Vol. 4 Issue 39 | September 28, 2018

Three Things This Week

1. This Week In Social Media…

What it is:Snapchat announced new Visual Search, in which its camera detects products and automatically finds them on Amazon, while new evidence demonstrated that Facebook, under the guise of account security, gives users’ phone numbers to advertisers.

Why it’s noteworthy: Social media is no longer just about connecting with others. As these moves demonstrate, it’s about making more money in whatever ways necessary. Though many teens aren’t on FB, they are on FB-owned Instagram. And Snapchat’s feature will affect its young user base. What message is it sending? Two big ones come to mind. First, whatever you can snap, you should buy…or at least beg your parents to buy for you. And second, never put your screen down since viewing the world through it can do so much more than simply using your eyes.

2. Teens & Kavanaugh

What it is: Leading up to Thursday’s hearings, The Atlantic asked teens what they thought of Dr. Ford’s accusations against Brett Kavanaugh.

Why it’s a lesson to learn: We have no idea what happened, nor is it our place to pick sides. However, what is interesting is that teens are listening in on this conversation and according to the article they are hearing three key things from adults: “teens will be teens”, sexual misconduct is just a normal part of adolescent behavior, and alleged incidents that happened in one’s youth really don’t matter. Is that the message we want them to embrace? We hope not. Instead, use this difficult and complex story to help them realize that all their actions matter, that what they may do in high school can impact the rest of their lives in dramatic ways, and teach them to take full responsibility for their actions regardless of their age.

3. The Mind of Jake Paul

What it is: An 8-part documentary by YouTuber Shane Dawson on one of the most popular and controversial YouTube personalities (language).

Why it’s fascinating:Part 1 (lots of language), which tells the internet’s side of the story, had over 9.5m views in its first 24 hours. It gives a glimpse into a world many of us adults cannot even begin to comprehend. Most of Paul’s fans and stans are tweens/teens, and his outlandish, ridiculous behavior (which the documentary explores as being possibly sociopathic) not only earns him more views, subscribes, and $$, it also encourages these young people (whose brains and morals are still developing) to mimic him. If your teens watch his or his brother’s videos, this might be worth watching. Part 2 released Thursday, the other 6 parts are TBA. (Since Paul’s material is often seen as bullying, it might be worth watching this interview on bullying.)

Smartphones for Smart Families, Part 2 of 2

Note: The following is excerpted with permission from a chapter we wrote for the brand new book The Art of Parenting: Aiming Your Child’s Heart toward God by Dennis and Barbara Rainey of Family Life. We highly recommend the whole book!

Smartphone Conversation Two: What Is It For?
When it comes to technology, we will quickly confess: We like it. It’s fun, interesting, and powerful. Of course, it can be massively distracting and, in some cases, flat-out dangerous. The second conversation to have about any form of technology is this: What is it for? Although it seems like a deceivingly simple question, how you and your children answer the question of purpose ultimately determines how you ought to use that technology.

So what is a smartphone for? Maybe your family would say that it’s connecting us with the ones we love the most. Okay, great! Now fast- forward to dinnertime. Your family is at a restaurant, and Dad is checking email, Mom is on Pinterest, and daughter is keeping her Snapstreak going. Whoops. #NailedIt

How about Netflix? What is it for? Sure, it’s an incredible library of long-form TV shows with a few movies thrown in. What a fun way to learn and be entertained by great storytelling! But the Oompa Loompas see TV differently:

IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND!
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE! HE CANNOT THINK—HE ONLY SEES!
—Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

That’s a lot of ALL CAPS from the Oompas, but we think the message is clear.

Understanding the intended purpose and subsequently the actual outcome needs to be an ongoing conversation. If the diet we’re on is causing us to be unhealthy, we should correct course. If the smartphone that’s supposed to connect us actually pulls us apart, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Remember to have this conversation: What is it for?

**To learn the other two important conversations to have about smartphones with your kids, as well as get some practical advice on smartphone discipleship, download the rest of the chapter here! For more in-depth help with smartphones, check out our free video series “Reclaiming the Smartphone” and our “Parent’s Guide to Smartphones.”

Editor’s Note: Axis links to many different sources within this e-newsletter; a link does not equal an endorsement. We cannot guarantee the content of each site (especially its ads). Please be forewarned. Also, we highly recommend something like AdBlock.