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Tod Perry

via the_geriatricmillennial/TikTok (used with permission) and Karolina Kaboompics/Pexels

A mother deactivated her daughter's smartphone.

The number of teens and tweens who have smartphones is on the rise and we’re starting to see the effects that “great rewiring” has on them. Recent research shows that smartphones can have a very negative effect on girls’ mental health.

After giving her 11-year-old a smartphone about a year ago, Kailey Wood, known as The_GeriatricMillenial on TikTok, deactivated it because she’s seen “firsthand just how detrimental" they are. "So much so that last night, I finally said, 'I'm done with this,' and I deactivated my 11-year-old's phone," she says in a TikTok video. "And I don't know when I'm gonna give it back."


She initially gave her kids phones to keep track of them around the neighborhood, but now she “regrets” the decision. The 37-year-old mother of two from Buffalo, New York, shared her story in a TikTok video viewed over 1.4 million times.

@the_geriatricmillennial

Taking away my 11 year old daughters phone agter having one for a year because its feeling like more negative than positive lately. No opinions needed, parentinf kids in the digital age is hard enough but would love to hear what other parents are doing to maintain their kids independence while also being safe #momofteens #momoftweensgirls #momofdaughters #parentingadvice #teenswithphones #millennialmom #momsover30

Wood was tired of her daughter being in constant conflict with her friends, so she took the phone out of the equation. “Young girls get jealous and don’t think before they text, so they unintentionally hurt their friends' feelings,” she told Upworthy. “Snapchat and Instagram document their whereabouts and friends feel left out. When that happens, sometimes emotions fuel mean comments and DMs. They’re all totally normal feelings, but if I can prevent drama and conflict longer, then that's what I’m going to do.”

Wood struggled with the decision because smartphones made it easy for her to contact her daughter when she was at her friends’ houses. They also gave her peace of mind because she didn’t have the phone numbers of some of her friends’ parents.

However, she couldn’t take the constant jealousy and bickering between her daughter and her friends. “I just decided it’s gone too far. I’m done with this; we’re going to have to figure out a new solution,” she said in the video. "Phones and social media ... those are a part of the teenage experience now. But at what expense?"

Wood believes that to stop the problem, parents should “band together” to prevent children from getting smartphones until they are at least 14.

Replying to @Eboneytwoees

@the_geriatricmillennial

Replying to @Eboneytwoees

Since the video went viral in April, Wood has had a slight change of heart. She has reintroduced the phone but with a new set of strict rules. “No socials, limited screen time and she’s not allowed to bring it out of the house. So if she goes out, she only has her Apple Watch,” she told Upworthy. “Phones this age at sleepovers or hangouts just take away from the time together.”

The good news is that she has also recruited the parents of her daughter’s friends and they have implemented the same rules.

Wood believes that her strategy is all about making a difficult time in life a bit easier. "My goal is to avoid any social conflicts that social media or group chats unintentionally cause,” she told People. “Being a tween/teen already comes with enough pressure and drama, which leads to more depression/anxiety,"

The generational caption debate is a big deal.

If you’re a Gen Xer or older, one surprising habit the younger generations developed is their love of subtitles or closed-captioning while watching TV. To older generations, closed-captioning was only for grandparents, the hearing impaired, or when watching the news in a restaurant or gym.

But these days, studies show that Millenials and Gen Z are big fans of captions and regularly turn them on when watching their favorite streaming platforms. A recent study found that more than half of Gen Z and Millenials prefer captions on when watching television.

It’s believed that their preference for subtitles stems from the ubiquity of captioning on social media sites such as TikTok or Instagram.


This generational change perplexed TikTokker, teacher and Gen X mother, Kelly Gibson.

Always leaning! #genx #millennial #caption #learning

@gibsonishere

Always leaning! #genx #millennial #caption #learning

"I have three daughters, and they were here. Two of them are young millennials; the other one is an older Gen Z," Gibson explained in a video with over 400,000 views. "All of them were like, 'Why don't you have the captions on?'”

The mother couldn’t believe that her young kids preferred to watch TV like her grandparents. It just did not compute.

"My Gen X butt was shocked to find out that these young people have decided it's absolutely OK to watch movies with the captions going the whole time," she said jokingly.

But like a good mother, Gibson asked her girls why they preferred to watch TV with captioning, and their reason was straightforward. With subtitles, it’s easier not to lose track of the dialog if people in the room start talking.

"They get more out of it," Gibson explained. "If somebody talks to them in the middle of the show, they can still read and get what's going on even if they can't hear clearly. Why are young people so much smarter than us?"

At the end of the video, Gibson asked her followers whether they watch TV with subtitles on or off. "How many of you out there that are Millennials actually do this? And how many of you Gen Xers are so excited that this is potentially an option?" she asked.

Gibson received over 8,400 responses to her question, and people have a lot of different reasons for preferring to watch TV with captions.

“Millennial here. I have ADHD along with the occasional audio processing issues. I love captions. Also, sometimes I like crunchy movie snacks,” Jessileemorgan wrote. “We use the captions because I (GenX) hate the inability of the movie makers to keep sound consistent. Ex: explosions too loud conversation to quiet,” Lara Lytle added.

“My kids do this and since we can’t figure out how to turn it off when they leave, it’s become a staple. GenX here!” Kelly Piller wrote.

The interesting takeaway from the debate is that anti-caption people often believe that having writing on the screen distracts them from the movie. They’re too busy reading the bottom of the screen to feel the film's emotional impact or enjoy the acting and cinematography. However, those who are pro-caption say that it makes the film easier to understand and helps them stay involved with the film when there are distractions.

So who’s right? The person holding the remote.


