TikTok May Be on the Clock | July 10, 2020
Three Things This Week
1. Whats Poppin
What it is: Out of seemingly nowhere, a new rap artist named Jack Harlow has reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 with a remix of his song “Whats Poppin.”
Why it’s problematic: Despite how it seems, his success isn’t inexplicable. The 22-year-old’s track and music video first dropped in January (language) and eventually became the background music for many different TikTok trends (like this Glo-Up trend). Little by little, the song worked its way up the charts, but the release of a remix featuring DaBaby (who currently has the number 1 song), Tory Lanez, and Lil Wayne on June 24 gave it the jump it needed. Like similar songs, a quick run-through of the lyrics (language) reveals the track is full of vulgarities, mainly focusing on how he has “options” and can get any woman he wants. Though TikTok has changed the way teens listen to music (sometimes only in snippets long enough for TikTok videos), it’s important to continue talking to them about how what they listen to affects them.
What it is: After U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview this week that the government is “looking at” banning Chinese social media apps like TikTok due to privacy concerns, fans of the app reacted by calling it the “TikTokalypse.”
Why it could cause a teen revolt: If this happens, the U.S. wouldn’t be the first country to impose bans on Chinese apps (India did so last month, despite being the app’s largest market outside of China), but it is possible that American teens will not take the ban well. With 69% of users being between the ages of 13 and 24 and with 4- to 15-year-olds spending an astounding 80 minutes per day on the app, it’s clear that American youth love the app and will be very upset if it’s banned. But make no mistake, a ban will leave an opening for other companies to create their own copycat apps, so you can be sure young people will be turning to them to fill the void.
3. Our Kids Online
What it is: A documentary filmed by parents who wanted to show the difficulty of navigating handheld devices, as well as offer practical, helpful ways to keep children safer online.
Why it’s worth every penny: A virtual screening of the 1.5-hour film will be hosted by START (Stand Together And Rethink Technology) on July 30 at 6:30p Mountain Time, during which the filmmakers and other experts will be available to answer questions and provide solutions to particular problems. If you have kids, tweens, or teens who are online or have access to tablets, phones, computers, or even gaming consoles, you will find this documentary extremely helpful. Consider joining the live screening for $10 (or for free if you share the screening on social media!).
After receiving a resoundingly positive response to the last two months of our webinar series, we are excited to announce that we will be hosting 6 new webinars in July! We will be tackling topics like sexuality, video games, and how we parents, church leaders, and school leaders can help disciple the next generation to lifelong faith in Jesus. We hope you’ll join us!
Every smart student has a back-up plan when it comes to the college selection process. Sure, your teen’s dream might be to attend Yale, Duke, or Harvard, but high costs and even higher admissions standards might force them to ultimately choose a more realistic option. Enter the “safety school.” A safety school is a college or university that your child is almost assuredly going to be accepted into based on their test scores and GPA. Frankly, if all else fails, they can always attend this next best school.
But COVID-19 has turned the entire college and university selection process on its head. Quarantines have prevented many students from taking standardized tests, 60% of rising seniors say they haven’t been able to visit their school of choice, and 23% of students report they haven’t been able to save money for college because their part-time jobs were furloughed. Adding to the uncertainty, universities themselves have been hit hard by the global pandemic due to the financial fallout from canceled sporting events. Even endowment-rich Stanford University recently announced it will shut down 11 varsity sports for the coming school year due to financial concerns. And once schools do reopen, fears of COVID clusters spiking once students return to campus is a lived reality for administrators, parents, and students alike.
So as you and your teen research next steps when it comes to higher education, what is your back-up plan? Have you sat down as a family and created contingency plans in case that scholarship isn’t awarded or that campus isn’t open? And if schools limit in-seat courses and force students to attend online classes only, how will you help them replace the social and communal benefits of campus life? Most students gain more than a degree if they go off to college: They learn how to manage their newfound freedom, their worldview is broadened by mixing with a wide range of students and professors, and they learn basic life skills like time management. Regardless of your children’s ages, starting conversations with them now about their future educational expectations is one of the most critical things you can do to prepare them for the next step in their life’s journey.
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
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