"I think the more that a parent can truly know about a child and be able to communicate is key," Pettey said.

A Wholesome Alternative

With this philosophy in mind, Pettey joined forces with Margaret Monger, publisher and editorial director of the regional design magazine At Home, and the two started their own teen magazine about a year ago.

Titled Justine after she's "just a teen," the magazine was created to provide today's teens with good, wholesome information in a non-offensive manner. The response has been a positive one as circulation is now at a rate base of 200,000. (See earlier article on Justine)

"We really try to hit all facets of teen life and just provide them with good, useful, positive information," Pettey explained.

It appears to be fulfilling its purpose, with the exception of a few immodest and risqué ads. But it's important to note that Justine is not a faith-based magazine. While it may be a wholesome alternative to Seventeen and other sexually-laden magazines, it is still important for parents to determine if it's right for their daughters. It is not intended to present the Gospel or cultivate spiritual growth.

"We wanted to be just a good, clean teen magazine that would have very broad-based appeal and would be able to fit into the lifestyles of people who have moral convictions within their religions but without doing it in a religious way," Pettey explained.

The magazine is extending its efforts this fall by being a part of the nationwide Girls of Grace conferences, weekend events for 7th- through 12th-grade girls hosted by Christian music artists Point of Grace. While the purpose of the event is to inspire teen girls to live Christ-centered lives, Justine representatives will be hosting fashion and lifestyle activities for the girls.

Recommendations

As evident from the sample of magazines reviewed by the American Family Association, there is a glut of information bombarding teens through the pages of magazines. Some are far from acceptable. Others are well on their way to redeeming the mass media and its reputation of smut.

AFA recommends the following Christian teen magazines but still urges parents to make the call for their own children:

Brio (for pre-teens) and Brio & Beyond (for older teens) -- Focus on the Family magazines for girls created to foster spiritual growth through feature stories that are engaging and practical and relevant to life

Breakaway -- A Focus on the Family magazine for teen guys created to cultivate spiritual growth by tailoring topics to their everyday interests

Essential Connection -- A LifeWay Christian Resource publication designed to aid teens in spiritual growth through daily devotions

Sharing the Victory (STV) -- A publication of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes that functions as a ministry tool by informing, inspiring and involving coaches, athletes and all those they influence to make an impact for Christ

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Rebecca Grace, a regular contributor to AgapePress, is staff writer for AFA Journal, a monthly publication of the American Family Association. This article, reprinted with permission, appeared in the October 2005 issue.

© 2005 AgapePress all rights reserved.