Vol. 5 Issue 45 | November 8, 2019
Three Things This Week
1. No, I’m An Influencer!
What it is:A new survey by Morning Consult found that 86% of Americans aged 13 to 38 are willing to post sponsored content on social media for money, and 54% would become an influencer if given the opportunity.
Why it’s the future: The survey also found that influencers are more trusted than celebrities and that Gen Zers and Millennials base many decisions on what influencers say. Combined with other new insights about teen screen time (see #3 below), it’s clear that Gen Z is quickly changing the “normal” way to learn about the world, consume information and media, make purchasing decisions, and even “make a difference.” We highly recommend checking out the survey. What else stands out? How should this, ahem, influence (we had to) your parenting, pastoring, teaching, mentoring, and other interactions with younger generations?
2. TMI from T.I.
What it is: Rapper T.I. admitted to going with his daughter to her annual gynecology exam to ensure her hymen is “still intact,” ignoring the consensus in the medical community that accurate “virginity exams do not exist.”
Why it’s not ok: Is this an appropriate way to protect a child’s purity? Or is it an invasion of his daughter’s privacy? And why is he more concerned about his daughter’s purity than his son’s? If we take the same approach, we inadvertently communicate two harmful lies: 1. that our children’s worth is tied to their virginity; and 2. that sex is dirty or shameful. If believed, these lies can lead to a lifetime of pathology, trauma, self-hate, and sexual dysfunction. We rightly long for our children to pursue sexual purity, but scaring them into abstinence isn’t a healthy long-term solution, nor is it what God intended. To help you navigate this difficult conversation, check out our Parent’s Guide to Purity. It’s a thoughtful, theologically sound, and practical guide to equip you to talk with your kids about God’s design for sexual wholeness.
3. Census 2019
What it is: Common Sense Media’s newest media survey of 8- to 18-year-olds found that 8- to 12-year-olds watch screen media an average of 4 hours and 44 minutes per day (an 8-minute increase over 2015), whereas teens watch an average of 7 hours and 22 minutes per day (a 52-minute increase).
What it means for you: Despite growing concerns about the negative effects of screen time, young people’s use is still increasing (dare we say it reflects a similar trend in older generations?). The survey also found that YouTube is still the most-used app (not surprising) and that the number of videos they watch online has doubled (notable). None of these are earth-shattering revelations, but they serve as a reminder of the need to pay attention. There are trends that apply to the masses (e.g. TikTok or Fortnite), but there are now diverse niche trends as well. It’s up to us to know each child and what impacts them individually.
Spotlight: Next Thursday, November 7 at 7pm CST, we are hosting a free, one-hour webinar in which we’ll teach you our proven model for joining, guiding, and deepening the conversation with your kids. If you’ve ever struggled to connect with your teens or felt unsure of how to talk about something in their lives, this webinar is for you.
Why Did It Take So Long?
Following a disturbing story revealed by Charisma News, Christian comedian John Crist admitted to “sexual sin and addiction struggles.” The growing list of allegations against Crist involve predatory behavior including unsolicited sexting, offering show tickets in exchange for sexual favors, and using his celebrity status to pressure younger fans into compromising sexual situations. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, stories about Crist’s behavior have been circulating for years in evangelical circles, but due to a lack of accountability, his celebrity status, and the continual failure to validate female stories of abuse, his harmful behavior continued.
Instead of damning Crist or too quickly offering a cheap grace that covers over the pain his victims still feel, what can we learn and how should we respond to this tragic story?
First, believe women. Rachael Denhollender’s new book and Netflix’s tragic show Unbelievable detail the pervasive problem of shaming women who bravely share their stories of abuse. Why, as believers, do we often prioritize the wolves instead of protecting the sheep? Second, if you see something, say something. The sin of silence plaguing our churches continues to foster a breeding ground for abusive behavior. In Crist’s case, friends and family members were aware of his illicit behavior, so why wasn’t more done to actively protect future victims instead of apparently protecting his reputation?
Third, seek justice. We admire Crist’s public apology, but we should never force victims to forgive when the injustice is not also being confronted. Simply saying sorry in public is not the same as going to each victim individually, and apologizing without repentance and restitution only perpetuates the power structure that lead to the abuse in the first place.
As weighty as these issues are, we’ll leave you with three final questions to prayerfully ponder. How would you react if your son or daughter told you they’d been a victim of sexual misconduct? Would you believe them or blame them? Even more difficult, what would you do if your son or daughter was accused of the same conduct?
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
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