When Memes > Policies | February 14, 2020

When Memes > Policies | February 14, 2020

Three Things This Week

1. Tinder Meets Snapchat?
What it is: The new app Hoop has recently exploded in popularity, thanks to the developers’ ability to gamify sharing the app with friends.
Why it’s popular: The app bills itself as a way to “make new friends on Snapchat,” and it does this by allowing users to swipe through others’ profiles to find someone they like (sound familiar?). If they want to connect, they can request their Snap username to start talking on Snapchat (there’s no actual messaging via Hoop). But unlike Tinder, a user can only request so many usernames before they run out of the in-app currency (“diamonds”), which can be earned by opening the app every day, getting others to download the app via one’s “Hoop link,” and a few other activities. Thanks to this mass sharing, it’s only a matter of time before teens hear about Hoop. Check out Smart Social’s guide to Hoop for more on the pros and cons of the app.

2. Infodemic
What it is: As COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) continues to spread, social media has been overwhelmed with information about the epidemic, making young people extremely anxious.
Why we have to talk about it: Because of this massive spread of info—much of which isn’t even true—the WHO dubbed it a social media “infodemic” and partnered with Google, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, and others to curtail the spread of hoaxes and unreliable data. Even Instagram is trying to reroute users searching for #coronavirus to credible sources. This intense focus on the virus, coupled with the endless memes and jokes about it, has caused young people to feel like it’s a bigger deal than it actually is. Their uncertainty about what it is, how it’s spread, how prevalent it is, and how to prevent infection only adds to the hysteria. Help your teens by bringing it up, asking what they know, searching for credible information together, and praying against anxiety while asking God to protect others and give authorities wisdom.

3. Vote Your Conscience Fav Meme
What it is: Political ads are nothing new, but they’re getting more creative in 2020. Most recent are Michael Bloomberg’s, um, strange sponsored Instagram posts.
Why they matter: Bloomberg’s campaign, like President Trump’s, is spending millions on social media advertising as part of his presidential bid. But his Instagram posts are clearly geared toward younger voters, not highlighting his policies or even attacking his opponents, but rather using humor and randomness to gain support. When asked if he’d be willing to run a sponsored post for Bloomberg, the teen who runs meme account @bigdadwhip said, “I would be down—bread is bread,” adding that he could also say he “helped a presidential candidate.” Who we vote for or even help campaign for president should be based on much more than money, personal appeal, or sponsored posts. We adults must be intentional in teaching Gen Z to take their votes seriously by researching each candidate and their policies before supporting them.

What Would You Do?

What would you do if your daughter said she was attracted to girls and not boys? What would you do if, as recently happened to Dwayne Wade, your son came home and told you he wanted to be a girl? It’s easy to think that this won’t happen in our homes, but it’s becoming more and more plausible as the number of high school students in 6 states who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or non-heterosexual has doubled since 2009 (the study didn’t look at a nationwide representative sample). Unfortunately, suicide attempts among this group are four times higher than their heterosexual peers.

Of course, we must consider why rates of suicide are much higher for them. Simply identifying as LGBTQ+ does not necessarily put young people at higher risk for depression and suicide; it’s what happens once they do. The stigma, identity crisis, bullying, violence, and familial rejection many face increase their likelihood for self-harm. That’s why one part of Wade’s response was wise: “When our child comes home with a question, when our child comes home with an issue, when our child comes home with anything, it’s our job to listen and give them the best information, the best feedback that we can, and that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved in it.” He and his wife have created an environment in their home in which their child felt safe and loved enough to come to them with his deepest, most intimate issue.

Can the same be said of us? Imagine how vulnerable your child would feel if he or she came to you with such a weighty admission, especially if they know their sexual orientation is against your core beliefs. In that moment, earn their trust by giving them what they need most: your unconditional love. We need to think through how we would respond in such situations before they ever happen so that we can react calmly and lovingly while continuing to have an influence in their lives. We earn the right to disciple them regarding their gender identity or sexual orientation by first making them feel safe and loved. Alienation never leads to transformation.

We want to be clear here: We, like you, want the next generation to flourish and have abundant life in Jesus. But that life, or honestly life itself, might never be chosen if we do not model the radical, unconditional love of Christ when they need it most.

Culture creation that allows dialogue requires immense trust in God. It requires letting go of the need to fix, change, or control others’ beliefs or actions. It requires trusting that God’s Spirit can work behind the scenes in people’s hearts as we create a culture where they are free to question, doubt, and explore faith at their own pace. This shifts the burden to change people back to where it belongs—with God alone. (No Perfect People Allowed by John Burke)

Keep the Faith!

The Axis Team

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