I can honestly say that I have been looking for a magazine that would be appropriate for my young teen daughter. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I was approached to review just that, a tween magazine. It's called BYOU. In other words: Be You.
The Upshot:I liked the magazine overall (with a few reservations) and was glad to have the opportunity to talk with my daughter about things that are very specific to our family and very specific to her. There are so many good things to say about this magazine. It's a magazine that helps a girl with her self esteem, helps her celebrate who she is exactly the way God made her (my words underlined) while at the same time, encouraging her to be better, to grow and mature.
The Longer Version:There is a caveat with this review. Any of you who know me IRL will not be surprised what is about to come next. The magazine has of course, a non-Christian world view. It doesn't claim to be anything else. In fact, I would assume that they would be proud to proclaim to be very worldly. So, I didn't expect anything different.
I mention it bc I strive to make sure that my children are surrounded with things that support our Christian worldview. Having said that, there are some things that do not have a Christian worldview that we do allow in our family. But one must be vigilant for their children's sake. Every family must make those choices for themselves. Perhaps this review will give you the opportunity to decide if this magazine falls into line with the things you are allowing for your children.
*Themes: accepting and honoring your body and not comparing yourself (whether you body, your talents or material things) with others.
* Unique tips to relieve stress and to develop good sleeping habits.
*Suggestions like drinking lots of water to stay hydrated. Great advice that back up what I am always reminding my kids everyday: DRINK YOUR WATER, KID!
*Child/teen celebrity blurbs that give advice and encouraged readers to be unique, not worry about what others think of you and making good food choices.
*The magazine was not a flimsy 11 or 16 pages like many magazines geared toward kids. It had a total of 48 pages. To me, that's pretty good for a kids magazine, even if it is bimonthly.
*I appreciated the featured articles of Ella Anderson (actress) and Rachel Parent (teen activist) that have taken it upon themselves to make a difference through making healthy beauty products and getting the word out about GMO'd food, respectively. Pretty cool.
* The approach to using essential oils and regular grocery store food (ACV, coconut oil, baking soda and sea salt, to name a few) as cures for common ailments and body treatments. There were even recipes, so readers can try them out for themselves. Very cool.
My favorite part? The pages that featured readers and their advice, their favorite things and what they feel makes them unique. Sometimes they even spoke about their own struggles, so that other readers can relate to them. And the readers were a diverse group of kids.
What I didn't like so much:
*A lot of talk of self love, being a "goddess" and intuition. Now, I believe in woman's intuition, to an extent, but this particular issue had some buzz words (seemingly harmless) that can lead one further into the New Age movement. I like to think of my daughter as a princess, but a "goddess?" Well, that takes things to a higher level. Though the word is used casually and not literally, there is a danger in often being exposed to that kind of thinking: we begin to believe it.
The quiz, "How Intuitive Are You?" and "Developing Your Intuition" was very zen-like as was the Mandala coloring page, though of course no idols were featured (A mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the universe.
You can read more about that by clicking here.)
My advice: be very, very careful.
*It also struck me that the magazine had a theme of kind of praising the creation (the person we were made to be) as the ultimate object to be praised. It also advocated being your own authority. Now, girls do need to set boundaries, know who they are and would like to become, be aware of their own limitations and overcoming them if necessary. However, children need a firm foundation of beliefs and values. Those don't just come naturally. If you aren't guiding your children in beliefs and values, the world is definitely doing that for you. That is a scary and dangerous proposition.We cannot successfully be our own authority, especially in spiritual matters and it just made me wonder how future magazines would handle this important issue.
For our family, the Bible is our ultimate Authority, not ourselves. This magazine does not support that very important conviction. Obviously, this is not shocking as this is not a Christian publication; just something to be aware of when reading. It did give me a chance to talk to my daughter on her level with the things that she is interested in. It wasn't just Mom "lecturing" her again. It gave us an avenue to start some very good discussions on why we believe what we believe and some things to be careful about as we filter what we take in from the world through our Christian worldview.
The article "How to have a Clear Mind" had good advice, but the title sure threw me for a loop. Those are words often chosen to open oneself to the spirit world. If you have rolled your eyes at that statement, you may have swallowed this thinking yourself; we certainly have been conditioned for at least four decades to accept this as normal and okay. As Christians we are to fill our mind with the things of Christ, not empty our minds. The article, thankfully, actually contained advice like being prepared, making new friends, enjoying the outdoors and cleaning your room. All of that is great. But like I said, the wording in the title is setting up kids for New Age methodology and ideology. It has made me think twice about how much of the magazine I will allow my daughter to read. We probably will read some of each issue together so that we can talk about what to watch out for, what is good about the advice, my own opinions and what the Bible has to say about what we have read. Some of it will be set aside as not appropriate for our family.
As parents, we need to be vigilant for our children. I probably don't need to remind you of that, but I am anyway: BE VIGILANT!
So, there you have it: the long and the short version of my take on the magazine BYOU. I do hope you will check it out for yourself and make your own decision as to whether or not this magazine is right for your family.
Stay tuned because next time I will give you my daughter's take on the magazine. Hope you come back for that.
Counting it all joy,