This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
How does constant
the way we live?
How one Calgary
around the world
Doing it all without
doing yourself in
Grip_p01_Spring_14.indd 1 2014-05-14 9:30 AM
Grip magazine is currently seeking writers, journalists, illustrators
and photographers between the ages of 13 and 18. Join the conversation and
help Grip cover issues that are important to you. Send questions and samples to
firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be paid. Really. Not a lot, but it’s still money.
Grip_p02-05_Spring_14.indd 2 2014-05-14 9:30 AM
The Distraction Issue:
We’re living in the Age of Distraction:
From text messages to Snapchat,
tablets to Netﬂix, it’s easy to let
your mind wander – but so many
distractions at our ﬁngertips can
become overwhelming. This
issue of Grip looks at good, bad
and deadly distractions: if we’re
constantly connected all the time,
can we learn to disconnect?
Are you addicted
to the Internet?
Take our quiz to ﬁnd out
Eyes on the Prize
Too much on your plate? Try these tips
for focusing on getting the job done
BY JOANNA TRAN
Driven to Distraction
The message is clear: texting
and driving is a fatal mix
BY ERIN EMILY ANN VANCE
Social media is how we keep in touch –
but are we too connected?
BY ANN LEE
All in the Game
The lost art of board gaming
BY DANNY LUONG
Scroll... scroll... scroll...
How to deal with Internet burnout
BY GABRIELLE MCKINLEY
How to do it all without
doing yourself in
BY ERIN EMILY ANN VANCE
Debate: Is technology keeping
us together or driving us apart?
BY ADOOFAN TOR-AGBIDYE AND ANN LEE
One brave student goes a full day
without using technology
BY TIFFANY DIACK
Welcome to Grip
A message from a Grip contributor, plus an
introduction to three of our writers.
News and views
Province-wide summer fun; apps to help you
shut off; a new writing space; a camp to rock
out at; music, book and video game reviews!
Off the Wall
A really important collection of must-know
trivia. Trust us.
Jesse and the Dandelions spread
BY DARCY ROPCHAN
This Is… Sheliza Kassam
One Calgary teen is dedicated to spreading
birthday party cheer around the world.
BY JESSICA HIGHSTEAD
The creative spirit thrives in Alberta!
Check out photography, art and words
submitted by teens across the province
Britney lets texting get in the way of driving safe
The ﬁctional character friendships of our
COVER ILLUSTRATION: STOCKWELL COLLINS
Find Grip on Facebook at:
When the lights go out
After checking into a
hospital, one teen sees
how her phone had been
dictating her mood
BY J.M.M. LEWIS
Carrying Your Friends
(in Your Pocket)
These days, our friends
live anywhere and
everywhere. How has
the Internet changed
BY LOUISE FOURNIER
Listen While You Work
Wordless tunes to help
BY GRIP CONTRIBUTORS 40
Grip_p02-05_Spring_14.indd 3 2014-05-14 9:31 AM
elcome to the wonderful world of Grip.
Inside, you’re going to ﬁnd an array of articles –
everything from new and exciting books and CDs, to interesting
debates and ﬁrst-person essays. Grip is always striving to bring you
stories on interesting topics, all related to your life and how you live
it. But what about the rest of the world?
With every passing day, teenagers are granted a
variety of brand new inventions. From music and books,
to cellphones and computers, everything is being pro-
duced and improved upon at an increasingly fast pace.
So how does one stop oneself and smell the roses?
This issue of Grip is here to talk about the distrac-
tions that life can bring: work, relationships, school,
friends, family and more, and how we all work to keep
ourselves sane and in line. Life can get hectic very
quickly and too much buildup leads to stress.
Distractions can be hard to overcome. Often our days
get so ﬁlled up that we simply look to quit everything all
at once, looking for more interesting activities. It leads
to procrastination and the inability to get things done.
Alternatively, we take on so much that the bigger picture
gets hard to see and we are soon drowning in much more
As for myself, I’m an avid participant of Scouts Canada and
the Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts, but with every passing
school year, my ability to stay involved in these activities slowly
slips away, and I’m stuck juggling school and family in the balance.
Growing up I was always very active and I strived to join any
sort of club or team that I could. Soccer, ﬁeld hockey and the school
newspaper were all on my list, but once I hit junior high I had to
drop most of these until I was left with Scouts, Epcor and soccer.
It was nice to have a bit of extra free time, but with less structure I
also started to drop my other responsibilities – like homework, for
one. I had to ﬁgure out what was most important and where I was
headed. In the end, I eventually found a safe place to upkeep all of
my life endeavours, but even today I struggle to keep up between
tests and friends, work and school.
Remember to check out each article and to stop and pick a ﬂower
in between paragraphs. Life can get busy in the blink of an eye and
it’s important to remember to breathe.
From a Grip Contributor
Grip_p02-05_Spring_14.indd 4 2014-05-14 9:30 AM
Erin Emily Ann Vance is an English
student at the University of Calgary with a
passion for teaching, learning, languages,
special education and open communication
through literature and creative writing. Erin
is a social recreation companion with the
Autism Aspergers Friendship Society, and
the coordinator for the University of Calgary’s
Dr. Seuss in the Park literacy program. An
advocate for accessible and inclusive edu-
cation, world literacy, disability rights, eating
disorder awareness and the empowerment
of girls and women, her writing focuses on
family, travel, ability, gender, body image and
equality. She hopes to be a teacher in an
integrated classroom in the future.
Read her blog:
Spring 2014 | Volume 7, No. 3
Lyndsie Bourgon | email@example.com
DIRECTOR OF CUSTOM CONTENT
Beth Evans, ZAnne Harvey-Jansen, Mae Kroeis, Taryn Pawlivsky,
Jennifer Basler, Trevor Vezina, Roxy Thomas
ASSOCIATE ART DIRECTOR
ASSOCIATE ART DIRECTOR
Betty Feniak Smith
Brent Felzien, Brandon Hoover
Karen Reilly | firstname.lastname@example.org
Madeleine Beaulieu, Tiffany Diack, Louise Fournier, Megan Ganley,
Thomas Ganley, Jessica Highstead, Ann Lee, J.M.M. Lewis, Danny
Luong, Gabrielle McKinley, Darcy Ropchan, Marlee Salas,
Adoofan Tor-Abigdye, Evan Tran, Joanna Tran, Erin Emily Ann Vance
CONTRIBUTING CONTENT EXPERTS
Jessie De Castro, Lindsay Hope-Ross, Katherine Jarrell, Eden McCaffrey,
Michael Rich, Deborah Walchuk.
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS AND ILLUSTRATORS
Stockwell Collins, Eric Gravel, Danny Luong,
Leslie Ohene-Adjei, Robert Propp, Evan Tran, Erin Vance
Grip is published by Venture Publishing Inc.
for Alberta Health Services
The content of this magazine is provided for general informational purposes only and
is not intended to replace consultations with your doctor or to provide medical advice,
diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health
provider with any personal medical and health questions that you may have.
Printed in Canada by Transcontinental LGM Graphics
Canadian Publications Mail Agreement #40020055
Contents copyright 2014 by Alberta Health Services. Content may not be reprinted
or reproduced without written permission from Alberta Health Services.
Venture Publishing Inc.
10259-105 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 1E3
Tel: 780-990-0839 | Fax: 780-425-4921 | Toll-free: 1-866-227-4276
The views expressed in Grip are the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily
reflect the opinions of Alberta Health Services or Venture Publishing
Tiffany Diack grew up in a small farming community with her awesome
mom, who taught her that creativity is the key to individuality. She loves
scrapbooking, decorating, fashion and writing, and her favourite songs are
Disney tunes. Her best friend describes her as “sparkles and dynamite”
because she loves to have a good time with friends and family!
Madeleine Beaulieu is a 13-year-old
writer, currently attending Branton
School in Calgary. She writes science
ﬁction, fantasy and general ﬁction
short stories, as well as the occa-
sional poem. She’s an avid reader of
Shirley Jackson’s short stories and
a lover of Thomas Wharton’s books.
In her free time, Maddie plays the
clarinet in her school band, and is in
a professional children’s choir. Check
out her review of The Hitchhikers
Guide to the Galaxy, on pg. 7.
Grip_p02-05_Spring_14.indd 5 2014-05-15 1:54 PM
Looking to embrace those long (and
sometimes dull) summer days? Why not
explore the amazing summer activities
Alberta has to offer!
06 itHAPPENS | News
Edmonton, known for Wayne Gretzky and the largest shopping mall
in North America, is also one of the best places to catch some sun!
Through the heart of Edmonton runs the Saskatchewan River Valley,
which hosts more than 22 major parks and over 150 kilometres of
trails for you to explore. Parks like William Hawrelak Park offer shel-
tered pavilions with indoor plumbing and picnic sites that can be
reserved for family barbecues, birthday water ﬁghts and bonﬁres.
Wanting to check out some new music this summer? Check out
the Calgary Folk Music Festival! Stretched over four amazing days,
Prince’s Island Park will be jam-packed with a huge celebration of
the arts, and will be the centre of a cultural and musical jamboree.
The folk fest attracts people from all over, and helps to promote local
favourites while attracting new talent every year in its annual
Lake Louise, Banff
If you’ve ever wanted to discover your wild side, then there’s no
adventure better than whitewater rafting at Lake Louise in Banff
National Park. Between the peaceful Rocky Mountains and the
surging rivers that run through them, you’ll ﬁnd it hard to experience
another place as thrilling as this! There are expert river guides to
accompany you and your friends if you decide to take the challenge,
and maybe cross something off that bucket list too!
Jasper National Park
Want to expand your appreciation for the great Canadian outdoors?
Plan a road trip to Jasper National Park. As the largest national park
in the Canadian Rockies, it includes the Columbia Iceﬁelds Parkway,
where there is snow year-round, in case you start to miss it! Or why
not take a dip in the natural Miette Hot Springs, and relax as you
take in the beautiful wildlife that roams the park including caribou,
mountain goats, grizzly bears and coyotes.
Don’t forget your sunblock!
By Joanna Tran
Summertime, fun time
Grip_p06-09_Spring_14.indd 6 2014-05-14 9:32 AM
Guide to the Galaxy
By Douglas Adams
Reviewed by Madeleine Beaulieu
It all starts in the West Country, with a middle-aged man named
Arthur. He’s tall and dark-haired, and very irritable in the mornings.
After a late night at the pub the day before, his hungover brain is
unable to grasp the fact that there is a yellow bulldozer outside his
house. As he suddenly remembers why it was that he was at the
tavern in the ﬁrst place, he rushes out to his front lawn and very
promptly lays down in front of the huge bulldozer meandering its
way up the garden path. The council was building a bypass and had,
of course, neglected to mention it until the day before it was set for
Arthur is having a bad Thursday, and Earth is about to be
destroyed as part of construction for a new “hyperspace bypass.”
Escaping the destruction, Arthur and Ford, an alien from Betelgeuse
stranded on Earth, hitch a ride onto a Vogon Constructor Fleet to
escape the smoking ruins of Earth. Here, Arthur is taught the impor-
tance of a towel, the gruesomely painful sound of a Vogon poem and
the general unpleasantness of being launched out into deep space.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is oddly interesting. It’s a
perfect and potent mixture of funny, more than a little bit odd and
difﬁcult to understand, and political to keep the readers interested.
Arthur Dent is an extremely ordinary man, one of the most ordinary
I have ever met in a book (and I mean this as the highest of compli-
ments to his creator). He isn’t brave or smart or dashing. Arthur is
a man, human and simple. Average, one might say, and the most
extraordinarily ordinary person ever. I believe this to be one of the
reasons that The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has been so popu-
lar for so long.
Grade: B+ Readers of this novel will be thrilled with the humour
and adventure that this peculiar book offers. I would recommend
this book for people who enjoy strange and richly told, light-hearted
tales of a perfectly normal man in the world of aliens.
Even if you know it’s bad to drive and check your phone at the same time
(OK, we all know this), it can be hard to actually shut down when we get behind
the wheel. Lucky for us, there’s an app for that! Force yourself to shut down by
using these apps that take over your phone when you’re in the car:
DriveOFF: This app detects when you’re moving at more than 10 miles per
hour and automatically shuts off other apps that might be distracting. It’ll also
stop incoming calls and text messages, and gives you a static landing screen so
you’re even less likely to check your phone. For: Android
DriveScribe: This makes your phone “drive safe,” which means it’ll track your
speed (and tell you if you’re going too fast) and prevent your apps from distract-
ing you. It’s up to you, though, to tell the app to “start your trip.”
For: Android, iPhone
tXtBlocker: This app lets you pick certain locations and times of day where
your phone will shut off. So for your car, or during class, or when you’re sleeping
can all become off-limits. For: Android, BlackBerry, iPhone
DriveSafe.ly: Instead of blocking your phone’s
functions, this app just reads out loud your text
messages, app notiﬁcations, emails and
messages. It’ll also send an auto-response,
saying you’re driving right now and can’t reply.
For: Android, BlackBerry
TextBuster: This one’s a bit more compli-
cated because it requires you to install some
hardware in your car. But once you do, the
hardware notiﬁes your phone when you’re
driving and temporarily disables your phone
from texting, emailing and other apps. But
your phone will still work, as will your GPS
system. For: Android, BlackBerry
For more on distracted driving,
check out pg. 22.
Grip_p06-09_Spring_14.indd 7 2014-05-14 9:32 AM
08 itHAPPENS | News
Teenagers need more sleep than adults
because we’re still growing at a pretty rapid
rate, and our bodies can’t keep up. If we don’t
get enough, we’ll feel like walking zombies at
school. Still, getting enough sleep is hard to
do, with homework and sports and clubs tak-
ing up all our time after the bell rings. Giving
your brain and body the rest it needs (teen-
agers need somewhere between nine and
10 hours of sleep per night) can be almost
impossible during the week, but when you
get a good night’s sleep, you’ll be happier,
healthier and more active.
