Coping with Coronanxiety | March 20, 2020
Three Things This Week
1. The Sports Void
What it is: With more and more sports suspending seasons and canceling tournaments, sports fans everywhere are looking for something to fill the void, and esports may be just the thing.
Why it’s similar: Since playing video games and watching others play doesn’t require one to be in close proximity with others, it’s quite possible that esports will become a big interest for teenagers stuck at home. Sure, watching shows or making TikToks may also become more important, but like sports, esports aren’t scripted, don’t have predetermined outcomes, and are built around the players’ personalities. So they may be more enticing for teenagers who were hoping to watch the March Madness drama unfold or who closely follow their fav NBA stars. If your teens are suddenly asking to play more or spend more time on Twitch, Mixer, or even YouTube and TikTok (#esports is rapidly growing on the platform), this could be why.
2. Pandemic Pressure
What it is: If you’re like us, you’ve probably seen lots of reminders that this time in quarantine is a gift, a chance to finally do all the things! And as well-intentioned as they are, they can also cause a lot of anxiety and dread.
Why it’s misguided: Reminding ourselves and our kids not to waste all of our time on social media or binge-watching—let’s be real—shows we’re not even half-interested in is admirable. But saying that now our wildest goals and dreams can be realized because we have a *month* off is pressure. No matter what a tweet says, you cannot write an entire book in a month. So if you or your teens are feeling like you must accomplish something epic to prove you’re not a failure, remember that this type of advice gets us focusing on the wrong thing: ourselves. As this wonderful post from Rooted Ministry reminds us, utilizing the time to accomplish something is not the same as redeeming it.
3. Digital Vigilance
What it is: With everyone turning to the internet during this time of social distancing, our kids could be more at risk for targeting by online predators.
Why it’s time to be aware: Perhaps even more than usual (is that possible?!), our digital-native kids will be seeking to connect with others via social media, dating apps (for older kids), and even video games. Many of them will be more likely to talk to strangers in the hopes of staving off boredom and loneliness, which is a perfect opportunity for predators to swoop in. We don’t remind you of this to worry you, but to remind you to be vigilant and prepared, always talking with your kids about their online activity and how to know who to trust. It’s also important to enable restrictions on their devices so they can’t download apps without your permission. (Check out our Parent Guides to iOS, Android, and Internet Filtering & Monitoring for more!)
We know that sometimes it’s hard to remember what people even did before the internet and streaming, let alone during times of isolation when they had so much time on their hands, so we brainstormed and came up with 14 Things to Do with Teens If You’re Quarantined. (Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog while you’re there so you never miss a post!) And as promised, here’s the link to The Culture Translator on Google Podcasts.
Coping with Coronanxiety
It’s not easy being Gen Z. For a generation that is almost always online and already prone to anxiety or depression, a global pandemic can be debilitating. A sudden crisis like Covid-19 can overload their maturing emotional operating system, leading our children into bouts of hysteria. Unfortunately, things look like they will get much worse before they get better.
So, as a family, what can you do to reduce the noise leading your kids to new levels of stress and angst? In addition to “social distancing,” here are six practical things you can do right now to cope with this ongoing crisis.
- Limit Exposure: If your teen is glued to social media for the latest, breaking alerts, give them a limit for how much time they can spend online each day during this crisis (utilize Apple’s Screen Time or Android’s Digital Wellbeing for this!).
- Check the Source: If you or your child are only getting news from Twitter, Facebook, or even your favorite news outlet, find other credible sources that tend to be less biased, like the CDC or WHO.
- Go Outside: Simply taking a walk in the woods can alleviate stress by connecting us with God’s good creation. Notice the trees and the buttercups, are you not cared for more than these? As environmentalist John Muir wrote, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
- Just Read: Nothing invites your children out of their own mood or self-centered story and into the larger world like a great book. Encourage them to read The Diary of Anne Frank or Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place to help them realize others have suffered far more than they are currently suffering.
- Zoom Zoom: Schedule a video chat so your kids can stay connected with their buddies.
- Pray: Spend 10 minutes each morning or evening praying as a family. To help guide your time, check out The Daily Office app for daily Scripture and prayers to pray together.
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
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