5 reasons why teens are more open about mental health

Teens today are more comfortable seeking help from therapists.

Imagine walking up to your parents one day and blurting out the words, “I need to speak to a psychologist”. But imagine you said this maybe 20/30 years in the past. In most cases, this statement would have received its fair share of confusion.

Fortunately for us, it’s not so taboo anymore. The world is getting bigger. Our experiences are getting wider. Our lives are getting more stressful. And mental health conversations are getting so much louder!

As internal and external stressors continue to increase, especially among teenagers, so do mental health concerns. Coping with education, cyberbullying, body image, physical health are just a few stressors teens face on a day-to-day basis. Ultimately, these stressors slowly and steadily build up, get bottled up and finally show up as psychological concerns such as anxiety or depression.

Mental health is no longer an uncommon scenario. More and more teens & adults are voicing their troubles and seeking the help they need when they need it. In fact, according to the WHO, 10-20% of children and adolescents experience mental health conditions. Half of all mental health conditions start by the age of 14. But what about today’s times has changed the way teens view their mental wellbeing? Let’s find out.

Increased awareness

Over the years, the awareness surrounding mental health has grown considerably. What was once ignored is now being recognized as a problem and treated accordingly. Spreading awareness about mental health, understanding that therapy is not a bad word and accepting mental health as just as important as physical health are a few factors that have helped enable this.

It’s important to note here that today’s teens are a lot more psychologically minded i.e they’re able to properly explain and understand patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours. They’ve decoded their inner workings and much of this can be credited to our next reason, access to social media and the internet. 

Social media & the internet

It may seem insignificant but social media has played a tremendous role in helping teens open up about their mental health. It has helped normalize mental health problems and reduced stigma through interconnectedness and shared understanding. Teens no longer feel isolated because others are experiencing the same things they are. 

While social media and the internet at large have been known to be the cause of anxiety, depression and several other issues – there’s no denying that it helps bring experiences today as well. Moreover, these networks have given teens access to not just people but organizations who work on mental health concerns, inform abundantly and help find resolutions for them too. 

More open conversations 

A big part of being open about your mental health is having open, real, honest conversations with those you trust and love. Phrases like “I’m too stressed” or “I’m really anxious today” are now a part of daily jargon. It’s an accepted state of mind and not an uncommon one either. The bigger concern here is finding the right person to talk to. For those who don’t feel as comfortable speaking to their parents or caretakers, there’s now access to therapists, organizations and professionals who they can speak to. 

Destigmatization

Overall, the increased awareness and access to information have helped lessen the stigma surrounding mental health. In a positive shift in mindset, we see that teens are not the only ones asking for help but parents are able to recognize when their kids require the help too. Unlike Millennials and Gen X’ers, who belonged to a generation where mental health problems were never discussed, today’s Gen Zs are part of a cohort who don’t feel that same stigma.

Celebrity intervention

From Deepika Padukone and Virat Kohli to Simone Biles and Lady Gaga – these public figures have made mental health conversations a lot easier. They’ve spoken out about their struggles and normalized their battles, encouraging many teens to be braver and more open about their struggles. We can’t disagree that this has helped teens feel a lot more heard as they associate with their favourite celebrities, and by extension with their struggles too.

The final take

Since the pandemic, the world has been facing a collective trauma together. Everyone has felt its impact in many ways, from physical to mental. More and more people have come to terms with their mental health struggles and have felt comforted in the empathy that followed. Rather than whispering about it behind closed doors, today mental health is discussed in the same way that one would talk about daily chores like making a meal or brushing your teeth. 

That said, we’re still a long, long way down the road from making mental health a part & parcel of everyone’s daily life. Yes, everyone! While it may sound like the only people who require mental health support are those undergoing some form of trauma or difficulty only, it’s far from the best-case scenario. Mental health is for everyone and could literally be about absolutely nothing in particular.

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How to make money on Instagram as a teenager

If you had to take a wild guess, how many hours do you think you spend on the social networking app, Instagram, every day? Maybe 2, maybe 10? What if we told you that all those hours you spend on the app can actually be profitable? 

Although it did start as a simple image-sharing platform, millions of users today use the platform to share their lives, products, art and content. Instagram monetization is easy once users know how to best optimize the algorithm & features offered by the platform: from simple images to reels to IGTV videos to guides. For teenagers wondering how to monetize Instagram, here are some starter ideas on how to earn money on Instagram page that might come of use. Take a look: 

How to monetize Instagram as a teenager 

1) Start an Insta Shop 

Instagram is a valuable platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to showcase their work. And even make some good money off of it. Whether you’re a baker, a knitter, a painter or a photographer — Instagram is the perfect platform to kickstart your business. It’s cost-effective, user-friendly and open to businesses of all kinds. 

As a young business owner, you should have a clear understanding of the audience you desire and then work towards building a loyal base. The crux is that no matter what you sell, there’s an audience for it on Instagram. You’ve just got to find them. 

2) Become an influencer or brand ambassador

You’ve probably seen people on the ‘gram posting funny, relevant & relatable content on their feed. By sticking to their niche, they build an audience and become influencers. To explain, influencers are those creators who’ve got a follower base in thousands or millions, all of whom are easily persuaded by what they say/do/wear. 

Influencers don’t need to fit into a certain genre either; you can be an influencer who creates fun content, someone who dances, or someone who games a lot too. Once you find that niche, brands will approach you to promote and talk about their products. But remember, that will only happen if these brands see a return on their investment. In the long run, the more brands that like your content, the more likely you are to be picked up as their brand ambassador! 

3) Turn your page into a (paid) blog

Instagram, as everyone knows, started as a platform to share images and connect with friends through visual experiences. Many young creators use the platform for what it is — to share their experiences, travels and life hacks. Today, Instagram is home to bloggers of all kinds, from lifestyle and travel to fashion and tech to name a few. 

The key is to keep creating content that people love. If you travel and document your travels on the platform, it’s likely that brands with a travel hook will approach you for promotions. Furthermore, if you have an external blog linked to your Instagram handle, you can even run ads on it to earn some extra bucks! 

Once you’ve got a good audience on the ‘gram and a blog as a bonus, brands will even reach out to you to post their products with an affiliate link. An affiliate sale means that you get a commission when you sell a product for the brand. You earn money as an affiliate by using a trackable connection or a coupon code, which allows you to see which promotions come straight from your content.

You can push these links on your Instagram captions, videos or Stories. You can find fun, new ways of persuading your audience to invest in the brand. If you have a presence on other social media channels such as YouTube and Facebook, you can double your reach for the brand for even better results! 

5) Sell via a dropshipping account 

Dropshipping, if you haven’t heard already, is a business model wherein you can operate your shop without having to physically keep any product. It’s a hands-off e-commerce platform that gives you the freedom to run a business in a unique way. The process includes purchasing products from a manufacturer, publicizing them to get sales, getting paid for the products and then letting the manufacturer take care of the shipping. In the end, you keep your own margins as profit and pay only the product cost to the manufacturer. 

For young entrepreneurs, dropshipping is a sustainable means to earn profits and Instagram is the perfect platform to help enable this for teens! 

Summing it up

Social media platforms like Instagram are making it more and more easy for young entrepreneurs like yourself to earn money easily through their Instagram handles. If you’ve got a business idea or a skill worthy of showcasing, there’s no “right” age to make it big. If you have an idea, take the plunge. Plus, an Instagram page doesn’t need too much of  an investment which makes it all the more easier to dream big! As a teenager looking to earn money the easy and fun way, Instagram monetization is the way to go. 

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10 of the best anime series for teens

Anime is all the rage among teens — here are the shows they love!

Anime

/ˈanɪmeɪ,ˈanɪmə/

a style of Japanese film and television animation, typically aimed at adults as well as children.

Within Japan, anime is the term used to describe any form of animation, whether produced nationally or internationally. Anime is so popular today that you could find one for literally any topic, theme or age profile. From friendship and romance to science fiction and action thrillers to murder mysteries, there’s an anime series for everything. 

Fair warning: Anime is not created to appease a younger age group in any way, which means that not everything that looks age-appropriate will actually be age-appropriate for teens. 

For those new to the genre, let’s get into 10 of the most popular anime series for teenagers, in no particular order: 

1) Fullmetal Alchemist 

Japanese title: 鋼の錬金術師

Genre: Adventure | Dark Fantasy

IMDb rating: 8.5/10

What’s it about: Fullmetal Alchemist has been loosely adapted from a manga series of the same name. The series follows the story of two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who are on the hunt for the philosopher’s stone after a failed alchemical ritual that leaves them with severely damaged bodies. It comprises a total of 51 episodes and even a second series called Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

2) Naruto 

Japanese title: ナルト

Genre: Adventure | Fantasy Comedy

IMDb rating: 8.3/10

What’s it about: This is another manga-adapted series that tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, a young mischievous ninja who seeks recognition from his peers. He also dreams of becoming the Hokage or the leader of his village. Between 2002 to 2007, the series broadcasted about 220 episodes in Japan. The sequel, Naruto: Shippuden, includes 500 more episodes.

3) Attack on Titan

Japanese title: 進撃の巨人

Genre: Action | Dark Fantasy | Post Apocalyptic 

IMDb rating: 9/10

What’s it about: Set in a post-apocalyptic world where the remains of humanity live behind walls that protect them from the Titans, Attack on Titan follows the journey of the protagonist (Eren Jaeger) and his friends in their fight against the giant Titans. The friends join the Survey Corps after the Colossal Titan breaches the wall of their hometown, destroys the city and kills Eren’s mother. It currently includes 75 episodes with the second part of the final season set to air in January 2022.

4) Yu Yu Hakusho

Japanese title: 幽☆遊☆白書

Genre: Adventure | Martial Arts

IMDb rating: 8.4/10

What’s it about: Written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi, the series narrates the story of Yusuke Urameshi, a 14-year old who finds himself dead following a car crash while attempting to save a child’s life. After realizing he was never meant to die, the Spirit World resurrects him as a Spirit Detective and he’s tasked to investigate various cases involving demons and apparitions in the human world. This series won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize for best anime in 1994 and 1995.

5) Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Japanese title: 鬼滅の刃

Genre: Adventure | Dark Fantasy

IMDb rating: 8/7/10

What’s it about: This 26-episode series details the story of Tanjiro Kamado, a teenager who strives to become a demon slayer after his family was slaughtered and his younger sister Nezuko is slowly being turned into a demon. Tanjiro promises to avenge his family and cure his sister. In 2020, the Demon Slayer franchise generated an estimated annual sales revenue of ¥1 trillion ($8.75 billion), becoming one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.

6) Cowboy Bebop

Japanese title: カウボーイビバップ

Genre: Space Western | Neo-Noir

IMDb rating: 8.9/10

What’s it about: This science fiction television series comprises 26 episodes set in the year 2071. It follows the lives of a traveling bounty hunting crew in their spaceship called the Bebop. It includes several futuristic misadventures of the easygoing bounty hunter and his friends. Cowboy Bebop has been credited with helping introduce anime to a new wave of Western viewers in the early 2000s.

7) Death Note 

Japanese title: N/A

Genre: Mystery | Psychological Thriller

IMDb rating: 9/10

What’s it about: A Japanese manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, this story is about Light Yagami, a teen genius who discovers a mysterious notebook, titled the ‘Death Note’. He discovers it belonged to the Shinigami Ryuk and grants the user the supernatural ability to kill anyone whose name is written in its pages. He then goes on a secret crusade to eliminate criminals from the world.

8) Haikyuu!!

Japanese title: ハイキュー!!

Genre: Comedy | Coming of Age

IMDb rating: 8.7/10

What’s it about: Shōyō Hinata is a young boy who is determined to become a great volleyball player one day, despite his short build. He joins his school’s volleyball club – only to realize that he’s its sole member, forcing him to spend the next two years trying to convince other students to help him practice. The series currently includes 85 episodes and four seasons.

9) One Punch Man: Wanpanman

Japanese title: ワンパンマン

Genre: Action | Comedy

IMDb rating: 8.8/10

What’s it about: Meet Saitama: a superhero who can defeat any opponent with a single punch. With all the strength he has, Saitama soon grows bored and seeks to find a worthy opponent to come at par with his powers. As of April 2020, the manga remake of One Punch Man had sold over 30 million copies.

10) Black Clover

Japanese title: ブラッククローバー

Genre: Adventure | Fantasy

IMDb rating: 8.3/10

What’s it about: This 170-episode series has been written and illustrated by Yūki Tabata and follows the story of Asta and Yuno who were abandoned together at the same church. Both boys live in a magical realm where they, as children, promise to compete against each other to see who would become the next Emperor Magus. 

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Cryptocurrency for teens: All you need to know

Teens live their lives online — why shouldn’t their currency be online too?

The cryptocurrency craze is at an all-time high. It’s no longer a matter of age, the younger generation is equally invested in this frenzy as anybody else. As of May of this year, investing in cryptocurrency in India stood at nearly $6.6 billion (Rs 49,189 crore) from just $923 million a year earlier.

If you’ve heard the word being thrown around in a lot of conversations lately but are not quite sure of what that entails, then here’s everything you need to know. 

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency or crypto is essentially just digital currency that is based on blockchain technology. Although highly speculative in nature, crypto is considered to be an alternative investment option outside of stocks and bonds if invested correctly and with proper guidance. This form of currency has gained so much value in the past year that Bitcoin, the best-known crypto, has the value of gold. Some even refer to it as digital gold. 

Despite the initial blockers on crypto investments, the Indian population has taken to cryptocurrency with great enthusiasm. Startups like WazirX, CoinDCX, ETtech are making it easier for people to invest in crypto. Due to their rising real estate prices and increased taxation on precious metals such as gold and silver, more promising returns — they’ve been able to lure in even younger investors.

However, cryptocurrency exchange guidelines in India do have an age bar, allowing only those above 18 years to actively invest. But teenagers, with the guidance of their parents/caretakers, are able to trade through a family member’s account.

How to invest in cryptocurrency in India?

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how you can start investing in cryptocurrency in India:  

Step 1: Find a trustworthy crypto exchange platform

Currently, there isn’t much of a structure when it comes to crypto trading. So look for well-known crypto exchange platforms in India before you begin investing. Some popular names right now are WazirX, CoinDCX, and CoinSwitch Kuber among others. 

Step 2: Create an account with your parent

Head to your chosen platform, select the prompt that says crypto exchange for trading and begin creating your/your parent’s account. Fill in all your details correctly (there will be a KYC verification later), enter the amount you plan to invest and then move on to the next step. 

Step 3: Set up the account for trading

To begin trading, you must first ensure there’s money to exchange in the account. You will be prompted to link your bank account and then transfer money to it to further your investments. 

Step 4: Make your first investment 

Here’s where all your research will play a big role. It’s here that you need to pick the cryptocurrency you want to invest in so choose wisely. Some of the best cryptocurrency to invest in India right now include Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and Polygon (MATIC) among others. 

Step 5: Secure your account

Once you’ve invested, make sure you add in relevant codes to safe-keep your account and protect it from any hacking dangers. Most experts advise storing the coins you’ve purchased in a crypto wallet.

Best Crypto Wallet for Teens in India

Most crypto platforms come with the facility of offering crypto wallets that allow you to store public and/or private keys for all your cryptocurrency transactions. Additionally, there are external wallet-based softwares that help you store keys. But when it comes to picking the best crypto wallet, you should consider factors such as online customer support, transaction charges, platform security and user-friendliness. Here are some of the best crypto wallet in India right now:

1) WazirX Multi-Cryptocurrency Wallet

WazirX is an indigenous crypto exchange platform that comes with a web & mobile-based wallet facility. The wallet uses a two-factor authentication security system and does not charge any deposit fee. However, withdrawals are subject to fees depending on the cryptocurrency.

2) Vauld Wallet

Vauld is an online hot wallet that is integrated with its internal crypto platform. It allows you to store 55 major cryptocurrencies including BTC, ETH, USDT, DOGE, LTC, MATIC, ATOM, BAT and UNI. Vauld allows you to create a fixed deposit of your cryptocurrencies & earn up to 12.68% as interest. 

3) Coinbase Bitcoin Wallet

Coinbase is a mobile-based crypto wallet where you can store & exchange Bitcoin and other digital currencies. It uses biometric authentication technology for security and does not require a Coinbase account for wallet transactions. It’s also free to install and use!

4) Unocoin Bitcoin Wallet

Another app-based crypto wallet, Unocoin is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. The app also comes with a merchant gateway service that allows online businesses to accept bitcoins. While it does not charge a fee to store and receive bitcoin, it does include a miners fee (when you send bitcoin to a bitcoin address). 

5) BuyU Coin Multi-Cryptocurrency Wallet

This is a multi-cryptocurrency exchange platform that has been operating in India since 2016. Using the wallet requires a two-factor authentication system and an open account with BuyU Coin. The wallet creation here is free but does charge withdrawal fees based on the type of cryptocurrency. 

Teens investing in cryptocurrency in India and looking for the top crypto wallets should consider their long-term and short-term investment strategy, their choice of crypto, their funding brackets, etc before choosing a wallet. Crypto wallets make it safer to store your currency (through keys) rather than letting the currency stay in an exchange account. 

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8 tips to deal with academic stress

Has online education changed how teens feel about school?

Excited to go back to the old normal? Walking down school hallways, same faces, same teachers, same canteen and same academic stress? Not this time! 

The possibility of going back to school after an almost 2-year long hiatus sounds thrilling for teens. But with it comes several more complications from study pressure and scoring good grades to making friends and socializing. That’s exactly why learning stress management for teens is extremely important. We’ve compiled a list of 8 self-care ideas or tips to help teens cope better with academic stress.

1) Create a routine 

Waking up in the morning, knowing exactly what lies ahead is a rather satisfying feeling. Working up a routine and altering it to your ever-changing life is a great way to stay centered and keep up with deadlines. It helps give you a vision of your day and allows you to be more productive. But what should you accommodate into your daily routine? Keep reading for some must-haves!

2) Remember to exercise & eat healthy

Believe it or not, your physical health has a major impact on how you tackle and cope with stressful situations. Setting aside time for a workout or any other form of physical activity helps reset your body and mind. Additionally, wholesome and healthy food gives you the energy to push through the day! But yes, junk food cheat days are still always a great idea!

3) Have a good sleep schedule

Research suggests that teenagers need a minimum of 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night. With early morning school schedules, never-ending study days and extracurricular activities, it’s crucial to enforce a stress-free sleep schedule into your routine. Bonus tip: Keep your workspace and your bed separate so that the place you sleep is always a calm, happy zone. 

4) Take lots of breaks

Adults don’t say this often but yes, you should take your breaks often but remember to keep your study time as productive as possible. That means that when it’s time to go in your zone, you do it without distractions and when you’re tired, you take a well-deserved break, guilt-free!

5) Make time for hobbies

You’ve heard it a million times and it’s true: all work and no play do make <insert your name here> a dull teen. While you’re studying and focusing on grades, make sure you’re also giving yourself the time to indulge in hobbies. Enroll in dance classes, rent a sports ground with your friends on weekends, learn a new language — do the things that truly make you happy.