Here are some tips to get a
better night’s sleep:
Set a budget: You shouldn’t
consider sleep a waste of
time. Budgeting for enough
sleep in your schedule will
help you work efﬁciently
throughout the day, meaning you won’t
have to pull an all-nighter. A day planner
and schedule is your friend.
Avoid caffeine: Especially before bed.
Give yourself a few hours before you head
to your room, and drink herbal tea or water
to help your body calm down.
Keep your room cool and dark: Which
means turning your computer, tablet and
phone off right before you go to sleep and
even keeping them out of your room
altogether. Power down your brain!
Don’t toss and turn: If you can’t sleep,
get up and do something – but read a book
instead of watching TV, because a screen’s
light will wake you up even more.
Try not to worry about sleeping: If you’re
stressed that you can’t sleep, you likely
won’t be able to fall asleep, and the cycle
will go on and on!
There’s nothing worse than being
hungry while you study. Instead of
reaching for greasy chips or a chocolate
bar, try one of the treats below:
Granola and Nuts with Yogurt
This recipe is simple: all you need is some
yogurt, granola and nuts. Nuts like walnuts,
pecans, almonds and hazelnuts are full of
vitamin E, which helps to prevent cognitive
decline. Add your favorite yogurt, prefera-
bly Greek, because it’s higher than regular
yogurt in protein, which promotes fullness,
letting you eat and remain full longer.
Mix it all together and enjoy!
Feta, Sage and Prosciutto Rolls
This recipe is a little more work, but it’s
deﬁnitely worth it. Feta cheese is high in
minerals like B12, which promotes red
blood cell production and helps keep your
brain functioning at tip top shape. You’ll
also need prosciutto, which is like a really
fancy ham. Prosciutto is full of iron, which
helps maintain your energy. Lastly you’ll
need sage. Sage is known to improve
memory, surely helping you while you study.
Take a strip of prosciutto and lay it ﬂat on a
cooking surface. Put a piece of feta cheese at
the top of the meat, lay a leaf of sage on the
feta and then carefully roll up the feta and
sage “pigs-in-a-blanket” style. Now eat!
Grip_p06-09_Spring_14.indd 8 2014-05-15 1:55 PM
Being in a band is the coolest – and now you can spend your summer honing your
rock star skills at Girls Rock Camp. This week long summer day camp teaches girls
between ages eight and 18 how to rock out, whether you’re a musical instrument
novice or experienced lead singer. Girls Rock Camp participants spend a week with
mentors and friends who help them learn instruments, write songs, edit music and
even perfect a stage presence.
Right now, there are Girls Rock Camps taking place in Lethbridge and Calgary,
though the concept for the camp originated in Portland, Oregon, and has spread
around the world. “We take everyone,” says Silvana Campus, who runs the camp in
Lethbridge. “We’ll teach you no matter where you’re at.” Last year, the Lethbridge
Girls Rock Camp (LGRC) was so successful that they are expecting more kids to
apply this year.
Even after the camp is done, LGRC holds events throughout the year – including an
open mic “Family Jam” at a local café, which has participants hit the stage, sometimes
with their own family members as backup!
If you love music and want to try something new, visit lethbridgegirlsrockcamp.com
to see how you can sign up for this summer’s camp. You can also ﬁnd Girls Rock
Camps taking place in cities across Canada, like Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and
Loft 112 (that’s pronounced Loft One-Twelve)
is a new venue in Calgary’s burgeoning East
Village that organizes art workshops, classes
and a creative space for teens (and adults,
too). “Before the Loft I made use of public
spaces,” says founder and coordinator, Lisa
Murphy Lamb, “but I wanted to make noise,
leave materials behind, take risks, and ask
others to take risks without an audience.”
Together with writers Christian Bök and
Derek Beaulieu, Murphy Lamb dreamed
up the creative space, which has a kitchen,
couches and a Wi-Fi connection. They set up
shop in a recently emptied storefront, and
opened in early 2014.
“Our hope is that our programs, lectures,
readings and special activities are varied
enough to support, motivate and educate writ-
ers and artists of all abilities and educational
backgrounds,” says Murphy Lamb. The loft is wheelchair accessible and available to
“Loft 112 is a wonderful experience and a great place for people to come together
and appreciate Calgary’s art scene. It has a very positive atmosphere and a lot of won-
derful people involved,” says Madeline Longman, a young writer who uses the space.
There are several regular writing groups available to teens that take place at the
loft, and upcoming events include a spoken word workshop, homeschool multimedia
writing classes and a 12-hour write-in.
Loft 112 is located at #112-535 8 Ave SE. Find the Loft on Facebook and at
loft112.org. Keep checking back, as more events are added all the time.
For inquiries, comments and bookings, email email@example.com.
By Erin Emily Ann Vance
Grip_p06-09_Spring_14.indd 9 2014-05-14 9:32 AM
10 itHAPPENS | Reviews
A collection edited by
REVIEWED BY JESSICA HIGHSTEAD
Grim is a collection of classic fairy tales, but
each comes with its own sinister twist. Edited
by YA author Christine Johnson, she and
other writers have taken the stories we all love
and dragged them through the mud, spikes
and thorns – allowing the tales to become
equal parts wonderful and terrifying.
Each story will have you on the edge of
your seat and always end in a way you never
expected. Whether it’s a futuristic version of The
Adventures of Pinocchio and its warped love
story, or a poetic tale of surviving love when all
seems frozen and cold, Grim challenges the
tales you once knew. The book contains rendi-
tions of 17 classics, including “Puss in Boots,”
and the famous “Beauty and the Beast.” The
book even manages to make “The Three Little
Pigs” more horriﬁc than it already is.
Grim is magniﬁcent and macabre. Some
tales leave you reeling, and others need a
reread, but each one is so well put together
you start to think they’re how the originals
were meant to be.
Grade: A I would recommend this book
because it managed to raise a whole new
array of questions and still keep you turning
the pages. Another plus is that, while interest-
ing, it’s nothing close to a hard read, and the
stories are all exciting, whether you know the
tales beforehand or otherwise.
By Rachel Cohn
REVIEWED BY MARLEE SALAS
Rachel Cohn’s 12th book, Beta takes place
on an island called Demesne, a breathtak-
ing utopia. Demesne is home to the world’s
wealthiest people, who are served by clones
designed to please their owners and are mod-
elled to have no feelings. The book follows a
clone named Elysia. Elysia is a Beta, one of
the very ﬁrst teen clones ever produced. Her
life begins when she takes on the role of being
a companion to two kids, and in the begin-
ning, Elysia is pleased with her life. Things
begin to change when Elysia has visions from
her First, the human girl she was modelled
after. Elysia realizes she is able to feel human
emotions and must choose between keeping
her newfound emotions a secret and continu-
ing to perform her clone duties, or ﬁghting for
the life she could have.
A sequel to Beta will be out soon, unlocking
more secrets about Elysia’s life. As Beta nears
its end, Cohn throws multiple curveballs, leav-
ing cliffhangers that make readers want more.
The book is a little slow and tough to get into
but the twists and turns leave readers highly
anticipating the next book.
Grade: B- Rachel Cohn’s book is a fantastic
read about a girl growing up in between a rock
and a hard place in a world full of beauty and
perfection. Though the book is hard to get into
and develops slowly, the unsuspected plot
twists make it worthwhile.
Beachy summer reads
Grip_p10-13_Spring_14.indd 10 2014-05-15 1:57 PM
Just because you’re about to pack away your textbooks
doesn’t mean it’s time to quit reading! Check out these
Grip-endorsed summer page turners.
I Am Number Four
By Pittacus Lore
REVIEWED BY THOMAS GANLEY
I Am Number Four begins when John, the
main character, is only four years old. His
family, his planet and most of the members of
his species (the Loric) were all lost in a huge
invasion by a species from another planet, the
Mogadorians. But he and eight other children
ﬂed their planet, and on the year-long trip to
Earth, each was assigned a number. Earth is
a safe haven to rescue their species from the
Now 15 years old, they are hunted, and the
only thing keeping them alive is a charm cast
on them, only allowing them to be killed in
numerical order. As the story opens, numbers
By Sandy Pool
REVIEWED BY LOUISE FOURNIER
Rewind to the early 1900s, when radium-
based paint was amply applied to items in
order to give them a glow-in-the-dark effect.
Can you imagine never having to scrounge
around in the dark for your favourite pair of
slippers? While radium-based paint seemed
like the perfect solution at the time, it proved
to have lasting consequences. Through the
voices of the young women who smeared
the radium-based paint onto objects, and
themselves, Undark shows us the disturbing
legacies of this seemingly wonderful
Sandy Pool’s short but powerful book
aims to represent not only the voices of these
women, but also the opinions held by the
inventor, Sabin, and the media. Through the
excellent pacing of Undark, Pool recreates
One, Two and Three have all been hunted and
killed. John is next in line. John’s life is deﬁned
by running and hiding.
I Am Number Four was an intriguing read,
eventful and creative. Not a single chapter
passed without suspense. John is constantly
asking himself questions about hope, trust and
love, and struggles to understand who he is
and what he lives for. This book is full of won-
ders from the fantasy world and is a very good
Grade: A Deﬁnitely worth reading twice. The
book is full of twists and turns in the storyline.
Every page makes you want to read more.
the early 1900s and pulls the era into the
story through poetry and prose. The reader
must be open to interpreting the different
forms of poetry, and at times must be willing
to pause and contemplate what they’ve read
in order to come to an understanding.
Grade B+ The hybrid nature of Undark
means the book can become confusing at
times, but overall the story of the painter-girls
is excellently represented by this book. The
way the book includes many characters who
have differing views paints a broader picture
for the reader to explore instead of the story
being a one-sided account of events.
Grip_p10-13_Spring_14.indd 11 2014-05-14 9:33 AM
Cool beats for
hot summer days
itHAPPENS | Reviews
REVIEWED BY TIFFANY DIACK
With a pop-Latino feel, Shakira’s self-titled album
was released in March this year and is her 10th
”Loca Por Ti,” one of two completely Spanish
songs on Shakira, shows her remarkable talent
and range we often don’t get to hear. Her more
catchy upbeat songs like “Cut Me Down” and
“Dare (La La La)” will be sure to bring back fond
memories of her previous iconic songs “Hips Don’t
Lie” and “Waka Waka.” Shakira brings a unique
spin to country music, with her song “Medicine,”
which features Blake Shelton, and it ends up
becoming a sound that we don’t often get to hear
REVIEWED BY MARLEE SALAS
Every Kingdom, Ben Howard’s ﬁrst album, pleases
ears with melodic and tempo-varying tracks, a
sound that has kickstarted his soaring popularity
and propelled him to join the ranks of other popu-
lar indie-folk bands. Howard and his team spent a
year-and-a-half recording this captivating album
in a barn in Devon, England, where he grew up.
Howard began playing guitar and writing songs
from a young age, so it’s no surprise he grew up to
be a singer/songwriter.
Every Kingdom is a collection of Howard’s work
from the past three years, molded seamlessly into
a calming album. It includes 10 songs and one
bonus track, all featuring Howard’s tremulous,
hollow sound and ranges from popular tunes
like “Only Love” and “Keep Your Head Up”
to undiscovered gems like “Black Flies” and
“Diamonds.” In an interview, Howard said that
he tried to keep the album quite simple, so the
lyrics could have a solid foundation of melody
and guitar. The album is perfect to play quietly
in the background or to belt the heartfelt lyrics
out loudly. The news of Howard’s next album,
said to drop in early to mid-2014, promises
more spectacular music from this easygoing
Grade: A+ Howard’s indie-folk jams leave
listeners pleased and pensive, making it
easy for anyone who hears Every Kingdom
fall in love with Ben, his enticing lyrics and
Need a soundtrack for your upcoming summer
holiday? Try these Grip-approved albums.
on the radio. Sadly, and despite the
wonderful beats, something is lacking in
her music on this album: heartwarming
lyrics. Even though the album gave me
an overall satisfaction only the queen of
Latino-pop can give, I was left wanting
Grade: B+ Overall, Shakira was an
amazing album with decent songs but
it certainly isn’t her ﬁnest work. It mostly
just left me wishing to replay her older
songs to get a feel of what made her who
she is. Still a great listen to crank up on
the car radio this summer!
Grip_p10-13_Spring_14.indd 12 2014-05-15 1:57 PM
REVIEWED BY LOUISE FOURNIER
Season 6 American Idol contestant
Chri s Daughtr y says that whi l e
recording Baptized, the band realized
they needed a change from their
typical style. Baptized combines
high-energy pop tracks with some
slow-paced, ballad-like melodies.
This record is unlike any of Daughtry’s
other albums in terms of the different
instruments used, but the l yrics
remain honest, open and relatable.
