Posts Tagged ‘teens’

FRANCIA RAISA, DAREN KAGASOFF, SHAILENE WOODLEY, KENNY BAUMANN, MEGAN PARK, GREG FINLEYThe title is almost an oxymoron!  Although the average teen likely has a few things going on in their lives that they work hard at keeping well-hidden, they also seem to work equally hard at wearing their life on their sleeves.  The emotional ups-and-downs of a teen are like watching a Leafs game…so much promise, so much expectation, so much frustration, so much overachieving, so much underachieving…arriving late, leaving early, frenetic pace, lethargic tempo, controlled system, out-of-control-in-your-face…you get the picture!

As you can see, it’s no secret that most teens have a lot going on in their lives to process…and that’s just the emotional aspects to sort through, let alone the relational, physical and spiritual elements.  I’m not going to try to tackle all the above elements of the teen life, but I am focusing in on one huge element…their online and social media lives!

Just where exactly is the “average” teen spending their time online?  This infograph from the crew @ zone alarm certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, but does shed some helpful perspective, in my opinion.  Thanks also to Kolby Milton @ Youth Ministry Media for the original source outlet.

A Couple of Nuggets to Chew On…

Trust vs. Awareness: a whopping 91% of teens said their parents trust them online vs. 56% of teens indicating their parents don’t know what they do online.

Teens Aren’t Shy: 32% of girls said they chatted with total strangers online, while 24% of guys did the same.

Too Revealing: 69% of teens indicate their online location…while some locations may be bogus, many teens I know do reveal their legit location.

So What?
Parents and youth leaders need to engage teens in conversation about their online habits.  If no one is going to ask them what they’re looking at/doing, generally they ain’t gonna share it voluntarily!  Just like adults need accountability, the same holds true for youth and teens…even more so.

One way we can help teens with setting online boundaries is to talk with them about who they ‘friend’ online.  Most see it as some kind of popularity contest and status level, but the vast majority of online ‘friends’ tend to be nothing more than mere acquaintances with no real investment in our personal lives.  Parents shouldn’t feel bad about inquiring about these areas with their teens, and teens shouldn’t feel threatened or that their privacy is being violated.  Open-ended and honest communication is the key…on both ends, but ultimately teens need to respect the authority and care their parents have with them.

Social Media Guidelines for Students and Job Seekers


I was talking with a couple young 20-somethings recently about life, sports, culture…your basic chit-chat among adults. The conversation got pretty interesting when a bunch of teenagers walked by during their lunch hour…all of them in front of the pizza place they were waiting in line for, and all of them (except one girl) busy texting and/or surfing the web on their phones.  What I heard next was completely surprising to me…after taking a couple of jabs at the teens attached to their phones (and detached from each other), the Gen Y‘ers I was with said they were getting sick of all the technology coming out!  Bam!

Now these are the same young adults that proceeded to check their own i-phones before they left, and then plugged them into their car stereo systems…so they’re not that sick of tech I guess!  But what they did comment on was that they were getting tired of all the so-called devices that are supposed to make our lives simpler, yet seem to add more complexity.  All those marketers trying to sell us on being forever connected has actually created a disconnected generation…I’ve dubbed this ‘Close proximity Disconnection‘…having access to the world around us, yet it causes us to ignore the world right in front of us!

Anywho, the aforementioned conversation with my friends confirmed assertions (like below) that I read about in a June 6th Media Post story titled Is Gen Y Sick of Tech?  

They are not happy about where the world is going, and they are suspicious of digital technology. More than half of them think everyone should stop sharing personal thoughts and experiences online; they believe society needs to reestablish its privacy boundaries.”  ~quote from source article~

It’s not that Gen Y doesn’t appreciate, or even grossly consume the latest advancements in technology.  It’s just that one of the most cynical and critical generations ever is now becoming critical and cynical of their own generational accomplishments.

While only 10 percent said they believe digital technology will have a negative effect overall on the world, a much bigger percentage said they felt the jury is still out: 42 percent believe it’s too soon to tell. Half the sample worries that digital technology and multitasking are impairing our ability to think deeply and to concentrate on one task at a time. Around two-thirds believe society has become too shallow, focusing too much on things that don’t really matter.”  ~quote from source article~

So what does this mean in the grand scheme of things?  Well Gen Y’ers…you have an opportunity to blaze a trail of influence to all those Gen Z‘s running behind you at a frenetic pace.

