Category — happiness

Latino Teens & The Sexting Epidemic

Texting continues to make the headlines, but unfortunately most of the attention is placed on the growing epidemic of doing it while driving.  More and more, texting has become a centerpiece in teens’ social lives and taking an active role in their sexual activity.  A new survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that 4% of cell-owning teens ages 12-17 say they have sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images or videos of themselves to someone else via text messaging. Fifteen percent say they have received such images of someone they know via text message.  Sexting has quickly become an epidemic.

“Teens explained how sexually suggestive images have become a form of relationship currency,” said Amanda Lenhart, Senior Research Specialist and author of the report. “These images are shared as a part of or instead of sexual activity, or as a way of starting or maintaining a relationship with a significant other. And they are also passed along to friends for their entertainment value, as a joke or for fun.”

Teens are also faced with overwhelming accounts of peer pressure to share sexually suggestive content. One high school girl that has been quoted mentioned: “When I was about 14-15 years old, I received/sent these types of pictures. Boys usually ask for them or start that type of conversation. My boyfriend, or someone I really liked asked for them. And I felt like if I didn’t do it, they wouldn’t continue to talk to me. At the time, it was no big deal. But looking back, it was definitely inappropriate and over the line.”

Another aspect that today’s teens don’t understand is that anything shared electronically lasts forever.  This is a very important point that needs to be emphasized.  Education will be critical.  Teens need to understand the long term implication to near sighted decisions.  More and more people are negatively impacted by their digital footprint.  Teens have been suspended, fired from jobs, charged with child pornography and refused admission at colleges for participating in sexually inappropriate activity online.

The key takeaway here is that in today’s environment, nothing is PRIVATE and has a PERMANENT effect on the rest of their lives.

March 8, 2011   2 Comments

Lateens at school

I had the opportunity to go to W.H. Adamson High last week and see our classes brainstorm ideas for their advertising campaigns. See related topic on previous post, and the takeaway of my experience below.

I LOVE being around Lateens. Young people in general, but Lateens in particular because every time I leave the school or I have been around them, I feel so energized, refreshed, so alive. Here are some of the words I wrote down while they were brainstorming that I thought best described them:

• Funny, super funny. They make jokes about the simplest of things every once in a while.

• Creative, it took them less than 15 minutes to come up with good ideas for their advertising campaigns.

• Short attention span, super short, you better keep them entertained.
I feel like you have to challenge them, make them think and make it quickly because they seem to get bored fairly easy.

• Real

• Sincere

• They love music. Music is their life.

• Smart

I know these are very generic words and I don’t mean to generalize Lateens, but I wish everybody had the opportunity to go and see for themselves, spend time with them. They are complex, yet simple characters. They are vibrant, yet get bored extremely easily and can come across as apathetic if you don’t look close enough. They are mostly shy, but school is their familiar environment and they feed off of each other’s courage.
Being around them was the best part of my day.

November 22, 2010   6 Comments

Some Hip-Hop

What is hip-hop to you?

Is it black?  Is it white?  Is it brown?  Is it rich?  Is it poor?  East coast?  West coast?  South side?  Is it Snoop and Dre, or is it Tribe and WU?  Is it bling and success?  Or is it struggle and pain?  Can we still hear it today?  Or de we have to go back a few years…or even decades?

If the above doesn’t really make any sense, I’ll try to explain.  For BrandLateen purposes, the important thing to know is that true Hip-Hop is the one music that tells the intricate stories of unpredictable inner-city life.  Samples from jazz and blues rhythms, mixed with heavy beats and harsh lyrics, the music has experience rapid evolution since its inception almost 40 years ago.  Most Hip-Hop artists are black, and the majority of songs are written from an African-American cultural perspective.  A handful of black artists and fanatics will argue that musicians of other races robbed the black culture of one of its creations.  That’s a radical argument considering it’s a music that originally sprung from a passion for exaggerated, emotional expression (like most music, arguably).  But the real students of Hip-Hop understand that it’s an art form that bridges and transcends cultures.  After all, inner-city life is a culture in itself, infused in all of its inhabitants, regardless of background.