The single “Waiting for Superman”
takes a different spin on the concept
of superheroes. Daughtry states that this song does not focus
on the Man of Steel himself; rather, it is about “waiting for
that someone in your life to step up.” This is not just another
cliché superhero song. Instead, it is a song that expresses the
G I R L
REVIEWED BY EVAN TRAN
After an eight-year-wait, Pharrell Williams’
G I R L presents us with a collection of 10
joyous and upbeat tracks – a far cry from
Pharrell’s solo debut In My Mind in 2006, and
his rap alter ego Skateboard P is nowhere to
be seen. Mixing funk, soul and R&B, Pharrell’s
new album is concise, peppy and brings his
own brand of energetic ﬂavour to the pop
genre. The ﬁrst single, “Happy” (which may be
familiar to you if you’ve watched Despicable
Me 2), is contagious, spirited and currently
sweeping the nation. Other highlights of the
album include the fantastic strings of “Gust of
Wind,” the soothing textures of “Know Who You
Are” and the duelling falsettos of “Brand New,”
each showcasing an ensemble of guest artists
featured on the album like Daft Punk, Justin
Timberlake and Alicia Keys. Though most
songs have infectious beats, some selections
suffer from repetition
and feel too minimalist
in their approach. As
well, Pharrell’s falsetto
seems out of place, like in
“Hunter” where it lacks the
tenacity needed to make it
effective. That said, some
great instrumentation and
clever beats makes G I R L
an album that will brighten
your day after a long day
at school or add some
colour to a long ride on
Grade: B Pharrell’s G I R L invades the pop charts with a bouquet of 10
pop songs all ready for summer. Though some tracks outshine others,
there’s no doubt this album will be played continuously throughout the
upcoming summer season.
deepest desire of the human heart:
to have someone else in our lives
who will stand up for us when no one
Unl i ke the fi rst three al bum
covers, that all featured a photo of
the band, Baptized features a blue
watercolour effect backdrop and a
cluster of abstract red ﬂowers with
the band name, emphasizing the
band’s change in direction from a
harder rock sound into a rock pop
Grade: A For willingness and
fearlessness to experiment with new sounds, while keeping the
quality of the lyrics and vocals intact. The new sounds found on
Baptized have captured the attention of many who are unfamiliar
with Daughtry’s music.
Grip_p10-13_Spring_14.indd 13 2014-05-15 1:57 PM
14 itHAPPENS | Reviews
Off the Wall
Title: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
Platform: Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Rating: T for Teen
REVIEWED BY EVAN TRAN
Lighting Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is the third and ﬁnal instalment of the Fabula Nova
Crystallis trilogy. Five hundred years have passed since the events of Final Fantasy XIII-2,
and Lightning has ﬁnally awoken from her crystal slumber. Tasked with saving the world
one last time, she has 13 days to recover as many souls as possible to bring to the new
world that will be created by the God of Light, Bhunivelze.
This time around, Square Enix has done a complete overhaul of the combat system,
crafting a more active time battle system than ever before. With an emphasis on action,
Lightning stands alone for most ﬁghts, though her different abilities come from a trio of
schematas, or combat styles, at any given time, all of which are entirely customizable and
smoothly accessible on the ﬂy. It’s a little disappointing then that Experience Points (XP)
aren’t earned from battles this time around, and levelling-up is only accomplished through
completing different quests.
For fans who loved Final Fantasy XIII, it may not have the bang feature that the end of
the trilogy warrants. That being said, any fan who has been awaiting more from the Final
Fantasy XIII universe will be pleased.
Grade: A- Though the storytelling that we’ve grown accustomed to from Final Fantasy
games is lacking, the last instalment in the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy brings a great
revamp to the battle system and a host of luscious environments, culminating in a solid
conclusion to XIII’s saga.
Title: Zoo Tycoon
Platform: Xbox 360, Xbox One
Rating: E for Everyone
REVIEWED BY MEGAN GANLEY
Zoo Tycoon is an Xbox game in which you own a zoo and have to keep the animals and
guests happy. You make money if your animals are happy (which also makes your guests
happy). You also get to interact with your animals using the Xbox Kinect, which helps your
animal recognize your voice and react to your movements. You have to feed your animals,
keep their food full and get enrichments, which are items that make the animals happier,
like a scratching post for a tiger. You can also breed your animals to have tiny, cute babies.
I really like the game because it’s realistic and makes you feel like you are interacting with
the animals. There are four different modes: training, freeform, challenge and campaign.
Challenge mode and campaign mode are the difﬁcult ones. Training mode teaches you
how to run your zoo and keep the animals happy. In freeform, you have unlimited money so
you don’t have to worry about costs. In challenge and campaign modes, when you unlock
animals as you rise in the rankings, you have to research the animal’s habitats and food
preferences before you can buy them
Grade: B+ The downside to this game is that you have a zoo limit. When it’s full you
have no choice but to sell animals and habitats or start a new game to get new animals.
Still, I would deﬁnitely recommend this game to animal lovers!
Here are Grip’s game picks for summer
Grip_p14-15_Spring_14.indd 14 2014-05-14 9:33 AM
Off the Wall
Grip_p14-15_Spring_14.indd 15 2014-05-14 9:33 AM
This month, AHS clinical therapist Eden
McCaffrey takes on your questions:
I’m in high school, and I’m really
worried about not being accepted to
college or university. What happens
if I’m rejected from not just my ﬁrst
school but my backup schools as
well? How can I learn to manage my
stress while I wait?
Worry, which some people call stress
or anxiety, is like a roller coaster. Likely,
“worry” in the past has served you well (i.e.,
trying hard in school to get good grades),
but if “worry” is affecting your day-to-day
life, then it has gone too far. One sign that
it’s getting too big is when people think in
terms of “what if.” The “what ifs” really rob
us of our present.
Most people who worry a lot make two
thinking errors: ﬁrst, they overestimate
how likely it is that bad events will occur
(i.e., “I just know I won’t get in to any of
the schools I want”) and, second, they
assume that the consequences of those
events will be catastrophic and unbear-
able (“I will have no future.”) Does this
sound familiar? To manage your stress
while you wait, try to challenge these
thoughts by looking for evidence to sup-
port or dispel your “worry thinking.” Ask
yourself: Are your thoughts sensible? Can
you control what happens? When you
ﬁnd those “what if” thoughts creeping in,
check in with yourself or others to arrive at a
more realistic and helpful thought.
I know it’s important to eat healthy but
I’ve found that recently I’m preoccupied
with cutting junk food out of my diet.
It’s making me stressed when eating at
a friend’s house or out at the food court.
How can I make sure my relationship to
food is healthy?
When people become overly focused, preoc-
cupied, stressed or obsessed, with regards
to any topic (even a seemingly healthy one,
like good eating habits), this is problematic.
While it’s a great idea to educate yourself about
healthy choices and how to make them, this
doesn’t mean that food is something to fear, or
ﬁght against, and you want to avoid feelings of
deprivation, guilt or obsession.
Are you avoiding situations, feeling stressed
about food choices, putting pressure on your-
self, thinking ahead about food, focusing on
weight or calories or labelling food as “good”
vs “bad?” These are signs that your relationship
with food is problematic, and that you should
Got a question that no one can answer, or that you’re too afraid to
ask your parents, teacher or best friend? Send it to us at Grip.
We guarantee anonymity, and we’re beyond embarrassment.
We’ll find an expert to answer the most persistent question you
have related to any topic: relationships, school, sexuality, puberty,
drugs, love, life and the pursuit of happiness.
So … what are you waiting for?
make efforts to speak with a medical profes-
sional like a physician, therapist or dietitian.
Healthy eating means having a good relation-
ship with food. Just because someone has a
healthy diet does not mean that they have a
healthy relationship with food. Food is much
more than calories or fuel. It’s an emotional
connection, a bonding experience and a rela-
tionship that needs to stay healthy for the sake
of both our minds and our bodies. A healthy
relationship with food means understanding
that food is not your friend or your enemy, it is
not your boss or your entertainment and, most
importantly, food is not your life.
A good place to start is to understand your
goal in eating healthy. Your plans ought to be
made of ﬂexible guidelines, not rules (i.e., “I
can, I can’t” or “good” vs “bad.”) Realistic and
healthy plans include food for performance
and health as well as pleasure, and a good
motto is “All food ﬁts.”
Help Wanted is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended
to replace consultations with your doctor or to provide medical advice, diagnosis or
treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers
with any personal medical and health questions that you may have.
or mail Help Wanted, c/o Grip Magazine 10259-105 St.,
Edmonton, AB T5J 1E3
Grip_p16-17_Spring_14.indd 16 2014-05-14 9:34 AM
STRUNG OUT ON THE INTERNET
TAKE OUR FUN QUIZ TO HELP YOU DECIDE IF IT’S TIME TO UNPLUG.
ADHD: EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW
ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER PUZZLES A LOT OF PEOPLE.
EYE ON THE PRIZE
TRY THESE FOCUSING TIPS FOR GETTING THE JOB DONE.
DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION
TEXTING AND DRIVING IS DEADLY; CAN WE LEARN TO STOP WHEN WE’RE BEHIND
IT’S ALL IN THE GAME
REVIVING THE LOST ART OF BOARD GAMING.
SCROLL … SCROLL … SCROLL …
WHY INTERNET BURNOUT IS A REAL THING, AND HOW YOU CAN AVOID IT.
in the Age of
text messages to
to Netﬂix, it’s
easy to let your
mind wander –
but so many
This issue of Grip
looks at good,
bad and deadly
connected all the
time, can we learn
THE DISTRACTION ISSUE
Grip_p16-17_Spring_14.indd 17 2014-05-15 2:15 PM
We’re all online – but some of us are more connected than others. Sure, it’s easy to joke that we’re addicted
to Facebook or that computers are ruling our world, but maybe we actually do need to snap back to reality.
Take our quiz to see where you fall in the cyberspace continuum:
on the Internet
1. The first thing you do when you wake up is:
A Stumble out of bed and into the shower
B Check your phone for messages
C Make the rounds through your social networks
2. How often do you tweet, Snapchat or update your
A Almost never
B Once a day
C All day, every day
3. Your friends tease you for:
A Being a Luddite when you keep your phone in your locker
B Not being allowed to use Snapchat
C Showing up in their news feeds throughout the day
4. The last game you played was:
B A board game, like Settlers of Catan
C On an app, like Candy Crush Saga, and linked to all
your friends’ scores through Facebook
5. You’d prefer to talk with your friends:
A Through a string and tin can!
B Via text
C Through Facebook chat
6. How many hours do you spend online on the weekends?
A None! Weekends are for disconnecting
B A few hours here and there to make plans with friends
C You’re online all day Saturday and Sunday, catching up
on what you missed during the week
7. You’re stranded on a desert island. You wish you could have:
A A notebook and everlasting pen
B Your phone, so you could phone home
C An iPad, solar charger and Wi-Fi signal booster
8. When you’re offline, you’re:
A Hanging out with friends
If you answered mostly As: Looks like you’re pretty old school!
You use the Internet sparingly, and mostly to arrange hangouts
with your friends in real life. You don’t often use social media, and
are cautious about what you update when you do. This is good, but
don’t forget that some sharing online can be fun! And be sure to
respond to your friends in a timely manner when they send you
emails, texts or messages.
If you answered mostly Bs: Looks like you’re pretty connected.
You know what’s going on around you, but you also like to transfer
the fun stuff in your everyday life online, through status updates
and photo albums. It’s a good balance to have, as long as you make
sure you know the boundaries of what stays offline.
If you answered mostly Cs: You’re super connected to the digital
world – so connected that you might prefer to exist online than in
the real world. Social networks are for keeping touch with your
friends, but you have to make sure they are still your friends in real
life too! Take a step back from your phone or computer and enjoy
the world around you, too.
B Hanging out with friends and taking pictures to post online
when you get home
C Scrolling through your phone in your friend’s basement
9. Your online experiences:
A Are mostly linked to schoolwork and making plans with friends
B Help you stay in touch with friends
C Often stress you out, and you think about them all the time
10. When your parents ask you how long you’ve been online, you:
A Tell them the truth: none!
B Tell them the truth but hope they don’t go snooping on your
C Barely look up from your when lying through your teeth
The content of this quiz is for information and awareness purposes only,
and is not intended to replace consultations with your doctor or to provide
medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your
doctor, parent or a trusted adult with any questions you might have.
Grip_p18-19_Spring_14.indd 18 2014-05-15 2:16 PM
Dr. Geraldine Farrelly, a developmental pediatrician at the CanLearn Society
in Calgary, gives us the lowdown on attention deﬁcit hyperactivity disorder.
The proper name is ADHD: It’s not called ADD, even though everyone
calls it that. The proper term is ADHD (which stands for attention deﬁcit
hyperactivity disorder). It puzzles a lot of people, the difference between ADD
and ADHD, but it’s just that there have been numerous name changes over
the years … ADHD is now the term experts use.
It’s not just a kid’s diagnosis: ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that
affects people of all ages, so it’s not just a child’s disorder. It’s basically a pattern
of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, but it’s often thought of in terms of
a hyperactive little boy. If you’re smart and have good social skills, with a caring
family and good teachers, you might not be diagnosed until middle school or
high school. Sometimes, the squeaky wheel gets noticed ﬁrst – young adults
might not be diagnosed with ADHD until senior high or the ﬁrst few years of
university, when schedules are ﬂooded and they need to be more organized.
We all forget things: But for people with ADHD it affects their everyday
life signiﬁcantly. For instance, they’re often penalized for being late, they for-
get important appointments and their marks suffer. Friends and family can
get annoyed or mad when someone with ADHD is always late. People with
ADHD struggle to keep up with work and life responsibilities.
Some symptoms: Here are some core symptoms of ADHD: Making
careless errors, like rushing assignments, forgetting to turn over your
exam sheet and missing questions, or handing in homework that’s not
completely ﬁnished; difﬁculty following step-by-step directions, and
getting sidetracked or distracted by internal thoughts; and becoming
externally distracted by things like the outdoors or pets. This can make
it hard to do things like get ready for school in the morning. In class, stu-
dents with ADHD might blurt out answers to questions without putting
their hands up, or they are hyper-talkative or ﬁdgety and can’t sit still.
If your friend has ADHD: The ﬁrst thing you should know is that your
friend is not being disorganized or forgetful on purpose. Sometimes,
people with ADHD might seem self-centred or annoying, and if your
friend hasn’t been diagnosed with ADHD, he might suffer from poor
self-esteem because he thinks he’s not as good as other people. You
can help by reminding him to make lists in his phone, by offering to pick
him up for weekend trips, and by helping him manage time now so he
doesn’t suffer later.
If you think you might have ADHD: Start by talking to your parents
or a trusted teacher or adult. They can help point you towards a medical
professional who can talk you through the disorder and help you man-
age your concerns.
You Need to Know
Grip_p18-19_Spring_14.indd 19 2014-05-14 9:35 AM
Think you’ve got too much on your plate?
Try these tips for focusing to get the job done
By Joanna Tran
Grip_p20-21_Spring_14.indd 20 2014-05-15 2:09 PM
“By directing our attention
more efﬁciently, we can kiss
those long allnighters goodbye
and welcome back some beauty
sleep into our lives!”
n a single day, a typical teenager has a lot to do. Not only do
we have to keep up with schoolwork, but a social life with friends,
extracurriculars like volunteering at the local library or playing
on a sports team, and sometimes even managing a part-time job while
keeping up with the newest trends. It’s a lot to handle, and most of the
time it can become overwhelming. So, what can we do to help manage all
these activities? Focus.
By directing our attention more efﬁciently, we can kiss those long all-
nighters goodbye and welcome back some beauty sleep into our lives!
Easier said than done, though, right? Kathy Jarrell, a clinical consultant
for Alberta Health Services and a professor at Mount Royal University,
has a few pointers to share to help us concentrate more effectively.
Focus is a really broad topic, so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where we
might be struggling. This year, Jarrell taught a course about learning
strategies, discussing the challenges that students have in focusing
when there are so many competing demands on our attention. Although
we might have a hard time cutting back on using social media sites,
Jarrell suggests that by using simple strategies, we may be able to
maximize attentiveness when it comes to schoolwork.
When it comes to things like deadlines, it’s always best to plan
ahead. By creating a timeframe, we are able to not only motivate
ourselves throughout assignments, but also allow ample time for any
mishaps and corrections.
Break up study times with quick refresher breaks, which not only
help you memorize the content better but also increase your capability
to retain information. Jarrell also
notes that we tend to remember
the ﬁrst and last items of a list
most easily, a tactic known as the
Primacy-Recency Effect. By taking
short breaks, there are more ﬁrst
and last items to remember, which
make them easier to recall.
Ever notice how on a road trip,
while going to a new destination,
that the trip home always feels
quicker? Jarrell explains that this is because you recognize familiar
landmarks along the way and chart the progress you are making. This
is comparable to studying. When reading a chapter of new material,
before beginning a thorough reading, it’s best to skim through the
entire chapter, noting important headings or subheadings, and
prepping yourself by asking questions. This technique cues your brain
to recognize speciﬁcs, like landmarks, and helps to more actively
Another suggestion Jarrell shares to help keep focused while
engaging in work is the elimination of distractions like cellphones,
which encourage our tendency to do more than we can. Goodbye multi-
tasking! Cellphones, TV and other technologies take away our attention,
encourage our divided attention and decrease our motivation.
An effective way to keep yourself driven is studying tougher subjects
ﬁrst, when you have the most energy for the task, so as you work your way
further in, it’ll get easier, keeping your determination level up.
Different ways to keep you going strong involve setting the mood
for your study session, like selecting and setting aside a designated
quiet place to study. Jarrell suggests refraining from studying in bed,
as it slows down your reading time, and has a sleeping association that
interferes with your concentration.
Jarrell also shares some proven methods for improving our focus when
in the classroom, including writing notes by hand while the teacher is
talking, versus using a laptop or not writing any notes at all. The physical
act of writing notes helps us keep focus, and doesn’t allow for distractions.
Through writing notes, we are forced to listen to every word the teacher
says, in case we might have missed something. When listening to the
teacher present material, we are able to think faster than someone can
speak, so within those few spare seconds, instead of letting our minds
wander off topic, there’s time to predict what the teacher will say next,
which helps the brain develop important analytical skills, by asking
possible questions that relate to the content, or what we already know.
These skills can be further developed when we study using simple
strategies, such as reading key points out loud, or using memory
techniques such as mnemonics to jog our memory.
Quickly reviewing class notes
after class, and the next day,
assists in moving material from our
short-term to long-term memory.
This way, less cramming is needed
before tests, lowering stress levels
and paving the way for a more
enjoyable learning experience.
By maximizing our learning
capability through these strategies,
students are able to more
effectively focus on completing projects at hand, instead of wasting time.
It also helps us balance hectic schedules, which will pay off in the long
run, especially during stressful times like exam season. Not only does
improving concentration improve work quality, while decreasing the time
required to complete work, it also helps to improve mental health through
the eliminations of the challenges we face when we allow ourselves to
For more information, Jarrell recommends contacting Health Link
Alberta at 1-866-408-5465 or albertahealthservices.ca, or checking
with your school guidance counsellor for further resources.
Grip_p20-21_Spring_14.indd 21 2014-05-14 9:35 AM
The message is clear: texting
and driving are a fatal mix
olling up to a stop sign late after a Brad Paisley concert
in Calgary, Sasha Noval, a 19-year-old from Olds, was struck
from behind by another vehicle. Her truck was a bit scratched
on the rear bumper, but the front of the other vehicle was crunched.
The driver had been texting behind the wheel, and drove right into her
hitch. Luckily, neither she nor the driver of the other vehicle were hurt,
but Noval couldn’t help but feel shaken. “I knew distracted driving was
an issue, but I still did it because it’s tempting for me to look at my phone
when I hear it beep for a text,” she says.
Noval is not alone in that temptation. “Research indicates the three
most risky driving situations amongst teens are impaired driving, dis-
tracted driving and emotional driving,” says Jessie De Castro, a spokes-
person for Alberta Health Services’ adolescent injury prevention program.
“In 2012, teenagers between18 and19 were the group of drivers with
the highest rates of casualty collisions [in Alberta]. Teens aged 16 and 17
were the second highest group.”
It’s no secret that as teenagers and young adults, we carry a psycholog-
ical attachment to our mobile devices, whether that’s to our smartphones,
tablets or even laptops. Having your phone die when you’re away from a
charger can be very anxiety-inducing. But it should come as no surprise
that the psychological effects of being in a collision are far more dam-
aging, according to De Castro. “Involvement in a collision as a driver or
passenger is often a traumatic event and those involved may experience
immediate or prolonged emotional shock, driving anxiety and social
withdrawal,” she says. Survivors of car accidents can even experience
symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, like intrusive thoughts and
“After [the accident] I avoided texting and driving at all costs,” says
Noval. “I still occasionally check my texts at red lights, but I keep my
phone on silent to avoid the urge of looking at it and I use the Bluetooth
in my truck as much as possible. I think the police should be stricter on
the distracted driving law. I know I’m guilty and still haven’t gotten a
ticket after passing police ofﬁcers numerous times while talking on
I know sometimes it’s hard for them to do their job and pull someone
over for such seemingly small issue, but people need to have consequences
Grip_p22-23_Spring_14.indd 22 2014-05-16 9:29 AM
By Erin Emily Ann Vance
or the issue is going to get worse. People need to be aware of how dan-
gerous the issue of distracted driving can be. Not only for yourself, but for
other drivers as well. We have MADD and so many drinking and driving
campaigns, why can’t we do it for distracted driving?”
Of course not everyone would agree, and as young adults it isn’t easy
to hear these things being constantly drilled into us. When we see our
peers driving and texting, or making a call at the wheel, it eases it into
our perception as a way of life, something normal. Our dependency on
our mobile devices further ingrains this. Molly Brown, a 19-year-old from
Okotoks, changed her views on distracted driving after nearly being hit
crossing the street, by a man visibly texting and neglecting the road:
“No phones, no electronic devices of any sort should be accessed with-
in a moving vehicle,” she says. “Not
only do I feel like the drivers should
not have their phones, but also the
passengers as they sometimes are
the initiators of distraction.” Brown
thinks we should always pull over
ﬁrst to respond to a text message,
or phone call, if it’s important. “It’s
frustrating, because not many people acknowledge the outcomes of
distracted driving, and continue to text or call every day while driving.
A few weeks ago, I saw someone actually having their laptop sitting
across them and, surﬁng the web! The fact that distracted driving is
such a big issue makes me a very nervous driver and I still have not got-
ten my full licence because of the fears that I have on the road.”
Still, our drive to connect-and-drive is also hard-wired into us by sci-
ence. “Parents, teachers and professionals working with youth should
bear in mind that teenagers have a strong need to be socially connected
to their peers,” says De Castro. “Additionally, teens are more likely to
take risks than adults. Both of these facts can be attributed to teenage
brain development, in particular, the higher levels of reward neuro-
chemicals released when teens take risks and are connected to and
validated by their peers. In other words, teens are more hard-wired than
adults to use their cellular devices or be distracted by their friends who
are passengers while they are driving. They are very likely to take risks.”
What should we do, then, to stop distracted driving? First, it’s impor-
tant to acknowledge that distracted driving is a problem, and why it is
a problem. A number of Alberta organizations are trying to tackle the
issue head-on, including the Alberta Motor Association, which recently
launched a pledge against distracted driving. You can sign the pledge
online and, while there, check out some of the student-produced movies
made by Alberta teens about the issue.
De Castro says the AHS’ P.A.R.T.Y. Program is also targeting distracted
driving. “The program is delivered to [some] Grade 9 youth [in Alberta],
because many of them are just beginning to drive. It involves distracted
driving education, focusing speciﬁcally on texting and driving. Videos
and activities on this topic are geared toward educating youth about the
harsh and often fatal consequences of distracted driving. The concept of
switch-tasking is introduced, and the youth are informed that when we
say we are “multi-tasking” we are actually “switch-tasking,” which in the
context of texting and driving, is very likely to result in collisions resulting
in injury or fatality.”
One of the biggest issues
factoring into distracted driving
is the fact that we think we are
multi-tasking, when really we
are switch-tasking. At best, we
can shift our concentration from
one task to another, meaning
we’re switching our concentration rather than multi-tasking. For example,
while writing this, my concentration is shifting from Netﬂix to my word
processor and back again.
Do you ﬁnd yourself reaching for your phone on the road? The most
common and effective strategy to combat distracted driving, employed
by both Sasha Noval and Molly Brown, is to turn your phone on silent and
place it out of reach.
Another organization that De Castro suggests is Parachute Canada,
a national injury prevention organization formed in 2012 by bringing
together former injury prevention organizations, Safe Communities Cana-
da, Safe Kids Canada, SMARTRISK and ThinkFirst Canada.
Their “Project Gearshift” mission statement says that accidents among
teenagers and young adults are astronomically high compared to other
demographics, and that this issue needs to be addressed. Project Gear-
shift aims to bring people from all over Canada together on common
ground to address this pressing issue and advocate for a solution. There
are weekly community organized meetings, as well as a National Teen
Driver Safety Week in October.
In the end, the most important thing to remember is that no text or
phone call is worth more than your life – drive safe.
One in every ﬁve car accidents is at the hands of a distracted driver.
In 80 per cent of collisions, distracted driving is at least a factor.
When you use a mobile phone while in the driver’s seat, you are immedi-
ately four to six times more likely to become involved in a car accident.
Your chances of getting in a collision increase 23 times when you make
the choice to text and drive. –Stats from yourpledge.ca
TAKE THE PLEDGE
I’m sure you’ve received a text from a friend stuck in trafﬁc, or even
sent one to your signiﬁcant other to say “I’m almost there!” And we’ve
all seen those obnoxious “Just driving in my new car” selﬁes or “Look at
this crazy snowstorm I’m driving through” photos on Instagram.
On www.yourpledge.ca, you can pledge to avoid talking on a hand-
held phone, texting, emailing or Instagramming while driving.
“Teens are more hard-wired than
adults to use their cellular devices or
be distracted by their friends who are
passengers while they are driving.”
Grip_p22-23_Spring_14.indd 23 2014-05-14 9:37 AM
Social media is how we keep in
touch – but are we too connected?
Frequent use of these magical inventions has
led to increased drama in our lives, more anti-
social behaviour and increased sitting time.
By Ann Lee
n average day for me goes like this: wake up, check
Facebook, get ready for school. On the way to school, I check
my YouTube subscriptions (don’t worry, I don’t drive yet), and
in between classes, and whenever I have a spare moment, it’s off to
Facebook or Twitter for more. At home, if I’m not sleeping or doing
homework, I will go through Facebook once again and catch up on
Twitter or YouTube.
Does my day sound familiar to you? Maybe it’s the school and homework
part that rings a bell, but more than likely it’s my constant presence on social
networking sites. I am almost always checking up on my favourite
personalities. My dependence
on social networking is
ridiculous, even in my opinion.
What’s even more concerning is
how I feel when I forget my
phone at home – I will be on
edge all day. I will pace more
often, swing my legs and be more miserable than a penguin without ice. I’m
sure that many teens are sympathetic to my cause, since everywhere I look, I
see teens and adults with their eyes glued on their screens.
Psychological dependence on the Internet and apps is an increasing
trend affecting people of all ages. Frequent use of these magical
inventions has led to increased drama in our lives, more antisocial
behaviour and increased sitting time (which some say can lead to serious
health issues regardless of overall activity level).
There would be deﬁnite beneﬁts to reducing our use of social
networks, the Internet and applications like Candy Crush by 30 per cent.
On average, Canadians spend four hours and 30 minutes per day using
social networks – spending that time doing something else would come
chock-full of positive effects. If you were to enjoy the great outdoors,
paint, read a book or play with a pet, you could be happier, and it would
reduce eye strain that you may have from staring at a tiny screen for an
extended amount of time.
