Vol. 5, Issue 10 | March 8, 2019
Three Things This Week
1. Rape Day
What it is: After lots of backlash and a Change.org petition, video game distribution platform Steam has decided not to distribute Rape Day, a visual novel that would have let players “verbally harass, kill people, and rape women.”
Why it's a small victory: Steam has earned a reputation for being the place where anything goes, thanks to their policy to allow “everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that [they] decide are illegal, or straight up trolling,” so their decision to make a stand here is surprising. But the real problem is there is both a creator and a market for this type of product. According to the developer’s website (which we refuse to link to), horror stories, zombies, and p*rn were his inspirations for the game, stating that “the theme is that meaning is depended entirely on subjective value systems.” With plans to sell it elsewhere, be on the lookout for it in the future.
2. Vape It Up?
Why it's a call to action: Vaping is on the rise among high school seniors, with 21% reporting vaping nicotine in the last 30 days—up 10% from the prior year. This prompted the US Surgeon General to declare youth vaping an epidemic, citing that approximately two-thirds of JUUL (a popular brand) users aged 15-24 didn’t know that it always contains nicotine. So it was encouraging to have the FDA working diligently to hold e-cig and vaping companies in check, making it harder for teens to acquire their products. Since no successor has been announced, the future of these preventative initiatives is unclear—but our role isn’t. We must talk with our kids about vaping often, answering their questions and helping them understand the risks. Download our Parent’s Guide to Vaping/Juuling to help you start the conversation today.
3. Talking Kraft
What it is: Our football-loving children need us to talk about Robert Kraft, billionaire owner of the New England Patriots, being caught on tape paying for sex acts.
Why it’s necessary: In this excellent article for FamilyLife, Dr. Ed Uszynski asks, “What effect does a moment like this have on our junior high, high school, and college-aged sons? What is their response when the most visible owner of the most successful team in the most popular and influential sports league in our country gets caught soliciting sex from a Chinese woman held against her will?” As easy as it would be to ignore or assume that our children know why the whole situation is heartbreaking, his list of 15 things to grieve show how complex, convoluted, and confusing it can be, especially for younger children only starting to grapple with morality and ethics.
Parent Guide Spotlight: This is a time of year when we hear more and more about the immense significance of the cross and what Christ accomplished through it. But for some, it may bring up doubts like: Could He really have risen from the dead? Can we even know if it actually happened? And if it didn’t happen, what does that mean for everything I believe in and stand for? All good questions worth researching for both you and your teens. Our Parent’s Guide to the Evidence for the Resurrection is a great read for your entire family during this meaningful season.
29 Going On
30Wise Old Sage?
In preparation for her 30th birthday, Taylor Swift penned a “30 Things I Learned Before Turning 30” article for Elle. It’s highly likely that teenage and twenty-something fans will read her every word, thanks to her massive success and outsized influence—which means if our children are reading, we should too.
There’s a lot to wade through, some silliness (“vitamins make me feel so much better!”), some real gems, and some total lumps of coal. What’s great about it, though, is it provides us a unique opportunity for conversation, one that we shouldn’t squander by only pointing out what she gets wrong. Start, instead, by asking your teens what they liked about it, then mention some of the solid pieces of advice you liked as well. By starting with what’s good, you will win in a multitude of ways with your kids, not the least of which is showing that you aren’t against them and the things they love.
Some of the gems we liked are:
1. “I learned to block some of the noise. Social media can be great, but it can also inundate your brain with images of what you aren’t, how you’re failing, or who is in a cooler locale than you at any given moment.” She goes on to mention some ways she fights against the negative impacts of social media—probably things we’ve told our teens one gajillion times, but maybe it’ll actually stick when she says it!
12. “Apologizing when you have hurt someone who really matters to you takes nothing away from you….Learn how to make a sincere apology, and you can avoid breaking down the trust in your friendships and relationships.” Beautiful.
18. “Realizing childhood scars and working on rectifying them.” Because of being the “loser” as a child, Swift exulted in her girl squad as an adult, not “realizing that other people might still feel the way I did when I felt so alone.” She concludes by saying, “It’s important to address our long-standing issues before we turn into the living embodiment of them.” We couldn’t have said it better.
From there, you’ll earn the right to ask good questions that get them to think more deeply about her advice, hopefully deciphering for themselves what’s worth holding on to versus what’s misleading, confused, wrong, or unhelpful.
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
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