Vol. 4 Issue 03 | January 19, 2018
Three Things This Week
1. Tide Pod Challenge
What it is: A viral trend to film oneself while biting into laundry detergent packets.
Why it's dangerous: Obviously ingesting chemicals meant for cleaning clothes is dangerous. Deaths of both toddlers and dementia patients have been linked to ingestion of the pods, yet in the first 15 days of 2018, officials have responded to 39 cases of intentional exposure, the same number responded to in all of 2016. Why? Seemingly for laughs, views, likes, and potential fame. The meme has been around since 2013, but only recently has it taken off, with one participant even choosing to vape (language) the contents of a packet. Talk to your teens about the real risks involved. It also may be an opportunity to start a conversation about today’s viral-obsessed culture.
What it is: Another innovation from Nintendo that develops hand-eye coordination in a whole new way.
Why it's promising: In a world where gaming is dominated by all-consuming games like Destiny 2, violent and immoral games like Grand Theft Auto, or simply games that are too difficult or inaccessible for parents to join in on, this is a breath of fresh air. It combines virtual games with hands-on, DIY projects that then become part of the game. Though currently aimed at younger kids, if successful, we can expect to see more games that appeal to older ages. It’s a beautiful example of culture translation: Acknowledging virtual worlds as part of our reality (rather than running from and condemning them), then using them to enhance the real world (rather than to escape it).
3. Your Fine-Art Doppelganger
What it is: Somewhere, there’s a painting that looks like you, and an app will help you find it.
Why it's fun: As a way to get more people to appreciate art, the Google Arts & Culture app allows users to upload selfies that it then “matches” with a lookalike in a painting. Since the app hit the top of the app stores, there’s a good chance your teens have already participated in the trend. It could also be a fun way to utilize their languages (smartphones, social media, selfies, etc.) to connect as a family while learning about the art and artists. And, if you’re like some users, your matches may inspire some laughs. There are limitations (lack of art from every region of the world, mainly), which could also spark great discussions. In a pop culture world that likes shock value over substance, use this as an opportunity to introduce your children to the masters that in many ways function sacramentally, bearing the divine through the ordinary and revealing the timeless truth of God in particular artistic expressions.
What to Read This Weekend
- “Parents’ Dilemma: When to Give Children Smartphones” from The Wall Street Journal (paywall)
It truly is every parent’s dilemma. And this article looks at the lives of different families who’ve chosen differently. Worth the read, if for nothing other than a reminder that it’s ok if you’re having these battles within your own home.
- “Talking to Your Young Athletes about Sexual Abuse” from ESPN
In light of the Nassar scandal, it’s extremely important to initiate this uncomfortable conversation with our kids. We may think they know what’s inappropriate and what’s not or when to alert authorities, but we can only be sure they do if we talk about it and let them know they can come to us about anything no matter what.
- “A Parent’s Guide to Ready Player One” from Axis ($3.99)
Set in a dystopian future where the only good thing is the virtual world of the OASIS, Ready Player One tells the tale of Wade Watts as he searches for the world’s biggest easter egg while battling the ultimate boss. Though the novel has been around since 2011, the film releases in March. Get ready for your children’s interest in it before they start asking if they can see/read it!
- “The best thing a parent can do for their kids sounds much easier than it is” from Business Insider
Best-selling author and TED speaker Brene Brown shares some parenting wisdom from her research on shame and vulnerability. Worth the 2 minutes to read the article. We also highly recommend watching either of her TED talks or listening to her episode of the Lewis Howes podcast.
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