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Being the parent of a pre-teen is hard enough at times without worrying about the content of the magazines my 11-year-old daughter is reading. Last week I was faced with the very disturbing image, in one of her magazines, of a young man barely wearing a pair of boxer shorts thrusting his nether regions at me. He must have had a problem in his pants because he had one of his hands in them. I have since taken the offending picture away from my child and it is currently under my pillow for safe keeping!
Becca's favourite magazine is 'Shout', published every fortnight and priced at a very reasonable £1.80. When I asked her what initially attracted her to this magazine she replied it was 'cos of the free gifts'. Every issue has either an item of jewellery or makeup attached to the front. I must admit to being a fan of free gifts on magazines myself and have recently acquired 2 beach bags, a make-up bag, a pair of oversized sunglasses, green flip-flops and a 'one size fits all' boob tube - 'one size fits all', pah!!! So I can't really complain about her logic.
This month Rebecca received a ‘brill bracelet’ and last issue she had ‘luscious lip gloss’. The only time I have ever had a problem with one of her free gifts was when it was a set of black eyeliner and mascara as I think she is too young for black. Also I had just run out of them myself so it wasn’t as if they went to waste. Naughty Mum!
This magazine is great for dipping into as so much seems to be packed into it, I can’t see it not appealing to the majority of 9 to 13 year old girls. From dramatic true stories – such as living with an incurable illness, to soap news – catching up on all those exciting(!) storylines. Each issue has over 60 pages without too many adverts although I am sick of seeing ones for ringtones. There are always competitions and giveaways, which Becca religiously fills in but never sends off, so there is always plenty to read.
Sometimes I still worry about the obsession of these types of magazines with being grown up and having boyfriends but according to my mother I quite liked this sort of thing myself at that age, I had thought I was still into Twinkle and Bunty at 11, not boys and periods.
Within the problem pages there is a section each issue about periods, which I find has been a great help in exploring certain things clearly and concisely to my daughter. I find the problem pages quite informative too. The latest edition contains such problems as ‘I am frightened of starting high school’ and ‘I lied about my age’ (I was a bit concerned about the latter one as an 11 year old had told her 15 year old boyfriend she is the same age). The majority of problems posed, concern relationships with family and friends and how to get boys to notice them. Advice given is very helpful and sensible. Also featured is a page of health problems, such as ‘I wet myself when I laugh’ which I myself found particularly interesting and helpful!
One of the many features in Shout is the flowcharts, one of them this month asked ‘Are you a cool kisser?’, where you answer yes or no to the questions posed (apparently I am!). There are also various quizzes to ascertain whether you are Orlando’s type of girl or not (I am – watch out Mr Bloom!). Each quiz or flowchart is very light-hearted and simple to follow.
As with all these magazines there is a great deal of celebrity gossip and unfortunately Shout has now started to follow the trend of showing unflattering photos with sarcastic captions. I want my child to be happy and comfortable with her body and looks (she is gorgeous anyway), not to think that there is something wrong in having an outbreak of spots or a roll of fat around her tummy. Sometimes I think these magazines cross the line a bit.
There are often posters of celebrities and pop stars, this week featured Ronaldo, Busted and Girls Aloud as well as song words from chart topping groups – this issue contains the well known song words from V with ‘Hip to Hip’, no I have never heard of them either!
The fashion features are very down-to-earth showing normal girls wearing affordable high street clothes. There are very often articles on how to do your make-up or hair, which Becca and I enjoy trying out on each other, but it is never excessive or overly expensive.
Now I have saved my favourite feature to last – ‘Most Embarrassing Moments’. These are collections of readers’ most embarrassing cringe worthy experiences and never fails to make me and Becca laugh our socks off. They nearly always happen in front of the readers ‘crush’, usually involve farting in inappropriate places or falling down. The best ones win prizes. What I like about them is the fact that these girls have chosen to share their mishaps with us all and I think it shows the ability to laugh at themselves shows others that it is quote normal to do silly things at times.
I like this magazine as it is bright and cheerful filled with helpful advice relevant to my daughter’s age group. I think it is great value for money and definitely better for her to read than many of the others aimed at her age group. The mix seems to be just right. I would have no hesitation in recommending it to parents of daughters of a similar age.