Logo

Hampstead and Highgate duo on mission to talk to teens in schools about sex, likes and social media

PUBLISHED: 14:29 10 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:29 10 March 2017

Sex, Likes and Social Media authors Deana Puccio and Allison Havey

Sex, Likes and Social Media authors Deana Puccio and Allison Havey

Archant

A determined duo from across the pond who brought up their children in north west London are on a mission to encourage healthy relationships among young people and teach them about the many pitfalls surrounding social media.

Channing School Year 12 students listening to a Rapp Project talk. Channing School Year 12 students listening to a Rapp Project talk.

Allison Havey and Deana Puccio, who live in Hampstead and Highgate respectively, have taken it upon themselves to visit as many schools as possible to talk to students about the teenage issues that worry them the most.

Having co-written the book, Sex, Likes and Social Media: Talking to our teens in the digital age, both are committed to trying to familiarise young people with topics that most teachers would be reluctant to tackle.

Dating, consent, parties, travelling abroad and pornography are just some of the topics that Alison and Deana are invited to speak on at schools, which have included Camden School for Girls, Parliament Hill and Fortismere School.

Deana, a former assistant district attorney, worked as a sex crimes prosecutor on cases involving adult, teenage and child victims, before linking up with fellow New Yorker Allison – a journalist who has worked all over the world – to form The Rap Project.

Sex, Likes and Social Media book cover. Sex, Likes and Social Media book cover.

The project’s aim is to raise awareness about personal safety and prevention in areas of rape and sexual assault, while openly discussing how pornography and social media influence attitudes and expectations.

Both women are now committed to encouraging children to open up about subjects that they may not be comfortable with teachers, families or even their friends.

Deana said: “Our talks are direct, hard-hitting, but also humorous. Because of our American accents, I feel like the students listen to us. We are often asked to come back.

“We keep learning so many things whenever we go to these schools. Sexual words that we have never even heard before, some of which have shocked us. But every school is different, so it is an organic experience.

“Every student reacts differently. We have some Year 8 students who are interested in boys and others are still holding their teddy bears.”

A couple of the biggest concerns that have surfaced time and time with students the pair have spoken to are body image and social lives – two parts of life which have mutated due to the impact of social media.

Websites such as Daily Mail Showbiz are awash with photos of celebrities flaunting their perfectly toned bodies in staged Instagram posts, often giving young people unrealistic examples of what they should aspire to look like.

Young people are in turn almost competing against each other to collect as much digital recognition as possible, a ‘mission’ that Alison feels is unhealthy.

“There is a rush for likes,” she said. “Not receiving any can cause social anxiety.

“The trouble with social media is that you are seeing your friends together on Facebook and you can be left out. Where is the discretion? You don’t have to tell people about everything you are doing, and to seek their approval.

“What happened to exploring outside or reading a book?”

“People are more interested in reality television stars these days, but then again our own president Donald Trump is a reality television star.”

Although the pair admit they are “on a mission”, it is also a “real labour of love” which they don’t want to force onto anyone.

Deana added: ““We are not preaching morality, we are teaching reality. My biggest concern is unhealthy relationships between young people, so hopefully we are doing our bit to ensure there are as many healthy relationships as possible.”

You can buy the book by searching for Sex, Likes and Social Media: Talking to our teens in the digital age on amazon.co.uk.

Latest Hampstead Education News

Channing School has backed down after a row broke out over a plans to turn its sports field into a car park.

The mayor of London announced plans to extend London’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) during a visit to Netley Primary School in Euston this morning (Friday).

An independent girls’ school is looking to upgrade the Victorian buildings housing its younger students.

A headteacher has vowed to keep the arts “alive and kicking” in his school despite creative subjects being squeezed out of curriculums across the country.

It was a star-studded speech day at UCS Hampstead with actress Helen McCrory taking to the stage to hand out prizes.

A catholic school is looking to triple the size of its sixth form as its new building nears completion.