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September 10, 2010   1 Comment

My Technological World

The following serves as a supplement to the previous entry, “MySpace vs. Facebook.”  Please note that this is a personal recount of a single Lateen’s experience.

It’s no secret that technology is known to make things easier. It’s known to make things work faster without the same physical effort. It’s also known that my generation takes adavantage of technology and uses it constantly. My generation is different, my generation is who will make a better tomorrow for everyone else.

At school, at work, and at home I am involved in so many different activities, from academic clubs, sport teams to volunteer services. I can honestly say that nothing would be possible without my cell phone and laptop. After a while of being so involved, I have learned to network and meet new people. I’ve learned that unfortunately, the truth is most of the time it’s not who you are, it’s who you know. This brings me to my experience with technology and how my friends and I use it.

I recently created an account on Facebook. I already had a MySpace page, but joining Facebook was a necessary thing to do because all the “older” important contacts I have made along the way only have a Facebook page. Personally, I think they think it’s professional. Throughout history, the human species has transformed constantly to meet its enviroment in an effort to survive. Clearly now people are not adapting to eating wild berries like cavemen did long ago, but people are still adapting. For example just a few years ago, friends exchanged beeper numbers.  Now, not only can you contact someone with the click of a button, but with a few more clicks, you can see documentation of their personal lives.

As I’ve said before I attend W.H Adamson High School. My school is roughly 95 percent Hispanic. It’s a small school with about 1,000 students total. Since it’s so small and mostly made up of people from the neighborhood many of us know each other very well. I was recently elected Senior Class President and to be honest there is a lot to the job. That said, I love it because I love being a leader, but a leader is no one if he or she has no followers. So when I have an idea, I like to get feedback from everyone before I make a decision. This makes others happy, and contacting all students would be hard, but now, in 2010, it’s quite easy. I communicate with my friends through mass text messages, and in turn they continue to forward them to anyone who might be interested. I can also chat with them on MySpace or send an event invitation on Facebook. All this technology makes it easier to inform everyone or make new plans simultaneously. [Read more →]

August 13, 2010   No Comments

Myspace vs. Facebook

What is Myspace? To many it’s a way to stay connected with current friends.  For others it’s a way to find friends who they have not seen in a while. Some people use it as a way to make new friends or flirt with someone they’ve never met. While Myspace users use the site to listen to music, write blogs or to upload videos, the truth is that Myspace is just a simple way to have fun while you network.  Having a Myspace page isn’t the easiest thing to do either. When you create an account, you have activated a profile. A profile that millions of people around the world can see and read. There is this belief that Myspace is for teens and Facebook for adults, and to be quite honest I agree.

I have a Myspace page, and I have to admit that it can sometimes be tough keeping up with a profile. The music you put on your profile is usually related to the mood you happen to be in. For example, many who appear to be in love have songs relating to passion, or those who are heartbroken play songs that show how their heart burns when they think of that certain someone. Believe it or not, when someone chooses a song, there is a lot of thought that goes into it. The beat of the song can label you with your friends too, making you cool or just a weirdo.  Myspace is merely another way teens express themselves, and many use it as a tool to attract more “friends” and gain popularity.

I noticed a lot of the things that go on in Myspace are childish and can potentially be very dangerous. There are many young girls out there exposing themselves a little too much to in an effort to catch guys’ attention, or even guys taking pictures of themselves showing their abs wearing only a towel. Although at times it’s funny to see pictures where they are half naked or just showing “booty,” it does not make it right. On Myspace there is SO much unnecessary drama. You have people threatening each other, you have people updating their life via their status…which in my opinion is ridiculous. It’s sad that things like this take Myspace beyond being just a chatting site. They turn it into free access for molesters to peruse for victims, or for others to bully and harass people. So now that I feel a bit more mature and feel that Myspace is no longer for me, I decided to move to Facebook. [Read more →]

August 10, 2010   1 Comment

A Lateen in a Latin Country.

