Category Archives: Children

Narcissistic social media induce envy, depression and low self-worth

Users of social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram now number in the hundreds of millions:

  • Facebook has 1.49 billion active users per month;
  • Twitter has 316 million active accounts;
  • Tumblr 230 million;
  • Pinterest has 47.66 million unique visitors from the US alone and is the fastest-growing independent site in history.

Social media users typically post pictures of themselves which present a glossy image of their lives. There are 80 million photos posted in Instagram in just a day. But those images are inducing feelings of depression, loneliness, and low self-worth in people who compare themselves to the seemingly-glamorous lives of their friends.

As an example, I know a woman who “married rich” and uses her Facebook account to post only photos of herself standing in front of this or that landmark while vacationing around the world — in Grand Canyon in the U.S., Greece, Japan, Australia, Russia…. Her college friends who did not marry rich would click “like” on her photos, but there is no engagement — she never inquires how they are. In other words, this woman uses her Facebook account not to keep in touch with her friends, but to show off.

Maureen Callahan reports for the New York Post, October 11, 2015, that in 2013, scientists at two German universities monitored 584 Facebook users and found that one out of three felt worse after checking what their friends were up to — especially if those friends had just posted vacation photos. The scientists wrote:

“Overall, shared content does not have to be ‘explicitly boastful’ for feelings of envy to emerge. In fact, a lonely user might envy numerous birthday wishes his more sociable peer receives on his Facebook wall. Equally, a friend’s change in the relationship status from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship’ might cause emotional havoc for someone undergoing a breakup.”

Chelsea Fagan, 26, has a website, The Financial Diet, that covers the impact of social media on young women. She writes: “There’s this weird arms race now where everything has to be a moment, no matter how private. We always get a lot of responses with weddings and engagements — women spend a lot of money to look ‘Pinterest perfect.’

But it’s not just weddings or special events. Social-media users spend exorbitant amounts to look like their daily, everyday lives are spent eating the finest food, wearing the most on-trend designs, and living a stylish, well-appointed life devoid of problems.

Among the Millennials (those born between the 1980s and early 2000s), a 2014 survey conducted by the Manhattan-based marketing agency Current found that 61% of millennial moms were rattled by the pressures of social media. Current executive Amy Colton told Adweek, “There is an anti-social media movement on the horizon. Moms, especially young moms, are feeling pressured to present a perfect life . . . and starting to feel overwhelmed and annoyed.”

Studies show that young people, no matter how accomplished, are the most vulnerable.

University of Houston post-doc Mai-Ly Nguyen Steers, who led a study of how Facebook usage is linked to depression which was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology last year, said the idea for the study was prompted “when my little sister, who was 16, wasn’t invited to a school dance. She told me about logging on to Facebook the very next day and seeing all these pictures of her friends at the dance, and that actually made her feel worse than not being invited.”

The envy and depression induced by social media are the latest manifestation of what social psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954 called “social comparison theory,” the idea that we measure ourselves in relation to others’ failures and successes.

The irony is that people’s online lives can be very different from their real lives. Below are three examples:

1. Artist Zilla van den Born: Last year, she uploaded a monthlong series of photos taken on her travels in Southeast Asia — scuba-diving, praying in a Buddhist temple, sampling local cuisine — then revealed those images were all the work of Photoshop. She had hid in her apartment the entire time, duping even friends and family. Van den Born told The Washington Post: “My goal was to prove how easy it is to believe in a distorted reality. I wanted to make people more aware that the images we see are manipulated, and it’s not only the models in the magazines but also our friends on social media who contribute to this fake reality. We should be more careful about what we believe, and ask ourselves why a photo is made — how and by whom and with which intention.”

2. “Jasmine”: In a recent article for Fagan’s Financial Diet website, titled “My ‘Perfect’ Life on Social Media is Putting Me in Debt,” Jasmine confesses that “my ‘real’ life” is actually pretty boring,” but her 5,000 followers would never know it. “I have a side of my apartment that I photograph, and it’s perfect. The other side is always a mess. I buy a lot of things to maintain my image . . . I even consider it important to always have a fridge full of La Croix and coconut water for my pictures. Writing this makes me realize just how insane it all is.” Jasmine is $3,400 in credit-card debt.