Some of my friends who have taken extended breaks from their gadgets
or reduced their time on them by up to 75 per cent have encouraged me to
do the same. They report that they have much more time now and have
also told me that they have an easier time sleeping. Those who bravely
went cold turkey on one or more forms of social networking claim they feel
less stressed now, and the
relationships they have with their
friends, family and signiﬁcant
others have improved
dramatically. Of course, every
action has drawbacks. Exercise
makes you sweaty. All-nighters
at a sleepover leave you exhausted. I am happy to report that those who
bravely gave up their electronic time didn’t have many negative effects to
disclose. You may feel nervous, a little bit stressed and agitated at ﬁrst, but
all that goes away after a short period of time, as long as you stick to your
goal. Besides that, you only have to worry about missing a few tweets and
Facebook posts, and the trade-off is a feeling of liberation.
For those who have gone completely Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter or
Tumblr-free, they said that they missed their addictions but don’t regret
their decision. Are you ready to take the plunge and call it quits? If you do
plan to leave some of your addictions in the dust, just remember: “What
doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Grip_p24-26_Spring_14.indd 24 2014-05-14 11:11 AM
n this day and age, it’s extremely difﬁcult to escape
Smartphones, tablets, consoles and computers pro-
vide everyone with all kinds of entertainment. So what
is it about board games that can still keep people enter-
tained despite all the different mediums we have today?
One answer is that they create and promote an awesome social set-
ting for you and your friends to enjoy each other’s company ofﬂine.
To help with what people call the “digital detox,” we’ve got
some awesome board games that everyone can enjoy:
Reviving the lost art
of board gaming
It’s All in the
By Danny Luong
Grip_p24-26_Spring_14.indd 25 2014-05-14 9:39 AM
SETTLERS OF CATAN – MAYFAIR GAMES – AGES 10 & UP
No board game list is complete without Settlers of Catan. Decep-
tively simple, easy to learn and addictive, Catan is a game that
anyone can get into. At its core it’s described as a ‘Euro’ board
game, which means that in Catan, you will be focusing on worker
placement to try and gather as many resources as possible. Catan
is best played with four players, and will have you and a group
of friends at each other’s throats to see who can collect the most
resources or build the fabled ‘longest road.’
RISK LEGACY – HASBRO – AGES 13 & UP
Who doesn’t love a good game of Risk? While many imitations
exist, Risk is the original war game and Legacy is its best iteration.
Legacy combines the best elements of the many variants of Risk
such as a fair and balanced reinforcement system as well as a card
exchange system that’s not inherently broken. With these features
alone, Legacy is a big improvement over the Risk board you have
at home, but here’s the catch: Risk Legacy changes as you play the
game. Win the game once? You get to name a city on the actual
board itself after yourself, or whatever else comes into your head
like “YOLOswag.” The entire board and armies included are custo-
misable by you and your friends after every match. Risk Legacy is
best played with four or ﬁve people who are dedicated to having an
awesome and ever-changing experience.
KING OF TOKYO – IELLO – AGES 8 & UP
With Godzilla out this summer, King of Tokyo is the perfect game
for people looking for big monsters to smash each other while roll-
ing lots and lots of dice. King of Tokyo was created by Richard Gar-
ﬁeld, the mastermind behind Magic: The Gathering, the card game
that is still going strong today. With a pedigree like that, King of
Tokyo is everything you need to break the ice with a new group of
friends, or to duke it out for supremacy with longtime rivals. King of
Tokyo is extremely fast-paced and very easy to pick up and learn.
Like every other board game, it’s best to smash Tokyo with at least
two other friends.
X-WING MINIATURES GAME – FANTASY FLIGHT
GAMES – AGES 14 & UP
Ever wanted to take command of your own squadron of Star Wars
space ﬁghters? If the answer to that is no, you’re on the wrong
page! The X-Wing Miniatures Game lets you duke it out for space
supremacy between the Empire and the Rebels by using various
different ships. The game comes packaged with two TIE Fighters
and one X-Wing Fighter with many additional ﬁghters available
like the B-Wing, TIE Interceptor and even the Millennium Falcon.
The rules are quite easy to learn but hard to master. You’ll need
a bit of space in order to vanquish the enemy’s ﬁghters in this
two-player board game!
Grip_p24-26_Spring_14.indd 26 2014-05-14 9:38 AM
ou’re staring dead-eyed at your computer screen, mouth
slightly ajar, your brain half-fried. You’ve been mindlessly click-
ing away at your computer, browsing Facebook and watching
YouTube videos for hours, starting a third cup of your favourite caffeinat-
ed beverage, hoping to stay awake so you can complete your homework
assignment or watch that funny video of a cat playing the piano. And
after you’re done all of that, after you’ve shut down the computer and
brushed your teeth and put on your pajamas and crawled into bed, you
realize how completely and utterly drained you are after a full day on the
computer. When you wake up, the ﬁrst thing you do is reach for your com-
puter, and start your zombie-like cycle all over again.
These are the symptoms of “Internet burnout.” You’ll start to notice that
you’re fatigued all the time, you’re angry and irritable, your grades are slow-
ly declining, you lose interest in hobbies and activities that you once loved.
You might also notice that your muscles start to hurt, you have eye strain
from staring at the computer for so long, and a massive headache.
I have grappled with Internet burnout. Since I am home-schooled,
I am constantly on the Internet, working on my courses and homework.
It used to be that when I was done with all that, I would sit for hours
browsing Facebook and watching YouTube videos. After a full day
Scroll... Scroll... Scroll...
Living online can burn you out. One teen shares
how she kicked the online fix
By Gabrielle McKinley
Grip_p27-28_Spring_14.indd 27 2014-05-14 9:40 AM
The Internet is adept at luring us into
its web by enticing, distracting and
entertaining while consuming vast
amounts of our time.
of non-stop Internet, I used to feel completely
drained. And I hardly ever went to bed early – it
was always somewhere around 2 a.m. when I fell
asleep to a video that was playing on my comput-
er. I was always so stiff and sore, because that’s
all I was doing – just sitting there. I gained weight,
my eyes were constantly sore from eyestrain and
I gradually lost my friends since I never hung
out with them anymore. I was a hermit with my
computer, living in a fool’s paradise. I never took
time to go for a walk or hang with my friends. I just
became completely consumed by the Internet.
Then one day, I just burnt out completely.
I knew I had to stop. I knew my love for the
Internet wasn’t healthy, that it was
going to take me nowhere good.
I lay in bed for a solid week, just
sleeping and regaining strength
and mental clarity that I didn’t have.
My mom took me to see a doctor,
who suggested what I already
knew: that I needed time off of the
Internet. And so I did what he said.
Well, almost. I only went online for school,
and that was it. My mom monitored me for a
while. And it was hard at ﬁrst, don’t get me
wrong. But it felt good to be in touch with
myself again. Eventually, I was allowed online
again, but only in 10-minute increments. And
ﬁnally, after what seemed like a lifetime, I
was allowed free will over my Internet usage,
although this time, I knew how to manage it.
I’m not alone in experiencing symptoms of
Internet burnout. It’s actually quite common
in a lot of teens. The Internet is an integral
part of the academic and personal lives of
teenagers, and excessive use can negatively
impact physical and emotional health, rela-
tionships and academics.
But why? Why do we feel the need to be on
the Internet 24/7?
‘The Internet is not only readily availa-
ble and accessible, but its use is essential
in schools as well,” says Deborah Walchuk,
a registered psychologist. “Instantaneous
accessibility to information and people, while
convenient, can also be stressful, as it creates
a sense of urgency with an expectation to
always be available and receive and respond
to messages, posts or notiﬁcations.”
I completely understand that. The Internet
is a pretty magical place. The quantity and
speed that information you can acquire is
amazing and overwhelming. The Internet is
adept at luring us into its web by enticing,
distracting and entertaining while consum-
ing vast amounts of our time.
“The Internet can be used also as a means
to escape problems, negative feelings or
avoid tasks that are boring or difﬁcult,” says
Walchuk. Don’t we all know that feeling? But
escaping constantly into the Internet can
“possibly develop into an unhealthy coping
mechanism,” she adds. “Many online sites
provide high levels of stimulation, pleasure
and immediate gratiﬁcation which may lead
to preoccupation, compulsive use. This is an
emerging issue with online gaming and some
social networking sites. While Internet addic-
tion is not a formal diagnosis, the term is used
to refer to problems emanating from overuse
of the Internet.”
But how can we cope with the Internet?
Is it possible to manage our usage and
maintain good grades and a social life at
the same time?
There are many ways to avoid Internet
burnout while still using the Internet and
hanging with friends.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS:
Know it all:
Walchuk encourages teens to estimate the
amount of time they think they currently spend
online. Then, spend a week tracking your use,
recording the amount of time you spend online,
when and where and how you access the
Internet, what websites you visit and for what
purpose. Then review your log and compare it
to your predictions and reﬂect upon the results.
Invite input from your friends and your family of
their perception of your Internet use.
Let’s be honest. Some of you probably aren’t
going to do all that, and that’s OK.
Start with the little things, like
taking a break. Writing a 1,000-
word essay and feeling tired? Go
outside for 10 minutes and sit in the
sunshine and breathe in the fresh
air. Experts say that stale air (air
that hasn’t been regularly circu-
lated in a closed room) may cause
headaches, so getting away every half an hour or
so from your computer to go outside and breathe
in some fresh air can leave you feeling happier
Ask for help:
Parental supervision and monitoring can provide
external limits. So the next time you go on your
computer, ask your mom to set a time limit and
kick your butt off in 30 minutes, or set up your
own time limit on your computer, which you can
access through your settings.
And I know it’s really hard to do sometimes,
but try and not stray or click on distractions
when you use the computer for a clear purpose,
like school. Software like SelfControl can help
you block certain websites from use for a set
period of time. If you get all of your stuff done,
then you can browse Facebook for ﬁve.
This all may seem like a huge leap, and that’s
OK! If you don’t want to do a complete 360 of
your lifestyle like I did, then I encourage you
to take baby steps. Start by setting yourself a
half an hour break from the Internet, or taking a
10-minute break to read a book or go outside. Tell
yourself to literally “Get a life!” whenever you
think that your current life is getting consumed
by the Internet. Call up a friend, take your dog for
a walk and enjoy the little things.
Grip_p27-28_Spring_14.indd 28 2014-05-14 9:40 AM
Some of us thrive when we are on the go.
Can you do it all without doing yourself in?
By Erin Emily Ann Vance
Grip_p29-31_Spring_14.indd 29 2014-05-14 9:40 AM
y entire life, I’ve taken on a plentitude of side
projects. I started a class newspaper on top of running for
student council, being on the lacrosse team, ﬁgure skat-
ing competitively and being in the chess club when I was only in the
sixth grade. Now, almost eight years later, I divide my time between
two demanding jobs, a fuller-than-full course load, several regular
volunteering projects, a steady boyfriend, a jewelry business, a writing
group, blogging and a hopeless addiction to Netﬂix. I don’t feel like I’m
doing enough until each day of my calendar is ﬁlled with at least one
obligation, colour-coded to which area of my life it belongs in: work,
school, volunteering, creative projects, family obligations and social life
(pink, yellow, blue, purple, orange and red).
In high school, there is a lot of pressure to get good grades, do well on
your exams, volunteer, have some extracurricular activities to use on col-
lege applications, hold down a part-time job, get a boyfriend (or girlfriend)
to take you to prom and have a bunch of friends to take enough selﬁes
with to plaster your future dorm room. The pressure is on. When I was in
my ﬁnal year of high school I literally made myself sick with stress. I spent
hours in the hospital, and I vomited during my French diploma exam, all
because I didn’t know how to handle stress properly. Now I can offer some
insight, with the help of an expert, into managing stress and anxiety.
“One in four adolescents identify that anxiety interferes with their sense
of well-being,” says Katherine Jarrell, a clinical consultant, and learning
strategies instructor at Mount Royal University. “The rates of diagnosed
anxiety disorders are rising, and professionals are attributing the rise to
more than just better awareness and screening for mental health disor-
ders.” According to Jarrell, the rise is related to distraction: “As a society,
we are increasingly being deluged by a barrage of stimulus in our environ-
ments. [These] prompt our primitive brains to go into ‘high alert’ and trig-
ger the body’s stress response … This keeps us in a stressed-out state and
interferes with our learning and sense of well-being,” she says.
It’s not hopeless, though. “The good news is that we can retrain our
brains to respond in ways that are healthier and serve us better,” says
Jarrell. Some of her strategies for teens are below:
• Practise realistic self-talk and problem-solving. Ask yourself if there
is any evidence for your anxieties, and consider what you might do
to change the situation.
• Practise mindfulness exercises to “be here now” instead of worrying
about the future (exercises like deep breathing, progressive relaxa-
tion, meditation and yoga can be really helpful).
• Use techniques for exam stress and anxiety, including emotional
freedom technique or tapping (there are YouTube videos to learn
about how to do this).
• Practise good sleep habits, like having a regular routine and keeping
electronic devices out of the bedroom.
• Exercise! Physical activity helps regulate our stress hormones, rais-
es our dopamine levels and teaches us that our behaviour matters!
These tips are invaluable to high school students, but they go far
beyond diploma prep: “It’s wise to develop good time management hab-
its in high school because this is even more challenging in post-second-
ary education, when students have to plan out their time and manage
completing large assignments more independently,” says Jarrell.
I would be lost without to-do lists. When you’re taking classes,
learning to live on your own, volunteering, working and trying to
maintain a social life, prioritization is key: Jarrell suggests the ABC
method of prioritization.
