Visiting Author, Madonna King

Helping Fierce Teens Become Awesome Women


Recently, San Sisto parents welcomed guests from surrounding schools to campus to hear an enlightening presentation from journalist and author Madonna King.

Madonna King, award-winning journalist and author, was here to speak to parents about her seventh book, titled Being 14, (released by Hachette Australia). The book captures the views of 200 14-year-old girls, along with teachers, principals, school counsellors, psychologists, parenting experts and police, and shows the importance of parental engagement in a teen girls' life.

Some of the key points Madonna made during her presentation were:

  • A large proportion of 14-year-old girls do not get sufficient sleep and the importance of this for their health and wellbeing.
  • It is common for girls to create false identities on social media in response to friendship fall outs.
  • Young girls are sending half-naked photographs of themselves to other people.
  • Girls are using social media to continue social disagreements online with friends well into the night.
  • Between the ages of 12 — 25, young girls are still developing reasoning skills when negotiating risk, confidence, resilience, etc.
  • Anxiety issues continue to rise with more girls seeking counselling for assistance.
  • Young people don't understand the risks of social media, “a 14-year-old with 650 friends on one social media app could conceivably have 325,000 people able to contact her because of the number of followers each of her friends boasts."
  • More young boys are using porn as a “sex educator'', and police and educators say this is effecting how girls are being treated, and how they see themselves.

A number of guests spoke to College Principal, Mrs Shelley Hamilton after attending the presentation about their appreciation for the opportunity:

"I appreciated that she, (Madonna King) was the voice of 14 year old girls — this is a time when girls notoriously 'clam up' and share their thought and feelings with friends more than parents."

"There was a great deal of focus on how we need to really listen to what our young women are saying... and the really, really important role of dads at this time... dads cannot step away, but engage more with their daughters..."