6) Have open & honest conversations 

No matter how much you want to resist it, you’ve got to get yourself to have those hard conversations with your parents, caretakers or close friends. Be honest about how you’re feeling and ask for help when you need it. There’s no shame and it’s never too early or late. Listen to your body and mind and take care of it too.

7) Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness meditation is a wonderful way to start your day. It has helped many teens by reducing stress, lowering heart rates and improving their sleep cycles. The best part about practicing this form of meditation is that it can be done in a matter of 5 mins or 50 and even on the go. It’s up to you! 

8) Be your own cheerleader

There really is no better cheerleader in the world than yourself. No one knows you better or understands you better than, well, you. So always, always remember: you’ve found yourself a cheerleader (sing it if you have to) so give yourself that pep talk, tell yourself you’re the boss and go crush your goals for the day!

We know it — going back to school can be slightly intimidating. Study pressure is tremendous. That’s why managing stress for students is crucial. By following these simple, easy tips, you’ll be better prepared to take on any challenges that school life may throw at you. Say it to yourself: I’ve got this! 

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Starting a YouTube gaming channel: A guide for teens 

More and more teens are streaming gameplay on YouTube

Did you know? YouTube gaming had its biggest year ever in 2020 with 100 billion watch time hours and 40 million+ active gaming channels. What’s more, there are about 40 million active gaming channels and, globally, there were over 100 billion hours of gaming content watched on YouTube.*

Over the last few years, YouTube has become not just an extremely popular media medium but a very lucrative channel as well. Bloggers or Vloggers now “YouTube” as a full-time profession covering a wide range of genres from beauty and lifestyle to tech and gaming. More specifically, YouTube gamers have gained massive popularity as they appease a mixed age and gender group. 

But it’s not just the adults and big kids on the creator’s side. 10-year-old Ethan started his own kid-gaming channel called Ethan Gamer and is now a social media star too. At age 19, Techno Gamerz has become the youngest YT gamer to cross the 20M milestone! A gaming YouTube channel in this day and age is a great way to make your talent bigger than what it is. So without further ado, let’s get into the details.

How to start a YouTube channel on gaming

Step 1: Think about your niche & format

YouTube gaming channels are definitely not a new space in the video content industry. This means that every other gamer out there is attracting an audience similar to the one you’d want to have on your own page. The only way to stand out is to find your unique tone of voice and niche right at the onset. Think about what sets you apart as a person? What aspect of your personality will people relate to? What best utilizes your talents? You should also think about the format you want to capitalize on, be it live streams, walkthroughs, esports or reviews with a twist. 

Step 2: Get the essentials

Understanding your format will help you determine the equipment & tools you’ll need to create the video content you want. To make quality HD videos, you’ll want a good camera or high-quality phone lens, tripods, lighting and a microphone to start with. But the most important tool you’ll need is access to the latest games or ones that are in the news often. Eventually, you’ll reach a place where distributors and creators will reach out to you to review their games online. But until then, you’ll have to go in with the ability to self-fund new games. 

Step 3: Find the right post-production tools

How you stream or produce your videos depends greatly on the hardware and software you use. Playing games on a PC makes it easier to record or edit or do simultaneous voiceovers. You’ll also need screen capture software, a microphone, lighting, editing software to begin. Remember to do your research on all the equipment you need before you go in with the investment. 

Step 4: Make a posting strategy 

Okay, making great videos is one thing. But posting it, optimizing it to reach the audience you want is a whole other task. Put in the time to do the research, use SEO and the right keywords, capture good thumbnail images, get all the music/audio rights you need (if any) and keep your content authentic and real.

Step 5: Keep it consistent

Now, this is an important step: you’ve got to plan your content & calendars waaaay ahead. We mean, waaaay. How? There are websites and brands that pre-announce when their most anticipated games are released. Make a monthly (or quarterly) calendar with all these important release dates, work backward by accounting time to play/record/edit and only then you decide the final publishing dates. 

Step 6: Pat yourself on the back because you did it!

Congratulations! You’re now got yourself a YouTube gaming channel! Don’t stress about the numbers, you’ll get there eventually by being consistent and making quality content.  

Best games for YouTube videos

To give you a racing start, here are some of the best games for your YouTube gaming channel right now:

  • Minecraft
  • Roblox
  • Garena Free Fire
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Fortnite
  • Call of Duty

Which one do you think you’ll start with? Tell us in the comments!

*Source: YouTube official blog

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The 7-step guide to becoming a better decision-maker

Hold up! Did you hesitate for a second (or five) before opening this link? Do the smallest of conundrums sometimes look like big problems? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to teenage decision making & problem solving for teens 101!