“Mark an A beside tasks that need doing right away and are most
important, and B for those that are still important and can wait a
while. C is for those little tasks that are of little importance. We all
know that we need to begin on the A tasks; however many students
suffer from ‘C Fever’ which means busying themselves with tasks that
are distracting and not as important.” I think anyone who has ever
taken time out of their day to write a to-do list is guilty of this. It’s so
tempting to put things like “paint nails,” “ﬂoss,” “clean under the bed,”
“call Grandma” and “clean out Facebook friends” on your list along
with “term paper on the industrial revolution” and “study for French
diploma,” just to feel a sense of accomplishment.
Grip_p29-31_Spring_14.indd 30 2014-05-14 9:40 AM
“In the end you need to focus
on being the best person you can
be in order to perform well in school
and live life to the fullest.”
“Sometimes we overestimate the degree or difﬁculty of a task, so we
avoid it. The problem with this strategy, besides it not getting done, is
that our anxiety levels rise and we worry, not even enjoying the other
activities we do to distract ourselves.” Have you ever binge-watched
something on Netﬂix, or beaten a video game, unable to enjoy that time
to yourself because your stomach is slowly inching towards the ﬂoor,
dreading the moment of realization that your paper is due in less than
24 hours? I deﬁnitely have.
“Another common reason for procrastinating is having perfectionist
tendencies. We think ‘I can’t do this perfectly,’ so freeze and have trou-
ble beginning a task.” Have you ever built up a vision for a project or a
paper that seemed so amazing and unique and worthy of an A++ that
you couldn’t even get the title down? Jarrell, thankfully, has some strat-
egies for tuning out our inner perfectionists.
• Aim to realistically plan your
time, by knowing yourself
well and setting yourself up
• Know if you work better in the
morning or late evening, and plan
the most challenging tasks ﬁrst.
• If you have trouble beginning
assignments, trick yourself into
beginning. Just start writing any ideas down on the page, for example,
or make a deal with yourself to write non-stop for 10 minutes without
editing your work, so that you have overcome the barrier of beginning.
• If you underestimate the time required for things, begin doubling
the time and noting carefully what time is actually required, to
adjust your plans in the future accordingly.
• Be honest with yourself. If your self-talk goes something like “I’ll have
more time tomorrow” or “I’ll feel like it more later,” chances are this is
not true. Look to use small amounts of time effectively, by starting on
bigger tasks, and breaking big tasks into manageable chunks.
• Plan fun stress-reducing activities that recharge your batteries, like
getting together with friends or watching your favourite TV show.
If you follow through with your plan of doing some schoolwork, then
watching TV after, you will really enjoy it a lot more.
• Recognize that we are not actually very good multi-taskers. It’s better
to study or work on a project in a quiet, designated space without music
or television or Facebook to distract us. We can turn off our devices and
text notiﬁcation signal and focus on the task at hand, then plan breaks
to catch up on messages.
• When professional athletes are in a slump they sometimes “go dark,”
which means they unplug from social media for a time to recalibrate
themselves. This is a very good strategy for students as well, to lessen
our distraction and to focus on our goals.
• Try focusing on three positives for every one negative thought we
have. This doesn’t mean we don’t recognize negative information.
However, we can ﬁlter the
onslaught of information to focus
on stuff that is meaningful to us,
and that can prompt us to act
towards achieving our goals.
What I’ve learned, after strug-
gling with procrastination, distrac-
tion, and anxiety is that there is
never a “right time” or a “right mood” to complete a task. You either ﬁnish it,
or you don’t. Still, we’re only human, so above everything, be kind to yourself,
and look after yourself. In the end you need to focus on being the best person
you can be in order to perform well in school and live life to the fullest. You’re
not going to do well on an exam if you’re so overwhelmed that you’re pulling
your hair out and crying on the ﬂoor. You won’t do well on a paper if you make
yourself sick with stress and spend the day before in urgent care. But if you
ﬁnd a balance between the things you love, the people you love, and all of the
things you need to do in order to succeed, you will ﬁnd happiness and accom-
plish everything you set out to, while staying away from major anxiety.
Grip_p29-31_Spring_14.indd 31 2014-05-14 9:40 AM
HER OPINION: “BAD.”
It’s just a distraction:
We as teens have been gifted with the biggest
distraction ever brought to humanity: technology.
I would not say that electronics themselves bring
on the problem but the content in the device does.
Over time, we have updated the old models and
brought forth new applications (apps) and just a
bundle of useless things that we don’t really need.
For example, an app that recently came out is the
Hot or Not App. This is where you basically rate a
person on their “hotness.” Obviously, this makes
people feel insecure and causes our feelings to
distract us. People are so busy trying to make
themselves look presentable and have the high-
est rating, when really they shouldn’t be caring
what other people think. Especially since they
don’t even know most of the people who
are rating them.
When our minds are always on our electronics,
we start to neglect other aspects of our lives that
need a good amount of attention and concen-
tration. For instance, if we’re distracted by what
someone said online, we might ﬁnd it hard to
focus at school. This also brings a failure to focus
on things like our homework. Not only can it harm
your academic life but also your social life. You
might think that since you’re texting a bunch of
people that you are socially well balanced, but
this isn’t true. You are just socially active. During
this time, you might not notice that some of your
relationships are dwindling. Tech just ends up
consuming time unnecessarily and hurting your
chances of doing well in things that actually
Honestly, it probably would not be that
hard to reduce the impact of technology if
we all just made an effort. We can easily
ﬁll up empty spaces where we might be
tempted to surf the web or scroll on our
phones with activities outside of electron-
ics, like playing sports or doing a hobby.
Finding the willpower to shut down your
device is quite hard (I know from experience),
but it can be done. It’s never bad to ask
someone to help in keeping you account-
able, and if you really want to ﬁght for your own
well-being, your perseverance will probably end
up overpowering your distraction.
I actually think that it’s possible for us as teens
to resist the distractions that come with tech-
nology. We have let ourselves fall into the void of
mindlessly wasting our time away in front of a
screen and, with effort, we can also pull ourselves
back up and have balanced lives. I actually really
appreciate what electronics have to offer now-
adays and ﬁnd all the updated activities put on
them quite enjoyable. But I do have to make
sure I watch myself and not let myself be
dragged down to the point where my only
priority is messing around on my devices.
With perseverance, this can be done.
When our minds are
always on our electronics,
we start to neglect other
aspects of our lives that need
a good amount of attention
She Said She Said
By Adoofan Tor-Agbidye
Two Grip contributors go
head-to-head, over whether
technology is a distraction,
or a social connection.
Grip_p32-33_Spring_14.indd 32 2014-05-14 9:41 AM
HER OPINION: “GOOD.”
It connects us to the world around us:
During the last hundred years, new technology
has been popping up like ﬂowers in springtime.
Our generation has grown up with video games,
Internet and social networks, and many of us,
including myself, have also become extremely
dependent on these innovations. There is good
reason for this; if you need information for a
project, you can Google it. Do you want to catch
up with your friend’s life? All you have to do is
browse their Facebook page for a few minutes.
When you are bored, you can explore YouTube,
Snapchat some amusing selﬁes, or team up
with someone over the Internet to defeat a
villain in a video game. Technology offers
us access to more information than you
would ﬁnd in your local library, assistance
in connecting with friends and family,
entertainment and can be a
In my opinion, technology is no more
a distraction than other things in every-
day life, like new novels, social events and
siblings. Before computers, people had plenty
of distractions, too. Instead of focusing on
homework, cleaning one’s room, or menial tasks
at work, the attention spans of “old-timers” were
diverted by sporting events, dedication to their
celebrity crush, and new ﬁlms. Of course, these
interferences are still around today, and the
smartphones, laptops and video game systems
just add to the list, but these electronics are
not to blame for decreased productivity, espe-
cially in youth. Loss of concentration is really
just mind over matter anyway. Whenever we
pause a homework session to keep up with the
Kardashians or put down the broom to watch
kittens bat around a ball of yarn, we shouldn’t
point ﬁngers at Netﬂix or the Internet.
Other distractions, for instance good
weather, can also beckon when you are working
There is deﬁnitely a way to utilize all these wonderful
tools available to our world without them becoming a
distraction. The best way to avoid the distraction is by
building up our willpower and owning up to the excuses.
through an important or tedious task.
The age of information that we live in is most
deﬁnitely thanks to the invention of telephones,
the ’net and social media, and that is what I
believe to be their most positive effect. There
are forums discussing the ethics of animal test-
ing, several YouTubers creating how-to videos
and blogs that are dedicated to articles about
childcare, writing techniques and education of
important topics often considered risqué, such
as gender orientation. The Internet allows peo-
ple to gain uncommon knowledge that may not
be otherwise available because it makes people
feel uncomfortable, or it may just be something
that most individuals wonder about or are una-
ware of. Best of all, all of this is readily available
at all hours of the day, and can be easily found
There is deﬁnitely a way to utilize all these
wonderful tools available to our world without
them becoming a distraction. The best way to
avoid the distraction is by building up our will-
power and owning up to the excuses.
Some audiobooks, music and podcasts can
help keep you motivated when you feel like
you’re ready to crack, and may give you tools
to reduce distraction.
It’s time we stop acting like we have less self-
control than a dog, and stop making excuses.
She Said She Said
“Technology plays a huge
role in our lives – is this
for good or bad?”
By Ann Lee
Grip_p32-33_Spring_14.indd 33 2014-05-15 2:11 PM
f you’re looking to uncover the origin story of Alberta band
Jesse and the Dandelions, the (slightly embellished) legend of
how the group came into existence takes the form of a strikingly
illustrated comic book that can be found on the band’s website. But for
band leader Jesse Northey, the story of his musical journey starts with
ﬁgure skating and a desire to be cool.
“I used to be a ﬁgure skater back in the day, and I used to get made fun
of and beaten up for it. That was partially why I started playing music,”
Northey says. “I was in Grade 7 at the time and I lived in Fernie, B.C., and it
was just more socially acceptable for me to start playing guitar.”
Jesse and his family made the move from Fernie to Lethbridge, Alberta,
when he was in Grade 10. It was in Lethbridge where Jesse met friend
and fellow Dandelion bandmate Nick Verdes. The two began making
music together when an invitation to play a show presented itself and
Jesse and Nick were forced to recruit bandmates quickly. So they had
a band but didn’t have a name. The band was bouncing around some
potential names but nothing was sticking. Jesse gave the rest of the
band an ultimatum: they had a day to come up with a name or they
would be labelled as Jesse and the Dandelions. Nobody put forth a
suggestion and the band name stuck.
Despite the mellow melodies the band puts out, Northey says it was
heavy metal musicians Metallica that ﬁrst inﬂuenced his playing style.
“When I [started] playing guitar, I thought ‘I need to get really good at
guitar really fast. What band should I listen to?’ I guess Metallica was a
good place to start so when I was younger, I listened to a lot of their stuff,”
Northey says. “Now my music is extremely far removed from it, but other
bands that inﬂuenced me growing up were bands like The Shins, Death
Cab for Cutie and Modest Mouse.”
Although a smaller town when compared to Edmonton, Northey
explains that Lethbridge was a welcoming town for a young performer
to be in. The band initially found support from
campus radio station CKXU and quickly started
playing fundraising shows around town – which
was a great way to gain exposure in playing
music live and raising the band’s proﬁle. In
addition, Northey explains that two main
venues, The Slice and The Owl, are staples of
the live music scene in Lethbridge. With bands
playing almost every night, it’s a wonderful way
for local bands to hone their skills.
The band’s latest album, A Mutual
Understanding, contains songs with blissful
lyrics about small town life – a sentiment that
Northey wanted to convey. “A lot of what I
wanted to put in that album is that I’m proud of
that city and there’s a lot that you can get from
it. It treated me really well while I was there.”
Around six months ago, Northey made the
jump from Lethbridge to Edmonton. But the
rest of the Dandelions didn’t make the move
with him. It has turned the Dandelions into a
ﬂexible, open band with some members living in
Edmonton and others in southern Alberta.
“I write most of the songs and I come up with
most of the parts,” Northey explains. “So what
I’ll do is that I’ll make a demo of the song, record
all the parts and then give it to the band. None
of the other members moved up to Edmonton
when I moved. There’s one guy in Calgary
named Tyler, who plays bass with us when he
Grip_p34-35_Spring_14.indd 34 2014-05-14 9:41 AM
can, but I also have a guy here who plays bass.
So I have some Edmonton people playing with
Northey is the chief songwriter for the
Dandelions, and he points out the songwriting
process can take many forms. Sometimes it
comes easy and, at other times, it can be a
struggle to just to write a riff. Northey explains
that he always looks at the full picture when it
comes to writing songs. He’s constantly thinking
about the different layers of the song – how each
instrument will accompany each other and how
the song will be recorded and mixed.
When it comes to penning the lyrics, “I’m
trying to hold myself to a higher standard,”
Northey says. “Let’s not use words like ‘love’ or
‘heart’ because they’re cheap. It’s an easy way
out when I can be challenging myself to write
songs about being in the desert and wanting a
glass of water, for example.
“A friend and I did this songwriting challenge
where we picked a random movie from iTunes,
and the name of the movie was going to be the
name of the song. Then we got a word generator
to pick 10 random words, and we had to use
those 10 words in our song,” he adds.
It can seem like an incredibly daunting task
for a beginner to pick up an instrument, start
a band and play shows. But Northey explains
that no matter what your situation is, everybody
has the opportunity to go out and make music.
Money and experience should not be seen as
“People have all the resources they need
to go out and make good music. It doesn’t
have to cost a lot of money,” Northey says.
“In that sense, I really think that people
should keep the bar high but also not to get
discouraged by the fact that maybe you don’t
have the gear you need or you think you don’t
have enough experience. You can take your
time with an album.” P
Grip_p34-35_Spring_14.indd 35 2014-05-14 9:41 AM
Sheliza Kassam cuts into a cake prepared for kids
who otherwise might not have a bir thday par ty.
