Vol. 3 Issue 11 | March 17, 2017
Three Things This Week
1. Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology
What it is: A new book by social psychologist Adam Alter detailing the addictive nature of smartphones.
Why it’s important reading: As one researcher commented, “People are carrying around a portable dopamine pump, and kids have basically been carrying it around for the last 10 years.” Students spend roughly 9 hours a day with technology because “social media platforms are endless. . . . You could sit there 24 hours a day, and you’ll never get to the end. And so you come back for more and more.” These devices are designed specifically so that users never want to put them down, so much so that many leading Silicon Valley executives don’t allow their children to use the devices they create! Read this article with your teens and develop a family action plan to limit the abuse of smartphones. And here’s a fascinating article on how smartphones are actually changing Christianity.
What it is: Selena Gomez, the most-followed person on Instagram, says she feels terrible every time she looks at Instagram.
Why it’s important: If the most popular person on Instagram doesn’t feel good about herself after looking at the app, how can we expect students to? They spend hours scrolling through the 95 million Instagram photos posted daily—most of which are edited—internalizing false ideals of beauty, happiness, and worth. All visual platforms can fuel our narcissism, fooling us into thinking that the photos we see are real and, even more damaging, that our worth is based on whether we meet arbitrary and impossible beauty standards. Combat the lies by helping your daughter develop a healthy body image. Ask her to analyze why Gomez feels terrible after using the app. Finally, ask her if she uses a photo-editing app and why.
3. Suicide Watch
What it is: Axis’ hometown of Colorado Springs, CO is becoming a hotbed for teen suicides with 15 suicide fatalities already in 2017, far above the national average.
Why it’s bad: How is it possible for a city ranked in the top five places to live in the US to also rank so high in suicides, especially among evangelical teens? Even more disturbing, for the first time in US history, suicide is claiming more middle school students’ lives than car crashes—one 14-year-old even killed herself on Facebook Live as hundreds of viewers watched. Teens often lack the coping skills necessary to navigate trauma, depression, or emotional swings. Here are warning signs to look for, as well as preventative measures you can take with students who struggle with depression.
Next on Netflix
Remember all those Friday nights in high school spent hanging out at the mall or going to the movies or tailgating before a big football game? Despite all the good memories you may have from such formative experiences, those rituals are diminishing for today’s teens because they’re creating their own liturgies—liturgies that almost always involve screens. For instance, it’s not atypical for teens to opt to stay home and watch Netflix than go out. Services like Netflix and Hulu specifically appeal to students in three desirable ways: They’re affordable, relational, and flexible. With limited income, crazy schedules, and the need to connect, gathering around their favorite TV shows is the new normal for today’s teens. Here are 10 Netflix releases your teens will be watching (with release dates) from Spring Break through the beginning of summer.
1. Marvel’s Iron Fist (March 17)
2. 13 Reasons Why (March 31)
3. Bill Nye Saves the World (April 22)
4. Dear White People (April 28)
5. Anne (May 12)
6. Master of None (May 12)
7. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (May 19)
8. Orange Is the New Black (June 9)
9. The BFG (March 15)
10. Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later (TBA)
Join The Culture Translator team for a live training designed to equip you as parents to understand the world your teen inhabits. Our kids are growing up in a world of infinite choice, instant gratification, and digital relationships. Learn how to disciple them in fresh ways by spending the day with our team. We can’t wait to meet you! RSVP Here.
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