Your teenage years can be quite a jar full of pickles. There are just so many things that you have to juggle, all at once — studies, friendships, relationships, getting that perfect Instagram photo, et al. So much to do, so little time. And it doesn’t help when everyone is always reminding you that the decisions you make today will define the rest of your life. 

In times like these, all big-small choices look like daunting decisions. And that can be scary, sometimes. So here’s a handy guide to help polish your decision-making skills!

How to make a decision

It’s always good to have a handy framework of decision-making life skills. Here’s a comprehensive 7-step guide to help you with it:

Step 1: Ask yourself what the question is

Sometimes we get so tangled up in a problem that we forget what the question was in the first place. So the first part of making an important decision is to take a step back and ask yourself: what’s the question? Think about the situation, what’s being asked of you and even what tools you need to make a decision. Problem-solving for teens begins with understanding the problem.

Step 2: Analyse the impact of this decision

Whether you need to decide what to order for dinner or which subjects to specialize in at school, all decisions have consequences. Of course, some have more lasting results than others, which may not be evident to us at the moment. Evaluate the consequences that this particular decision will have in your life. Does this decision only impact day-to-day activities, or does it affect your life’s big picture too? Also, think about how this decision impacts the lives of those around you, especially your family and friends.

Step 3: List down all possible choices

What choices do you have on the plate? Is this decision a binary choice question or one with far too many possible answers? Is the question even objective, or like literature, are there no right or wrong answers? Take stock of all the possible choices that you have before choosing one of them. Feel free to be as creative as you want in this step. Just remember that there are no bad options/answers here, the more, the merrier. Fun fact: 90% of teenage decision-making is just about being open to various options.

Step 4: Analyse the short & long term effect of each choice

Before you make any decision, it’s essential to understand your choices. Research as much as you can about what each of those choices entails. Make Google your best friend (if it isn’t already), visit your nearest library if you like and basically try it all. You should also talk to people who have taken a similar path in life or made similar choices to get their perspective too. And hey, don’t forget to take LOTS of notes!

Step 5: Make a pros & cons list

This may be the oldest trick in the book, but there’s a reason this trick has survived the test of time! Navigating the risk and uncertainty that every choice entails is important, but so is recognizing the rewards that come with them. More often than not, we tend to focus on only one of them. Thus, making a balanced list of the benefits and drawbacks of each choice that you have becomes imperative!

Step 6: Crunch the data 

Here comes the most crucial step of all: making the actual decision. So far, you’ve rationalized the problem, analyzed your choices and contextualized it with data or lists. All that’s left to do is evaluate the pros & cons list — one last time — to settle on the best possible option. More often than not, your gut knows what the right choice is so just listen to it. Talk to your parents, teachers, friends, well-wishers and take their advice too but remember, the final choice is yours to make.

Step 7: Take a deeeeep breath and follow-through

What’s important to remember is that no decision is too big to be irreversible. So pause, take a couple of deep breaths, center yourself and most importantly, believe in the decision that you have made. You’ve got this!

We hope this step-by-step process answers your questions about how to make a decision. Teenage decision-making can be a tricky business. Just follow a framework and your decision-making life skills will get razor-sharp over time! Here, on the Uable app, teenagers can connect with like-minded peers and mentors who can help act as a sounding board for all your big-small decisions. Ready to make it happen?

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Teens, you need to learn these basic life skills 

News flash: Adulting is hard. Honestly, it should be illegal at this point. But there’s no stopping the roles and tasks we must prepare for as we grow older. Your teen years just happen to be a great time to pick on skills to learn in life, helping you get more independent and responsible as you near your 20s. 

The formal education system prepares you to be informed and educated, tackling life with theory, historic facts, and calculated solutions. On the other hand, life skills are about facing the unexpected, caring for yourself and being as prepared as you can be. 

Hold on — before you choose to scroll further or out of this article, ask yourself this question: How prepared am I for life during & after college? If you rated yourself poorly, here is a list of life skills every teenager must learn early on in their life, in no particular order:

Time Management

Learning to manage your time is a handy skill to learn, especially come university days. It’s only then that you’re suddenly expected to manage your own time and work around schedules you never thought were possible before. You also need time for your hobbies, spending time with friends & family and other extracurricular activities. 

Household Chores

Planning meals, doing your laundry, learning how to repair the smallest to largest of appliances (at least the basics), fixing light bulbs and cooking yourself a (simple) meal are basic life skills you should learn as a teen. Work with your parents or caretaker to create a schedule that makes you responsible for some of these chores.

Money Management & Budgeting

Here’s a tip: Download a wallet/budgeting apps or create a simple spreadsheet to track all your expenses, however minor they may be as a teen. Record small and big spends and work around a pre-set budget that works best for you and your family. While you’re at it, learn how to pay bills correctly and on time. Most importantly, stick to the budget you make. 

