From true crime to real life advice, tweens and teens will devour these podcasts all social-distanced summer long.

By Melissa Klurman
July 02, 2020
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Teens are great listeners. Not necessarily always to you, but when it comes to streaming music and media, they're setting the trends. Another place where they're pointing their headphones: Podcasts. There are currently 850,000 podcasts out there with more 30 million episodes, according to Oberlo. But with so many choices, it's hard to know what your big kids should be listening to when they plug in their headphones.

We asked teens, podcasters, and media experts for their input and came up with some fun, insightful, and boundary-pushing options. These picks are perfect for listening to this summer while teens are social distancing or if they just want to zone out (and yes, possibly not listen to you) while they're soaking up the sun.

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1. 99% Invisible

Podcasting expert Frank Hablawi, executive producer of Non-Productive.com, says this first one on the list is great for teens and adults alike. "99% Invisible is ostensibly about the design process that goes into everyday things, but it's really about the hidden elements in our shared world and how those details link us all together."

2. Dear Hank and John

Dear Hank and John is an advice show hosted by beloved YA author John Green (The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, Turtles All the Way Down) and his musician brother Hank. The Green brothers answer a wide variety of questions from listeners, from the profound to the significantly more mundane. Best age: Tweens and Teens

3. The Office Ladies

Teens have rediscovered the belly laughs of The Office on streaming services, making the The Office Ladies podcast, where cast members and BFFs in real life Angela Kinsey (Angela) and Jenna Fischer (Pam) give the behind-the-scenes scoop on every episode, a sure-fire pleaser.

4. What's Good Games

If your teens are into video games (which we're guessing they are), the What's Good Games podcast gets them off their screens and listening to these clever female gamers (a rarity in the male dominated gaming field) talking not just about favorite strategies, platforms, and games, but other "nerd stuff," as they say, as well.

5. Welcome to Night Vale

Welcome to Night Vale is a scripted, surreal, paranormal show, presented as if it were a community radio broadcast from an imaginary and unnerving town. Think Twin Peaks meets Parks and Rec, says Hablawi, and note that this one is better for older teens.

6. My Favorite Murder

How to explain the utter fascination with true crime? It's not just murder, a teen explained to us, but also an exploration of current events, too, including recent episodes that focused on the Stonewall Uprising and the shootings at Kent State University. My Favorite Murder is definitely for older teens, but the hosts, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, and their personal ruminations about listening to your gut instincts, make it a good listen for older teens adults as well.

7. Stuff You Should Know

Remember when your kids were small and they were always asking "Why?" Well this is the Stuff You Should Know podcast that provides real answers to all of their pressing questions. The show's convivial hosts have covered everything from "What is Vocal Fry" to "How the Electoral College Works" and everything in between.

8. Let's Be Real with Sammy Jaye

At 17, Jaye is the youngest person to have a nationally syndicated podcast, Let's Be Real with Sammy Jaye. But your teen will care more about how relatable she is in her interviews with celebs like Finneas, Kesha, and Jordan Fisher.

And if you like podcasts, we have three right here from Parents: Pregnancy Confidential, a week-by-week real-talk look at pregnancy, Parents Tip of the Day, your daily parenting advice, and We Are Family, an exploration of the diversity of families today. You can tune into them all on your favorite podcasting app.

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