3. Madison Holleran: Holleran, a beautiful Ivy League student, star athlete and all-around popular girl, is a tragic example of living double lives (online vs. real). Her Instagram account only underscored her perfect image: parties, friends, track meets, her dad cheering her on. On Jan. 14, 2014, Madison posted a photo of trees strung with lights, bulbs glowing against the twilight. An hour later, she leapt to her death from the 9th floor of a parking garage.

Madison Holleran posted a photo of Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia to Instagram (right) an hour before jumping to her death.

Maidson was 19 years old.

Her family has kept her Instagram account up as a reminder, especially for teens, that a life online may bear no resemblance to one actually lived. One of Madison’s favorite quotes, posted to her feed a year before her suicide was:

“Even people you think are perfect are going through something difficult.”

Increasing numbers of Millennials are not content with digital retouching of their photos, but are resorting to plastic surgery in order to look good in their selfies. 

WCBS New York reports, Oct. 12, 2015, that plastic surgeons say selfies are actually boosting their businessDr. Nicholas Nikolov said, “I see a lot more people coming to my office and the answer to the question, ‘What bothers you, and why did you decide to come and see me?’ surprising enough is, ‘I saw a selfie of myself and I hated it, I have to fix it.’”

Nikolov is currently consulting with 23-year-old model Candice Wurster, who said she hates the shadows under her eyes in her selfies.

See also:


‘Violence is all over’ in Portland; police blame gangs

Paging the #BlackLivesMatter crowd.

Some of Portland's finest residents...

Some of Portland’s finest residents…

Seattle Times: Twenty-one bullets riddled a North Portland house, just after midnight nearly two weeks ago. Police found 35 shell casings at the scene. On Oct. 2, a 21-year-old out of custody on weapons charges fatally shot two men outside a Montavilla neighborhood pub.

Last Sunday, bullets whizzed through five rooms at the Jantzen Beach Red Lion Inn, wounding two women and disrupting a birthday party on a hotel-room balcony. Police recovered 32 shell casings there.

Thirteen shootings tied to gangs in the past two weeks in North, Northeast, Southeast and downtown Portland have left three people dead, and pushed the city’s gang-violence calls to 146 so far this year. It’s the highest count since Portland police began recording the calls in 1998 and far above last year’s total of 109.

“The violence is all over,” said Sgt. Don Livingston, a supervisor of the Police Bureau’s Gang Enforcement Team. “There’s no rhyme or reason to it.” With six detectives and 25 officers, the team is focusing on investigating shootings that cause injuries and the ones where detectives can gather the most leads for an arrest, said Lt. Mike Krantz, supervisor of the bureau’s tactical operations division.

portland gangs2

Portland gang investigators said members of the Rolling 60s Crips, Kerby Blocc Crips, Woodlawn Bloods, Unthanks and Hoover gangs have been involved in the violence.

They’re not necessarily tit-for-tat retaliatory shootings, but instead more likely to be over perceived slights, drug ripoffs or disputes over a woman, Krantz said. “We can’t point to one thing,” he said. That makes it harder for police, gang-outreach workers and probation officers to try to stem the tide. “It’s like a lightning strike — once one hits, I have no idea when the next lightning’s going to be back,” said North Precinct’s Capt. Matt Wagenknecht. “It’s so random.”

Remarkably, no one was injured Sept. 26 in the home in the 9100 block of North Endicott Street when the 21 bullets hit. They were all asleep in the back of the residence. White police markings remain on the outside of the house, identifying each of the bullet holes. The back window of a car parked in the driveway next door was shattered.

“I heard the shots. It was a lot — pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. It scared me,” said neighbor Phil Bonneau. “It is concerning to me that someone would do such a thing in my neighborhood.”

Law enforcement, probation and parole officers and juvenile counselors have met to share information and ask, “Is there something we’re not doing right and can we do it better?” said Antoinette Edwards, director of the city’s Office of Youth Violence Prevention.

