Saturday, November 29, 2008

Welcoming the Obama Girls



Hi! Blog
 

New for Girls in December

It’s almost December, and NewMoonGirls.com brings girls a new theme each week! First up is Money Week including articles about the stock market, what investing means, what the diamond business is really like, and how working to raise money for a charity is just as rewarding (if not more) than receiving gifts! Check this all out (and more) at NewMoonGirls.com. Additional themes this month are Human Rights, Family, and Winter Holidays! Be sure to check every week for new exciting new content.

 

Wishes for Malia and Sasha Obama

It was so exciting on election night to see president-elect Obama’s daughters come on stage. It’s fun to think about girls just like yours living in the White House—and we weren’t the only ones that thought that! Later that week, a member’s mom called our office to order a four-year gift membership to New Moon Girls for Malia and Sasha! She said she knew what a difference New Moon Girls made in her daughter’s life, and she wanted to offer the same to the Obamas’ daughters.

 

We’re  asking our members to help us welcome them to New Moon Girls AND to the White House in a big way! We’re collecting letters, artwork, video, and anything else that girls create for Malia and Sasha. Girls and adults can upload girl created content to their “stuff” on NewMoonGirls.com, or submit it to the Sister to Sister hub, or email it to submissions@newmoongirls.com.

 

All of the good wishes will be sent in a package for Malia and Sasha along with their first issue of New Moon Girls magazine! To get girls’ wishes to Malia and Sasha on time, make sure to have them to New Moon Girls by December 15th, 2008.

 

Special Holiday Price

For the next month, we’re offering both the magazine and NewMoonGirls.com to you for one low price of $29.95! This offer is good for both new orders and renewals. It makes a great gift for your daughter’s friends – and then they can share the experience with each other.  Not only will they receive 6 issues of the award-winning, international New Moon Girls magazine, but they will also have 24/7 access to 15 years of archived New Moon Girls content, discussion boards, their own creative room online and so much more!

 

Great Gift Idea

Still looking for that special gift for the girl in your life or her friends for the holiday season? Look no longer! For a limited time, your girl can enjoy classic issues of the magazine in special themed collections! Just to mention a few: our 25 Beautiful Girls Collection includes nine different inspiring issues featuring 225 girls from around the globe. And with the New Year approaching, our Coming of Age Collection is perfect for the girls in your life that are growing up! To check out even more New Moon Girls Magazine Collections, visit us online at our New Moon Girls Store!




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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stop Violence Against Women

It's International Stop Violence Against Women day - November 25. So this is a post I wish I didn't have to write. Because if there were no violence blighting the lives of girls, I'd be able to write about something more fun.

It's obviously not fun to cover this topic in our age range of 8-15. And most media for girls won't cover the topic. We don't want to scare girls. But we do want them to know that if they face violence, they aren't alone. And I determinedly "think positive" about the day when we won't need to prepare girls to protect themselves or to know how to help a friend or family member in danger.

Just imagine that day. Our daughters will be able to walk down the street, get on the bus or subway, and be safe anywhere. Their schools will be free of sexual and physical harassment. Arguments at home will be resolved without violence. TV and movies that include violence against women will seem unreal to girls because it's become part of history, like legal slavery.

Of course, we're not there yet. And so New Moon has a special piece that introduces girls to the significance of SVAW Day in an unsensational way. (We don't want to scare girls or make them feel that they are responsible in any way for violence against women.) It also gives accessible resources for girls (and their friends) who are experiencing violence or other forms of abuse. While no girl should have to deal with violence on her own, we know that every day girls are put in that situation.

We want them to feel supported by knowing that they aren't the only girl facing the problem and that there are people who will help them.

Until we succeed in making a world without violence against women and girls, that feels like the best thing we can do.

Monday, November 24, 2008

New Report: Kids Online Safety

While I was at the Kids Online conference recently, HighlightsParents.com released the results of a survey commissioned to determine the number of parents who speak with their kids about online safety.

More than 500 parents responded to the online poll, and some of the answers were very surprising to me. While a heartening 77% of parents reported having spoken with their children about staying safe online, it was discouraging to me that 75% of parents also indicated their kids access the Internet without supervision.

