In my experience, teens generally prefer watching more “fun” TV shows over educational TED Talks in their free time. However, I’ve come across several entertaining and informative TED Talks every teen should watch, and which you’ll probably enjoy!
1 Looks Aren’t Everything. Believe Me, I’m a Model
Teens today have grown up with the very ugly believe that being pretty is all that matters. What’s worse is that you don’t even get to define what pretty is; Barbie has already set the standard for you! While teenage girls try to overcome the pressures of living up to impossibly high standards, they don’t always stop and think “Why?” Well, this TED Talk for teens given by Cameron Russel tackles that question in a way that will leave you thinking.
2 Put the Financial Aid in the Bag
Not only is this TED Talk funny, but also hard-hitting. It explores the history of oppression, as well as the oppressive burden of college tuition. If you’re a college bound teen, this is a great TED Talk for you to watch!
3 Working Backward to Solve a Problem
Maurice Ashley is a grandmaster in chess, which basically means he’s smarter than most normal folk. Because of his impressive brain, you should probably give his TED Talk a watch. Maurice reveals a secret the best chess players use to tackle their problems and win a nearly impossible game. They do this by visualizing the outcome they want, then working backwards to make sure the game turns out that way. This lesson can translate easily into dealing with your own problems on and off the chess board.
4 The Optimism Bias
I love thinking about thinking! Thinking is something we all do, but have you ever really considered why you think the way you do? Tali Sharot explains how our thoughts are influenced by our automatic “optimism bias” in this TED talk. Being overly optimistic sometimes helps us and sometimes hurts us. Either way, it’s something to always strive to be aware of!
5 Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders
Sheryl Sandberg is one of the wealthiest, most successful women alive, so when she speaks, everyone should listen! But teenage girls should especially heed the advice Sheryl offers in this TED talk. It hasn't even been a full century since women really broke into the work force, so there are still so many hurdles, stereotypes, and self-fulfilling prophesies women in business have to overcome. But, as Sheryl points out, we need more female leaders! Watch this video to find out why you should and how you can become a leader in whatever field you choose to enter.
6 A Teen Just Trying to Figure It out
I absolutely adore Tavi Gevinson! As a teen herself, she made a huge impact on the world by starting her own blog and magazine. This young, aspirational entrepreneur explores the struggle to figure it all out as a teen in the 21st century. Teenage girls often lack role models in entertainment and media, but she offers an important reminder, which is sure to hit home when you watch this video!
7 What Adults Can Learn from Kids
I know, I know, you're not a kid any more! But even as a kid, child prodigy Adora Svitak carries herself like an adult. She boldly suggests that adults alone can't teach kids everything; children need their voices to be heard, too. Students should teach teachers, kids should teach their parents. Because before young minds like yours are tainted by a world of harsh realities, they possess something special that once lost can never be recovered. That's why adults can learn from kids, not just the other way around.
TED Talks are a great way to pass the time or as a supplement for binge-watching Gossip Girl on Netflix. It's important to fill your mind with important, eclectic thoughts at such a critical stage of your development. Which of these TED Talks did you love? What other TED Talks would you recommend to teens?
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