Media Use by Kids Age Zero to Eight

Common Sense Media just released a brand new report about the evolution of media use by kids age eight and under.

Yes… eight and under!

If you found it difficult to believe that the average age today’s kids receive their first smartphone is 10 (yes… that’s just the average), then you’ll find it even more intriguing how much and what kinds of technology kids are using in the years prior.

I think parents are slowly realizing that kids are being inundated with entertainment media and technology at younger ages. In my parent workshops, churches no longer just market to “parents of teens”… because they realize parents of 4th graders and 6th graders are watching entertainment from the same sources (YouTube, Netflix) and experiencing the same struggles. In fact, when my publisher and I were discussing the title of my new Teens Guide to Social Media and Mobile Devices …a book that many parents are calling their new “phone contract” their kids need to read before getting their device… it almost seemed silly to use the word “Teens” because we know that many “tweens” were the ones who really needed to read it!

Today’s children age zero-to-eight average over three hours a day with media, 42 minutes on a mobile device. Here’s some random facts I found interesting:

  • 42% of 0-8-year-olds have their own tablet (compared to 7% in 2013)
  • 42% of parents admit that the TV is on “always” or “most of the time” in their home, whether anyone is watching or not.
  • 33% of 0-8-year-olds watch music videos

But by God’s grace…

  • Only 4% of 0-8-year-olds use social media sites like Insta, Snapchat or Music.ly

I encourage you to read, or at least skim this new report and see exactly how fast mobile technology is changing the family dynamic. Here’s a helpful infographic with many of the findings:

Posted in Entertainment Media, Internet, Music, Parenting, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, TV, Youth Culture | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Police Detective Interviews Me About Teen’s Most Pressing Risks

This summer my friend Sean McDowell introduced me to a police detective at a recent conference we all spoke at, and the three of us got a chance to hang out and talk about engaging young people in today’s culture, and what that actually looks like. Fascinating conversation.

His name is J. Warner Wallace. He’s a homicide detective who cares about young people and wants them to know the truth in a world overflowing with lies. He’s written several books and speaks nationwide.

Jim (that’s his real name) read my new book to teens about wise posting in an insecure world, and interviewed me about the risks young people are taking with their devices

Continue Reading More…..

Posted in Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, Youth Culture | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

STDs at an all time high… again

Last week it was all over the news, STDs at an all time high.

Again!

Yes… it was last November that the CDC first posted a press release revealing “STDs are at an unprecedented high.” (My post about this, and my theories as to why) Well… apparently the trend is only getting worse.

The timing is uncanny. Last Tuesday the CDC announced “the highest number of these sexually transmitted diseases ever reported,” literally 9 days after the Washington Post featured a story reprinted by newspapers globally about how teenagers weren’t drinking or driving or having sex, rather, they were… and I quote… “sticking to G-rated activities such as rock climbing or talking about books.”

Continue Reading More…..

Posted in Jonathan's Rant, News, Sexuality, Youth Culture | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

New sexually explicit cartoon on Netflix

The show is called Big Mouth, and it’s premiering on Netflix this weekend. It’s a cartoon about teenagers whose lives have been upended by the wonders and horrors of puberty.

For those who think today’s young people aren’t exposed to sexual messages and imagery… think again.

Take a peek at the trailer here: (and WARNING: This YouTube trailer is very sexually explicit and contains foul language… and yeah… it’s available on your kid’s phone.)

Continue Reading More…..

Posted in Entertainment Media, Internet, Sexuality, Smartphones/Cell Phones, TV | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Is Snapchat and Snapmaps safe?

It’s the number one app kids use, and it’s the number one app parents ask me about at my parent workshops. I hear it all the time:

Is Snapchat bad?

Should I let my daughter use Snapchat?

Or more recently…

Is SnapMaps dangerous? Should I advise my daughter to go “Ghostmode”?

It’s something I’ve written articles about in detail, and something I always devote time to when I’m addressing students directly about wise posting in an insecure world. So what do Mom and Dad need to know about this app, especially with its fun new feature called “SnapMaps” where your Snap friends can see your exact locations on a map at all times?

Continue Reading More…..

Posted in Internet, Parenting, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, Youth Culture | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Coming to a city near you

Fall is always pretty busy with speaking, youth leader trainings and parent workshops. Take a peek at my upcoming schedule and see if I’m coming to a city near you:

THIS WEEKEND- Sept 23, 24, New Hope Assembly Church, Rogers, AR
Parenting workshop, preaching in morning services

October 15, Steel City Mennonite Brethren Church, Bethleham, PA
Preaching in morning services, Parenting workshop 6-8 PM

Continue Reading More…..

Posted in Speaking/Training, Travel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The words I’ve been waiting for…

“In stock”

I’ve had sooooooooo many parents asking me about this book for their teens/tweens… it’s so good to see it finally “in stock” ( over two weeks early). I received boxes of them Friday, and Amazon began shipping them Saturday.

Enjoy the book! Here’s what those who screened the book for me said about it:

“McKee’s best yet. This book will most definitely be the new ‘phone contract’ today’s parents use to engage their kids in meaningful conversation about their use of technology. Required reading for any teenager.”
—Doug Fields, Author of Speaking to Teenagers and 7 Ways to Be Her Hero

Continue Reading More…..

Posted in Books, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stalking Your Daughter

Yesterday I told my friend Brian, “I hope you don’t mind, I stalked your daughter last week on her Instagram account to see if she was posting anything dangerous.”

Sound creepy? I guess it is. Good thing it was just me.

Brian knows I research this stuff all the time, and my new book helping teenagers “think before you post” is coming out next week (kinda cool, the publisher just told me the books are in and have already shipped to my website and Amazon). So last week his daughter was my guinea pig.

The good news: so far she was being really wise with her

Continue Reading More…..

Posted in Parenting, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, Youth Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is Abstinence-Only Education Really Ineffective?

Many of you might have seen or read about a report in the September issue of Journal of Adolescent Health where researchers asserted abstinence-only education is “scientifically and ethically flawed.”

So let me ask a taboo question in the Christian community:

Are they right? Is there any legitimacy to this claim?

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen people bashing abstinence programs. Back in 2004 a report prepared for House Democrats shredded abstinence programs, citing “errors and distortions” in eleven of thirteen abstinence-only curricula. (Which is interesting to look at in hindsight—a report that cited STDs going down—now that we all remember 2008 reports emerged citing 1 in 4 teens girls have an STD, and now recent reports revealing

Continue Reading More…..

Posted in Sexuality, Youth Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Does Sexy Music Really Affect Me?

I guess it’s a good time to ask this question when the No. 1 song on the charts articulates, “I want to show my mouth your favorite places, let me trespass your danger zones until I make you scream.”

Whenever I speak to parents I tend to provide them with a glimpse into the world of youth culture: the apps young people frequent (on their smartphones at an average of 2 hours and 38 minutes a day), the games they’re playing (teen boys play an average of 56 minutes per day), and the music they’re soaking in (at an average of 1 hour and 54 minutes per day) (Media Use by Tweens and Teens, page 19 and 31). Sometime I even play YouTube videos or paste lyrics of the top dozen songs right on the screen for parents to see firsthand. The reaction is always the same:

“I didn’t know it was this bad!”

Well, I’ve been doing this two decades now… and I’ve never seen the top 12 songs this bad

Continue Reading More…..

Posted in Discussion Ideas, Entertainment Media, Jonathan's Rant, Music, Parenting, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Youth Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments