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Introducing Hatch: Helping girls find a voice of their own

I'm the senior site editor at SheKnows.com.

Hatch aims to teach kids how to create and consume media responsibly

Earlier this year, SheKnows surveyed more than 600 women and found that 81 percent of them felt it was very important for the younger generation to see ads that positively portray women. Kids today definitely do not get enough of that type of advertising. Every day, young women and girls are subjected to media that portrays them as being less than the intelligent, capable, powerful, inspiring and beautiful people they are. Hatch aims to teach kids about what they are consuming — and help them to be smart about how they create their own story online.

Our children are growing up with an unprecedented amount of access to media. The sheer volume of online activity, coupled with television, movies and magazines, exposes our girls to messages every day that directly impact how they view the world around them — and themselves. Media and advertising are very powerful tools, capable of directly influencing a girl's problem-solving abilities, self-esteem, body image and how she achieves her goals in life. Girls' confidence levels have been shown to drop in their preteen years, when they start basing their personal self-worth on how they look and how much they weigh. The messages our daughters receive from the media make it difficult for them to make the transition to adulthood, and in advertising, women are overly concerned with the subjects of body weight, fashion, appearance and dating. The fact that our girls are subjected to so much advertising directed to how they look rather than who they are is why Hatch was created.

Hatch grew from a workshop for teen and tween girls on digital storytelling and media literacy, led by SheKnows in August 2014. Described as "content for grown-ups, made by kids on a mission," the program is multifaceted, comprised of both educational components for kids and parents as well as advertising offerings for brands. Ultimately Hatch empowers kids aged 7 to 16 to use media and technology to produce content that is responsible and that expresses their unique points of view in productive and positive ways. Hatch gives girls the tools they need to create inspiring and thoughtful digital content, and their parents the resources to engage their kids in discussions about internet safety and social media's impact on self-esteem.

We can make a difference in how our girls view themselves and how they comprehend advertising and media. We can change the messages girls are inundated with and give them the tools to combat any information that makes them feel they are worth less because of their gender or appearance. Hatch believes every girl has the ability to combat stereotypes, question the media and explore ways to use technology to have their points of view heard in the world. Hatch knows that parents can directly influence how their daughters absorb media and how this media affects their self-worth, and aims to give parents and caregivers the tools to make their daughters discerning consumers of the messages they receive.

Our girls are smart, brave, inquisitive and powerful. Hatch is here to reinforce this message.

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