Skepticism

Welcome to Teen Skepchick!

It only took me, er, several days of research and learning php and junk, but finally I’ve managed to pull together Teen Skepchick. Hooray!

I’ve always felt as though it’s crucial to reach people when they’re as young as possible, teaching them not what to think but how to think. The problem was that I’ve just always seen Skepchick as an adult-oriented site that’s a lot of fun for the 21-and-older crowd, but not always appropriate for younger readers. With so many other projects going on, I let the idea of a teen-focused site drop to the back of my mind.

That is, until my fellow Skepchick bloggers started kicking the idea around themselves. What I love most about Skepchick is that the writers are a team, and everyone is always coming up with new ideas and then actively trying to implement them. The Skepchicks inspire me all the time, so it’s no surprise that their discussion prompted me to finally get off my can and start Teen Skepchick, the smart little sister site of Skepchick.

Of course, who knows how long it would have taken me to start drafting teenagers to the team had I not met a very cool chick named Cassie at The Amaz!ng Meeting 6 in Las Vegas last weekend. Not only did she impress me with her enthusiasm and love of science and critical thinking, but she happens to be from the same town as me. I mentioned Teen Skepchick to her and she was immediately on board. Rawk.

When I came back from Vegas, I happened to check my MySpace profile, which gets a bit of traffic though I don’t do as much with it as I should. I hardly ever even have time to respond to messages on there, but the timing of a note from another teenage skepchick couldn’t have been better. Sarah wrote in asking if she could link to Skepchick from her MySpace page, to which of course I agreed and then asked if in return she’d like to join Teen Skepchick. Another recruit!

I figured that to start out, one more girl would be perfect. When the Skepchicks were originally batting around the idea, one name came up almost immediately — Splendid Elles, whose blog had recently attracted a bit of attention from skeptical friends like Phil Plait and Richard Dawkins. She’s smart, funny, and a strong freethinking chick, and I was very happy when she enthusiastically agreed to contribute.

So those are our first three Teen Skepchicks. I have a lot of emails from others who want to join the team, and I’ll be sorting through those shortly. Also, I’ll be making tweaks to Teen Skepchick here and there (as you may have noticed, some things are a little unfinished and not working yet), but I figured that we might as well get the teens up and blogging as soon as possible. After all, I think there will always be a serious need for more smart young women to make their voices heard loud and clear.

I’ll probably set up a little FAQ page shortly, but for now I just want to answer what I think may be your first questions:

Who is the Teen Skepchick audience?
I hope that kids as young as 12 find things of interest here, and adults of any age can tune in to see what the next generation of skeptics is up to.

What kind of topics will you address?
From alternative medicine to conspiracy theories to science news, Teen Skepchick will hit on the same general topics as Skepchick. The difference is that this site will have a younger point of view with more focus on how these topics are affecting our kids directly.

Will there be a different code of conduct on Teen Skepchick?
Yes. Everyone knows that Skepchick can be bawdy and a bit rowdy at times, because it’s a site for adults. That’s part of the reason why Teen Skepchick exists — to provide a resource for younger people that can still be irreverent and frank about certain topics, but that is a safe haven free from explicit content. I know that teens aren’t strangers to that kind of content, but I want parents to know that Teen Skepchick will encourage radical thinking, not behavior that might be illegal or inappropriate for kids.

Does that apply to comments as well?
Yes. Signing up for Skepchick allows you to post on Teen Skepchick as well, but the moderation will be stronger here. Keep the profanity in check, and do not insult the writers or other commenters. Discussion is encouraged, but flame wars will not be tolerated. I will not hesitate to ban you from here and from Skepchick if you annoy me or my writers enough.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Stay tuned for the first posts from our new recruits.

Previous post

There is no more story.

Next post

'Ello!

rebecca watson

rebecca watson

36 Comments

  1. July 1, 2008 at 10:35 am —

    This is really cool ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll always carry on reading Skepchick, of course, along with Pharyngula, The Rogues’ Gallery, Bad Astronomy, etc, but I’ve been looking for something more aimed towards my age (16) for quite a while ๐Ÿ˜€

    Chris

  2. July 1, 2008 at 11:20 am —

    This is an excellent idea, and in keeping with the comment policy, I’ll be keeping my fool mouth shut over here for the most part. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. SteveT
    July 1, 2008 at 11:24 am —

    Looking forward to the posts! My eldest turns 11 next month, so if the content seems appropriate, I’ll encourage her to keep an eye on this blog.

