Tag Archives: kids

Our Place Out Loud Panel

Our Place Out Loud is Teens Helping Teens

Teens Helping Teens

Our Place Out Loud

Weezy, Nina, Will, Ryan, Nico, Jake, Montana and Kiemute

Every Tuesday night my home is invaded by teenagers.  Yes, they ring the doorbell.  Yes, I let them in.  Yes, I feed them and encourage them to come again, but the trauma is real and it’s weekly.

Our Place Out Loud – Show 195

Together we create a video podcast called Our Place Out Loud.  The show is an extension of the iOS app, Our Place which is a free download in the iTunes App Store.

About five years ago, I published a semi-autobiographical novel called Journals in the App Store.  We added an Ask The Author feature where I offered growing up advice to kids.  This evolved into the safe and friendly teen social network, Our Place.  The podcast brings that social network to real life as a panel of teens help me field questions that come into the app from around the world.

Our Place Out Loud

Nico, Will, Ryan, Montana, Kiemute, Ryan, Nico

 How does all of this come together weekly in my home? Well, first I go into a tiny coma and then A LOT of wonderful people help me pull it off.  The kids start arriving around 5pm.  And I love them but kids do not just arrive.  They arrive with backpacks and homework and noisy iDevices  and loud opinons about feminism, Internet freedom and the Zombie Apocalypse.  They arrive with an explosion of things, gear,  stuff and sneakers.  And they arrive hungry.

Our Place Out Loud – Show 194

Yes, they are very, very hungry and this is why Teresa also arrives. Mother Teresa? To me? Yes.  She feeds them, picks up after them and makes sure that the tall kitchen garbage bag remains snuggly in place around the tall kitchen garbage bin so that I do not spend the remains of my day hosing pizza goo out of the tall kitchen garbage bin.  God Bless Teresa.

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Samantha, Kiemute, Weezy, Nina, Aaron

At 6pm, we open the mics and cameras for the “pre-show.” The narrowcast is pumped live into the Our Place app and this gives viewers a chance to peek behind the scenes as we set up.  There is often more than a bit of scrambling  (and hushed expletives) during pre-show as the technical heartbeat of Our Place Out Loud depends upon a delicately interwoven patchwork of winches, pulleys,  cords, cables, wires, tin cans, vacuum tubing and security cams.

Our Place Out Loud – Show number 193

But collective will has a way of working wonders and each week, we hit our stride and we shine.  By show time the studio is packed with  kids, grown ups, fun and wisdom all pulling together to share the universal experience of growing up.

The Our Place Out Loud kids are spectacular.  Their words and their hearts are helping scores of kids, parents, teachers, grandparents and lunch ladies worldwide.

Yes, it is more difficult to find parking on my street every Tuesday night.  Yes, the occasional sneaker is left behind.  Yes, it is challenging to remain cheery when somebody asks me if we have any Fanta Grape two minutes before showtime.  Come on! Isn’t that why Teresa’s here??  But I am so proud of our team and what we create together.

Take a look and listen.  We would love to hear your thoughts.

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Kids and Danger – How Safe Are We?

Ask Weezy Highlights by Louise Palanker

Cover Art by Shock777

Are kids really less safe today than they were 30 years ago?

Here’s a question that just came in to the Our Place app regarding safety, freedom, kids and danger:

Question
My mom never lets me have a social life!! Im always stuck inside the house! I’m almost 14… I’m a good kid with good grades!!!!

If I ask to go to the movies, a fair or anyplace with my friends,  I cant go!!!! I can only go outside if my parents go too! So the only thing I do is stay home texting! How do I get my mom to let me go out more? I feel like she doesn’t trust me!

My Response

Your mom trusts you. She doesn’t trust the world. It’s sad that modern kids do not have the same freedom to run and ride and explore and create that my generation enjoyed. But the reality is that you don’t have it.  You do need to accept what is and work within that reality, rather than just fighting against it.

We can speculate as to the reasons why kids today do not have very much freedom. Are there really more child predators today then there were when I grew up? Probably not. But because of the internet, are they better organized? That may very well be.

But I believe that the reason you have less freedom is because of a thing called the 24 hour news cycle. What is this? It’s news that’s on 24 hours a day. The national news used to come on from 6:30-7pm. They did not have time to report on every missing kid. That half hour of news was followed by an episode of Lassie where little Timmy would go running all over God’s creation, so far from home that he got stuck in a well and the only one who noticed was the dog.

Times change, our connectivity has grown increasingly interwoven and your parents are now more aware of what could go wrong. It is disturbingly ironic that you  are actually in more danger sitting in your room, on your device and possibly talking to a stranger than you would be riding your bike up and down the street.

But enough of my theories. The best way for you to feel less trapped this year is to join organized activities that get you involved with other kids. Your freedom is coming. It’s a couple years away, but it will get here. Right now, do not spend your day talking to strangers online.  That is very dangerous.

Instead, plug yourself into the activities that are available to you.  Join, take part, sign up, belong to something that is fun and safe for kids your age.

For more Ask Weezy questions and answers, go to OurPlaceNetwork.com, and/or download the FREE, safe, friendly teen social network, ios app, Our Place.