TODAY   |  August 31, 2011

Advice for raising girls in the digital age

Rachel Simmons, author of “Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls,” talks about what teens like and loathe about technology and what parents should know about this digital age.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> on parenting today, raising girls in the digital raise, research from cdc says girls instant message and text more than boys. that can potentially lead to young women feeling even more peer pressure in cyberspace. we met up with three teenagers at dylan's candy bar here in manhattan to see what they love and loath about technology.

>> about 100 texts a day.

>> i was in like four different conversations texting people.

>> i go and look, 300 messages. wow, like i really was talking to her through texting for that long?

>> it's kind of addictive, you know. you go on facebook and stay on it for a really long time.

>> stare at the screen because something is going to pop up and something is going to happen.

>> you feel great, you feel great about yourself.

>> we have like literally 200 likes on their profile pictures and hundreds of comments.

>> they are like wearing a bikini.

>> people do it to see what everyone else's reaction will be. if you're at a friend's house, somebody goes and say, can i check facebook quickly? i do that sometimes and i feel kind of bad about it. it's like this constant urge to be connected.

>> we had a facebook when we were in like sixth grade.

>> middle school is awful. people are so mean.

>> my mom started off saying, you should show us your facebook every month. but then they kind of stopped after a while.

>> formspring is really where you see a lot of bullying and stuff like that.

>> the posts are anonymous or can be unless you choose to say who you are.

>> it's easier to write negative and mean things and bully people when you're not to their face. you can type it in.

>> and rachel is author of "odd girl out," just been revised and updated after ten years. good morning.

>> good morning.

>> a lot changed in those ten years. the site formspring, this is where comments can be left anonymous from users and we have statement from the company i want to put out there. at formspring we place priority on the safety of our users. we provide users with the ability to control many aspects of questions they receive including weather they want to receive anonymous questions. they prohibit abuser of harassing, intimidating or threatening other users and we take action against users who violate these terms including terminating their account. rachel, the problem really is any online site. if parents are not really monitoring their teens and their usage.

>> there's no question that parents have to play a role. with a site like formspring, even if the intent is cruelty, t. there's an epidemic of cruelty. they have to take responsibility for it.

>> they say they monster the site but i'm sure you can't monitor everything out there in the cyber world.

>> you can't. and millions of kids are bullying each other on that site.

>> we are seeing cyber bullying at epic levels.

>> huge change. used to be able to go home from school at 3:00, close the door and you had refuge. now that bull ilying is going to follow you.

>> talk about teens and you're usage, these girls are sleeping with cell phones at night. they're waiting to find out, you know, what's going on in the middle of the night .

>> they are. we know that girls are online more. texting more. it's because they're really addicted to their relationships and technology gives them access to relationships. on the one hand it makes them feel good because i have all of these likes on my facebook page. on the other hand it makes them feel left out when they see photographs of a party they weren't invited to.

>> when it comes to parental involvement you say it's time for parents to get mean. what do you mean?

>> we cannot let kids define the use of tech use. parents know that they feel in their gut it's wrong. i say it's time to be a little bit harder. it's time to set the all radirules for yourself. remember that thing your parents said no to but you hated and now --

>> you're not getting a cell phone until you're 15.

>> this is that thing. your child will thank you later for setting the rules now.

>> some of those rules, you say, is beginning with your daughter's never too old to share her password. does that mean your going to be spying on them?

>> spying? that's a safety issue. you need to know what conversation she was having if something happens to her. when your child leaves the house, you don't say bye to you later, come back when you want. having her password is part of that conversation online.

>> that's on usage, obviously. no texting at night or sleeping with a cell phone .

>> yes. when girls are texting at night they are not rational. much more likely to get involved in drama. we also have a parking area in the house to put their phone down. girls are always complaining my friends are texting when they come over. park it when they come over.

>> again, the book is called "odd girl out." you can read an excerpt on our