You’ve led the creative, cause-oriented and consumer charge to go places no one has gone before, but have also opened many doors to places that really led to no where, but made people think they really wanted (and needed) to go there.

You’ve got the opportunity to encourage the continued networking of ideas and resources to further technological adventures.  But you have an opportunity to engage the most visible and ‘connected’  media generation that still craves to be even more visible while they ask the question “Can You See Me Now?

You have the opportunity, and I would say responsibility (along with us Gen X’ers), to restore face-to-face, authentic, transparent relationships as the primary and preferred means of communication.  Online communication is an awesome tool, but it’s just that…a tool.  And if the second-guessing and criticism Gen Y’ers are exhibiting towards the mobile generation are accurate, then maybe…just maybe we can spend more time looking each other in the eye, instead of looking at the keypad!

It’s a pretty common fact that parents can often find it difficult engaging in regular, everyday conversation with their teens.  And you can multiply that by about 43 when it comes to having that all-important, yet all-too-often talk about sex and sexuality.  While I can’t guarantee you that this podcast from Fuller Youth Institute‘s Kara Powell will make talking about sex with your teen a smooth-sailing event, but I can guarantee you that you’ll gain some great insight into how to have ‘the talk.’

And as a bonus resource, here’s Jonathan McKee’s blog article from this week that helps to get conversations with your teens started in the right direction!

Here’s pt. 2 of the Youth Culture Window’s look at which movies (in their opinion) teens will be lining up to see this spring and summer.  I’d have to say that this might be one of the best 3-4 month movie release periods in the past decade.  When was the last time there was this many block-buster (or potential ones) within a quarter of a year?  Movies like The Hunger Games, M.I. IV, Avengers, MIB 3, The Dark Knight Rises, Bourne Legacy, Rock of Ages…that’s a star-studded and action-packed line up fo shiz!

So here’s pt. 2…enjoy!

The Flicks Teens Will Pick (Part 2)
2012’s Summer Movies
An article from Jonathan McKee and David R. Smith

Summer movies have already burst out of the gates at a record-breaking pace last weekend whenAvengers pulled in over 200 million opening weekend. We were there, blogging about the premier, and providing you with our official review including discussion questions you can use!

The summer movie lineup is always way too big to compress into one article. So last issue of our Youth Culture Window article, we covered the first half of this summer’s biggest blockbusters, and in this portion of the 2-part article, we’ll preview the second half of the summer’s films that are sure to appeal to teens. Even though we’ve already checked superheroes, vampires, and lots and lots of aliens off the list in the first half of this article, we’ve still got much to cover. Here are the remaining blockbusters for 2012 in order of release date.

June 22 – Brave (Currently Unrated)
If you watch the Disney Channel as much as we do, you’ve definitely heard of this film. Millions saw the preview before Avengers last weekend, it’s beginning to get loads of airtime all over the place…mostly because this movie will be one of the most family-friendly flicks of the summer.

In the movie’s official trailer, we see the determined efforts of Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly MacDonald from Deathly Hallows 2) as she throws off the ancient traditions of her land…which throws the kingdom of her father (Billy Connolly) into chaos. Armed with one simple wish and a bow, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to save her people from a mysterious and beastly curse.

That “other” movie about a girl with a bow already had rampant success at the box office this year; if those dollars are any indicator of this movie’s impact, Brave will score a bull’s-eye hit with young audiences.SIDE NOTE: This isn’t the only animated film for the summer of 2012, just the only one we are highlighting. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted and Ice Age 4: Continental Drift will also be released.June 29 – G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Currently Unrated)
Neither Jonathan nor I have ever been a fan of G. I. Joe, even as kids. And this movie’s first film did nothing to change our minds. But when a buddy showed me (David) this official trailer a couple months back, it brought a smile to my face.

I mean, c’mon! Adding Bruce Willis and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to an already action-packed cast? Killer! And that dubstep version of The White Stripe’s Seven Nation Army is just plain sick!

It looks like the brains behind G. I. Joe have finally got their act together on what it takes to make a good movie: big names, a decent storyline, and CGI that actually looks realistic. Retaliation brings back most of the cast from the first film – even a couple that you thought were dead, and in this sequel, the Joes are up against their darkest threat: the complete eradication of the G.I. Joe program which allows Cobra to overthrow the US government.

Don’t plan anything at your youth ministries for this weekend. All of your Gen X volunteers will probably be busy.

