MICHELE NORRIS, host:
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Michele Norris.
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
And I'm Melissa Block.
The tween set is buzzing over the news that 16-year-old television star Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant. Spears said, I can't say it was something I was planning to do right now, but I'm looking forward to being the best mom I can be.
Jamie Lynn is the sister of Britney Spears, who's had more than her share of tabloid tangles. Jamie Lynn was supposed to be the trouble-free sister. She plays a spunky, smart, down-to-earth Zoey on the Nickelodeon show "Zoey 101."
(Soundbite of show, "Zoey 101")
Ms. JAMIE LYNN SPEARS (Actress): (Zoey Brooks) I get it. Look, the most important thing for me is that, that you're happy.
BLOCK: The Jamie Lynn pregnancy is a hot topic on Allykatzz.com. It's a tween social networking site for girls run by Denise Restauri. She says reaction has been mixed.
Ms. DENISE RESTAURI (Founder, Allykatzz.com): You can see that they're really trying to find an answer and some hope to how could their idol, someone who was the purer sister of the Spears sisters, how could this have happened? Then you have the girls who are saying she's just like Britney. And then you have girls saying she was a role model. What she did wasn't wrong, but it wasn't what a 16-year-old should do. It's not the same as taking drugs, you know. She didn't break the law. But she's not a good role model. And although we do know girls who are 13, 14, 15, 16 having sex, it's now thrown in their faces that someone that they admired is now pregnant.
BLOCK: It seemed like this was also an opportunity for people - of the girls who are posting on your Web site to talk about whether their parents, or their mothers in particular, have had the talk with them.
Ms. RESTAURI: Yes, the talk. The talk.
BLOCK: And what are they saying about that?
Ms. RESTAURI: Well, this is something that's gone on for a long time. We've talked to the girls about the talk in previous blogs that we've had, and we're seeing a continuation of the same answers now. Some are saying, yes, most of the girls get the talk at school.
BLOCK: Not at home.
Ms. RESTAURI: Not at home. And what I find really interesting is, when they talk about their parents not talking to them, they usually join with - their thoughts are that their parents know they're responsible and don't need to worry about them, so therefore, my parents don't feel the need to talk to me.
As a parent, and just as well as being a tween expert and reading so many blogs and then seeing what girls write, I have a real problem with that because even if your daughter is responsible, she doesn't know everything. She is a kid. And kids, you know — and then you also have to understand that, just like when we were growing up, our lives are filled with information that may not always be true because we're hearing it from other kids.
BLOCK: One other thing — the thing about here is that even though Jamie Lynn Spears is 16, her followers, the girls who follow the show are much younger. They're 8 to 12.
Ms. RESTAURI: Yes, yes.
BLOCK: And that's a huge difference in what they can process and what - how they take this in.
Ms. RESTAURI: Oh, definitely. And I think that some girls on the site have said that they had the talk when they were 7. But most parents aren't talking to their daughters when they're 7. I think that there is that other piece of it where you're afraid to bring it up because you don't want your daughter to know about it.
So I think that the younger girls are in a more difficult situation than the 12 and 13 or 14-year-olds are, because as a parent, you can't condone it. You don't want to make it be that Jamie Lynn is a bad person because being pregnant doesn't mean you're a bad person.
BLOCK: And how do you put this in a way that an 8-year-old can understand it?
Ms. RESTAURI: Right. And that's the difficult part. And I think it's just going back to those basics of, you don't have sex, you don't get pregnant when you're young. Those are the things that you wait for until you're old enough for the responsibilities of having a child. It's just the basic conversation, not the in-depth conversations you could have with a 14 to 15-year-old.
BLOCK: Well, Denise Restauri, thanks so much for talking with us.
Ms. RESTAURI: Thank you.
BLOCK: Denise Restauri is founder of the tween social networking Web site, Allykatzz.com.
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