I am excited to tell you about a groundbreaking study of more than 10,000 U.S. girls which Thirty One Gifts cosponsored with Ruling Out eXperiences, Inc. (ROX). It is the largest of its kind and revealed surprising information on the role of technology on girls’ self-esteem. I know we have all heard about cyber bullying or “the mean girls” on social media and for some, they say “it won’t be my kid”. Well, I felt the same way many years ago, until I read something my daughter wrote about being bullied. You can read the story on my very first blog post “Bullying – The Visible vs The Invisible“.
The findings of this study is heartbreaking. While they give us a glimpse into the raw truth about girls fifth through 12th-grade and their perception, it is also an opportunity for us to look for ways to be mentors and be a positive influence in their lives.
The mission of ROX (Ruling Our eXperiences, Inc.) a Columbus, Ohio-headquartered nonprofit organization is:
TO EQUIP GIRLS WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS NECESSARY TO LIVE HEALTHY, INDEPENDENT, PRODUCTIVE AND VIOLENCE-FREE LIVES.
ROX announced the findings of their study from The Girls’ Index: New Insights into the Complex World of Today’s Girls a few months ago. This national survey was taken of 10,678 fifth- through 12th-grade girls with the sole purpose of capturing the girls’ perceptions and experiences around fitting in, body image, peer pressure, academics, friendships and relationships. The report is a comprehensive picture for parents and educators on the thoughts, beliefs and behaviors of girls across the country. The demographics are from every walk of life – cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic of the school district, and the type for school for a broad spectrum of girls.
The findings of The Girls’ Index include:
#1 Most girls like to be in charge, but self-doubt can impact their pursuit of leadership. A surprising 46% of the girls reported they don’t say what they are thinking or disagree with other peers. WHY? Because they want to be liked with 1 in 3 girls being afraid to be a leader because they don’t want others to think they are bossy.
#2 30% of the girls with the highest grade point averages (4.0 or above), don’t think they’re smart enough for their dream careers. Despite their high academic achievements, they are still filled with confidence issues.
#3 Girls who spend the most time using technology (8 hrs./day) are 5x more likely to be sad or depressed nearly every day compared to the girls who spend four or fewer hours. If this isn’t a reason to restrict technology time, I don’t know what is. Technology and social media greatly impact girls’ relationships, achievement, confidence, mood and school engagement.
#4 By high school, sexting is common and prevalent with 2 out of 3 girls reporting by 12th grade they have been asked to send a sexually explicit photo to another person. I am so grateful cell phones weren’t popular when my daughter was growing up.
#5 Girls who have strong and trusting friendships with other girls fare better and report significantly lower levels of sadness and depression.
ROX concluded “girls who have strong and trusting friendships fare better, it is crucial girls receive the opportunities and tools they need to forge the positive friendships which safeguard their emotions and experiences.”
This study shakes me to my core. I grew up lacking confidence. I had friends but not the kind of strong trusting friendships which helped me to battle sadness and depression. Those emotions and experiences traveled with me through my college years straight through to my years of addiction. My goal was for my daughter’s life to be different. She was blessed to have one or two strong, trusting friendships growing up yet on the inside she lacked confidence despite the outward strong appearance.
The bottom line is we as parents, teachers and coaches are missing out on at least half of what girls think, know and believe. YIKES! We are losing the creativity, contributions and impact these young girls can make on the world.
As these studies become public, as awareness grows, we have an obligation to do better and a responsibility to make the world a place where girls can feel confident and capable.
Thirty-One Gifts proudly partner with ROX to provide girls with opportunities to talk candidly and openly about their experiences, while arming them with tools to positively and safely use social media, navigate relationships and manage pressure to ultimately develop a positive self-concept. Learn more about ROX, including ways you can get involved, at rulingourexperiences.com.
Share some of the products from Thirty One’s URU collection. The Be the Give! Littles Carry-All Caddy comes with a special message “Love who you were born to be”. A great way to encourage and celebrate the young girl in your life for Valentine’s Day or Easter or just as a “thinking of you” gift. It is also the perfect solution for organizing the little things in your life. From office supplies to eating utensils and cosmetics, this caddy helps keep your life in order by keeping everything right at your fingertips. Great for gifts, small toys, crafts, office desks and candy.
Won’t you help to make a difference in the live of a young girl?
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!