Vol. 5 Issue 31 | August 2, 2019
Three Things This Week
1. Inciting a Teen Revolt?
What it is: New legislation to ban social media features like autoplay, infinite scrolling, and—gasp!—Snapstreaks was introduced in the US this week.
Why teens will care: Dubbed the SMART (Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology) Act, it seeks to address “social media addiction” and rid platforms of “psychological tricks that make it difficult to look away.” The bill would also require platforms to have a default time limit of 30 minutes per day (it’d be removable). Yet critics say there’s not yet good evidence to show that social media addiction is real and that its measures are too extreme. Chances are that it won’t pass, but it does highlight good questions about how the form and format of something are subconsciously shaping our habits. Ask your teens what they think: How would they feel about Snapstreaks being taken away? Have they ever wondered if Snapstreaks, badges, and infinite scrolling are tricks to keep them mindlessly engaged? Why or why not?
2. Sext No More
What it is: A new study of 12- to 17-year-olds shows that sexting isn’t as prevalent as old stats suggested.
Why it’s encouraging: The study only looked at sexting involving images, since images are more likely than text to be used as sextortion or to be viewed by courts as child p*rnography. It found that only 14% had received a sexually explicit image from a significant other (SO), 13.6% had received one from a non-SO, and only 11% had sent one to an SO. Interestingly, when asked by an SO, 63.9% complied with requests for such an image, showing the importance of talking with our kids about how to say no and treating others with dignity. Above all, as the study’s author noted, “Showing adolescents clear evidence that a relatively small proportion of teens engage in sexting could actually result in decreased overall participation since it underscores that it is not as normal, commonplace, or widespread as they might believe.”
3. Purity Culture Fallout
What it is: Joshua Harris, author of now-renounced I Kissed Dating Goodbye, announced he’s no longer a Christian, triggering shockwaves throughout Christendom.
Why it’s complicated:If you or your loved ones are confused, hurt, angry, or rocked by his book, the culture it spawned, his subsequent revocations, his divorce, his leaving the faith, or the myriad and varied reactions by Christians to it all—we see you. We feel your pain. You’re not alone. And if you’re unsure of what’s good and true and right in the wake of it all, we get it. This article is a great analysis of what purity culture got wrong,despite its good intentions. But in its void, what now? Grace upon grace. Grace for ourselves, our licentiousness, our legalism; grace for Harris, his family, his future; grace for those who still believe in purity culture; grace for those who don’t; grace for the Church as we try to figure out how to move closer to the heart of God. But above all, may we live out of and call upon the grace of Jesus as we disciple Gen Z in a broken world.
Spotlight: Included in the collateral damage of purity culture coming under fire is the topic of modesty. What does it mean to be modest? How do we teach our kids and students to be modest? How do we enforce it? All questions western Christians have asked in the pursuit of purity and being different from our overly sexualized culture. But with previous definitions of and rules surrounding purity under intense scrutiny, it’s time we reframed the modesty discussion as well. Our brand-new Parent’s Guide to Modesty seeks to do just that. Check it out here!
July Meme Roundup
Happy August! Another month, another 30(ish) days of meme fodder. And as usual, there were many hilarious and sometimes confusing memes to keep up with. Here are five of the biggest from July to know about. (Note: Peruse the links below at your own risk. Because it’s meme-land, many explanations feature examples with explicit language.)
- Therapist: No: Mimicking a therapy session, this text meme starts with a therapist asking, “And what do we do/say when we feel like this?” with “me” responding something ridiculously wrong—and funny—to which the therapist simply responds, “No.” Check out some examples here.
- Walk a Mile in These Louboutins: Riffing off of Iggy Azalea’s 2013 song “Work,” this Tik Tok meme features people wearing extremely random items on their feet as shoes. Some of the “shoes” included eggs, soap bars, traffic cones, carrots, and even full-sized garbage cans.
- Woman Yelling at a Cat: This image-based meme juxtaposes two images, one of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast members Taylor Armstrong and Kyle Richards, and a picture of a confused-looking cat seated behind a dinner plate. The woman’s rage serves as the joke’s setup, with the cat’s reaction the perfect punchline. Check out some examples here.
- Hot Girl Summer: 24-year-old Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion released her new album Fever in May this year, and the cover had a line that read, “She’s thee HOT GIRL and she’s bringing THEE HEAT”; thus, “Hot Girl Summer” was born. Twitter user @sweetliketeaaa debuted the first meme with the caption “I heard it’s a hot girl summer,” and the phrase is used to convey the mindset of living your best life and unapologetically doing what you want.
- You Need to Calm Down: Taylor Swift’s song “You Need to Calm Down” has been repurposed by (surprise!) TikTokers for situations in which one party is being obnoxious in some way and the other party quotes the line “You need to calm down. You’re being too loud.” Check out some examples here.
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
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