Three Things This Week
1. iOS 12
What it is: The newest update to Apple’s mobile operating system releases to the masses on Tuesday (Sept. 12).
Why it’s actually awesome’: The update features some robust new parental controls called Screen Time. They offer the ability to put time limits on apps or device usage in general, get detailed usage reports for yourself and your family, and adjust notifications to be less intrusive. Our “Parent’s Guide to iOS” will be updated soon to reflect these new changes and how to use them, and if you’ve already purchased it, you will get the update for free! But until then, here’s a good overview of how it works and how to use certain features. But reading the comments is a good reminder: Kids are creative and will find creative ways around Screen Time controls, so they should never be a replacement for relationship and conversation. More on that next week.
2. Social Justice Statement
What it is: Led by John MacArthur, over 4,600 evangelicals have signed a controversial statement about race, the “social gospel,” and Christian political involvement.
Why it’s worth a discussion: It’s always tempting to reduce Christianity to orthodoxy and dogma, to statements and claims about what’s allowed and what’s not, who’s in or who’s out. The problem is the Bible doesn’t let us get away with that—or at least Jesus doesn’t. The Gospel isn’t so much a set of rules as it is a story about the God made flesh who moved into our neighborhood, a God who cared so much for His good world that He came down to redeem it, both now and eternally. That means He’s deeply involved in what’s happening right here and now, and He longs for us to join Him in this salvific work for peace, justice, and redemption. Read the statement with your teens, then ask which parts they agree or disagree with, and why? As James reminds us, “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
3. Just Do It
What it is: Colin Kaepernick is the face of Nike’s 30th anniversary “Just Do it” marketing campaign in which he encourages the next generation to “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Why it’s shrewd: For Gen Z, who are both brand conscious and socially aware, the ad has an incredible, money-making appeal. And while Kaepernick may have sacrificed his NFL career to speak out against racial issues, Nike seems to be making a sly business decision. “Cashing in on Kaepernick’s activism to bolster the gravitas of ‘Just Do It’ is a clever marketing tactic, a way for Nike to access the social cachet of resistance efforts without altering its own corporate DNA.” Ask your teens if they think Nike is helping or tainting Kaepernick’s platform. Are they unscrupulously profiteering from someone else’s sacrifice?
11 Big Fall Video Game Releases
The season for video game releases is upon us. Unlike when you were young and there was one big new game released every 6 months or so, there are now many new games released each month. Below are some of the biggest game releases set for the fall. (Full list here.) Note: Almost all of these are add-ons or sequels to existing game franchises. Engage your gamer: Are the current game offerings getting too repetitive? What would it take to make gaming fresh and interesting again?
Destiny 2 : Forsaken (Sept. 4. on PS4, XB1, PC. Rated T for Teen. Watch trailer.)
Online multiplayer. Players can compete against one another or join forces against evil to save humanity. The Destiny franchise has gotten lots of pushback from fans because they felt it didn’t deliver on promises and made players pay for “extra” content that should have been included in the original game. Forsaken looks like an attempt to get back in players’ good graces.
Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (Sept. 4 on XB1. Rated T for Teen. Watch trailer—warning: violence)
The original battle royale game in which players compete to be the last man standing. With the explosive popularity of PUBG’s competitor Fortnite, it will be interesting to see how this final release fares (people could play it pre-release for quite some time).
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Sept. 14 on PS4, XB1, PC. Rated M for Mature 17+. Watch trailer—warning: violence.)
The next release in a long-running single-player cinematic action-adventure. Think Indiana Jones with a female protagonist.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (Oct. 12 on PS4, XB1, PC. Rated M for Mature 17+. Watch trailer—warning: language, violence)
The next release in the massively profitable franchise. Online multiplayer. Also adding a battle royale mode. This and Battlefield V are trying to take advantage of the Fortnite/PUBG craze. Is there benefit to games learning from each other, appealing to the audience, and trying a familiar game mode in a new format, or is it just uncreative?
Fallout 76 (Nov. 14 on PC, PS4, XB1. Rated M for Mature 17+. Watch trailer.)
The famous post-apocalyptic single-player series is going online. Now players can survive the unforgiving wasteland with friends or face off against foes—all of which are real people online.
Battlefield V (Nov. 20 on PS4, XB1, PC. Rated M for Mature 17+. Watch trailer—warning: violence)
A franchise well-known for its large online multiplayer battles. This installment includes a battle royale mode, also riding on the coattails of PUBG and Fortnite.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Dec. 7 on NS. Rating pending. Watch trailer.)
Highly anticipated update of one of the best-loved, family-friendly fighting games. Features characters from a huge number of Nintendo games. A favorite at many video game parties and tournaments.
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