Archive for the ‘Entertainment/Media’ Category

more_storesIt’s often been said that “you are what you eat“, and while that’s true, it’s probably equally true to say “you are what you listen to.”  Music has always had a profound impact and influence on our past, and current generations, and that influence is growing stronger and more intense as the digital age advances.  Music not only “soothes the soul”, but is also opens the access panel into the very heart and soul of ourselves, and our culture.

If you’re looking for any level of understanding into the world of teen music and pop culture, then one of your first stops needs to be iTunes.  I’m not saying iTunes is the ideal place for youth and families to figure out what’s appropriate to listen to, or to use the top 10 lists to create your latest playlists.  But what I am saying is that, good or bad, iTunes is THE place youth 11-18 are going to find their music preferences…so if you want t understand a particular culture, you need to know where they’re hanging out, and why!

Jonathan McKee recently posted his top 5 observations about today’s culture from iTunes, and I thought it was a worth-while post to send your way!  Here’s a quick sneak peek into his observations, and if you’re still interested…make sure you read on…!

From Jonathan’s post...

1. TV is Still Huge! A quick peek at TV ratings will reveal The Voice already is one of the top 5 shows watched by America in any given week (it usually lands at No. 3, right under The Walking Dead and football, and always lands among the top 10 shows watched by 12-17 year-olds). But The Voice isn’t limited to a one-screen experience. Following the steps ofAmerican IdolThe Voice sells its performances on iTunes immediately after the show. Hence the blip on iTunes’ charts every Tuesday.

2. “Just Lose Control”
Sure, some music today is straight up raunchy. But I’d say that most of the songs that really last on the charts are the club hits that basically are singing, “Live for the moment, it feels so right, lose control, girl I wanna be with you because you look so good…” To young people, these lyrics are harmless, but they objectify women as sexualized objects. In addition, these songs clearly reveal the focus on the temporary thrill… the quick fix, with lyrics like “lose control” and “drink it up.”

3. Eye Candy Sells
If you pop on iTunes right now and click on Music Videos, you’ll see a music video from Pitbull for his song Don’t Stop the Party. If you click to watch the 30-second preview for that video, you’ll see a huge party, along with shots of naked (with just enough covered to keep it “clean”) and scantily clad girls lying on a bed like they’re in Pitbull’s “harem.” If you wonder about this song’s popularity, Bud Light is featuring the song with excerpts of the video for a new Bud Light commercial during the football games (which are the number one viewed television broadcasts watched by families right now).

4. iTunes is Teaching Kids a New Kind of “Clean”
The and Britney song has an explicit warning, because it repeats two curse words. But Pitbull’s pornographic music video has no warnings anywhere.

Trust me, there is no logic to it. LMFAO wiggled their junk in front of our kids all last year without any “explicit” warning” whatsoever. Meanwhile, a song with the word “sh*t” in it will be declared “explicit.” Where this gets amusing (or sad) is when parents use the “explicit” warning as a gauge as to whether a song or music video is acceptable or not. In other words: and Britney song= BAD

Pitbull Music Video= GOOD

5. Humor Lasts
Yes, sex sells. And yes, those club hits really are popular. But nothing seems to sell like a good dance song with a little bit of humor.

Take the hit song and music video Gangnam Style, for example. This music video has been at the top of the iTunes charts since August! I constantly ask teenagers why they like it. Their first response is always the exact same. They laugh and say, “It’s hilarious!” Then they say something about it being a great dance song or wanting to learn to dance like Psy (I do love his dance moves).


Is it any wonder today’s teens, and adults as well, have a pretty short attention span?  According to Nielsen’s newest 2012 Cross Platform Report, the average American spends 34 hours a week in front of the TV.  Though that’s a profound amount of time with eyes glued to the flat screen, that’s not exactly the attention-grabber…it’s the way they’re watching TV.

There’s not too many North American households that don’t have a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, and according to the survey mentioned above, 40% of folks surveyed are whipping those bad-boys out during the majority of the time that they’re spending watching TV.  In fact, TV & media marketers are banking on you to do this.  That’s why you see so many shows flashing social media advertisements during their programming: “Don’t forget to visit Hawaii Five-0 online at…” and “use hashtag ‘Idolwatching’ while you….”

Our friends @ Nielsen provided a jack-dandy infograph showing how people of different ages browse social media on their tech devices with one eye, while they keep the other eye on the TV.  This just serves to further my concept of ‘Close Proximity Disconnection‘…

So…should we incorporate more of this multi-tasking into the normal learning experiences of youth/teens?

Should we (parents/teachers/youth workers) also provide some breaks from technology where people can just unplug?

What would/could that balance look like?


“Should I read my daughter’s text messages?”

“Should I limit the amount of time my kids spend online?”

“How can I prevent my kids from downloading raunchy music?”

These are all common questions parents across the planet are asking, and most likely, you’re asking them in your household too!   Most parents see the need for rules or “guard rails” with their children in every area from toy-time, back yard playing, playmates/friends, and especially media consumption.  Our family has 2 kids in the public school system, and as they continue their journey of growth and experience as grade-schoolers, we have the critically important task of figuring out which guard rails to set….and the best, healthiest way to implement them.