A West Hampstead nursery has been given three weeks to improve after it was today given the worst possible Ofsted rating.

Cally man Dan Storey gave up art at 15 despite loving it. Now 42, he tells the Gazette about his first exhibition, which is running until June.

Swiss Cottage School has ditched plans to convert into an academy after being told another school would need to be included in the deal.

Preparing your child in advance for school will go a long way towards ensuring the very best start for your child.

After over 50 years in the acting industry, and a decade of unprecedented success delivering outstanding part-time performing arts tuition at her weekend Academies across the country, Pauline Quirke returns to her roots to create even more opportunities for young performers in North London.

A new survey has revealed the often “extraordinary” lengths parents have gone to get their children into their preferred primary school.

Camden Market’s array of stalls come in all shapes and sizes, but according to one trader “we are like a family who are always defending each other”.

Our Student Takeover 2018 drew to a close on Friday with an awards ceremony, but the story is not over for one budding journalist.

College of North West London student Tadhg Ormond delves into the history of a school which has been serving the community since before the First World War

A school has pulled out all the stops to champion all things scientific.

A group of 15 budding politicians have launched their campaigns to become Camden’s next youth MP.

South Hampstead High School’s bursary scheme has been championed by a former student who grasped the opportunity with both hands.

A team of media-hungry teenagers have arrived at the Ham&High for the Student Takeover 2018.

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama has backed the Mayor of London’s commitment to calling out sexist and misogynistic attitudes.

Plans for a raft of Catholic schools to form an academy trust have been kicked into the long grass due to a lack of interest from those consulted.

Camden and Haringey schoolchildren have been celebrating the magic of fiction on World Book Day.

The Ham&High’s student takeover team has been decided following a Dragons’ Den-style pitching session at the City of Westminster College.

Placard-bearing staff at UCL have entered their second week of strikes in response to a dispute over pensions.

A consultation has been launched on plans to bring a specialist school for young people with autism to Haringey.

A Hampstead school table tennis team is going for glory after getting through to the finals of the table tennis national school team championships.

An Archway children’s centre has been rated “outstanding” across the board in its latest Ofsted report.

Fortismere School has appointed two permanent headteachers following a “rigorous selection process”.

A Camden super group has been formed to ensure that “no child gets left behind in Camden”.

The decision to admit girls into UCS Hampstead 10 years ago has been described as “ground-breaking”.

Former La Sainte Union student Eden Lunghy, 18, speaks to the Ham&High about her role as a Camden deputy youth mayor.

“Promoting equality and empowerment” remains at the forefront for an independent school celebrating 100 years since women were first able to exercise their right to vote.

The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has said the care a school has shown in hosting a play about their ordeal has made a great difference to his jailed wife.

Children at Our Lady of Muswell Primary School were left “stunned” by a surprise visit of Britain’s tallest man.

Pupils are being warned of the dangers of being mugged at home time as they continue to be targeted by teenage gangs.

Hornsey School for Girls has been named as the best performing school for progress in Haringey.

Camden School for Girls has been recognised as the top performing schools for progress in the borough.

The headteacher of St Aloysius College in Archway has been suspended from his post after being arrested on suspicion of fraud.

Highgate Primary School has received a donation of 100 trees to help transform the site into a greener and healthier space.

The future is bright for Hawley Primary School following the official opening of its new building.

Students from Portland Place School have demonstrated their support for anti-bullying by winning first place in the ‘odd socks day challenge’.

A Golders Green school is celebrating after receiving an “outstanding” Ofsted report.

Our Lady of Muswell Hill Primary School is on the up after receiving an upgrade in its Ofsted rating.

A Coldfall Primary School student has been named as the number one ranked under-10s table tennis player in the country.

Greig City Academy students were among dedicated sailors from across the UK who had their endeavours recognised by HRH Princess Anne at the annual Royal Yachting Awards (RYA) ceremony.

-->
Most Read