Portland police were clear that they’re disturbed that a man was released from jail while facing weapons charges. “Being that we deal with the most violent crimes, in my opinion, if you have a gun charge, you shouldn’t be eligible for release,” Krantz said.

Multnomah County Chief Deputy District Attorney Kirsten Snowden said police are being encouraged to stamp “GUN” on all custody sheets for people arrested on weapons charges. That’s an extra step to alert county jail officials that the accused should not be released from custody. Police already routinely do that on domestic-violence cases to keep people in jail.

Snowden also sent emails to all gang-enforcement prosecutors and some neighborhood-based deputy district attorneys, asking them to alert her and Senior Deputy District Attorney Glen Banfield if they are about to dismiss a weapons charge in a gang-related case.

“Even if we have to reject a charge because we need additional reports or evidence tested, we can still call over to probation and possibly detain a person for violating their probation conditions by associating with other known gang members,” Snowden said.

Such a glamorous life...

Such a glamorous life…

Police and probation officers said they’re also finding local men involved in shootings featured in music videos that glamorize the gang life. They can be detained for violating probation, if they’ve already been prohibited from associating with other gang members as part of their probation conditions, probation officers said.

Lucy Mashia, who lost her 34-year-old son, Leonard James “L.J.” Irving Jr., in a Portland shooting in June 2011, expressed frustration that the day-to-day, gang violence doesn’t receive the same type of attention as, for example, the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College, where a gunman killed nine people and wounded nine others before taking his own life.

“I didn’t see 100 people doing vigils for my baby,” Mashia said. “This is a community problem. All lives matter.”


World’s Cutest Toddler Explains Importance of Planned Parenthood

From Zuri: “…they can be a baby….” Only if Planned Parenthood doesn’t tear them apart first.


Zuri and her mom support Planned Parenthood!

Cosmopolitan: Meet Zuri Chin. She is perfectly perfect in every way, and she stands with Planned Parenthood because she knows what’s up. This video not only shows a little activist in the making, it also shows the importance of planned parenthood to not only women, but families. Zuri might be young, but she fully gets it.

And I’m sorry, but if this adorable kid told me to take a long walk off a short pier, I probably would, so I’m about to go donate my life savings to Planned Parenthood right now. Yay Zuri!

Literally no words…


Watch a lump of body tissue react to Mozart!

Clearly, it’s not a disposable “lump of tissue” as body tissue and organs don’t react to music, specifically Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major).

But that’s what pro-aborts would have us think.

It’s a human baby.

Only a person reacts to Mozart’s sublime music. A person just like you and me, only smaller and desperately dependent on the mother’s womb — for a while.

H/t MomOfIV

See also:


City pays ‘recess coaches’ to teach kids to play nice

It’s a wonder us previous generations managed to survive without a “recess coach”.

recess coach

NYPost: The city has hired “recess coaches” to teach kids how to play nicely. The Department of Education has forked over $425,000 in taxpayer money to the California-based nonprofit Playworks since 2011 to teach kids games at a handful of schools.

We’re not teaching them how to play — we’re teaching them how to play respectfully,” said Playworks New York program manager Tashan Kilkenny, 25, known by kids as “Coach K.”

Under Playworks’ schoolyard rules, no child is “out” — they are merely “unsuccessful.” And to keep an “unsuccessful” kid involved, coaches will have him or her do a few jumping jacks or take on another role, such as “cheerleader.”

In a game of tag, a child isn’t tagged — but gently tickled on the shoulder.

fragile students

Schoolyard conflicts? They’re settled with a round of rock, paper, scissors.

Five elementary schools — PS 2 in Chinatown, PS 198 on the Upper East Side, PS 9 in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, PS 11 in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, and PS 133 in Park Slope, Brooklyn — maintain full-time “recess coaches” employed by Playworks.

And in a pilot program launched last month, four elementary schools — PS 3 and PS 23 in Brooklyn and PS 44 and PS 83 in The Bronx — will share a single recess coach, with each school getting them one week a month. The coach not only supervises recess but trains junior coaches, runs parent-teacher sport nights and goes into three classrooms per day to teach new games.