A parent recently confided in me that she’d discovered her 10-year-old on Facebook. Although her daughter had been savvy enough not to reveal her last name, hometown or other personal information, this parent was still aghast that her daughter had been able to set up the account without her noticing. Although they’d discussed online safety in the past, today that parent is monitoring all Internet use.

As parents, of course it’s important to speak with our children about staying safe. But that one conversation isn’t enough. We taught them how to walk, tie their shoes and ride their bikes, and none of those things were learned in a single afternoon. We owe it to our kids to monitor their online usage and to keep talking with them to keep them safe.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Kids Online Conference

Last week, I was excited to be part of the first-ever Kids Online: Balancing Safety and Fun "unconference" at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. http://wiki.idcommons.net/Kids_Online . It came on the heels of the 7th Internet Identity Workshop, and both conferences were organized by Identity Commons, which addresses the many identity and privacy issues encountered online.

The day brought together many leaders of online services for children up to age 12. It combined small-group and full-group discussion of how companies like New Moon can improve children's online safety. This hit home for me as our online practices and guidelines at NewMoonGirls.com are specifically designed to maintain a safe and fun environment for girls 8-12. I learned that our moderation practices meet the highest standard of safety which sure felt good. I also learned that the cost of moderation is high for sites that do it well and that there are many pressures to shortcut the moderation. All the companies also discussed ways to generate revenue (to cover the cost of moderation) without exploiting children by allowing advertising. It's a challenge, that's for sure!

But what about spaces like Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube, which say they are only for consumers age 13+ (wink, wink), but which our kids are eager to join? Is it possible to keep our kids safe there? So far, the consensus is no. But, we talked about solutions for this and other questions throughout the day. Even better, we're going to regroup monthly to plan additional meetings with one another, as well as organize online safety conferences for parents and kids.

I came away hopeful that this meeting will lead to continuing improvement of online safety for our kids. The Internet changes every day, and it’s essential we always be looking for the next way to protect our kids.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Today's Launch of the New Online Community NewMoonGirls.com


I am thrilled to share some very exciting news today. This morning, we launched http://www.newmoongirls.com/ our new online community for girls ages 8-12. After fifteen years of encouraging girls to be writers and editors at New Moon Girls magazine, we’re delighted to provide girls with a second forum, this one online, where they can create content, explore the community and support one another.

As we celebrated the launch this morning, it brought back memories of the beginning of New Moon, when I was eager to create a magazine that would give my twelve-year-old twin daughters the opportunity to express and feel great about themselves. From the beginning, our entire purpose for being has been to help girls reach their full potential by challenging them to create, explore, and connect with each other.

Today, for the first time, we’re truly able to reach every girl around the world and provide a safe, secure place for her to grow.

It is with heartfelt thanks for fifteen wonderful years that I say to every New Moon Girl, and New Moon parent, past and present – come join us online, too! click below for a short video tour of the site so you can see how it works. And please let me know what you think!

video

Sunday, November 9, 2008

MTV's Model Maker Ends Before It Begins

After this week’s news that Libby Lu is being shut down, I was contacted by a sister Mom of daughters, whose girls are 15 and 17, to let me know about the end of another venture: MTV’s Model Maker. http://www.mtvmodelmaker.com/

The casting call for Model Maker began in April, and the goal of the show was to film women pursuing the chance to become a fashion runway model. The catch: all models who joined the show had to be ready to lose up to 30 lbs. And the tagline? “Women come in all shapes and sizes, but models don’t.”

Although it’s disheartening that physical beauty continues to be paramount on television, there’s a silver lining to this story. Darryl Roberts at Huffington Post reported that public outcry from individuals and organizations put an end to the filming of Model Maker, and there are now no plans to release this show. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/darryl-roberts/mtv-decides-not-to-releas_b_136327.html

After a great week of examples of how grassroots efforts can make a difference on the political scene, I’m proud to know that individual activism can also put an end to harmful gender themes and portrayals on our TVs.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Club Libby Lu Bites the Dust

As a small business owner, I don't often applaud when a company goes out of business. A dream dies, people lose their jobs, and it's awful. But today's the exception.

Club Libby Lu, which specializes in selling makeovers to tween girls, is being shut down by its parent company, Saks. As my friend Lisa Ray of Parents for Ethical Marketing tweeted this morning, that's something to celebrate! This is a dream that deserves to rest in peace.

