Description of Contents
“Real Life Teens is an unbiased and realistic look from the perspective of teens, at the wide variety of issues teens face today featuring young teenagers (not actors) telling their real stories, in their own words. The series discusses significant issues in adolescent society and cuts through many barriers with its honest and relevant advice and information.” (Presentation of the project on its official website)
The programme Real Life Teens has a channel on YouTube and used to be active on Facebook and Twitter. More specifically, the video “Bullies and harassment at School” addresses, as its title suggests it, school bullying. Facing the camera, teenagers discuss this topic, they address various aspects one after the other: what is bullying, what are its causes, how victims usually react. They also give personal advice to victims. Some other protagonists (policeman, educational staff) provide experience on the subject.
The video addresses school bullying through the testimonies of American teenagers. They give their opinion on the causes of bullying, why some people bully other, why some people let themselves be bullied and how to react in case of bullying. The various aspects are introduced by a narration in the third person, giving some (American) statistics on the subject. A policeman and educational staff also participate. With this variety of aspects covered, the video can appeal to various audiences: people who have been or are being bullied, people who have witnessed bullying and even the bullies themselves. Some of the teenagers’ comments invite them to think about why they are acting in such a way, for instance when one of the students says: “A lot of people, I think, feel if they’re not the bully they’re gonna get bullied against. So they act tough and are mean to everyone. […] but really I think they’re just regular people who are afraid of being bullied”.
The students’ opinions and advice are questionable, but they are not judged; the video is therefore open to debate and can be used to launch a discussion.
The video is made with and for teenagers, directly addressing them in an informal language. The students who speak in the video are not actors and do not look like actors; they do not sound like they are quoting a text (apparently they are not) which may help teenage viewers identify themselves.
This kind of video could easily be made in any school as it does not require much technical skills, or within the framework of an educational programme (see for instance the Belgian resource “Integration at Saint-Louis d’Amercoeur”).
The video could also be used as such by English speakers or even during an English course, but the language, its informal register and the American accent will probably be an obstacle for most non-English speakers.
Real Life Teens used to be present on various platforms used by young people (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube). The Facebook page seems to have been deleted and the Twitter account is apparently inactive, but all the videos are accessible on YouTube. On the webpage and the YouTube channel Real Life Teens, the videos are ordered in four categories: “Teen Daily Challenges” (including this video), “Sex and the Consequences”, “Deciding My Future” and “Teens Life Choices”. On this same informal tone, they address many issues that are important for teenagers, at school as well as outside (drugs, stress, obesity, STD’s...).
The official website also has links to buy books on those topics.