Vol. 4 Issue 08 | February 23, 2018
Three Things This Week
1. March Sadness
What it is: More than a dozen players and several top college basketball programs could be ruled ineligible for this year’s tournament based on a continual FBI investigation that has already cost the University of Louisville the 2013 National Championship.
Why it’s misleading: The report ranges in detail from major impermissible payments to players ($73,500 to former NC State guard Dennis Smith) to minor infractions. As usual, ESPN is spinning the story for ratings and clicks. They know schools like Duke and North Carolina move the viewing needle, even though for now it appears players from those schools only received a free lunch (literally, a free lunch), not thousands of dollars in bribes. But linking their names to the larger scandal elevates the story. Quality journalism is being drowned out by tabloid gossip, in what some call the Kardashianization of sports media. It also brings up a more foundational question, should college athletes be paid, and if so, how much? Ask your son or daughter what they think and how paying players might solve, or exacerbate the problem.
What it is: It’s the internet’s latest moral crisis. Porn videos are being doctored to swap out the adult film star’s face with someone else’s, and it’s changing our perception of reality.
Why it’s a slippery slope: Talk about fake news. “The most popular deepfakes feature celebrities, but the process works on anyone as long as you can get enough clear pictures of the person.” Although for now most deepfakes are porn, the technology enables anyone who puts their face online to be victimized. “What happens when anyone can make it appear as if anything has happened, regardless of whether or not it did?” If everything can be faked it means that anything that’s real can be called fake, like the Holocaust. Teach your teens to be digital detectives. Here’s five specific ways to help them spot fake news.
3. A Parent’s Guide to Smartphones
Why it’s informative: Smartphones have revolutionized life in good ways and bad. They are the most intimate product ever created, and for teens they’ve never known a world without one. “When to allow children a smartphone has become among the most pivotal of parental decisions in the decade since Apple Inc’s iPhone remade daily habits.” If you’re children already have smartphones, or if you’re still trying to decide if and when to give them one, our “Parent’s Ultimate Guide to Smartphones” is a must read for you! You’ll learn how to prep your child for getting a phone, how to block adult content, and most importantly how to steward this amazing, yet addicting technology. Get your guide today!
A Kingdom Divided
On Wednesday, the Reverend Billy Graham died quietly at his North Carolina home. Dubbed the “last nonpartisan evangelical”, Reverend Graham counselled Presidents and Queens, and was a “truth-teller to leaders from both parties.” As he famously said, “Evangelists cannot be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle in order to preach to all people, right and left.”
At the very moment Reverend Graham passed, students from Parkland, Florida started a nation-wide activist movement to change public policy about gun violence, as thousands of students from Arizona to Maryland joined them by walking out of class to protest school shootings. One student remarked, “We can’t vote, so this is our voice. We’re just hoping to make a change by having our voices heard.” Using Snapchat Maps to spread the word and chronicle the list of schools participating in the protest, social media continues to be a significant mobilizing tool for modern movements.
And while we can agree or disagree with their message and their methods, we can learn something very specific about Gen Z by how they are engaging this divisive topic. As survivor Cameron Kasky said, “This isn’t about red or blue, we can’t boo people because they are Democrats and boo people because they are Republicans…this is about people who are for making a difference.”
As of yet, Gen Z hasn’t limited themselves and their beliefs to a party platform or ideology, they don’t view issues through the lens of Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative. And while they may not have the answers, they just want to see things change. And in doing so, they’re in good company.
Reverend Graham, and even Gen Z remind us that our allegiance to Christ trumps any political platform. The greatest political statement we can make in a zero sum game of partisan politics is, Jesus is Lord. Ask your son or daughter what it means to be a citizen in the Kingdom of God, and how might their loyalty to Christ impact the way they navigate the conversation about school shootings in the political and social environment they are inheriting.
Bonus! We are creating a conversation kit on purpose and identity, and we’d love to learn from you. What do you wish you could teach your teens about identity, calling, and purpose? Email us your answers here.
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