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New KET special report highlights challenges facing today’s teenagers – and their parents


New KET special report highlights challenges facing today’s teenagers – and their parents

For Release: 03/30/15 3:18 PM

Every generation faces challenges unique to the moment in time when they come of age. Today’s teens are no different, with modern, high-stakes academic testing and an ever-present social media landscape adding new challenges to age-old issues of bullying, peer pressure and substance abuse that have long been stumbling blocks of adolescent years.

KET’s new special report What Does Every Teen Need? strives to pinpoint the tools today’s teens need in order to arrive at adulthood healthy and prepared. The program airs Monday, April 20 at 9/8 pm on KET.

First, students from Louisville’s Pleasure Ridge Park High School talk about the stress of school and testing, the impact of the Internet and social media, as well as other challenging issues, including bullying, substance use and teen suicide.

Then, the program highlights the work of Dr. Hatim Omar, of the University of Kentucky’s Adolescent Medicine clinic, who advocates for an adolescent health care approach that emphasizes prevention and providing every teen with access to adults who care about them, a safe place to connect with others, and something meaningful to do.

The program also features Benita Decker, coordinator of adolescent health at the Kentucky Department for Public Health, who continues the emphasis on prevention strategies by outlining the “Positive Youth Development” or PYD approach, which focuses on providing teens with skills to navigate today’s complex society successfully. The specific PYD approach adopted by the Kentucky Department for Public Health emphasizes “Five C’s of Positive Youth Development”: confidence, character, contribution, connection and competence.

To see the PYD approach in action, the program visits three different settings – community, home and school – to meet teens like Mariah Jones, who credits Newport, Ky.’s Brighton Center for teaching her skills to set positive goals and stay away from drugs.

The program also spotlights the work of Operation Parent in Oldham County. Founded by Jean Schumm, Operation Parent provides workshops and publishes a guidebook to help parents successfully navigate their children’s teen years, including classes to increases their awareness of new dangers, including cyber-bullying and new ways to access drugs.

Finally, the program investigates how two Kentucky school districts – Lincoln County and Harrison County – have implemented bold strategies to prevent youth suicide and address teen mental health issues.

What Does Every Teen Need? is a KET production, produced and directed by Laura Krueger. The program is sponsored in part by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

KET is Kentucky’s largest classroom, serving more than one million people each week via television, online and mobile. Learn more about Kentucky’s preeminent public media organization on Twitter @KET and and at


Todd Piccirilli
Senior Director, Marketing and Communications