Grip_p36-39_Spring_14.indd 36 2014-05-14 9:57 AM
sent off to developing countries where people
Only a year later, when she was 12, Sheliza
had an allergic reaction to her birthday cake.
The negative experience had her complain-
ing to her parents – that is, until they sat her
down and explained to her (while she was
still Benadryl-induced) that she was fortunate
enough to even have a birthday cake, and that
some people weren’t able to celebrate their
birthdays. “At that point I decided that, for my
13th birthday, I would use the money I got to
feed people breakfast at the homeless shelter,”
she says. Soon, she was hooked on helping
others, and started researching more ways to
Sheliza decided that for her “Sweet 16” party,
she would try and think of something to really
make a difference. One night, at around three
in the morning, the idea for Children’s Birthday
Miracles (CBM) came to her. She contacted
Inn from the Cold, a local homeless shelter, to
discuss her idea, and eventually it morphed into
a charity that now brings birthday parties to
children around the world.
Sairose Kassam, Sheliza’s mom, volunteered
a lot as a kid, and it played an important role in
her life, so seeing Sheliza take an active interest
in helping others was very uplifting.
Now those birthday
parties are held once
a month in Calgary.
Along the way, Sheliza
has garnered the help
of many – including
donated $35,000 to
send 200 teens to Calaway Park for an all-ex-
pense paid birthday party. Many of these
recipients were autistic children who can’t nor-
mally go to Calaway Park, because of crowds
and noise. The charity has also worked with
McDonalds Canada (whose founder Sheliza met
at the Canadian Business Hall of Fame), which
donated money and four boxes of Happy Meal
toys. Sheliza also raises funds by speaking at
events, where she often meets impressive peo-
ple, like Prime Minster Stephen Harper.
Sheliza’s life isn’t just about her charities,
though. “I’d describe myself as a fairly organized
Sheliza is sometimes forced to
choose between her hobbies and
work, but she says at the end of the
day, it’s always a choice of what
matters most in the moment.
She’s out to make sure that kids
everywhere get a birthday party
By Jessica Highstead
or most of us, volunteering is an easy
and awesome way to help out in the
community. But for Sheliza Kassam,
helping out means more than just shovelling
walkways and weeding ﬂowerbeds. For the
last several years, doing her part equates to
doing whatever she can – even helping out in
four other countries.
At just 17 years old, Sheliza has been at the
helm of two very successful charities – all
while attending school and becoming a leader
in her community. Now in her senior year of
high school, life for Sheliza is ﬁlled with events
and school, travelling and meetings, dancing
and parties. Sheliza’s taking it all in stride,
though, and raising the bar for everyone in
Sheliza ﬁrst realized that she could help
other people when she was very young. She
was diagnosed with astigmatism and she
needed glasses, but her family wasn’t able to
afford the glasses she needed. “Once we were
able to afford the glasses, I realized how hard
it was for others to afford them, too,” she says.
She immediately got to work, setting up Sight
Night boxes around the city. At 11 years old,
she was visiting funeral homes and local busi-
nesses, collecting donated eyeglasses (she’s
collected 2,800 pairs to date), which would be
Grip_p36-39_Spring_14.indd 37 2014-05-15 2:11 PM
Children’s Bir thday Miracles volunteers help
decorate school buses for one of the charity’s
monthly bir thday par ties.
Grip_p36-39_Spring_14.indd 38 2014-05-14 9:42 AM
would have meant sticking with the status
quo, and therefore never starting CBM.
Sheliza has been accepted at the University
of Waterloo, for its mathematics and charter
program, which she’ll enter this fall. She’s
even managed to graduate early so she has
more time for her charities.
Sheliza’s plans for the
future include becoming a
CA, travelling internation-
ally and helping start new
companies. She wants to
be able to get more youths
involved with creating and
managing their own charities. Her family
would also like to be able to set up CBM
“It’s been a really great journey, with a lot
of opportunities,” she says. Sheliza believes
you’re never too young to make a difference,
and that you shouldn’t let other discourage
your dreams. Even if you fail, there’s always
success in failure.
Children’s Birthday Miracles is looking for
supporters every step of the way, from people
to volunteer, set up their own parties or donate
money, gifts and other needed items.
Their website is www.childrensbirth-
daymiracles.com and you can ﬁnd them on
Facebook at Children’s Birthday Miracles
person,” she says, but that’s probably an under-
statement. She also happens to have a variety
of hobbies, including Bollywood dancing,
which she says is her “number one passion in
life.” She also enjoys writing poetry and singing.
With her hectic schedule (charity events,
school and travelling), Sheliza is sometimes
forced to choose between her hobbies and
work, but she says at the end of the day,
it’s always a choice of what matters most in
It only seems natural, then, that Sheliza
would become involved in politics. Last year
she was selected to be part of Calgary’s Mayor’s
Youth Council, and she was active at the city’s
Youth Central, an organization that promotes
youth leadership in Calgary. Becoming a part
of Youth Central means taking initiative and
looking for ways to contribute, both traits that
Sheliza has mastered. Youth Central is a step-
ping stone into the “real world.” Its participants
are given countless opportunities to meet with
people and get an insider look into the business
world. Often people who join Youth Central are
participants for life.
The head of Youth Central, Ros Doi, says
Sheliza is always very committed and takes
a leadership role wherever she can. Doi also
describes Sheliza as a very fun and open person.
With CBM now operating in seven different
cities, it’s hard to stay on top of it all. That’s why
she has other people to help her out in each
city. Even still, earlier this April, Sheliza and her
mother left for Africa so they could go and over-
see their upcoming birthday parties in Kenya
and Tanzania. Their trip is about more than just
presents and parties though – a lot of the things
they’re bringing are going to be products that
are vital to health and comfort, but aren’t as
easily accessible at orphanages.
Sheliza says one of the best parts about
running CMB is the Party it Forword program,
which encourages other children to donate their
presents and money to a less fortunate child.
Just like the rest of us, Sheliza still has to
go to high school – she graduates this year.
Sometimes, she has to miss school for events,
meetings and travel, but she has found it easy
to catch up. Still, high school hasn’t been with-
out challenges – she found it difﬁcult to tran-
sition between middle school and senior high,
and she was forced to remove some clubs from
her rigorous schedule. Despite the challenge,
Sheliza wasn’t sure if staying at her old school
Sheliza believes you’re never
too young to make a difference,
and that you shouldn’t let others
discourage your dreams.
Grip_p36-39_Spring_14.indd 39 2014-05-14 9:42 AM
Grip_p40-41_Spring_14.indd 40 2014-05-14 9:46 AM
echnology is everywhere.
Whether it’s our cellphones, comput-
ers, televisions, tablets or any other
source of electronics, technology is a humungous
part of our day-to-day lives. As a 15-year-old girl
living in the 21st century, I fully admit that I have
become somewhat dependent on technology.
When I was asked to take the ever-intriguing
challenge of giving up my beloved technology for
a whole day, I just couldn’t refuse. On Tuesday,
March 25, 2014, I put away all my electronics and
vowed not to use them – any of them – all day. Little
did I know how difﬁcult that task would become.
My morning wasn’t too hard, despite a late
wake-up call. I woke up late because I asked my
mom to be my alarm, instead of my phone. That,
however, was only one of the many difﬁculties
I would face throughout the day. Heading to
school was easy, if a little boring and silent with-
out the music from my iPod blasting. My CTS and
P.E. classes were a breeze, but English was a chal-
lenge considering we had to work on our comput-
ers. I had to break the rule and use the computer
for a total of 10 minutes. Those 10 minutes would
have been much longer on any other given day, but
I tried to do only what was vital on the computer.
I had to adapt to my situation, since I didn’t want
to have to explain why I couldn’t use technology
to my teachers, and I did the best I could. Lunch
was extremely perplexing, though. I always play
games on my phone during lunch. The hardest
part was seeing everyone else on their phone and
not being able to be on mine. It gave me a new
perspective though, by showing me just how
dependent we really are on our phones.
During Math class, I can’t use any technology
anyway, so that was a piece of cake. But my last
class of the day, Forensics, includes computers
as well. I used the computers there for a bit
longer than in English, and for 35 minutes I typed
incredibly fast to ﬁnish my presentation, and got
my partner Rhiann to do most of the research.
Later, when I arrived home, I ﬁnished my
homework right away instead of procrastinating
(like usual) as a way of putting off the inevitable
boredom-by-homework. Instead of going on Ins-
tagram or watching Netﬂix, I found other things,
like playing with my dog Trixxie and writing short
stories to ﬁll up my evening. I even made supper,
which if you know me is a huge feat considering
I am usually too busy watching Buffy the Vampire
Slayer. I actually had a great evening, even though
I couldn’t use any technology.
Going without technology for a whole day
taught me so much: I depend so much on my tab-
let to entertain me, computers have replaced good
ol’ pen and paper in my life, and I check the time
on my phone way too many times throughout the
day. I love my phone so very much; it is my pride
and joy which I use all throughout the day to play
games, check my email, post to Instagram, or
watch YouTube. Sadly enough, I probably spend
at least three hours of my day on my phone and
I know that doesn’t sound too bad, but consider-
ing I also have a computer which I spend about
four hours a day on, and a tablet which I spend
about six hours a day on, combining all three
electronic devices together adds up to a whop-
ping 13 hours a day spent on technology. Some of
those hours are a combination of all three devices,
so the total is more like eight hours, but eight is
still a fair chunk of my day spent doing virtually
nothing. When I was younger I spent most of my
free time outside or playing a sport, but now that
I am older all I seem to do is go on my electronics.
I know now how truly sad that is, and I vow to
change my ways, to start spending more time
outside and less time inside on my phone.
I learned so much during my day with no tech.
I learned that people need to realize that there are
more entertaining things to do than sit alone in
your room playing Flappy Bird. The outside world
is pretty cheery and wonderful beyond one’s own
phone screen. Conversations are even better in
person. Food tastes even better than it looks on
Pinterest. Everything really is better in person
than it looks on a screen. The most important
thing I learned is that the majority of negativity
and conﬂict in my life is based around technology.
People are so much crueller behind a tiny
screen. I learned that the hard way, that night
when I turned my phone on for the ﬁrst time to
set my alarm for the next day. I was surprised
and quite happy to see how many missed mes-
sages I had. That is, until I realized how many of
them contained rude, awful things. One of my
friends, who I thought wasn’t mad at me anymore,
sent over ﬁve mean, crude, hateful messages to
me, things she would never say to my face, but
through technology she said them despite how
they would make me feel. Since then I have used
technology less and less, and I have found my life
to be much happier. Less distraction and hate ﬁll
my day. What my day without technology has
taught me is that even though living in the 21st
century gives us great advantages like being able
to text anyone in the world on our cellphones, it
also gives us great disadvantages like cyberbul-
lying. With that being said, I challenge you to go
one day without technology and see if it changes
your perspective like it did mine.
By Tiffany Diack
Our intrepid reporter goes cold turkey for a day without tech
Grip_p40-41_Spring_14.indd 41 2014-05-14 9:46 AM
Grip_p42-43_Spring_14.indd 42 2014-05-14 9:47 AM
n August 2013, I sent a text to those closest to me, telling
them that I was being admitted to a mental health facility. I didn’t
know when I would get out, what was wrong with me, or when I
would be able to speak with them again. Then I looked at my Facebook
for what I thought would be the last time in a very, very, long time. I didn’t
announce my hospital stay in a status update – I didn’t want anyone to
know how “crazy” I was.
That month, I had experienced a psychotic break. I wanted to hurt myself
and others. I ﬁgured this was my “point of no return.” If I wanted to end up
dead, all I had to do was keep my mouth
shut and make a plan. On the other
hand, if even the most inﬁnitesimal part
of me wanted to live, I would need to
tell someone. I knew, in my heart, that I
wanted to live – and I also knew that I
needed to be institutionalized.
My ﬁrst step was to visit a mental health worker at the Lacombe Hos-
pital. I sat down with her, explained how chaotic and crazy I felt, and she
acknowledged that something was wrong. She referred me to a doctor, who
agreed with both of us. I was given a certiﬁcate, which meant I was the
property of the province for 24 hours, and told that I could get to the hospital
via ambulance or my mother’s car. I went with my mom.
When you are ﬁrst admitted to the Centennial Centre for Mental Health
and Brain Injury, you are placed on the highest “code” in the adult psych
ward. This means that you are not allowed any “privileges” – otherwise
known as “privs.” The nurses on unit take away all of your belongings and
give you some pajamas to wear. Depending on the time of day, you will be
interviewed before you’re allowed onto the unit. Either way, you’re com-
pletely cut off from the outside world. No music, no books, no hairbrush –
and no phone. I was really glad I’d sent that “goodbye” text.
Phones are prized possessions in the hospital. They’re one of the most-
sought after privs, and one of the ﬁrst ones to go if you mess up. Phones are
only allowed off-unit, and you can’t use them in classes or therapy sessions.
The rules designate that you must sign your phone in and out with a nurse
at the front desk before leaving the unit. People tried to sneak their phones
in and out, but I never saw anyone get away with it. It’s not the actual tele-
phone calls that draw people in, and it’s not the games or the apps, either.
It’s the social media. It’s texting and Facebook. It’s the opportunity to con-
nect with the outside world, on your own terms.
I wasn’t banned from that outside world as long as I expected to be. Since
I wasn’t a physical threat to anyone, my code was downgraded and I was
allowed off-unit without supervision for short periods of time. The ﬁrst time
I went online during my treatment, I didn’t check my e-mail or any other
“You don’t always need to be
“Liked” or “Followed,” and you
don’t need to create an alternate
reality for yourself.”
websites. All I wanted was to see what was happening on Facebook.
