Three Things This Week
1. Teen Choice Awards
What it is: Sunday marked the 20th edition of the awards show, and it’s a great glimpse into who and what teens are into.
Why it’s helpful: The beauty of awards shows is that we don’t have to watch them to learn from them. Check out the full list of nominees and this 2.5 minute video recapping the big moments. How many names did you know? How many had you never heard of? What did you think about the visuals and speeches? What do you make of the fact that viewership just keeps dwindling? Anything else about the show or performances stand out? These questions are important because 1. they help us understand our teens’ world better; and 2. you’ll need them for MTV’s VMAs on Monday 8/20!
2. Millennial Billy Graham?
What it is: Fortnite megastar Ninja is getting a lot of flack for saying he won’t stream with female gamers.
Why it’s polarizing:A lot of people (language) are angry, saying it’s exclusionist and sexist in an industry that’s already extremely tough for women. Ninja himself has clarified, saying he’s chosen this tactic because of how streaming with other women might affect his wife and their marriage (people start “shipping” gamers who stream together, and gamer culture can be a playground for bullying, rumors, abuse, and scandal to run wild). Is this the modern version of Billy Graham’s rules for interacting with women? Ask your teen gamers what they think of Ninja’s boundaries. Is this a smart way to protect his marriage? Why/why not? How does streaming present challenges for streamers who want to protect their personal lives? How is Ninja’s response adding to or fixing the gender divide in gaming?
3. Musical.ly Tik Tok
What it is: Popular lip-syncing app Musical.ly has been merged with Tik Tok, a similar app with a global audience.
Why it’s noteworthy: Bytedance, the parent company of Tik Tok, acquired Musical.ly last year, so it was only a matter of time before the two were consolidated. Though the apps are similar, some of the app’s 100 million monthly active users may not like the change, though its core demographic (teens) will probably be quick to adapt. Facebook’s now looking to enter this market, so it seems that even if your kids haven’t yet used Musical.ly/Tik Tok, that could change soon. Just one more thing on their phones screaming for attention. (And we should also mention that it means that users’ videos will now be seen by many more people around the globe, not just in the US.)
Dating & Romance
Each new school year means our kids are one year older, one year closer to striking out on their own and becoming autonomous adults. It also means there’s more pressure to find romance in one form or another—a serious relationship, a date, a hook up (or many. . .), a “friendlationship,” “talking,” texting, sexting, or something else altogether. All of those are part of teens’ dating landscape today, many of which didn’t even exist even a few decades ago.
Gone are the days of sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring (because, of course, phones didn’t go everywhere with us back then!) or of hoping your crush would pass you a note or of “going steady.” In fact, what we might think constitutes as dating is vastly different from what today’s teens and tweens believe it is. Maybe that’s why the number of high school seniors going on dates has dropped compared to previous generations. Around 85% of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers went on dates in their senior year of high school, but it was down to 56% for high school seniors in 2015.
People are complicated, and romantic relationships are one of the most complex and fascinating kinds of relationships God has given us. They’re challenging even for people working from a solid foundation. Add social media, online dating, hook up apps, and sexting to the mix, and it becomes near impossible! So when considering our teens, it can be daunting to decide whether or not we should allow them to date, and if we do, how we can guide them through the process well. Is it possible? Can we help our kids avoid the cesspool of hookup culture? Is there a “right” or biblical way to date? And above all, can we use dating as an opportunity to disciple our kids into a Christ-like perspective of others? Teens need all the help they can get to understand it and know how to glorify God and respect others through it all. Our brand new “Parent’s Guide to Teen Dating” offers insight to the dating landscape, while our Dating Conversation Kit is great to watch with your kids to get the conversation flowing!
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