    Rebecca, you should think about adding a “preview” button to the Comment section. I suck at html coding, so it’s always nice to see how my posts will look in “real life” before I hit “submit.”

  4. MaggieMoo
    July 1, 2008 at 11:24 am —

    Awesome! My Dad reads Skeptchic, but I like the idea of a teen Skeptchic, where i can find out about awesome stuff for a teen (six-teen to be exact) chic like me.

  5. SteveT
    July 1, 2008 at 11:33 am —

    And yes, Rystefn, if my daughter is going to be hanging around here, your circumspection would be appreciated! I don’t think she’s quite ready for the likes of you yet!

    On the other hand, you can always think of it as a challenge to figure out how to express your opinions in ways that would be appropriate for the anticipated age level around here.

  6. July 1, 2008 at 11:34 am —

    There is definitely always a need for smart, young women to have their voices heard. I can’t wait to hear what the newest Skepchicks have to say ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. July 1, 2008 at 11:34 am —

    Excellent. Snarly, my eldest, turns thirteen on at the end of July. I shall recommend an age appropriate forum for her. Much better than dodgy youtube videos of singing drunk unicorns.

    Of course, she will ignore me and then secretly come here and leave rude comments that I’ll pretend not to read.

  8. July 1, 2008 at 11:44 am —

    On the other hand, you can always think of it as a challenge to figure out how to express your opinions in ways that would be appropriate for the anticipated age level around here.

    That’s a dangerous line of thinking, since I don’t actually consider myself inappropriate for young people. I do, however, respect the rights of people to set the rules for their own sites, and if I don’t like it, I can either watch my posts get deleted or say nothing and save us both the trouble.

    Since I respect what this site is trying to accomplish and actually like the people behind it (and since I can easily go next door and be my perfectly normal self), I’m not going to hang around here causing problems and giving Rebecca et al. headaches and grief.

    Helping young people to come to the side of reason is far more important than exposing them to my particular brand of reason…

    Besides, if they want to know my opinion on anything, it’s not like I’m hard to find. Last I checked, there’s only one Rystefn floating about, and I’ve gone to small effort to grab the handle at pretty much every site I stumble across to keep it that way. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. July 1, 2008 at 11:49 am —

    On the other hand, you can always think of it as a challenge to figure out how to express your opinions in ways that would be appropriate for the anticipated age level around here.

    Ha, I described it to the other bloggers as being a healthy challenge, like a haiku.

  10. July 1, 2008 at 11:59 am —

    Rebecca, you should think about adding a โ€œpreviewโ€ button to the Comment section. I suck at html coding, so itโ€™s always nice to see how my posts will look in โ€œreal lifeโ€ before I hit โ€œsubmit.โ€

    Sorry about that, it was a plug-in I forgot to activate. Should be all set now!

  11. July 1, 2008 at 12:21 pm —

    Finally, some recognition! Well, I thought Skepchick was relatively okay for us teenagers, but if you manage to recruit a few fresh sceptics, then it is of course a job well done. I shall tell my friends.

  12. Blue
    July 1, 2008 at 12:47 pm —

    Hey! ๐Ÿ™‚ I saw this in your twitter and decided to check it out, it looks cool. I’m not familiar with Skepchick, but this looks really interesting…perhaps some explanation for someone who isn’t an old member? ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d love to help out.

    ~Blue Linchpin

  13. July 1, 2008 at 1:11 pm —

    Hi Blue, welcome to the party! You can see full-strength Skepchick here . . . it’s a site run by women dedicated to science, skepticism, and awesomeness. Teen Skepchick will be similar, but with a younger point of view. Take a look around and enjoy!

  14. Ubi Dubium
    July 1, 2008 at 1:59 pm —

    Huzzah! Just the place for UbiDubikids #1 and #2 to hang out. Wonderful idea.

  15. July 1, 2008 at 2:13 pm —

    Well, this is a neat idea. As someone that feels surrounded by female peers who are not particularly skeptical, I’m excited to read more.

  16. Renleigh
    July 1, 2008 at 2:35 pm —

    This sounds awesome, and makes me sad that I only 6 months left of teendom left. Oh well, I’m still excited that there will be another place to find smart chicks talking about science.