July 3 – The Amazing Spider Man (Currently Unrated)
This film is billing itself as “the untold story” behind Spiderman’s alter ego, Peter Parker…which kinda sounds like the angle filmmakers took with Gotham City’s hero in Batman Begins a few years back.

When the preview for this film rolled before Avengers, the theatre I (Jonathan) was sitting in shouted in excitement. Comic nerds and film buffs are looking forward to this version of the tale. This film is expected to more accurately parallel the comics…and that’s all the nerds needed to hear. But I must say, the effects look pretty amazing as well. The first-person “parkour-like” vantage point of Spidey’s moves in the official trailermake scaling the walls of New York City look pretty fun!

This longer official trailer provides a much better synopsis of the story line, and also reveals that The Social Network’s Andrew Garfield will play Parker/Spiderman while The Help’s Emma Stone will play Gwen Stacy. Dennis Leary, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field round out the cast, along with the inevitable cameo by Spiderman creator, Stan Lee, of course. Given all these factors, this movie will be huge.

But in spite of its popularity, in large part, it will still be reduced to the opening act for the most-anticipated film of 2012’s summer….

July 20 – The Dark Knight Rises (PG-13)
Yes, this preview also aired before Avengers, again, bringing huge cheers from the crowd. This movie has more stars than the sky! Christian Bale (Batman), Gary Oldman (Jim Gordon), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), and Michael Cain (Alfred) are back with director Christopher Nolan (at least) once more for the “epic conclusion” to this history-making trilogy. Oh yeah, Anne Hathaway (Catwoman), Liam Neeson (Al Ghul), and Tom Hardy (Bane) are going to crash the party, too.

The movie’s new official trailer shows exactly why theaters will be packed the weekend this releases. Heck, the very intense, six minute “prologue” that was shown to those attending special screenings of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol was enough to get us jacked about this movie.

In short, the film will pit Batman against one of his most dangerous enemies ever, the sinister Bane, with the lives of millions hanging in the balance. And the presence of Al Ghul and Catwoman will provide just the right amount of “free radicals” to ensure viewers leave the theater tired…from sitting on the edge of their seats for 2.5 hours. 

The only disappointment that this film brings, in my (Jonathan) humble opinion, is Anne Hathaway. Personally… I really don’t like what’s she’s been bringing to the screen lately. She almost seems like a post-Disney channel star (Britney, Christina) who’s trying so hard to prove that she’s just not that innocent anymore. Let’s pray that she can keep her clothes on for this film.

Aside from Hathaway… I expect great things.

There’s been talk about the absent marketing ploys for this film, but when your very last film in the franchise made so much history, do you really have to play by the same rules?

The size and scope of this film’s impact is why the NFL takes summers off.

July 27 – The Watch (Currently Unrated)
This movie is the “all comedy, all the time” component for the summer. It’s got some of the funniest names in showbiz (Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill) getting mixed up in the one thing that’s on the minds and hearts of every American: safer neighborhoods.

I gotta be honest: this movie’s teaser trailer had me rolling. “Don’t look at him. Listen to my words. And hear his face.” Just typing that is funny!

Unfortunately, the eerily similar, real life tragedy surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin has caused 20th Century Fox, the company behind the film, to rethink the way they’re promoting this film(The current trailer shows the neighborhood watchmen harassing a young man for attacking them with eggs. In the racially-charged upheaval currently attracting our country’s attention, a young African-American man was fatally shot by a neighborhood patrolman.) I’m sure that Fox will be able to devise some strategy that will allow them to swiftly side-step this ironic and sad problem.

This film offers movie-goers a major shift in movie genre, and some big name comedians, as well. As a result, plenty of kids will be keeping a close eye on The Watch.

August 3 – The Bourne Legacy (Currently Unrated)
From the start, this film warns viewers, “There was never just one.” It’s a reference to the mysterious and deadly persona of Jason Bourne (played by Matt Damon) from the film’s earlier trilogy. But in this reboot, Jeremy Renner (who has already had a big summer due to his part in The Avengers) plays estranged assassin Aaron Cross whose life has been deeply impacted by Bourne’s decisions in the past.

Edward Norton (Byter) and Rachel Weisz (Marta) are along for the ride in this suspense-saturated sequel. The movie’s official trailer gives viewers a glimpse of the action and stunts that have become a staple of the first three films, but it doesn’t give much insight into the storyline.

