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

Westminster North MP Karen Buck joined parents and children to protest the sudden closure of Queen’s Park Nursery.

Staff, parents and children at Chaston Nursery in Chalk Farm celebrated as 10 children graduate and move on to primary school.

There were broad smiles and hearty congratulations all round as the Channing pupils received their GCSE results.

Hornsey School for Girls students have excelled once again, despite reforms to GCSE exams this year.

The “resilience and determination” of Parliament Hill School GCSE students has been praised.

North Bridge House Senior Hampstead students have bagged the ‘best GCSE results in the school’s history’, with an impressive 55per cent of all grades at Grade 7 or above.

There were happy faces at Highgate Wood School as students collected their GCSE results.

Students across Camden achieved a strong set of results in the new-style GCSEs, according to the council.

There were some happy faces at Greig City Academy today as 17 students, approximately 10per cent of the year group, achieved a new top Grade 9 GCSE in one or more of their subjects.

Rising to the challenge of tougher new GCSEs, South Hampstead pupils and staff were celebrating another year of “exceptional results” across the board this morning – and the school’s second best ever percentage of top grades (A*/9/8s).

Heartlands High School’s head of school said she is “delighted” with their set of GCSE results.

The phenomenal achievements of Fortismere School students have been championed on GCSE results day.

A 16-year-old Highgate School student who was diagnosed with Leukaemia in April has bagged straight A*s in his GCSE results this morning.

One Henrietta Barnett student nearly 6000 miles to get her GCSE results this morning, and was rewarded with 10 grade 9s.

A set of twins were among the girls celebrating their GCSE results at Henrietta Barnett, as they got the top grades in the majority of their exams.

Didn’t get the exam results you were lookinng in your GCSE results today, or A-levels last week, but want to be a sports journalist? Then don’t despair, Arsenal reporter Layth Yousif says it’s not the end of the world, just look at the example of his intern Toby Miles.

The headteacher of University College School Hampstead has championed his students’ achievements in the creative arts on a record-breaking GCSE results day.

The headteacher of Highgate School has lauded his students’ ability to cope with ‘tougher, fatter GCSEs’ on a record-breaking results day.

No coursework, two years of study, a clutch of Bs and a handful of threes - it’s a tricky time to be a GCSE student.

Paddington Academy students are celebrating achieving the best A-level results in the school’s 11-year history.

Hornsey Sixth Form College A-level results were ‘significantly above national average’, according to the headteacher of the Crouch End school.

The principal of Westminster Kingsway College has champions the achievements of students in their A-level results.

UCL Academy students who received their A-level results yesterday are ‘equipped to be global citizens’, according to the school’s co-principal.

A-level results day at Greig City Academy revealed an array of talent, with Oxbridge bound students in a variety of disciplines.

The headteacher of Channing School has championed the ability of her students to combat tougher exams on A-level results day.

A-level results day started early at Highgate School - some students opened their envelopes at 6AM - as yet another year group smashed records to achieve the best results in the school’s history.

A record-breaking year at Fortismere School has seen students confirm places at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge on A-level results day.

A “fabulous range” of A-level results at LaSWAP Sixth Form Centre has seen students meet offers from universities as diverse as Falmouth and SOAS.

UCS Hampstead bursary students have been singled out for praise on the day the school received its second best A-level results ever.

The headteacher of Henrietta Barnett School has championed her ‘inspirational’ sixth formers on A-level results day.

Westminster Academy has achieved a host of top scores in its International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP).

Students from William Ellis School and LaSWAP sixth form centre were given the chance to highlight the health concerns that mattered to them in a video campaign produced with the help of Healthwatch Camden.

When A-level results come out on August 16, more than three quarters of students who want to go to university are likely to get into their first choice.

In the dying days of feudal Japan, 14 student samurai from the southern Japanese province of Satsuma (now Kagoshima) came to Camden to study at UCL. Four others went to colleges around the country.

Mouse droppings found in a box of potatoes and around the kitchens were behind William Ellis School’s one-star food hygiene rating, the Ham&High can reveal.

People in Hampstead Garden Suburb are up in arms about the proposed expansion of the historic Henrietta Barnett School – six years after the last one.

Fears there wouldn’t be enough school places in Tufnell Park for the number of kids in the area have been allayed by a primary school expansion project – costing £14million.

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.

Most Read