Vol. 6 Issue 1 | January 3, 2020
Happy 2020! We hope you had a wonderful, relaxing holiday season. We’re beyond excited to partner with you in discipling the next generation in 2020!
Three Things This Week
1. Beach Bunny
What it is: If the last decade taught us anything, it’s that teen interests are becoming more and more niche. Latest example: Beach Bunny, a TikTok-famous indie-rock band beloved by (language) “emo punk kids,” “indie rockers,” and...“young girl fans that love TikTok.”
Why it’s a case study: The band has acquired such a strange fanbase because of TikTok, despite not having much of a presence on the app themselves (1 video and 9 followers) and despite not yet having a single album. The indie rockers and emo punk kids may be expected because of their genre, but young girls on TikTok? They feel the band’s music has given voice to a lot of their struggles, including declining mental health and feeling judged for their bodies. It’s yet another reminder that because the internet offers easy access to wide range of content from across the globe, teens and tweens aren’t as easily predictable and categorizable as they once were. The best way to know what your kids are into—and therefore influenced by—is to keep asking.
What it is: Netflix’s creepy drama You (TV-MA) is back with a second season.
Why it’s big: As 2019’s 5th most popular Netflix series (it released Dec. 26!) and with a 90% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, You is definitely creating buzz. Adding to the onslaught of memes, Cosmopolitan is helping hype it with their new way to watch “together,” Cosmo Watch Party, which offers “flat content” (i.e. images and text, not videos and sounds) via secondary screens as a companion to the show. It allows viewers a chance to be part of the collective conversation around the show when they’re watching it so they don’t feel left out or left behind. But what this does for many teens is cause them to feel extra left out because they won’t be allowed to watch due to the graphic, violent, profane content. If this is the case in your family, make sure to talk with your kids about why you don’t think the show is appropriate for them and how they feel about being left out of the cultural hype.
3. 21 Is the New 18
What it is:As part of a new amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the “minimum age of sale of tobacco products” has been raised from 18 to 21.
Why it’s another step in the right direction: The amendment, which goes into effect this summer, holds retailers responsible for selling to anyone under the age of 21, meaning companies like Juul and Vuse will need to find new ways to verify their customers’ ages. The legislation is partly in response to the vaping epidemic that began this year, injuring more than 2,000 people and killing 54. The CDC has identified vitamin E acetate, an additive found in black-market THC e-liquids, as a possible culprit. But because vaping has exploded in popularity, there are thousands of different retailers and black marketers who mix their own e-liquids, rendering enforcement near impossible. It’s important to talk with young people about the dangers of tobacco, THC, vaping, and buying “bargain” products. (We also recommend watching the vaping episode of Netflix’s show Broken.)
Spotlight: If your kids got new devices for Christmas this year, chances are they’re asking to be on some type of social media (yes, even YouTube counts). To prepare them to use social media mindfully, healthily, and kindly, we highly recommend our Social Media Conversation Kit. Broken into 4 helpful segments, you can watch each video with your kids and use the built-in discussion questions to start deep conversations. Check it out today! (If you’re an All Axis Pass member, it’s included in your subscription! Simply log in to your Dashboard, then navigate to the Conversation Kit tab to watch.)
New Decade, Who Dis?
Morning Brew, a company that produces business and tech newsletters, released a few Decade in Review lists over the past weeks, offering us a look back at what unfolded over the last 10 years. Their “Decade in Culture” list was particularly illuminating, highlighting some trends that are all too familiar and revealing some that few could have predicted. We recommend perusing the list yourself, maybe even with your kids. Let us know what stands out! Here’s what stood out to us.
- Mental health disorders on the rise. Increasing screen time, device-based communication, and lack of sleep are being blamed. It’s not all bad news, though: Some believe the spike is due to a generation being more willing than ever to admit when they’re struggling, which means parents having regular check-ins with tweens and teens could lead to them getting help long before they reach a crisis. Whether or not we can reverse this trend is yet to be seen.
- Hollywood losing ground. TV, film, and music have all gone global, with K-pop groups, foreign films, and Indian children’s shows gaining massive audiences. As the article states, “BTS’s ‘Seoul Town Road’ (yes, it’s a remix) sums up the current moment in entertainment: genreless, borderless, and completely mystifying to traditional tastemakers.” In fact, that’s probably exactly what your teens love about their favorite artists.
- Google’s most popular searches. Do you remember Rebecca Black, “What does the fox say?” or Chatroulette? Because those were all popular this decade. If you read through the list wondering how in the world they were all just a few years ago, you’re in good company. Such lists remind us just how quickly culture moves these days, a trend that will only increase over the coming decade.
- RIP DVD. In 2010, Blockbuster still existed, and Netflix was just a mail-order DVD service. Not sure anyone could have predicted the streaming behemoth Netflix would become, nor all the competitors it would inspire. And since there’s no lag time (driving to the store or waiting for the disc to arrive), we’ve all become impatient binge-watchers.
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
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