Mobile Internet Users

Posted on: 03/19/13 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Pew Research just released a brand new report last week, Teens and Technology 2013. The study found a growing number of teenagers to be smartphone owners, and a rise in the percentage of “cell mostly” internet users.

I like the report’s conclusions… but I can’t help wonder if their numbers are a little low.

Pew’s numbers always seem a little lower. I’m curious about their sampling. For example, this Teens and Technology 2013 study was based on Continue reading “Mobile Internet Users” »

Bang with Friends

Posted on: 02/25/13 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Friends with benefits, hooking up, no strings attached… it has many names. But now technology is making it even easier, because this app takes all the guessing out of the equation.

If only it could erase the consequences.

If you follow me on Twitter you saw my Tweet about this taboo little social networking phenomenon last week. It’s the ultimate tool for discovering which of your friends are interested in a little meaningless sex Continue reading “Bang with Friends” »

Teenagers and Their Screens

Posted on: 02/6/13 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Which screens are teenagers clocking the most time in front of?

The answer has always overwhelmingly been the traditional TV. But, as a guy who spends a few hours a day researching youth culture, I’m not sure that it’s going to stay that way.

Each year new studies emerge revealing the growing popularity of other screens like the laptop, the smartphone and the tablet. This new Harris Interactive study, for example, shows 30% of young people age 18-34 favoring TV as their primary source of news and entertainment, with a very close 28% favoring the laptop computer.

The race is getting closer.

But let’s be clear, these studies vary depending on how you ask the question. For example, in the end of 2011 I blogged about a study where teenagers were asked, “What would you rather give up, T.V. or internet?” A slight majority said they’d give up TV. But if you look at the most recent Nielsen reports, you’ll find that young people (even as young as 12-17) are clocking more butt time in front of a TV than in front of a computer.

So which is it? And is perception different than actual time spent?

As a parent of three teenagers with iPhones, I can’t help but observe a huge increase in mobile app time. In my house, my kids’ daily smart phone time probably exceeds their daily TV time. But my kids don’t watch much TV, and I don’t want to assume that my home is an accurate representation of America.

It’s funny to look at all the different numbers various studies come up with. Sometimes it’s difficult to know who to believe. I’ve learned to look for common trends in reports. For example, most reports agree that smart phone ownership is growing, which is boosting the amount of time that kids are using social media. But most reports also agree about the draw of the TV. What differs is exactly how many hours young people are spending on each medium.

It’s important to notice these differences among age groups. For example, if you look at most studies about 18-25-year olds, they don’t seem to watch as much traditional TV as other age groups. Maybe this is because a huge chunk of them are in a college dorm without cable or Satellite. My 19-year-old son lives in a dorm at Azusa Pacific University. When he watches TV, he’s usually streaming Hulu or Netflix on his laptop. Compare that to his grandpa who watches almost all television via DVR on his TV.

The one source that no ones seems to doubt is the Kaiser studies. In 2010 Kaiser released their most recent “entertainment media” study, a study released every 5 years and cited by almost every periodical, newspaper and medical journal. This report revealed that the average 8-18-year old in America watches over 4 hours of TV a day, listens to over 2 hours of music and spends over an hour online.

The only problem? The report only comes out every 5 years!!!

So the last numbers we have are from the 2010 report, which are 2009 numbers. That’s 4 years ago. Back then, Pinterest wasn’t even on the map, and most teenagers didn’t own smartphones (now 74% of 25-34-year olds and 58% of 13-17-year olds do). What will the 2015 report reveal?

One thing for sure… and I’m sure no one would argue. Young people sure spend a lot of time in front of screens!

What about you?
What do you observe out of your kids?

Does TV consume more time from your teenagers than other screens?

Gaga Releases “Born This Way” Lyrics

Posted on: 01/28/11 11:33 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Lady Gaga’s Twitter fans received a tweet from her yesterday saying, “Maybe I should leak the lyrics to Born This Way today…” A few hours later, she released the lyrics to her song that will release February 13th.

MTV just covered the tweeting event, with the headline, “Gaga sings about love and equality…”

For those of you who haven’t heard, Gaga has become a huge advocate for LGBT (an acronym referring collectively to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people), specifically speaking against the military’s “don’t ask don’t tell,” and speaking loudly for LGBT rights, after all, she claims, they are “born this way.”

A glimpse at these newly posted lyrics:

DON’T BE A DRAG -JUST BE A QUEEN…

IN THE RELIGION OF THE INSECURE
I MUST BE MYSELF, RESPECT MY YOUTH

A DIFFERENT LOVER IS NOT A SIN
BELIEVE CAPITAL H-I-M (HEY HEY HEY)
I LOVE MY LIFE I LOVE THIS RECORD AND
MI AMORE VOLE FE YAH (LOVE NEEDS FAITH)

CHORUS:
I’M BEAUTIFUL IN MY WAY
‘CAUSE GOD MAKES NO MISTAKES
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY

David R. Smith– my good friend, co-author of my new book, and author of many of our Youth Culture WIndow articles (including the brand new expose’ about Lil Wayne launching this weekend) — and I talked this morning for about an hour about Gaga’s release of these lyrics and upcoming song. We discussed the ramifications of speaking out about this issue. It’s an emotional issue for some, a political issue for many.

We’ve decided that we’re going to address the issue of homosexuality, despite the criticism that might come. Pray for us as we write a Youth Culture Window article this week. Pray that it would clearly communicate God’s compassion for everyone, but not stray from his unchanging call to holiness, even when it’s not politically correct.