As Consumerist.com said:
"For $25-$40 girls could paint themselves with temporary tattoos, make bracelets
and get a "Club Libby Du." (We think that last thing is a hairstyle. At least,
we're hoping that it is.)"

But what truly made me happy they're closing was reading the company's mission on their website:

"At Club Libby Lu®, our mission is to create special memories by encouraging
tween girls to express their imaginations and individuality. Club Libby Lu
offers products and experiences that promote a unique shopping experience that
makes every girl feel special. Our staff (called Club Counselors), “Club”
environment and merchandise mix provide the ultimate girl experience. Girls join
the Club, where they become V.I.P.s (Very Important Princesses®) and enjoy a
fun, safe and special place where they can unlock their inner princess!™ "

Of course, I'm 150% in favor of encouraging girls to express their imaginations and individuality. That's why I founded New Moon in 1992. What bothers me about Club Libby Lu is how they equate shopping and makeovers with girls' "imaginations and individuality."

In fact, Club Libby Lu shopping and makeovers are not about imagination, self-expression or individuality. They are about conforming to someone else's idea of who you should be and how you should look. What Club Libby Lu really does is indoctrinate little girls into a culture of comparing themselves to others and striving to change themselves into someone else. Yuck.

I am very, very sorry for the people who will lose their jobs. But I'm not one bit sorry that girls won't have Club Libby Lu shaping their sense of who they are as they grow up.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Toeing the Party Line, Not

Like everyone else, my mind is on our new President-elect and the extraordinary grassroots and voting efforts that resulted in his victory during these challenging times. But I 'm also thinking about our children and how they grow into responsible, active citizens and voters.

In the days surrounding this monumental election, New Moon girls have been learning about voting through our “Mock Election,” where girls voted for a presidential candidate and learned more about important issues facing our country today.


At same time, in discussions with our Girls Editorial Board and girl writers, we’ve observed that the vast majority of our girls hold the political beliefs of their parents. Lior wrote about this for New Moon in Under the Influence.

So where does this leave us as parents? What do we need to teach our children about voting and the election process if our kids are just going to vote like us anyway? Over at Struggling Teens , Rose Mulligan writes that parents must help their children understand politicians in terms of character and achievement, rather than simply toeing the party line. How do you do this with your children during the campaign season and beyond? I'd love to hear about it.


In our Mock Election, we’ve been impressed by how much New Moon girls know about the individual candidates and their stances on issues in this election. And as we move forward, let's remember to keep teaching our girls how important it is to elect our politicians based on knowledge of their viewpoints and goals.

Who Can Be President?

As our nation celebrates the election of our first African-American President, I'm very aware of the deep symbolism this historic event holds. Senator McCain and President Bush, among many others, acknowledged the importance of seeing the highest African-American glass ceiling shattered. It's important to adults, but even more important to children.

Children see the entire world through the lens of their individual experiences. Now that Barack Obama will be Mr. President, kids will quickly see that as "normal." There's nothing like reality to change a child's worldview. How wonderful!

A recent message from our friends at The White House Project explains further:

With so many glass ceilings shattered, we take for granted that little
girls know they can grow up to be whatever they want. But according to a new
study, one in four children believes it is illegal for women and minorities to
hold the office of president. And one in three attribute the lack of female,
African-American and Latino presidents to racial and gender bias among voters.

The same study also found that girls who attributed the lack of female
presidents to discrimination were more likely to report that they could not
really become president, even if they were interested in doing so. "[Children]
have seen [the Presidents] all over the media, on posters, in classroom history
books," said author of the study Rebecca
Bigler
in an interview, "yet no one ever explains to them why they have all
been white men. There is never a conversation about that so children start to
come up with their own explanations."

Today is the perfect time to start that conversation with the girl in your
life. The 2008 election has the potential to significantly alter children's
views and presents an excellent opportunity for parents to educate their
children on gender and racial discrimination as well.

Yes, yes, yes! I don't think the gender glass ceiling will be shattered until we have a woman elected president. If we want girls and boys to truly know that women can be presidents, we will need to elect one. Fittingly, as Malia and Sasha get ready to move into the White House with their parents, there's all the more reason to redouble our efforts to get women into the pipeline to the presidency and help all Americans think of a woman president as "normal."