What is your biggest concern with young people and mobile devices?

Let’s have a little CONTEST!

I have 5 “Advanced Reader’s Copies” of my upcoming The Teens Guide to Social Media and Mobile Devices sitting right here on my desk… and I want to give them away. (I don’t know if you saw… for some reason Amazon is offering these right now as a pre-order for just $7 and change! Grab that price while you have the chance. Wow.)

Simple: post a comment in this blog post answering this question, following these two simple instructions:

  1. Answer this: What is your biggest concern with young people today and their mobile devices? Answer this as long or as short as you like.
  2. Include your first name, and the city/state (province) you live in.

That’s it! You’ve got until the end of the week then I’ll randomly draw 5 winners!

I look forward to your responses!

Posted in Books, Contests, Smartphones/Cell Phones | Tagged , , , , , | 50 Comments

building into young people during their gap year

What do Chick-Fil-A, rapper Trip Lee and Sean McDowell have in common?

All three captivated my attention last weekend… and I think you’ll find ‘why’ fascinating.

Let me back up. For the last decade the youth ministry world has been wrestling with a tough question—one that parents are asking just the same:

Why are so many kids walking away from their faith during/after high school?

It’s a question you’ve heard me address countless times.

Last weekend I met some people who are tackling this reality head on… and I think they’re onto something. And thanks to support from the incredible people at Chick-Fil-A, they’re making a difference.

Lori and I had the awesome privilege to attend the groundbreaking of the new facility at the Impact 360 Institute in Georgia last Friday and Saturday, and I was really impressed… probably too many times to name. But I’ll share with you a few highlights:

I’ve heard countless musicians speak… and honestly… I usually wish they’d just stop talking and start performing (I’m sure they’d think the same of me if I tried to sing). But last weekend I heard Trip share with a group of adults, and he was phenomenal. He was funny, articulate, and on point. The youth worker side of me thought, “I’d book this guy any day to come perform and speak to kids.” He was outstanding.

Sean and I have spoken at several conferences together—in fact—we spoke at one together just a few weeks ago. But this weekend my wife and I had the privilege to just sit and heard him address adults about how Biblical truth can counter cultural tolerance … and he was by far the best speaker of the weekend (and there were several very good speakers). We enjoyed him immensely.

I love their spicy chicken sandwich, and I knew the owners were Christians (because they seem to provide food at one in four Christian events I speak at), but I never knew the history of the Cathy family. This weekend much of the Cathy family gathered to celebrate the launch of the Impact 360 Institute, including a building which was named after Jeannette McNeil Cathy, the wife of the founder, and a Godly woman and matriarch in so many ways. (More about her here.) Now I’m going to eat even more Chick-Fil-A.

The Impact 360 Institute (with quality leaders like Dr. Jonathan Morrow) is making a proactive effort to build into high school kids and graduates during their gap year before college, helping them to know Jesus more deeply, be transformed by him, and live a life of Kingdom influence. (More on that here).

What a fantastic ministry and mission.

It was fun not speaking for a weekend and just seeing what God is doing through this amazing ministry. I encourage you to give them a peek—your students might want to attend!

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Talking with teens AND parents about social media

How can we get teens AND parents to engage in conversation about the devices that are dominating most of their waking hours? (yeah… even parents)

I’ve been teaching parent workshops for about 15 years now, and speaking to teens about 20. But I’ve never done a workshop with them in the same room… until now! This is a subject that needs to be addressed to families, together… in the same room.

This fall when my new book (The Teens Guide to Social Media and Mobile Devices) hits the shelves I’ll be launching my “WISE POSTING IN AN INSECURE WORLD” family workshop. In this two hour workshop I’ll address Mom’s, Dads and kids about something we all struggle with– wisely navigating the digital world. Much like the book, I’ll be asking

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Posted in Entertainment Media, Family, Parenting, Social Media, Speaking/Training, Youth Culture | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Teen Summer Bucket List Goes Viral

Go to a party
Have sex
Give two blow jobs
8 hoe pics for Instagram
Hook up with Jacob again
Get a boob hickey…

These are just some of the items on a young person’s “bucket list” gone viral on Twitter.

Does this surprise me?

The timing is intriguing. Just last week I had a 3+ hour drive to the airport on my way back from teaching youth workers at a convention in Indiana. I took the opportunity to listen to the current Billboard Hot 100 to get a glimpse into the top music today… and apparently teen thinking today

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Sex in the Top 10

I’m always amazed how shocked parents are when I simply take them on a tour of the top 10 songs in the charts at any given time.

Many of you have heard me take parents on this tour (here’s me doing it in Amish PA). In a world where young people average 2 hours a day listening to music, it’s always wise to hear what messages they’re gleaning through their headphones. Today… that message happens to be pretty sexually charged.

David and I just did a quick review of the top 10 in this week’s YOUTH CULTURE WINDOW article. Take a peek at what our kids are hearing this summer and several free resources we provide to engage kids in meaningful conversation about these songs.


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“Here’s the passage”

I’m as type-A as you get. My wife says I’m borderline OCD. I don’t go on a picnic without exhaustive preparation and planning. That’s why Africa is always a stretch for me. Africa is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

“I’ll meet you at 9:00.”

That means maybe 9:00… or maybe 10:00. Depends on if something else comes up.

They call it Africa Time.

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Talking with our kids about Katy Perry

Katy Perry’s back on the charts with her brand new album, Witness, which will debut straight to No. 1 tomorrow on the Billboard 200 Album Chart.

What will our kids hear from Katy this time around? More importantly, how can you talk with them about what they hear?

In 2013 I asked the same question about her album Prism when I wrote the article, “Dad, Can I Download Katy Perry’s New Album?” In that album we saw Katy get honest and talk about fighting depression, but we also saw the typical themes of partying and sleeping around. This time expect a little more of the same—some vulnerability, and some DGAF mindset (don’t give a…).

For example, in her song Roulette we notice

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When teens regret what they post

Last month a youth pastor friend called and left me a message:

Jonathan, we have a teen who sent a naked pic of himself to some girls at his school (Christian school), and now everyone at the school has seen it. It’s all everyone’s talking about at youth group. How do I deal with this?

I wish I could say the situation is uncommon.

No, I’m not going to tell you that every kid with a phone is posting nudes, but we do live in a day where SEND NUDES is definitely “no big deal.” And even if kids aren’t sending nudes

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Posted in Parenting, Sexuality, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Helpful new free resources

We have posted some really helpful free resources in the last month or two. I wanted to highlight a few in case you missed them.

NOTE: Whenever I meet any of you in person at conferences and events around the world, the one common statement I hear is, “Thanks for your web site.” Of which I always respond, “You welcome. What is it you use the most?” The responses are always intriguing. I think “games” is the most common response I hear from youth workers, and the “youth culture articles” is the second most common answer. “Parenting help articles” is by far the number one answer from parents.

I’m glad you like them… that’s why we keep them free.

Here’s a few you won’t want to miss

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Stop dwelling on past mistakes

This month I was interviewed by Host Maggie Johns on Canadian TV show 100 Huntley Street about my parenting mistakes… and what I’d do over.

The interview provides good news for parents. We’ve all made mistakes. Instead of beating yourself up, ask, “How can I learn from this? How can I make changes? Lets stop dwelling on the past and let’s look at the future.”

Here’s a six minute clip

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