How To Support and Protect Teens On YA Platforms

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A while ago, I made a joking “Hot-T0” post, mostly because I could and was out of ideas, plus I don’t think I have much authority to tell anyone how to do anything when I’m lost myself. This one, however, is a legit one.

Not a serious, word-for-word “this is how you do this” but a suggestion on how to support and even protect teens who are a part of YA platforms.

This is important since YA is for teens but it often feels like they’re pushed aside, so let’s try this.

  • Find the teens
    • Kind of like Where’s Waldo but not actually that hard to find
      • Yes, I think Where’s Waldo is hard.
    • A lot of times teens are there, though we seem to be very few in numbers. A lot of times we’re hidden in the shadows of the more popular (adult) people.
  • Acknowledge Them and that these platforms are for them
    • It isn’t fun coming to a platform meant for you only to be pushed aside by outsiders. 
      • I still remember coming to book twitter in search of other teens who liked YA only to find a lot of adults who liked YA. That was uncomfortable. It still is (even though I’m an adult-teen).
  • Think of them in Discussions
    • Things like if a book is too unrealistic or the MC is whiney, remember, it’s for teens. Sometimes we’re like that.
    • ESPECIALLY in discussions about harmful books.
      • Think of how that book being could harmful could negatively impact a teen who is part of that group
        • and remember that the group of teens reading YA is much, much, much larger in real life rather than what you’re just seeing on social media.
      • Think about how that book could negatively impact people who aren’t a part of that group.
        • if a book is erasing asexuals, imagine people who aren’t asexual reading that book and further internalizing their feelings of disdain towards asexuals,
        • If a book is heavily racist towards black people, imagine non-black people reading it and further internalizing that racism that society has already embedded in us.
        • Things like that enable further justification for discrimination and actual discrimination. 
        • Especially when it comes to teens who still have a lot of time to unlearn the prejudices that society has taught them (us?).
  • If You follow teens listen to them when discussions come up!
    • These books are for them (us?) and they should be allowed to have a voice in what’s going to be in their books or not.
  • If you see someone going after a teen, help them (the teen)!
    • when teens speak out, especially teens of color, people go after then, especially adult, white people!
    • Allowing things like that to happen doesn’t make it safer for teens to be on the space THAT IS MEANT FOR THEM!
  • If there is a teen book blogger, bookstagrammer, booktuber, etc, that you enjoy, give them a S/O! 

 

All of these things can help make the online YA communities safer for teens and people have got to remember that that is so important!

Places like Twitter and Blogs should be safe places for teens to express their feelings about books and discuss with other people who like books. It shouldn’t be a battle ground for them to constantly have to defend and fight on.

Please remember the teens.

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