Tax Returns

It’s easily one of those skills that feels less like a skill and more like a punishment the more you wrap your head around it. But learning to file your own taxes as an adult will save you a lot of money and keep you more aligned with your finances too. For one, sit with your parent/caretaker and understand how much of your money is deducted as tax and then learn to file your returns correctly.

Banking

Another one in the same alley of money and finances is learning how to bank. Understanding how to open your very own bank account, using the ATM, transferring funds, writing a cheque, banking online, etc are extremely important life skills to have. Walking into a bank can be pretty overwhelming so get the help you need from an adult you trust and be ready with all the answers the banker might ask. 

Cleanliness & Personal Hygiene

Can you diagnose basic illnesses? What do you do when you’ve got a cut or scab? Many of these things are ingrained in us from a very young age. But once you’re off being an adult at a university, you won’t have someone to look after you every time you’re unwell. So learn the basics of first aid & personal hygiene, and ensure you stick to them for your own personal benefit. 

Handling Small Emergencies

Quick trivia: If someone asked you to check if the power has tripped, where do you go and what do you check for? How do you know if your electricity has, in fact, tripped? What if someone asked you to turn off the water main or use a fire extinguisher in an emergency? You may not find it important to know now, but someday you’ll need these essential life skills to survive. 

Social Skills

This skill comes in handy during your university years when networking and socializing have the power to define your future. You should know how to carry on a conversation with adults, and better converse with fellow students and potential employers. Even basic manners, such as saying “please” and “thank you” need to be ingrained into your mind as they help make a good first impression.

Now here’s a bonus life skill you didn’t think you needed: Learning to say no, often and with as little guilt as possible. Sometimes it’s okay to not do everything everyone expects you to. It’s okay. So learn to say no and do only what you can/want to/feel safe doing. 

Life skills cannot be learned in a textbook, sitting in a classroom, or through a one-time conversation. You’ve got to get into the nitty-gritty and learn through practice. With Uable, you get the opportunity to put your textbook knowledge to the practical test and learn those life skills through real-world challenges. It helps prepare you better and makes you more confident in the long run! 

Start connecting with teens on the Uable app today!

8 must-read books for teenagers 

Full disclosure: This article does not do justice to the umpteen number of novels that should have been included in this list about the best books for teenagers. Nevertheless, it still includes some of the most powerful stories of resilience, courage, evolution and so much more. 

As a young reader, it’s important to open our minds to a variety of genres, be it fiction or nonfiction, fantasy or sci-fi, historic or contemporary. And so, here’s a list of 8 books to read for teens that everyone must read once in their lifetime.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This 2017 Young Adult novel follows the life of 16-year old Starr Carter who switches between two different worlds. One is the poor neighbourhood where she lives and the other is the fancy suburban school she attends. Through this, the novel explores themes of race and identity as Starr is pulled between a primarily white world (her school) and a primarily black world (her neighbourhood).

I Am Malala by Malala Yusafzai

This 2013 autobiographical book, co-written by Christina Lamb and Malala herself is, as the cover reveals, “the story of a girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban”. It’s a remarkable tale of courage that’s gotten hauntingly more relevant these last few months. Malala has since co-received a Nobel Prize for Peace in recognition of her efforts on behalf of children’s rights.

The Kite Runner by Khaleed Hosseini

Bring out the tissues because this book here is a tear-inducing masterpiece. Published in 2013, The Kite Runner is a heartbreaking story about an unlikely friendship between two boys. One, a wealthy boy named Amir and the other, Hassan, the son of his father’s servant. It’s a gripping and emotional tale of friendship, betrayal and just a tiny bit of hope. The Kite Runner is also Hosseini’s first book and fortunately, not the last of his heart-shattering novels. 

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Set during the Great Depression, this novel takes you to the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama where the Finch family resides. This Pulitzer Prize-winning book is a story about many things: coming of age, racism, gender roles and prejudice among other themes. In 2015, Lee released a prequel (which she presumably wrote prior to Mockingbird), Go Set a Watchman that follows the protagonist 20 years after the events of the first book.

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Because no book list is complete without at least one mention of the Potter series. Comprising a series of seven fantasy novels written by British author J. K. Rowling, the book chronicles the life of a young wizard and his battles against a dark wizard. It’s one of those rare reads that will completely transport you to an entirely new universe. It’s magical, it’s filled with surprise and quite honestly, it’s a personality-defining book for so many young readers.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A published essay of Adichie’s talk, We Should All Be Feminists is personal, eloquently argued and a modern-day definition of what it means to be a feminist in the 21st Century. This is not a book for just young women, it’s an essay that every teenager and adult, regardless of gender or age, should read once in their lifetime. It’s a foundational essay for any open-minded individual out there. 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This is a book narrated by death about a young girl, set in Nazi Germany at the onset of World War II. A 2005 release, The Book Thief sold 16 million copies, became an international bestseller and was even translated into 63 languages. It’s a historical fiction that explores a young girl’s love for books and how it helps her build a friendship of a lifetime. It’s a rollercoaster of a novel that’ll haunt you for days to come, in the best way possible.

