Vol. 4 Issue 37 | September 14, 2018

Three Things This Week

1. “Epidemic Proportions”

What it is:The FDA is cracking down on e-cigarette and vape sellers because their research shows that “e-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous—and dangerous—trend among teens.”

Why it’s a reminder: In an undercover blitz, the FDA sent 1,300 warning letters and fines to retailers, saying it “might consider taking e-cigarettes off the market if makers don’t do more to stop exponential sales to teenagers.” CEO of nonprofit The Truth Initiative urged the FDA to move faster, saying, “The time for action is before a product is in every high school in the United States, not after.” And since many of the devices look like USB drives, it’s possible they are in every high school already. Have your kids tried vaping? Are you sure? Even if they haven’t yet, they will probably be asked to soon. Make sure your kids know you’re on their side, then talk through the risks of vaping/juuling. (Check out our Parent Guide on vaping for more info!)

2. Teen Singleness

What it is: Pop culture presents romantic love and sex as the highest expression of human fulfillment, creating a social stigma for students that are single and choose abstinence.

Why it’s not the worst: In the recent movie Eighth Grade, 13-year-old Kayla personifies the anxiety teens face navigating relationships in a culture driven by romance and sexuality. For so many of our kids, being single is worse than having the plague. But is it? How do we help them redeem this time, think critically about dating and relationships, and see their singleness not as a curse, but as a gift giving them the time and space to build an intimate relationship with Christ? Our new Parent’s Guide to Teen Singleness gives you the practical and theological foundation to help you son or daughter make the most of their single years, get your copy today!

3. A Parent’s Guide to Atheism?

What it is:New research suggests young adults reject Christianity quicker when their parents talk the talk but do not walk the walk.

Why it’s convicting: It sounds simple, but if we want our children to own their own faith once they leave the nest, we must practice what we preach. If we quote “love your neighbor as yourself” yet vilify those we disagree with on social media, we are clanging cymbals. If we tell them to remain sexually pure until marriage yet dabble in pornography ourselves, we hinder the Gospel. Gen Z longs to see faith in action. They realize, sometimes better than we do, that Jesus wasn’t simply preaching a message of afterlife salvation, He was also deeply concerned with the political, social, and economic problems of His day. He actively sought to address oppression, abuse, and racial injustice. Maybe the best way we can transfer faith to the next generation is to “Learn to do good; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”

Update: Last week, we said iOS 12 was releasing this week…but it’s actually next week (Sept. 17). Our bad! Be on the lookout for that and the update to our “Parent’s Guide to iOS” next week 🙂

When Should I Get My Kid a Smartphone?

It’s a good question, one that almost every parent in the modern world will ask. What’s the right age for getting my child a smartphone?

But actually, it’s the wrong question to be asking.

It’s the wrong question because the issue is much deeper than a binary, either/or situation in which your kid either has a phone or doesn’t have one. Why? Because it matters less when you buy your kid a phone and more how you allow them to use it. Asking “when” creates a false dichotomy that results in your kid going from not having a phone to having 100% access to one in a matter of moments.

It’s a false dichotomy because your kid will always have access to a phone (even if they don’t have a phone) because of their friends. Sure, they won’t have the same authority to customize it to their liking, but they will still have significant access.

It’s also false because getting a phone shouldn’t necessarily mean they own it or have complete control over it. Possibly one of the biggest regrets we hear from parents is that they gave their child a phone in its original box without setting any parameters or boundaries around it.

Your kids need a path to follow where they get a phone with limited access and then their responsibility increases until they are independent.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing (with permission) part of a chapter we wrote for The Art of Parenting: Aiming Your Child’s Heart toward God, a new book by Family Life Today’s Dennis and Barbara Rainey. The chapter gives you a better framework from which to view smartphones and some important conversations to have with your kids. We highly recommend the entire book!

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