Vol. 3 Issue 25 | June 23, 2017
Three Things This Week
1. Boys in Skirts
What it is: As a middle school prank, boys in England showed up to school in skirts this week to protest the school’s “no shorts” policy in the midst of a British heat wave.
Why it’s significant: Although their joke apparently has more to do with the weather than protesting traditional gender roles, a different London school just decided to allow boys to wear skirts as a part of their new gender neutral dress code policy catering to transgender and gender-nonconforming students. As culture continues to blur the binary lines between the sexes, it’s important to talk with your students about the genesis of gender norms, from both a biblical perspective (“God made them male and female”) as well as how gender norms continue to change based on social and historical pressures.
2. 2017 NBA Draft
What it is: The top seven picks in last night’s NBA draft were all college freshman.
Why it’s important: These “one and done” stars were forced to play one year of college basketball instead of turning pro out of high school. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski wants the rule changed, and the NBA is listening. “In baseball, in theater, in music, if you’re 16 and you’re really good, you go on a different path”. Is college for everyone? Are you ok with your daughter pursuing an alternative educational path if she is a gifted artist or software engineer? If education really is an “atmosphere, a discipline, and a life” then we shouldn’t be afraid to encourage our kids to pursue their own unique journey, even if it means bypassing the accustomed educational models.
3. Snap Map
What it is: Early this week, Snapchat introduced Snap Map, a new function to the app that allows you to share your location, permitting users to track one another’s whereabouts in real time.
Why it’s risky: Though the app proudly proclaims that they’ve “built a whole new way to explore the world”, this new feature does pose potential safety concerns, especially for younger users who may not realize the ramifications of a technology that can constantly broadcast their specific location. In fact, several police forces have issued child safety warnings because of the mapping component. Ask your teens if they’ve already utilized this new feature, and if they’ve thought about the repercussions. Here’s how to turn it off if you choose to do so.
Move Over Millennials, Here Comes Gen Z
Born between the mid-90’s and early 2000’s, Generation Z makes up more than 2 billion people worldwide. They’ve officially replaced millennials as the next generation, and their $44 billion a year of purchasing power has captured the interest of advertisers, content creators, and social media platforms. They are the first generation ever to be raised completely in the digital age. Here are 10 up and coming brands, platforms, and influencers that will be shaping your student’s hearts and minds in the years to come.
- Houseparty: As of December, this group video chatting platform already has more than 1 million daily users
- AwesomenessTV: Parent company DreamWorks launched this new media conglomerate focusing primarily on content for GenZ. Their first feature film Before I Fall debuted this year.
- Astronauts Wanted: A transmedia, story-driven content development company creating shows, movies, and social media experiences for youth. Their “stories” are designed to live “across platforms and have entire social media worlds” built around them.
- Brandy Melville: This “Instabrand” Italian clothing company is suddenly the hottest clothing brand among tween girls, selling crop tops, baggy sweaters, and high-waist shorts. They credit Instagram (3.9 million followers) with their recent breakthrough in the U.S. market.
- Anastasia Beverly Hills: Burgeoning cosmetic company that primarily uses social media to build its fan base. Their makeup products have been featured by Kylie Jenner and the rise in “beautiful brows” is attributed to them.
- Amandla Stenberg: Debuting as Rue in the Hunger Games, the 18-year-old Stenberg is a social activist for feminism, racial injustice, and LGBTQ issues.
- Zendaya: The 20-year-old was dubbed “the most influential teen star of them all”, with ample reasons why. She’s a quadruple threat: she acts, sings, models, and dances. And, with over 42 million followers on Instagram, odds are your daughter’s fashion game is being shaped by this former Disney Channel star.
- Teen Vogue: Sure, you’ve heard mention of this label-conscious magazine, but did you know under new editorial leadership the publication is quickly becoming the go-to-source for political commentary, educating the rising generation on feminism, President Trump, and racial issues.
- Whistle Sports: It’s the new sports network for the YouTube demographic. With over 360 million fans across social platforms, they target young, online viewers whose television habits do not include watching traditional cable TV. If you want a glimpse into the way sports will be viewed in the future, keep an eye on Whistle.
- Musical.ly: Any one of the 200 million teen users can become a pop sensation overnight. In short, it’s a platform for creating, sharing, and discovering new music.
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