No doubt, diehard Bourne fans will be watching closely to see story connections between this film and those of the past. But the use of Jeremy Renner in the lead role is genius; the guy has had quite a run over the past couple years: The Hurt Locker, The Town, MI:4, and The Avengers have shown he’s an explosive force on the movie screen. Plus, this twist just gives writers the (possible) opportunity to wed Renner with Damon in later films. Regardless, nobody will be disappointed by what they see in this one.

But speaking of disappointment….

Avoiding the Summertime Blues at the Box Office
Nobody likes to make a poor decision with a movie, and not just because they now cost an arm and a leg! No, as parents and youth workers, there is a much higher price to pay if we choose poorly when it comes to our movie selections.

Fortunately, this summer’s lineup is pretty clean, in fact, cleaner than in years past. Now that doesn’t mean everything is as pure as the driven snow – including those on this list! (By the way, here are a few “honorable mentions” releasing this summer that I didn’t include in this list but will still appeal to lots of teenagers you know: Prometheus, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, Total Recall, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Expendables 2, and Paranorman.)

To avoid disappointment – and mental scarring – do your homework before heading out to the theater with your kids. Fortunately, you’ve got some powerful resources at your disposal…for free!

    1. The Source for Youth Ministry’s MOVIE REVIEWS & QUICK Qs page. I love this resource! Our resident movie gurus will take the time to preview every single one of these films highlighted in this 2-part article on opening weekend and then offer their thoughts on the film’s entertainment value, appropriateness for teens, and even some ways to use the movie to springboard into discussions about biblical values. What else could you ask for?
    2. The Source for Youth Ministry’s MOVIE CLIP DISCUSSIONS page. I really love this portion of our site, too! Here, we give you ready-to-use small group curriculum so you can use powerful scenes from movies to discuss powerful truth from God’s Word. The best part is, it’s searchable by movie title and topic. We’ll definitely be using some of these summer blockbusters in upcoming additions to this page, so check back often.
    3. Your church’s youth leader. OK, we don’t actually control this last one at The Source for Youth Ministry…but what we do know is that many, many youth workers watch movies to stay on top of what’s happening in youth culture. For instance, I personally received lots of phone calls, Facebook messages, and texts from parents in my church about the appropriateness and content of The Hunger Games just a few weeks ago. Trust me, as a youth worker, it was a blessing to hear from so many parents who were inquiring about this movie on behalf of their kids. I considered myself honored to be able to help them; more than likely, so will the youth worker(s) at your church. Use them…and then thank them.

Hopefully, a solid combination of these three tools will help you discern how to spend your summer’s weekends. In spite of our resources, the best tool for making choices is still you. Yep, you read that correctly. Do your own research about movies you’re thinking of watching, but then, go WITH your kids to those movies. Afterward, spend a little time talking about what you watched together. Don’t just label movies “good” or “bad.” Teach your kids to think “Christianly” about what they see (I just blogged aboutwhat this conversation looks like with current music). Those conversations will go a long, long ways toward helping young people grow in discernment.

Because, now more than ever, it’s crucial that we help teenagers make godly decisions about their entertainment choices.

Jonathan McKeeJonathan McKee, president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of numerous books including the new Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent, and youth ministry books like Ministry By TeenagersConnect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation, and the award winning book Do They Run When They See You Coming? Jonathan speaks and trains at conferences, churches and events across North America, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan and his wife Lori, and their three teenagers Alec, Alyssa and Ashley live in California.
David R. Smith is a 15-year youth ministry veteran who helps youth workers and parents through his writing, training, and speaking. David specializes in sharing the gospel, and equipping others do the same. He co-authored his first book this year,Ministry By Teenagers. David provides free resources to anyone who works with teenagers on his website, David resides with his wife and son in Tampa, Florida.

Hey there friends and followers of Here & There…just letting you know that there’s been some updates this week;

Family Corner– added a couple of new ‘nuggets’, including how parents monitor their children’s social media, and an in-depth look at the world of teen texting and the troubles associated with Gen-Text.

Just 4 Fun– check out the new video from our friends @ Don’t Be That Guy

The Book Shelf– new recommended reading from author Steve Zollos called The Talk…it’s about dads having that all-important conversation with their sons about sexuality, integrity, character and purity

Youth & Culture– some new News You Can Use (a dangerous and not-so-new game teens are playing, the disconnected teen) as well as updated the What’s Trending? section…plus a new Hot Button question.

Have a great weekend, and a special welcome and thank you to our new friends/followers from Brazil, Ireland, Estonia, and Sri Lanka…thanks for taking the time to hang with us!

All 4 His Call;

Shawn (passengershawn!)