1984 by George Orwell

Talk about a dystopian fiction novel that’ll leave you checking for hidden cameras everywhere you go. Published in 1949, Orwell’s book explores several themes, from totalitarianism and mass surveillance to the repressive regimentation of people and behaviours within society. While it was written as a precautionary novel, it’s one of those books that’s known to have an enduring relevance as the years go by.

Bonus must-read books for teens

If you’ve still got room to read more, add these to your TBR for next month:

  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • The Hunger Games Series by
  • The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Which one of these books have you read already and which one are you going to read next? Tell us in the comment box below!

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Is digital art really easier than traditional art?

This is no new debate. The ongoing battle between traditional and digital art is a controversial one that has seen opinions from several personalities within and outside the industry.

Simply put, digital art is the production of art created on a digital platform while traditional art can be categorized as any piece of artwork that is not digitally generated. Digital art includes graphics made by computers using software. On the contrary, traditional art relies entirely on manual creations using pen, pencils, ink and paint. And even though the two art forms have several similarities and require similar skills, this frequently asked question still remains: is digital art really easier than traditional art?

Let’s settle the Digital Vs Traditional Art debate

To do that, we need to first deep dive into the pros & cons of both art forms.

Pros of Traditional Art

  1. It requires skill

Traditional art depends heavily on the skill of the individual. To succeed in any art form, you need to first know the basics and foundation. With traditional art forms, you get to hone those skills and thereby build a strong & steady foundation for your future. 

  1. It’s unique

Traditional art is all about finding perfection in imperfections. The strokes used are genuine and not altered by any digital intervention. It’s these little things that make traditional artworks more unique and true to the artist. 

  1. It’s unrestricted

With traditional art forms, you can play around with a variety of mediums, textures and tools. You have no limitations. It can activate your sense of sight and touch; things you simply can’t enjoy through other mediums of art.

  1. It’s practical

Traditional art is practical as it does not rely on the internet, data or software. All you need is paper, a pencil, maybe some colours and you’re ready to create!

Cons of Traditional Art

  1. It requires sufficient lighting

Much like photography, traditional art relies on access to good lighting. An artists’ interpretation of an object during the day will be significantly different from that of during the night. 

  1. It’s limited to specific mediums

With the use of physical materials (such a paper type, paint textures, etc) come limitations with the intermingling of one over the other. An artist should know how different colours react with the other or even how they do against certain types of paper.

  1. It’s permanent

With traditional art forms, you can’t go back in time to rectify a misjudged stroke or colour. You can’t undo your decisions and you’ll need to work around those adjustments.

  1. It’s messy

All that paint and ink is sure to make a mess which is why traditional art is considered to be more inconvenient and tiresome.

There’s a famous saying that goes, “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”. The same applies to art. The preference and ease of use of one art form over the other lie entirely in the hands of the artists. That said, let’s see how digital art fares against traditional art.

Pros of digital art

  1. It’s flexible

Digital art can be everything and anything you want it to be. You choose your brush, you can work with the exact shade you want, you can add elements or layers — and you won’t have to go to a physical store to do any of it. 

  1. It’s cost-effective

Creating digital art involves a one-time investment in the device and software you want. Beyond that, you don’t need to reinvest in physical materials such as ink or paper time and again. This is why honing digital art skills seems to be a preference among young learners.

  1. It’s not prone to physical wear & tear

On paper, your creations are more subject to physical damages and external interventions such as fading ink, bad quality paper and more. With digital creations, your art stays just as you last left them for many years.

  1. It becomes timeliness

That brings us to this point: digital artworks are almost timeless. If you’ve got a backup system running smoothly, your creations get stored in the drive and you’d never lose them again. 

  1. It’s the industry standard

For creators looking to make digital art their profession, knowing and learning digital art software is crucial. Most agencies and design-led teams hire talent based on their knowledge and familiarity with software such as Illustrator, After Effects and the likes. 

Cons of digital art

  1. It’s not print proof

Many creators have raised the issue of the difference between viewing digital art on screens vs paper. While the artwork looks stunning on digital platforms, it lacks the vibrancy or experience desired when seen on print.

  1. It might lack originality

Original traditional works of art (as created on canvas and the likes) are valued at much higher prices than digital artworks or prints. This is because it’s assumed that digital creations are easier to replicate and recreate.

The verdict: which one is easier?

It’s true; easy is a subjective term. If we’re talking from the point of view of easy-of-use, then digital is better because of the multiple software and digital tools available to creators. If we’re talking about pure knowledge, both traditional and digital demand a similar understanding of art foundations. There’s no shortcut here. 

For teenagers, easy digital art software is not hard to find and many schools are now keen on integrating it into their curriculum. This in no way means traditional art is unimportant or dying. It just means that different creators find comfort in different mediums.  

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