rejected on a much larger scale. And that can be awful.

They talked about four things.

FOMO: Fear of missing out

Misinterpretation

Communicating with texts removes all the visual and tone-of-voice clues, so it's something to be really wary about.

"Like" anxiety

Likes on Facebook and Instagram too easily become a measure of popularity. It's exciting when you get them and painful when you don't.

It's hard not to count your Likes.

Achieving a balance

Dillon's suggestion was to think of all online and offline activities as slices in a pie chart. Each has a place — and caring about Likes is fine — as long as it doesn't overwhelm everything else you care about.

The teens' thoughtful answers and self-awareness are encouraging. And there's barely a moment in which the kids smiles' aren't communicating how much fun their online lives are.

Maybe they're up to the challenge after all.

Listen in:

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Macy's and Girls Inc. believe that all girls deserve to be safe, supported, and valued. However, racial disparities continue to exist for young people when it comes to education levels, employment, and opportunities for growth. Add to that the gender divide, and it's clear to see why it's important for girls of color to have access to mentors who can equip them with the tools needed to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers.

Anissa Rivera is one of those mentors. Rivera is a recent Program Manager at the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc., a nonprofit focusing on the holistic development of girls ages 5-18. The goal of the organization is to provide a safe space for girls to develop long-lasting mentoring relationships and build the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to thrive now and as adults.

Rivera spent years of her career working within the themes of self and community empowerment with young people — encouraging them to tap into their full potential. Her passion for youth development and female empowerment eventually led her to Girls Inc., where she served as an agent of positive change helping to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Inspiring young women from all backgrounds is why Macy's has continued to partner with Girls Inc. for the second year in a row. The partnership will support mentoring programming that offers girls career readiness, college preparation, financial literacy, and more. Last year, Macy's raised over $1.3M for Girls Inc. in support of this program along with their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programming for more than 26,000 girls. Studies show that girls who participated are more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, score higher on standardized math tests, and be more equipped for college and campus life.

Thanks to mentors like Rivera, girls across the country have the tools they need to excel in school and the confidence to change the world. With your help, we can give even more girls the opportunity to rise up. Throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases or donate online to support Girls Inc. at Macys.com/MacysGives.

Who runs the world? Girls!

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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