This article originally appeared on 1.11.24

Pop Culture

The Bee Gees 1973 'unplugged' medley of Beatles songs is blissful harmony

The '70s legends were inspired by the greatest band of the '60s.

The Bee gees playing a medley of Beatles hits in 1973.

By 1973, the Bee Gees’ career had hit a low. After a series of hits in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including "To Love Somebody," "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart," and "I Started a Joke," the band was in a rut.

Their latest album, “Life in a Tin Can,” and single “Saw a New Morning" sold poorly, and the band’s popularity declined.

On April 6, 1973, the Gibb brothers (Barry, Robin and Maurice) appeared on “The Midnight Special,” a late-night TV show that aired on Saturday mornings at 1 a.m. after “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.” Given the lukewarm reception to their recent releases, the Bee Gees decided to change things up and play a medley of hits from their idols, The Beatles, who had broken up 3 years before.

The performance, which featured 5 of the Fab Four’s early hits, including “If I Fell,” “I Need You,” “I'll Be Back,” “This Boy,” and “She Loves You,” was a stripped-down, acoustic performance that highlighted the Bee Gees' trademark harmonies.


“When you got brothers singing, it’s like an instrument that no one else can buy. You can’t go buy that sound in a shop. You can’t sing like The Bee Gees because when you got family members singing together, it’s unique,” Noel Galagher, who sang with his brother Liam in Oasis, said according to Far Out.

Beatles Medley - Bee Gees | The Midnight Special

A year later, the Bee Gees performed in small clubs, and it looked like their career had hit a dead end. Then, at the urging of their management, the band began to move in a new direction, incorporating soul, rhythm and blues, and a new, underground musical style called disco into their repertoire. Barry also adopted a falsetto singing style popularized by Black singers such as Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye.

This unlikely change for the folksy vocal group catapulted them into the stratosphere and they became the white-satin-clad kings of disco.

In the late ‘70s, the band had massive hits, including songs featured on the 40-million-selling “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack: “Stayin’ Alive,” How Deep is Your Love,” More Than a Woman,” Jive Talkin’,” and “Night Fever.”

In 1978, the band made a significant misstep, starring in a musical based on The Beatles' music called “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” produced by Robert Stigwood, the man behind “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease.” The film was a colossal bomb, although the soundtrack sold well.

Beatle George Harrison thought the Bee Gees film was about what happens when you become successful and greedy.

"I just feel sorry for Robert Stigwood, the Bee Gees, and Pete Frampton for doing it because they had established themselves in their own right as decent artists,” Harrison said. "And suddenly… it's like the classic thing of greed. The more you make the more you want to make, until you become so greedy that ultimately you put a foot wrong."

Even though the Bee Gees’ Beatle-themed musical was a flop, former Beatle John Lennon remained a fan of the group. He sang their praises after the public’s growing distaste of disco resulted in a significant backlash.

"Try to tell the kids in the seventies who were screaming to the Bee Gees that their music was just the Beatles redone,” he told Playboy magazine in 1980. “There is nothing wrong with the Bee Gees. They do a damn good job. There was nothing else going on then."

The Bee Gees historic career ended when Marice passed away in 2003 at 53. Robin would follow in 2009 at 62. Barry is the final surviving member of the band.

Popular

Woman who gave her baby up for adoption gets a wonderful surprise from the new family

"You know, you can't have too many people loving you, right?”

A journal detailing Steven Schoebinger's young life.

At Upworthy, we love sharing the “best of humanity” with our audience, and this story out of Utah, originally reported by CBS News’ Steve Hartman, shows the power of love to break down barriers.

When Schauna Austin, 48, was 20 years old, she got pregnant and knew she wasn’t ready to raise a child, so she made the difficult decision to give the baby up for adoption. She gave birth to a son she named Riley and only had 3 days to spend with him before surrendering him to his new family.

So, she held him tight for 72 hours straight.

"It was perfect," Austin said about those 3 emotionally-charged days. "I knew I would have him for a short time, so I made every minute count of it. I didn't sleep for three days." It must have been tough for Austin to give up her son because the grieving process can be incredibly difficult.


Riley, renamed Steven, was given to Chris and Jennifer Schoebinger in a closed adoption, where Austin was not to be informed about the adoptive family. In Utah, closed adoptions are a rarity these days, with about 95% allowing some exchange of information between the birth and adoptive parents.

However, about a week later, the Schoebingers had a change of heart.

The Schoebingers decided Austin should be involved in Steven’s life. "It was like, 'OK, this is the way it should be. She was part of our family,'" Jennifer told CBS News. "You know, you can't have too many people loving you, right? Why couldn't he be both of ours?" Chris added.

Every year, the Schoebingers sent Austin pictures and bound journals showing Steven's journey in deep detail. They even had lists of all the new words he learned each year. The books were titled “The Life and Times of ‘Riley,’” paying homage to Steven’s original name.

The hope was that one day when the biological mother and son were ready, they could pick up where they left off. That moment came when Steven was 7 years old and Austin taught him to fish.

The unique arrangement has been fantastic for both Austin and her biological son. "I was blessed beyond words," Austin said. "I kind of got the best of both worlds, for sure," Steven agreed. It may seem like relationships between children and those who gave them up for adoption would be complicated. But studies show that 84% of adoptees reported high levels of satisfaction when maintaining ongoing contact with their birth parents.

Steven is now 27 and in August 2022, he and his wife, Kayla, had their first child, a boy they named Riley—the name Steven was originally given by his biological mother. Austin is now a grandmother.

The remarkable story of Austin and the Schoebinger family proves that when we put walls between ourselves and others, we are often blocking everyone off from more love and support. "I think the lesson we learned is that sometimes we create barriers where barriers don't need to be. And when we pull down those barriers, we really find love on the other side," Chris said.