Three Things This Week
1. How Your Teen Thinks
What it is: A recent article by Jerusha Clark looks at the neuroscience of teen brains and how to adapt one’s parenting tactics to be more effective.
Why it’s valuable: Ever been baffled, frustrated, or annoyed by how your teen(s) thinks, reacts, or views the world? There is a gap between adults and teens, but thanks to Clark’s research, we now know it’s not because they’re the worst and want to ruin our day. Clark helps us better understand their psychology and physiology and all the perfectly natural (but exasperating) changes they’re going through. She also offers extremely practical tips for responding in ways that help and challenge teens without overwhelming them. We also highly recommend her book Your Teenager Is Not Crazy for anyone who interacts directly with teens.
2. Billie Eilish
What it is: Currently opening for Florence & the Machine, Billie Eilish is an up-and-coming artist to pay attention to.
Why she’s taking off: At 16 years old, Eilish is creative, talented, intentional, and different. Though Gen Z still eats up chart-topping artists and tracks, many of them often crave substance, meaning, and true artistry, things Eilish is full of. With 132M streams of her breakout song on Spotify, a song on the soundtracks of each season of 13 Reasons Why, and a collab with Khalid (which has 114M views on YouTube), she’s making her mark on the music scene…and on Gen Z’s hearts and minds. If your teens know and like her music, ask them why they’re drawn to it. Then take some time to familiarize yourself with her lyrics and her style in order to engage in deep conversations with your teens about her music.
What it is: This year’s Streamy Awards aired live on YouTube on Oct. 22, celebrating online streamers, gamers, and influencers.
Why they’re informative: Ever heard of The Try Guys? How about David Dobrik, Poppy, James Charles, or Tana Mongeau? Ask your teens if they have and what they know about them. (If they haven’t, ask them who their fav YouTuber/streamer is and why.) Surprised by their answers? If so, watching the Streamys could be a good intro to the streaming world and the people/personas influencing millions of teens around the world every day. And if the YouTube-verse flabbergasts you (as it should—users view over 1 billion hours of videoeach day…as of early 2017!), OR if you’re realizing you don’t know nearly enough about this world, this article is a helpful overview of this year’s show and contains links to articles about each of the stars who participated.
Going Off-Grid…and Paying the Consequences
Recently, my phone went dark. Not literally, but figuratively since I intentionally went somewhere without WiFi or cell service for 2 whole days *gasp!* I know, not a common occurrence these days, but let me tell you, it was glorious. To not feel the compulsion to check my phone every so often, to be forced to rest in the fact that if work issues arose, they’d be dealt with soon but not immediately, to simply be somewhere and enjoy my surroundings—what a respite. It was good for my soul.
But then, I came back.
No, it wasn’t the end of the world. BUT I did have over 100 work emails (I haven’t even been brave enough to check my personal accounts yet), some voicemails and texts, and some social media messages and posts to attend to (not to mention timing out on a couple of rounds of the one game I play). And it felt like all the soul healing that had happened was reversed and then some. Back to the grind, to reality, to all the little things demanding my attention. I had been free, but I was chained once again.
Luckily, I’m an adult who loves Jesus, so I can deal with this in healthy ways, as well as ask my Savior to do what I can’t. But it made me think about what today’s teens and young adults—many of whom barely remember a world without smartphones and definitely not one without Internet—go through if they ever choose (or let’s be real, are forced) to go offline.
Almost every facet of their lives revolves around the Internet and their phones, so when we tell them to “unplug” or turn their phones off every now and then, is it any wonder they look at us with utter astonishment? The repercussions of turning off their phones could be 10, 20, even 100 times worse than they were for me, so why should they do it?
And yet, as bad as it is to be hit in the face with reality, it’s still worth it to unplug for a time. So, as loving adults dealing with teens and 20-somethings, let’s not simply tell them to turn their phones off; let’s accompany it with practical strategies for dealing with the aftermath, for combating FOMO, for calming angry friends, and for taking full advantage of the healing potential that comes with unplugging and letting go.
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