Issue 07 | March 16, 2015
SUMMARY: Issue 07 offers insight into a new popular song, why Facebook has lost its edge, apps students might be using to hide their tracks, how to speak Internet, and an app you need to know about.
This week's major pop culture happenings:
- HBO Now Offers Access to New HBO Programming without a Cable Subscription
- An App Made by a Dad Aims to Help Victims of Cyberbullying and to Prevent Suicides
- Man Decides to Boycott His Phone for a Week & Notices Others Doing the Same
- Meerkat, a Live-Streaming Video App, Is the Darling of SXSW Interactive 2015
- Apple May Offer an Online TV Service As Early As This Fall
- Can Indie Filmmakers Save Religious Cinema?
WHAT STUDENTS ARE LISTENING TO THIS WEEK
A new song has reached #10 on the Hot 100 list this week that we need to be aware of. This song is very explicit, but we share it with you--an influencer over young people--so you can know something they've at least heard, if not also consciously or subconsciously embraced. Here are some key lyrics from "Trap Queen" by Fetty Wap:
?Warning! Explicit Lyrics
I'm like "Hey, what's up, hello"
Seen yo pretty a** soon as you came in that door
I just wanna chill, got a sack for us to roll
Married to the money, introduced her to my stove
Showed her how to whip it, now she remixin' for low
She my trap queen, let her hit the bando
Hit the strip club, we be letting bands go
Everybody hating, we just call them fans though
In love with the money, I ain't never letting go
And I get high with my baby
I just left the mall, I'm getting fly with my baby, yeah
And I can ride with my baby
I be smoking dope and you know Backwoods what I roll
Remy Boy, Fetty eating sh** up that's fasho
Ill run in ya house, then I'll f*** your ho
This is just a sampling of the lyrics, but it is obvious that Fetty Wap is all about money, sex, and drugs. Like us, I'm sure you're asking, "What in the world is a 'Trap Queen'?!" So we looked it up on UrbanDictionary.com:
Trap Queen: A witty or street-smart female, usually with an urban flavor or appeal, who is loyal and resourceful. Baddest female superior to petty affairs. . . . She is down to do what is needed for her friends, family, and man. Capable of sass, class, and trash. She enjoys hip-hop and urban culture.
Discussion Questions: How does listening to songs like this impact the thinking of your male and female students? How does a "Trap Queen" compare to a Proverbs 31 woman? Where does the line get crossed regarding Isaiah 5:20?
FACEBOOK IS MEANINGLESS?
"Coolness is done for us." -- Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook
According to a recent article in the Washington Post by Nico Lang, "Mark Zuckerberg is no longer the coolest kid in school...teens are leaving Facebook in droves for new friends like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter - at an estimated rate of up to a million a year!" (emphasis added)
So why has Facebook lost its edge? It's simple: It's hard to look cool when you're hanging out with mom and dad. "Parents are on Facebook, and when you are in high school, parents are the least cool people imaginable," according to Fast Company. Bustle's Krystin Arneson writes, "Parents came to keep an eye on their kids, but stayed when they discovered that connecting with other adults was fun."
So does this mean that students are done with social media altogether? According to the Washington Post, there may be hope. Lang interviewed his 16-year-old brother about how a lot of teens are turning away not just from Facebook, but social media in general:
"[With social media,] people don’t have to hang out with their friends,” he said. “They can just see what they’re doing. . . . I prefer actually talking to people. I would rather get their number than be friends on Facebook, where you have a 100 friends you never talk to. It’s a meaningless friendship."
So it seems that students are starting to notice some of the negative effects social media has had on their generation. Don't get too excited, though; while Faceboook may have an uphill battle to stay relevant, they also own Instagram and WhatsApp, two of the main social apps that teens are moving to.
Ask Your Students: The Bible tells us that there is nothing new under the sun and everything is vanity (Ecclesiates 1). How do we see this being true today? How is social media impacting our communities? What are some positive effects of social media? Negative effects? What are some practical ways you can be more intentional with your time and social media use?
IS YOUR TEEN USING APPS TO KEEP SECRETS?
"If you think, 'My teen would never sext,' you might be mistaken," begins a recent CNN article. Why? Because recent studies suggest that sexting is much more common than parents realize (or want to admit), and it's not just the teens who engage in high-risk behaviors that are sexting.
Though many parents check their students' texts, they may not know to check anywhere besides the native texting app that comes preloaded on the phone. Other apps, like Kik or WhatsApp, are made for texting and web browsing, while apps like SnapChat, CyberDust, and VaporChat are made for "impermanent" texting--meaning the texts disappear after a certain amount of time or when a user defines.
Yet most students (and parents) are not aware that, in some states, a student can face felony charges of child pornography for sexting!
Ask Your Students: What does God's word tell us about keeping secrets? (See Luke 12:2, Romans 2:16) What else can we glean from Scripture about accountability? (See Ephesians 5:8-13)
HOW TO SPEAK INTERNET
Some of us are more up to date than others on texting/Internet abbreviations, so it's time to test your knowledge! Have someone read the following abbreviations out loud and see how many you know without looking:
BRB (be right back)--may very well be the mother of them all! AIM users unite!
BTW (by the way)--some may even say "b t dubs" in real conversation ("dubs" being an abbreviation for "w")
OMG--if you don't know this one, SMH. Many people now say the letters in conversation, as well. (Question: Is it ok to say "OMG" when most people would take that to mean "Oh my God"? Or has "OMG" taken on meaning of its own?)
SMH (shake my head)
IMO or IMHO (in my [humble] opinion)
WTF (what the f)--Again, people might say "w t f" in real conversation. Doesn't make it any better than actually saying the entire phrase. Funny story: We know a girl who is a Christian who doesn't mind saying, "What the fu?!" ("Fu," as in, pronounced out the beginning of the word without finishing it). Doesn't make it "Christian"! From then on a different friend always said, "What the Vietnamese noodle soup?!" (you know, as in Pho).
Noob or N00b (short for "newbie")--used a lot in video games in a derogatory manner
FTW (for the win)
YOLO (you only live once) & FOMO (fear of missing out)
ICYMI (in case you missed it)
#TBT & #FBF (ThrowBack Thursday & FlashBack Friday)--used on IG to post old photos
BAE (Before Anyone Else)--this is replacing the word "babe" and "boo": "She my bae.
OOTD (Outfit of the Day) or anything with OTD: QOTD (quotation of the day), POTD (photo of the day), etc.
Discussion Questions: How many did you know? How many do your students know? Do you think it's important to be up to date on this new form of slang? Why or why not? Do your students think it's important? Do you think it's good, bad, or neutral that Internet abbreviations are now changing the way we speak? Why?
AN APP TO BE AWARE OF: BURNBOOK
Recently, a school in Oregon shut down to investigate a threat made on a new app called Burnbook. The app is a way to connect anonymously with communities around you by posting photos, videos, and comments. It has already been used multiple times for cyberbullying and threats. The company maintains that the app was designed to be fun and that they will turn you into authorities if you use it to break the law, but many users continue to use the app to disparage others and make threats. The name of the app seems to have come from the 2004 film Mean Girls, in which the book was used by popular girls to say horrible things about everyone in the school.
Be aware of this app, and take some time to find out if your students are using it. If so, we highly recommend coming up with a school/family policy concerning the app as soon as possible! Regardless of the app's original purpose, it is now being used for more harm than good. Better to nip it in the bud than to have a serious situation on your hands!
We'd love to hear from you if there are any topics that you'd like us to address in future versions of the Culture Translator. Please click here to submit your ideas!