The dozen “junior coaches” per school are selected from the ranks of fourth- and fifth-graders. They undergo leadership training and are called upon to settle spats, organize games and collect play equipment.

recess coach2

The primary aim is to get all children playing together, regardless of cliques. “We try and make everything as inclusive as possible,” said Kim McCall, executive director of Playworks in New York and New Jersey.

On Friday morning, at PS 9, coach Marquis Bethel, 25, watched over about 200 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders playing at exercise stations set up for four square, Switch (a game invented by Playworks), “one-shot basketball,” “three-line football,” a performing-arts stage, soccer and hula hoops.

Games aren’t compulsory. One girl read a book alone against a fence, while another section of the playground was dedicated to kids doing handstands and flips.

Before the program was introduced, PS 9 had segregated its playground into boys and girls sections over concerns about bullying and safety, Kilkenny said. When Playworks arrived four years ago, “they didn’t really know how to play,” said Kilkenny, explaining that kids knew the rules of basketball but didn’t know how to share a court.

Bethel — who is treated like a rock star by students desperate for a high-five from him — says that if he sees kids being excluded, he will call them over to “come hang with coach” and they will together join a team game.

Playworks says it aims to ensure kids have fun, stay active, fight obesity, reduce bullying and keep focused when back in the classroom. Unsurprisingly, the Playworks program was developed in Berkeley, Calif. It’s now in 900 schools nationally.

Not all experts are sold on the fun police, with some saying adults constantly managing playtime can impede a child’s creative and emotional development. “Children need some sort of unorganized and unsupervised playtime, specifically because it stokes their imagination and allows them to create imaginary worlds,” said Erik P. Hoel, a Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin.

A child’s ability to create imaginary worlds — such as giving a doll its own back story or inhabiting a fantasy universe — can be an indicator of future creativity and intelligence, Hoel said. “If you go your whole life with imaginary life being given to you instead of you creating your own, there’s kind of a learned helplessness in terms of creativity,” Hoel told The Post.

Plus, there are social benefits to kid-led playtime. “It allows them to self-organize and deal with common group dynamics that go along with being human . . . Theres not always going to be a teacher around,” Hoel said.

Playworks puts full-time coaches only at schools in low-income areas. The programs are half-funded by the DOE, with the other half coming from the nonprofit’s donors. With a lack of private funding, about a dozen city public schools are on a waiting list to get a Playworks’ recess coach.


We’re a family: Dogs, cats, and human babies

Watch this.

It takes only 4 minutes.

I guarantee your blood pressure and stress level will go down. 



Pilgrimage of Mercy Tour of Church’s Youngest Saint

The guest post below is by longtime FOTM reader and commenter Steven Broiles.

St. Maria Goretti

I was raised in the Catholic faith and my parents and teachers did their best. (I grew up during the changes of Vatican II). But I drifted and lost my faith, for the most part. About ten days ago I came across this website,, and in it I discovered that the relics of this Saint are touring the eastern half of the United States. (The tour schedule is listed on the site). I read the contents of the site and decided to go and see and honor the relics myself.

Maria Goretti was the third of seven children born to Luigi and Assunta Goretti. They lived in Italy in poverty as farmers. After the father died, Maria had to take responsibility for her siblings. At the age of eleven, one of the helpers of the farm, Alessandro Serenelli, caught Maria alone and made clear to her his intentions to rape her. She resisted, and Alessandro stabbed her nine times with a farm implement and left the house. When Alessandro returned, only to find Maria clinging to life, he stabbed her four more times. Upon returning to the house and finding her daughter gravely wounded, Assunta managed to get help to get Maria to a hospital, where she died during surgery the next day.

Maria’s last words were, “I forgive Alessandro, and I want him to be with me in Heaven forever.” She was beatified in 1947 and canonized in 1950 by Pius XII in the Catholic Church’s first outdoor canonization ceremony, attended by more than half a million people. It was the first canonization in Church history that was attended by the saint’s own mother. Some refer to her as “an American Saint” even though she never set foot on American soil during her life, in part because some of her surviving siblings moved to America and settled in Trumbull, CT and in New Jersey, having their own families there. (Yes: Relatives of this saint are alive and well in the United States).