  17. Maseca
    July 1, 2008 at 2:46 pm —

    This is awesome! I’m sending the link to my 12 year old science-geek daughter.

  18. jtradke
    July 1, 2008 at 3:12 pm —

    Does this mean that the grown-up site will now feature XXX hardcore donkey midget boxing tentacle iPhone aquatic basketball equestrian porn? Or do I still have to get that from Fark?

  19. July 1, 2008 at 3:12 pm —

    This looks great. This is the kind of site I wish I had found when I was a teenager struggling with the difficulties of Catholic schooling and a creationist father. It is easy to end up feeling really isolated. This is a great way to assist young people in finding some similar voices to help them through what can be a trying time. Of course, it’s also great for those kids with awesome parents who want to interest them in skepticism. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. jsexton
    July 1, 2008 at 4:17 pm —

    I have a question as a parent of an up and coming young girl. Where can I find good resources for her to help develop critical thinking on her own. She is almost nine, but very gifted and fairly ahead of her age. She doesn’t believe in the irrational sky fairy (primarily thanks to me) but I don’t just want her to parrot me. I want to help her develop her own thoughts and critical thinking abilities.

    Thanks

    Jason

  21. Soli
    July 1, 2008 at 4:37 pm —

    This is awesome! I hope you’ll be seeing me around here more.

  22. July 1, 2008 at 6:52 pm —
  23. July 1, 2008 at 6:54 pm —

    Good luck with the new site! I probably could have used something like this when I was a teenager.

  24. slxpluvs
    July 1, 2008 at 7:11 pm —

    What about “comic”-style swear words? Like %@#$, &*!!, and @#^% ?

  25. Jojo
    July 1, 2008 at 10:31 pm —

    Hi!! Im a 12 year old girl! And im new in this thing! My dad introduced to me!! I have a lot of neighbors, who r Christians, always who always trying to invite me to their church! OH!! Dont know wat to do?? P.S How do i become a contributer on the website?? Thanks!

  26. viccro
    July 2, 2008 at 3:05 am —

    Oh my! I feel stuck in the middle-ish; I’m 18, which is an awkward age for picking sides, as teen sites tend to be aimed more for a preteen audience, yet adult sites technically expect you to be, as a teen, on the younger version. It’d be great if we could work to keep this old enough for even upper-teens, as well as give the new crowd somewhere to go!

  27. July 2, 2008 at 3:49 am —

    And if thirty-mumble-year-old Skepchicks can stop by now and then, I will … I could have used somebody like me (now) when I was 16, that’s for darn sure. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. July 2, 2008 at 9:32 am —

    Agreed, Improbable Bee. It was pretty lonely as a teen being the only one not to believe the so-called “alien autopsy” video on Fox.

  29. July 2, 2008 at 10:32 am —

    I will be reading both sites, because I crave knowledge. I am a voracious consumer of data, and a connoisseur of perspectives. God as my witness, I cannot click away.

  30. July 2, 2008 at 12:05 pm —

    <– Waves at teenage Skepchicks. Now get off my lawn! ๐Ÿ˜€

    But it all seriousness I hope this site turns out to be as successful as it’s parent site. And I look forward to reading what the younger generation has to say here.

  31. TheNerd
    July 2, 2008 at 1:16 pm —

    Suddenly being 21 seems ever so uncool. I want to be a hip young SkepTeen!

  32. July 2, 2008 at 3:57 pm —

    jsexton:

    We get to discussing books quite often at PZ Myers’s blog; see here for a starter list of biology stuff, for example. Is that the sort of thing you had in mind?

  33. jsexton
    July 2, 2008 at 4:00 pm —

    Blake,
    I’ve been a fan of PZ for a while but never checked into his book section. I’ll look into.

    Thanks

  34. July 2, 2008 at 4:28 pm —

    Everything by Larry Gonick is great, too.

  35. SteveT
    July 2, 2008 at 4:41 pm —

    You may console yourself, TheNerd, with the fact that there are those of us here who are at least twice as uncool as you!

    I am a Precambrian fossil of uncoolness!

    My coolness factor can only be measured by radioactive carbon dating.

  36. July 2, 2008 at 5:06 pm —

    “I am a Precambrian fossil of uncoolness!”

    Homo sapiens in the Precambrian? We can’t have that! The fossil record is doooooooooooooooommmmmmmmeeeeed!

Leave a reply