So how do we as parents, trying to set godly and healthy boundaries, implement these guard rails to our kids without going over the top?  How do we communicate the need for, as well as facilitate the consequences for straying outside of the guard rails?  In other words, how strict is too strict in today’s over-saturated media-driven, YOLO culture of teenagedom?

Jonathan McKee, president of The Source for Youth Ministry, posted a 3-part series recently about setting realistic guard rails in the home. Although there’s no instruction manual that comes with our kids @ birth…wait a minute…actually there is…the bible!  However, it can often be frustrating trying to navigate the waters of parenting teens, and although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all book to download from Amazon, I think you’ll find these posts pretty informative and helpful…I did!

Guardrails Are Only as Good as The Road
No Rules by Age 17½
Actually Setting Guardrails

As an added bonus to your pre-Christmas holiday shopping season, Jonathan also revealed some real-life application of what these guard rails can actually look like in his 2-part blogpost, Can I Smash My Daughter’s Cell Phone?

If you want to check out even more great articles and resources like these, then take a visit to (also a highlighted resource on the Family Corner @ Here & There...).  I hope you find these resources helpful and useful in your household, and in your quest to raise a godly and healthy family!

There’s a few sports I really look forward to in the fall…hockey, baseball playoffs, the NFL & NBA…but there’s one ‘sport’ I’m hoping falls flat on its face.  The Bikini Basketball Association…yes…bikini basketball!  I’m not sure where to start about how the values and morals of our society have eroded to such a degree that people would invest money into a league that promotes the lust for “sexy athletic ladies from around the world.”  With teams like the New York Knockouts, Hollywood Hotties, and Orlando Lady Cats, it’s not too difficult to figure out that ‘fans’ won’t be as interested in points and wins as much as they are watching ‘players’ run around the court with the anticipation of a uniform ‘malfunction.’

It’s idiotic ideas and corrupted morals like these, this over-sexualization, that are vastly infiltrating our society’s perception of women, and especially the self-image and perception our younger girls have of themselves.  The American Psychological Association describes ‘sexualization’ as;

when a person’s value comes only from his or her sexual appeal or behavior, to the exclusion of other characteristics.”

In addition to that definition, I would also add at the end; “…and for satisfying the desires of others.

So in other words, who cares about athletic skill level, competency, character…but are you sexy and hot in a bikini?  That’s the message the BBA is sending out to women, and it’s a message influencing more that just aspiring athletic young ladies.  Think about the pressures our young 14+ year-old girls are facing today in the attempt to keep up with the frantic and lustful expectations to be sexy, hot, attractive, and noticeable today.  The images and marketing ploys are aimed at raising all the wrong ‘standards’, and lowering the ones that matter.  

Don’t believe me?  Take a look at this article about how marketers are targeting younger girls and women for Halloween costumes.  Just like the base of a cliff, every year the morals and values of our society are eroding and fading away…until eventually there’s going to be a huge mess that can’t be cleaned up!  And don’t even get me started with those ridiculous child beauty pageants….yikes!  What was once tagged as too provocative or ‘offsides’ yesterday, is now seen as no big deal or just part of the times we live in.  But our culture is just providing fuel to feed the desires of lust, immorality and sexual idolatry.  

So I’m hoping, like me, you’re reading this and seeing the unnecessary conduct and offended by the personal fouls of pursuits like the BBA, and the marketers who peddle ‘kiddie porn’ and attempt to seduce our young women into falling prey to the trap of sexualization.  Instead of silently complaining about what’s going on, let’s clamor together to get the word out that this kind of conduct and attitude is unacceptable.  Let’s raise our hands , blow the whistle and yell ‘foul!’…but while our hands & voices are still raised, also point to God’s much healthier standards and morals!


Back in the summer I posed the question: Are You Addicted to Your Smartphone?, which included an online test you could take to assess a possible smartphone addiction.  Well today I came across an infograph asking the same question…but it just sounds so much better when it’s asked in sweet colours!

What does the research say?  I’ll let you read on, but here’s a couple things I found interesting;

  • Less all-nighters for students– despite the vast amount of time spent on digital devices, many people rise-and-shine with phone-in-hand and ready to start the digital study day, as opposed to falling asleep cramming in those late nights.
  • “Can’t Live Without It”!– a whopping 65% stated that they felt life might not be possible without their smartphone…wow!  I know SP’s are quite helpful and entertaining, but I think I could go on living without one…I think…!
  • Mobile Shopping– 26% stated they use their SP for mobile/online shopping.  I guess it helps to shorten those mall rush line-ups during the Christmas season!
  • Party People– 58% indicated they use their SP in social settings (uploading photos, status updates, etc…)
  • Apples Are Happy!– 52% of Apple users seem to be more optimistic and upbeat about life, as opposed to only 28% of Android users.  Well I don’t know about that…I think it has something to do with the end of the world, and the fact that the global economy is in shambles, and things aren’t like they used to be…I gotta go surf on my Samsung Galaxy… 😉