Visiting another house isn’t always the easiest or most comfortable thing to do. Now, in case you haven’t already, imagine visiting a country. Meeting new people can be challenging, so think about meeting over 100 individuals and living in the same space with them for over 300 hours. Sounds scary I know, but I can honestly say that my recent experience in Costa Rica was one that made me grow into a better person.

It all started Friday, July 16 at 4 in the morning, maybe even earlier since I couldn’t fall asleep due to excitement. I got up, looked around my room, and noticed my blue backpack, a small luggage bag full to the brim, my money next to my passport, and my ID. Before I knew it I was hugging my dad and saying my goodbye.

Shortly after, I got a hug myself, but it was actually just the security guard wrapping his arms around me as he searched me (a little too slowly I might add) at the DFW Airport. First stop: Houston. I felt like we arrived there as soon as I closed my eyes. I continued to absorb my surroundings. And all of a sudden it hit me – I was all on my own. After a couple of hours I was finally walking onto the next plane. I made sure I had both of my cameras and my cell phone. I knew the island wasn’t going to have signal for my mobile, but I carried it to listen to music. Hours after I buckled up, the plane’s captain made two announcements: First, to be courteous to the people next to you. Second, to enjoy the first view of the Costa Rican coast. [Read more →]

August 4, 2010   1 Comment

A Lateen Recap of World Cup

Every story has a conclusion, every movie has an ending, everything finishes or simply comes to a close, and in soccer the final whistle of the World Cup declared Spain champions of the world. After enduring 80 years to win the World Cup, Spain certainly wasn’t going to let the Netherlands’ bruising tactics, 30 minutes of overtime, a record number of yellow cards and several squandered scoring opportunities get in the way of history. My month of soccer is done. Four years of waiting, and after a little more than four weeks spent in front of the television, the waiting begins again – this time for Brazil in 2014. As usual, the World Cup fulfilled expectations and at times exceeded them. For one, the country of South Africa did an impressive job hosting the world’s greatest sporting event, something that not many people thought it could accomplish. With the World Cup at an end, coaches, directors, and players are all beginning to look back at it and see what it portents for the future. Now the vuvuzelas came to an abrupt silence. No more cheers. No screams either. Only faces of disappointment to those of us who lived the world cup day after day.

The 2010 World cup led to many surprises. Teams who were considered favorites to win the cup fell short in the first round. As a Lateen, I was honestly dissapointed after my team Mexico was defeated by Argentina. It was amazing to see how the South American countries seemed to dominate early in the tournament. In the quarterfinals, four out of the eight teams were from South America. However, in the semifinals only one remained. The Europeans did a phenomenal job at the end, and statistically proved the Western Hemisphere superior to the Eastern.

As the Lateen that I am, throughout this tournament I noticed a lot strange changes in the teams my friends would root for. Out of about 20 friends we all cheered for Mexico, but many of them started to show an interest for other countries, mainly Spain and Germany.  I noticed that many people, who never watched soccer before, fell in love with the sport. I noticed that almost in every channel I flipped to, or any show I watched had a sort of attachment to the World Cup.

I watched games live online on my laptop, on my phone and the living room T.V at the same time.  I felt like this world cup was not a thousand miles away. I felt like I could see the paint on people’s faces and hear the famous vuvuzuelas right next to me. This cup was different than any other. Expectations now grow higher, and I’m excited to see what will happen in Brazil 2014. Because even if the talent doesn’t get any better, I sure know the technology will.

July 14, 2010   No Comments

Problems/difficulty of translating to Parents.

The following entry serves as another personal recount of the struggle Lateens face when they’re assigned the role of “translator” for their families.  This is a supplement to a previous entry titled “Little Adults.”

