November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

11 Questions for Best-Selling Teen Psychologist Lisa Damour

untangledWe asked psychologist Lisa Damour, author of the best-selling book Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood  (Ballantine, 2016), to catch us up on the latest research about teen behavior and social media use among teens and tweens. Damour is the director of the Laurel School’s Center for Girls in Shaker Heights, OH; a contributor to the New York Times Motherlode section; and a clinical instructor at Case Western Reserve University.


SLJ: Tell us about Untangled. What key things should educators know about teens’ experiences now?


You cite important research about risk taking behavior during adolescence. Tell us more.


We’ve been hearing a lot about the “growth mind-set.” What is it, and why is it so critical for learning?


It’s obvious that teens and tweens live much of their lives online. How do girls use the Internet differently than boys?

Do you see an age where media use peaks among girls?


What happens when kids don’t have access to social media?


Say you come across a profanity-filled public Instagram conversation between two teen girls dissing younger ones. One writes, “OMG—I hope they don’t follow us, LOL!” What do you do?


You stumble across a private group text among a group of boys involving racially insensitive jokes and mentioning a specific teacher.  Your response?


Since it’s a private conversation, should you report it to the school?


If a tween girl is insanely popular online and has thousands of followers, is there any need to worry?


Any guidelines for teachers connecting online with students?



Sarah Bayliss About Sarah Bayliss

Sarah Bayliss (, @shbayliss) is associate editor, news and features, at School Library Journal.



  1. Judy Anderson says:

    I was very interested in this topic and very very frustrated that it was in audio format. Librarians can’t play things on speakers in libraries and can’t use earphones and appear ready to answer patron questions. We can read. For goodness sakes, why not write a transcript.