I was shocked by how mad I felt. How dare the world continue without me?
I thought. How dare my friends laugh and joke like nothing bad has hap-
pened? Of course, none of them knew that anything bad had happened.
The worst part about that ﬁrst login was talking to my sister. I felt she
had betrayed me before I was admitted to the hospital, so I went into the
conversation very angry. I remember that I wanted to jump through the com-
puter screen and throttle her. I tried to make her feel as terrible about herself
before logging off. I didn’t want to talk to anyone else online after that.
Thankfully, the Centre gave me the
help I needed. Daily group therapy really
helped, as did my diagnosis. I ﬁnally
knew what was “wrong” with me. I have
traits associated with Borderline Person-
ality Disorder, which essentially means I
feel too much. At the time, I had no cop-
ing strategies to deal with all those emotions, but I was learning.
As I was allowed off-unit for longer periods of time, I used my phone a
bit more. As time passed, I didn’t feel such overwhelming anger when I
went online. Instead, I became keenly aware of what I was saying. I became
aware of the way I had used social media to self-sabotage and hide. I could
be whatever I wanted to be online, good or bad. Back then, I had simultane-
ously wanted to be forgotten, and the centre of attention.
I also kept an eye on the other patients. It became obvious that social
media pushed them back toward bad habits, toxic relationships, and painful
memories. They would sit in therapy stewing over a Facebook post by their
ex, or a text from their parents, and let these things dictate their emotions. I
had seen that in myself too many times. I had been letting the virtual world
dictate my reality.
I decided not to bring that negativity into my life any more. I deleted the
people and messages that I knew weren’t good for me. I made a promise to
myself: social media would no longer manipulate my reality. It would be a
place for me to share positive things, and keep up with the people in my life
who made me truly happy.
While being at the Centennial Centre was a life-changing experience,
one of the most practical things that I learned was to let go of social media.
Let go of the distraction, give up the addiction. You don’t always need to
be “Liked” or “Followed,” and you don’t need to create an alternate reality
The weeks I spent in there were some of the longest, hardest weeks of
my life. But I emerged a healthier person. And when I got out of the hospital,
I didn’t text people – I called them, or visited them in person. Because social
media is fun, but it sure doesn’t beat a good hug from an old friend.
By J.M.M. Lewis
After forcing herself to check into a hospital,
one teen sees how her phone – and social media –
had been dictating her mood
Grip_p42-43_Spring_14.indd 43 2014-05-15 2:12 PM
communicating with friends and family abroad. Ingrid Ulrich, a high school
student in Calgary, thinks that, “In the case of long-distance relationships
or friendships, it is the only way that they are successful.” As I grow up, it
becomes more difﬁcult to keep in touch with everyone I like, and at times
the only news one will hear from friends is sent in an e-mail or a Facebook
message. As an adult, the chance of meeting in person with one’s friends
becomes more complicated as they begin moving out of the city, province or
even the country. Social media outlets like Facebook, GChat and Twitter allow
friends to witness each other’s growth and milestones from miles away.
Still, if used improperly, or relied on too heavily, social media presents a
force to be reckoned with. Many sites allow users to remain anonymous, so
it becomes easy to detach from what you say online. Anonymous messaging
disconnects the user from the repercussions of negative behaviour. It is all
too easy to forget that any information, comments or messages sent via
the Internet are no longer private matters and that the Internet is forever.
Cyberbullying is a prevalent issue in today’s culture, and this bullying isn’t
always between two strangers. It can also inﬁltrate friendships in the form
of negative messages, which a person would never have the courage to
say to a friend in person. Without being able to see how the comments
are affecting their friend, it becomes easy to ignore your actions. At times,
something as simple as a statement of opinion on social media sites can
turn into heated debates between friends. While it is healthy to express
By Louise Fournier
ichaela Olsakova immigrated
to Canada from Slovakia with
her family in 2002, and since
then her connection to her home
country comes almost entirely through Skype.
“It’s the only reason I have a relationship with
my extended family, and can actually say that I
‘know’ them,” she says. So often we hear about
how social media is damaging our relationships,
but as time goes on it has become apparent that
our relationships are also thriving where they may
have ﬁzzled out, and that’s thanks to technology.
In an age when media and the Internet
penetrates every area of one’s life, it is hard
to completely grasp the effect this new and
improving technology has on one’s interactions
with other human beings. If used correctly, the
evolving technology can create a bridge between
countries and continents. Without the pathway of
social media, these residents would be cut off from
their relatives. Of course we should use care with
social media, but it can provide a good means for
These days, our friends live anywhere and everywhere.
How has the Internet changed our relationships?
Grip_p44-45_Spring_14.indd 44 2014-05-14 11:10 AM
your perspective, sometimes people can get out
of hand and end up becoming condescending
or rude to others. On the Internet, it’s hard to
evaluate how the other person is reacting to your
thoughts because we often can’t physically see
the other person. And even though it’s great for
Olsakova, even Skype is not the same as face-to-
face communication, because it lags at times and
doesn’t produce the best quality image. When
media is used incorrectly, it becomes a dangerous
weapon which has the potential to destroy
relationships and friendships.
Not all social media interactions are harmful,
but it’s up to you to help monitor the beneﬁts
and consequences. It’s all about balance
between media-based and IRL (in real life)
relationships. Be careful not to limit your
in-person interaction, because such exchanges
help you evaluate body language, tone of voice
and facial expressions in other people. That
doesn’t mean your pals on YouTube, blogs and
other forms of media aren’t important – they
provide a place for you to explore your thoughts
and ideas without being rejected, which
sometimes happens in person. Most of the time,
it’s far easier to accept a stranger online saying
an idea is stupid than to hear the same message
from family members or friends. “Hopefully,
once we master social skills, we try them out
IRL, moving into more risky, but ultimately more
satisfying face-to-face interaction,” says Dr.
Michael Rich, a “mediatrician” from the Boston’s
Children’s Hospital and Harvard University. In
the end, we can’t hide behind a keyboard for the
rest of our life, so it’s important to develop social
skills now so that you’re prepared to gain high-
quality employment and successfully navigate
new friendships and relationships in the future.
“I much prefer talking in person, if the option
is available,” says Olsakova.” It’s a lot more
genuine, and I prefer seeing body language and
facial expression instead of emoticons after
a wall of text.” It’s OK to prefer one mode of
communication over another, but face-to-face
interaction is still better than the Internet, and
we’re lucky that keeping in touch with friends
or family members on a regular basis is so
easy thanks to social media. It’s important to
remember that when we’re behind a keyboard,
we don’t have free rein to say absolutely anything
we want, especially when talking to friends.
Grip_p44-45_Spring_14.indd 45 2014-05-14 9:47 AM
A guide to studying with music
“Your Hand in Mine”
“In the Night of Wilderness” “Montana”
- Explosions in the Sky - Blackmill - Youth Lagoon
By Grip Contributors
The Science: Listening to music has an
effect on your brain. The ﬁrst few chords of a song
push a little mind button, affecting everything
from your mood to your feet. Think you’ve heard
this song before? That’s your hippocampus
saying so. Tapping your toes? Your motor cortex
says it’s time to get dancing. Not to mention that
scientists say music releases dopamine into your
brain. Dopamine is the same hormone that helps
you brieﬂy enjoy junk food; it’s what they call
“the pleasure chemical.” Music boosts your mood
because it releases dopamine when you plug in
and cue up your favourite song. That dopamine
helps your brain form memories around music,
and it’s why songs can instantly remind you of
events or people.
So it only makes sense that music makes studying and homework a bit
more bearable. Last year a scientist at Montreal’s McGill University found
that music can even have a positive effect on our work – if we use it right.
The right kind of music can calm us down, and it really helps to drown out
the distractions all around us.
Tune in: Upbeat music is best when doing things like playing sports or
doing chores, or when you need a quick caffeine-free pick-me-up, but it can
actually lessen your ability to concentrate on things like reading and writing.
This is because your brain can’t comprehend two sets of words at once. This
is also why you get a headache when too many people talk at once!
When it comes time to buckle down at your desk, pick songs without words
or some cool music from another country, sung in a language you don’t under-
stand. This will help you stick to the task at hand, and don’t worry: it doesn’t
mean you have to settle for ancient composers like Beethoven or Mozart
(though those dudes are awesome). Here are some YouTube-able songs and
artists, suggested by Grip writers, to keep you in the study zone:
Grip_p46-47_Spring_14.indd 46 2014-05-14 9:48 AM
“You Got Me”
“Comme des Enfants”
“Wizards of Winter”
“Hymn for the Greatest Generation”
“The History of Light”
- DJ Okawari
- Chilly Gonzales
- Young Man
- Sigur Rós
- Coeur de Pirate
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- Beach House
Grip_p46-47_Spring_14.indd 47 2014-05-14 9:48 AM
In each issue of Grip, we feature creative works from
our readers – poetry, personal essays, short stories,
illustrations, comic strips and photography.
Running from sleep
3:31 a.m. the table in the corner
There’s a man in the corner of the dingy café. He
nurses a latte with weary hands and waking eyes.
This man is running from sleep.
3:32 a.m. the house up the street
A girl tosses and turns in bed, frightened and
confused. She’s dreaming of Julia, the girl who
teased her in the hallway. Again.
3:33 a.m. the table in the corner
His ﬁngers are tapping against the table in a
nervous pattern. His body is falling back asleep,
ﬁghting for the desire implanted in him. Adrenaline
pumps through him as the fear of sleep spikes
through him. His heartrate goes up and his palms
are sweating and his breathing is laborious, like he’s
about to fall off a building. He supposes that he is, a
metaphorical building he’s built inside his mind; one
that he has fought to stay on for his whole life. He’s
scared of falling off and he always has been.
3:34 a.m. the house up the street
She’s woken ﬁnally after enduring nightmare 167.
She’s been counting. She counts everything. The
stairs she walks on, the cracks in the sidewalk, the
words she speak and the steps she takes. It’s a
comfort somehow, having control over something
for the ﬁrst time in her short life. She doesn’t sleep
enough but she knows that when she falls asleep
the dreams will come back. The pain and the anger
and the heartbreak she felt when she was eight will
come back in a vivid swirl of fear. She can always
feel the whirlpool, almost always. There are those
moments of relief that she cherishes.
3:35 a.m. the table in the corner
He hasn’t fallen off yet.
The Giver: Response
(written from Jonas’ perspective)
BY ADOOFAN S. TOR-AGBIDYE
My eyes have opened,
cleared of the smoke that was planted at birth.
I see and feel,
not like I once did,
but with a new perspective,
of the world I once knew.
It is like a weight has been lifted,
yet double was added,
and my heart is troubled,
for what was and what is.
How much can I take?
Surrounded by those who do not know,
of what they’re deprived.
The beauty, the love, and the warmth.
With the hate, greed, anguish, and death.
Could it really be that choice,
is a struggle for all?
Yet it brings an aura of freedom and life.
It adds risk and adventure,
And loving times.
We had emotion.
We need emotion.
Grip_p48-53_Spring_14.indd 48 2014-05-14 9:49 AM
GERARDO ORTIZ JR &
Winning submissions are awarded $50. They are also featured in the magazine and on
the website at www.griponlife.ca. Send in your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Grip_p48-53_Spring_14.indd 49 2014-05-14 9:49 AM
ILY ANN VANCE
VENICE, ITALY 2
ERIN EMILY ANN VANCE
Grip_p48-53_Spring_14.indd 50 2014-05-14 9:49 AM
Grip_p48-53_Spring_14.indd 51 2014-05-14 9:49 AM
Don’t peer out the window.
Instead observe the life within
this ordinary house.
Shut the shutters,
pull tight the curtains,
rotate the blinds.
Hunker down on the brown plush sofa
wrapped like a babe in grandma’s soft
with a steaming cup of tea, coffee, or
in your shivering, cracked, pale hands.
Create a bubble of warmth,
a place where you can forget
that in this northern land
it is still winter
Grip_p48-53_Spring_14.indd 52 2014-05-14 9:49 AM
Grip_p48-53_Spring_14.indd 53 2014-05-14 9:49 AM
The fictional character friendships of our dreams
By Danielle Roberge
Katniss Everdeen and Merida (from Brave ):
For obvious reasons – who better to practise your bow
and arrow skills with than another angsty
girl? It could prove dangerous, should
they get into a fight …
Darth Vader and
These two might seem
like polar opposites
but they have a lot to
learn from each other.
Arthur’s a great dad,
really needs to
work on. And
learn how to
stand up for
himself a bit
and Tris Prior:
It’s lonely being an
one, but at least
Harry and Tris
they go save their
They both know
what it’s like to be
Frodo and Captain Jack Sparrow: Both of these guys are out on
grand adventures and they need a friend to keep them company. Jack can
help Frodo get over his shyness, and maybe Frodo can help keep Jack out
Grip_p54-56_Spring_14.indd 54 2014-05-14 9:52 AM
Introducing the next stage in total connectivity...
systems, Googley Glasses
have 2 spring-mounted
cameras for a complete 360
degree viewing area.
Googley Glasses come spring-
loaded with apps to keep you
connected and up-to-date!
Stand out from the crowd and
be on the cutting edge with
the latest in wirey information
Framing a new,
WARNING: Side effects may include: blurred vision, headaches, nausea, tripping
over obstacles, bumping into things and overall general clumsiness. Some users
reported night sweats, apocalyptic dreams with pop up ads and loss of jealous
friends. Do not wear Googley Glasses to bed. Discontinue use if you ﬁnd yourself
alone in strange surroundings with no idea how you got there.
Grip_p54-56_Spring_14.indd 55 2014-05-14 9:52 AM
Grip_p54-56_Spring_14.indd 56 2014-05-14 9:52 AM
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?