Unity is power. Since early chilhood my dad invoked the belief that our family (he defined our family as my three brothers, Julio, Fabian, Eric and my mom, Zenaida) should always do what’s best for the family. Even if it involves one NOT doing what he/she desires in order to make the family happy. This is an unwritten law that we go by, no exceptions, and no allowance for doing something different. This way of thinking, ironically, has led to much improvement in our lives. Even though my dad is the guy that makes the decisions for all of us, before he does we discuss our opinions as a family. That’s what the system has been for a very long time. But the truth is it’s not really an option. This system is further complicated by my dad’s one obstacle that makes him ask my brothers or me for help, and that is when he needs a translation. Although he can speak and read the English language to a certain degree, and is one of the smartest people I know, he needs help sometimes, especially when things get tricky like words with double meaning.

I have so many experiences with my family involving their lack of understanding English. As a child I remember going to the bank where my dad was served by a non-Spanish speaking employee and it was difficult to watch him become frustrated when they made the wrong transactions. All because they didn’t understand what he was trying to say. When we go out to eat, my dad’s English occasionally is misunderstood to the point that he gets the wrong order. When my mom would go to the store to return an item and they couldn’t understand her, she would just leave the store without doing what she needed to do. When she goes to teacher conferences, she often struggles to understand everything that is said. We have also been pulled over by the police, and when this happens both of them become so afraid. Not afraid because they did anything wrong, but because they did not know how to defend themselves or even ask why they were pulled over. Those are only a few of the experiences I encountered as a younger child. A couple of years ago there was a major change – I learned English and Spanish well enough to translate.

To be honest, at moments in the beginning, I enjoyed the responsibility of translating for my parents. I loved ordering pizza, or explaining my report card to them. Unfortunately as I grew older it began to get more complicated because I was learning more and more English. A great example is when we were on the road and I had to ask for directions. I didn’t know what highways meant or avenues actually were because I didn’t drive. So then I would tell my parents the little that I understood and we would get lost, making the situation even more frustrating. As I continued to get older I started to make purchases and payments online and I didn’t understand how to explain the procedures properly, but my parents would get mad thinking I was just being lazy and didn’t want to help. That’s not the case at all, but I’m only a teenager! My parents receive letters from businesses and the government and I need to tell them what they say. This is even harder because I don’t understand the content. It’s stuff I shouldn’t have to understand and they get mad and blame me for not knowing enough. [Read more →]

June 28, 2010   4 Comments

What makes a Lateen happy?

I’ve never won anything free in my whole life, so when I got a copy of the yet to be published book, Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, I knew I had to read it ASAP.

Since I finished the book, I’ve thought about it and the important lessons mentioned in it at least once a day.

Without giving away too much, the book made me laugh out loud more than twice, made me tear up once and made me want to go out there and conquer the world.  It took me back to my teen years when I would get infatuated with certain books, but it also made me wonder about how much Lateens are reading this days.

I couldn’t find a compelling statistic on readership among Lateens, good or bad, but most importantly I want this post to be a call to action for Hispanic parents. Somebody told me a long time ago that kids imitate what their parents do.  Therefore, parents should read to their kids, read themselves (so the kids see them) and write, if possible.  I wonder how many Hispanic parents do this. After all, all kinds of education start at home.  If you haven’t read to your kids and they are already teenagers, it’s not too late.  Grab a book, any book, (I recommend Delivering Happiness but I’m a little biased), or the newspaper and make it a family ritual.

Again, I don’t want to reveal too much, but Delivering Happiness also made me think about what makes a Lateen happy.  What makes us happy?  Why does happiness mean something different to all of us?  What is the science behind it?  It also made me think about how responsible we adults are for Lateens’ happiness … I say a lot.  I say it’s in our hands to help them find their happiness, to help them find that ONE book that can make them laugh and cry at the same time, to help them find their passions and their path, but how do we do this?  We have to get involved, we have to mentor them (it’s a win-win situation because there’s also a lot we can learn from them) and most importantly we have to be present in their lives.

What would make me happy would be to have at least one Lateen parent read to their kids and for at least 10 people to read Delivering Happiness.  I think it’s a fair deal for getting a free book.  I highly recommend it and think it will help you rethink your own happiness and that of those around you, including Lateens.

May 11, 2010   6 Comments