The relics were in New York City, in Staten Island and Brooklyn, as well as St. Patrick’s Cathedral before going to Trumbull. Due to my own work schedule I was unable to make the local stops. So I drove up to Trumbull. A Novus Ordo Mass was being celebrated in St. Maria’s honor; unfortunately, I was about ten minutes late. Giving the sermon was Fr. Carlos Martins, C.C., and he spoke for a good half hour on the short life and heroic virtue of St. Maria, and he displayed some of the relics, including a farm implement about a foot long, of the type that her killer used to attack her (it was not the implement itself).

I became interested in paying a visit to the relics of this Saint for the following reasons. Two members of my family have been visited by saints. (I will not go into this now). But, more important to me and my own situation, after having grown up in the Church as its Liturgy changed, and as the quality of its priests—or at least their sermons—changed, I lost interest. This was not the only reason I lost my faith: I have to take responsibility for my own life. I was the one who alienated himself, from God and neighbor. As a consequence of this drifting, I substituted intellectual things for faith, such as the philosophy of existentialism and psychology. I became a high school English teacher. I thought, for a while, that I was winning at the game of life.

It was all a sham!

And I was lucky: A number of people who become so alienated and enamored of existentialism wind up committing suicide. I’ve known at least two such people. So I tried to return to Mass and the Sacraments. But that, too, was a sham, and it was not because of the priests or the Church. (Even though I don’t like what has happened to both, for the most part). Again, taking responsibility for my own life, my own thinking and my own choices, I have come to discover that looking at things through an intellectual lens has its time and its place, but it is not the be-all and end-all of life. I have been told that I am intelligent and articulate, but even that didn’t satisfy. One fellow, Joe (who has gone home to be with Our Lord) told me, “You know, Steve, you have academic knowledge. And it’s not a bad thing to have, but it’s academic. It’s not people knowledge.” And then it hit me: People get alienated because they harden their hearts. They harden their hearts because they take offense at what has been done to them, with or without just cause.

So when I discovered the Maria Goretti site and read it, things started to click. I felt as if I was given an invitation, of sorts. I listed my prayer requests on the site. Without conflating anything, I went to this Church, St. Theresa’s in Connecticut, with an open mind. I listened to Fr. Martins, and he gave an excellent talk on the life of St. Maria and the redemption of Alessandro, and how we can apply their examples to our own lives. He spoke in specifics, and gave examples of how prayer to St. Maria still works today. Yes, people still pray to this Saint and Martyr, and she still cures people. Fr. Martin gave two examples he knows of personally.

Intellectual things have their time and their place. But they are no substitute for what really bothers a man. An alienated man gets to the point where he becomes complacent in his misery, and take it from me, it is no comfort: It is a meaningless existential hell. And I have the acedia to prove it.

A plenary indulgence is given to those who attend the Mass for St. Maria and honor the relics, provided certain conditions are met. I forgot all of the conditions, but making a good confession and receiving within seven days of attending the Mass and honoring the relics is one of them. I will check the site out again for that. I believe that some day St. Maria Goretti will be declared a Doctor of the Church.

I have always been interested in the fact that the Catholic Church is the only religion in the history of the world which has given us wonderful examples of incorrupt saints.  (There have been approximately 400 of them to date).  (I missed out on the tour of the relics of St. Theresa of Lisieux, which made their way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral here in New York about ten years ago.  But I did manage to venerate the relic of St. John Vianny (the Cure D’ars) at the parish church that bears his name in Massapequa, New York.  (It was his incorrupt heart).)  But this state of incorruption is not promised to last forever: although the remains of St. Maria have decomposed, we have her skeleton, which is in a wax effigy.  But I do believe in the power of prayer more, now that I have made this pilgrimage, and I present the information here for those who may be interested.  And kudos to the Knights of Columbus who were in attendance.  One Knight told us that he was at the Church of St. Theresa’s all day, and he estimated that about “five or six thousand” people had come and gone throughout the day.  Once again, go to for the remaining tour dates and locations, to see if they are near you.

-Steven Broiles

See also joandarc’s post on St. Maria Goretti, “The little girl who became a saint“.

Here’s an audio demo tape of Broiles.