Three Things This Week
1. Big Mouth
Why it’s rotten: The cartoon is about middle schoolers going through puberty with the dreaded hormone monster following them. Puberty is definitely a difficult time for teens, and the show draws attention to what happens when kids have poor guidance and deviant ideas of what sexuality is. But unfortunately, the show itself will only add to the poor guidance if pre-teens and teens watch it. It’s explicit, perverse, and depraved and features full nudity, excessive sexualization, and obscene language. It’s a good reminder of how much our children need our guidance and wisdom during one of the most confusing times of their lives. (Our brand-new Parent Guide draws on themes from Big Mouth to help you disciple your kids through puberty and sexuality in a healthy way!)
2. Raising Kids to Be Brands?
What it is: In a survey of 884 college students at Christian and secular schools, Donna Freitas found that 73% of students strive to appear happy or positive with anything attached to their real names.
Why it’s revealing: Through responses to the survey, it became clear that actual happiness didn’t matter; they just had to appear happy. One student even said, “[Social media] is like a happiness competition.” Another key finding: 79% of students said they are aware that their names are brands and that they need to cultivate these “brands” carefully. Freitas claims that we are now raising our kids to be brands. Do you agree? Ask your teens if they agree or disagree. Ask them what pressure they feel when posting anything online. We encourage you to watch Freitas’ entire 20-minute talk together, then allow your teens to respond.
3. Amazon Households
Why it’s a mixed bag: It’s cool to see a company creating services that have the potential to increase understanding between teens and parents. It can allow teens to have some autonomy (i.e. independence, what they all want!), while still allowing parents to monitor their activity and have veto power. But at the same time, it could encourage wanton consumerism or increase conflict in the home. It makes one wonder: Will this service really help families? Or will it habituate a new generation to the over-convenience of online shopping and increase company loyalty?
What Teens Are Listening To
It’s good to check in with the music scene every now and then to see what songs and artists are making waves. Here are the 10 most popular songs in the US this week. (We like the Billboard Hot 100 chart because it combines radio airplay with sales and online streaming data, but you may prefer other charts—iTunes, Spotify, etc.—because you know what platforms and music your teen prefers.) If you’re unfamiliar with the songs, lyrics, and/or artists, it’s a great opportunity to ask your teens what they know, as well as to familiarize yourself with what’s directly and indirectly influencing teens.
- “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)”(language!) by Cardi B
Key Fact: It’s the longest-running number 1 song by a female rapper ever, as well as the first to hit number 1 since 1998.
- “Rockstar” (language!) by Post Malone ft. 21 Savage
Key Idea: This is what it looks like to be a “rockstar” (i.e. successful).
- “Mi Gente” by J Balvin and Willy William ft. Beyonce
Key Lyric (translated): “This party has no end / Bottles up, yeah / My people don’t stop, no one wants to leave here.”
- “1-800-273-8255” by Logic ft. Alessia Cara and Khalid
Key Idea: The title is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and the lyrics describe a suicidal person’s state of mind, but then move to finding a reason to want to live.
- “Look What You Made Me Do” by Taylor Swift
Key Lyric: “All I think about is karma / And then the world moves on, but one thing’s for sure / Maybe I got mine, but you’ll all get yours.”
- “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man
Key Lyric: “We could fight a war for peace / (Ooh woo, I’m a rebel just for kicks, now) / Give in to that easy living / Goodbye to my hopes and dreams.”
- “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons
Key Idea: Not conforming to others’ opinions; proving your haters wrong.
- “Sorry Not Sorry” (language!) by Demi Lovato
Key Lyric: “Baby, I’m sorry (I’m not sorry) / Bein’ so bad got me feelin’ so good / Showin’ you up like I knew that I would.”
- “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber
Key Lyric: “Turn every situation into Heaven, yeah / Oh, you are / My sunrise on the darkest day.”
- “Unforgettable” (language!) by French Montana ft. Swae Lee
Key Lyric: “And you are unforgettable / I need to get you alone.”
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