You’ll see that article in one week.

Too Sexy Too Soon

Posted on: 11/16/10 9:27 AM | by Jonathan McKee

They call it “Corporate Pedophilia.”

It’s when corporate America sells out by pimping material to our kids that they know is slowly destroying them.

This 8-minute ABC video is a must see. I post my two cents below. I’d like yours too! The video not only reminds us of the American Psychological Association’s research about the harmful effects of the sexualization of young girls- research that I’ve shared with you before, but it also shows you some great examples of this in the media today in tween role models like Miley, Katy, Ashley Tisdale, Amanda Bynes, etc.

Click here for the corresponding ABC News article.

Thoughts? Post your comments. Here’s mine…

My two cents: I thought the video was a great summary of the challenges parents face today raising emotionally-healthy girls. I’m really glad that the report was bold enough to take some pokes at music. Doctors have been warning us about these influences for years now… parents just aren’t listening.

I also liked it when New York Magazine’s Alex Morris, who recently reported on tweens fashion, chimed in with some great lines- like these:

“You go into a juniors department, you have a rack of clothing that is appropriate for an 11-year-old next to a rack of clothing that isn’t. It’s certainly blurring the lines. … It’s making it harder for parents to set boundaries.”

Then, talking about teen celebs like Miley, Britney, etc…

“The easiest way for a female celebrity to sort of transition from being a child star to an adult star– the pathway is through their sexuality.”

My last thought. The report makes it clear. “All this sexuality is harmful.” Could this officially be called “ironic,” that ABC, creator of shows like Desperate Housewives and Couger Town are reporting this to be harmful?

Hmmmmmm.

Stories from Mom’s Protecting Kids Online

Posted on: 10/13/10 11:00 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Last week I shared with you about a lunch I had with an FBI agent who was picking my brain about kids in today’s culture, the dangers they face, etc. This guy has helped develop a piece of software that helps parents monitor their kids’ browsing habits online. Many of you jumped onto the site to sign up for their free beta-test.

I told you that I’d provide you with some stories of real moms and dads who tried out this software called Parental Options. Interesting stuff. Here’s a few:

1)      My  husband and I were attending a  prayer vigil  at our church.  Our time slot was from 11:00 pm to midnight.  At about 11:30 pm, my cell phone began to vibrate.  Parental Options was sending me an alert that our son was on the computer.  We set usage parameters for his computer until 10:00 pm, and he was on the computer while we were away from home.  I sent a text home and the computer was turned off.
2)      There are a number of times where the software has helped us to know just how much time was spent on Facebook and other interesting websites vs. getting homework done.  We expect our kids will multi-task but it is an eye opener for us (and them) when you can take a look at something that is recording the frequency (and duration) of toggling between a word document and Facebook for example.  Healthy conversations are a result.  Parental Options software has facilitated our ability to talk about the content available via the internet just as we would about TV or movies.  Our kids are not navigating this part of their lives alone.
3)      My daughter was engaged in IM chat in Facebook around 2am with someone that she had just met at school.  (She was up doing homework). The Parental Options program highlighted all of the words in the chat conversation that are “grooming” words (words that signal that a person is trying to get to know someone, and establish a trusted relationship with them).  The program was teaching us what to look for when reviewing her activity. 
4)      I got the software just to check on my kids’ internet browsing from time to time.  Unfortunately, I found that one of my boys had visited some pornographic sites. (Parental Options says that viewing browser history alone isn’t completely reliable because kids can use multiple browsers and erase some history while keeping the rest. I didn’t know that.) 
5)      My son was playing an online game and chatting there with a “friend” from school.  This “friend” was bullying him and using language that would tear apart anyone’s self confidence. This was caught and addressed because the software highlighted some of the words that were used in the conversation. ( At this point, not all bullying language will be highlighted because people can be vicious in such diverse ways.  But, with the software running, you always have the opportunity to scan the chat and ask your child about the person they were interacting with.)   

Here’s the web site where you can read a little more about it: ParentalOptions.com  …I’m pretty impressed with what I have seen so far.

Inside a Public School Dance

Posted on: 10/9/10 4:53 PM | by Jonathan McKee

This weekend brings an interesting opportunity for me, the opportunity to chaperone a public high school homecoming dance at my two oldest kids’ school. I love opportunities like this when research transcends beyond the desk out to the front lines. It’s one thing to read the studies about what kids are listening to… it’s another thing to see it first hand. I try to constantly subject myself to both.

I wanted to share some of these early thoughts with you. I will write you a full report in this week’s Youth Culture Window article (now you can CLICK HERE FOR THAT ARTICLE). (NOTE: This blog also shares more thoughts below from when I got back from the dance- scroll down to see those.)

Many of you already heard me chime in a little bit on this subject last weekend when I revealed to you the written warnings on the front of the “ticket” for the dance my 15-year-old daughter went to— last weekend she went to the homecoming dance at another school with some friends from church. Interesting experience! I was talking to her and one of her friends afterwards about what they experienced; both of them were surprised how many kids were “getting low” and “grinding” (it’s funny… I’m trying to choose my terms wisely. How exactly do you say, “Sex with your clothes on?”). I asked them each exactly what percentage of teenagers they saw dancing like that. Seperately they each responded, “Over 50%.” My daughter’s friend said that one of her classmates even came up behind her and started “grinding” her from the backside. She turned around and backed away, not sure what protocol was for rejecting someone trying to hump you.

It’s an interesting world we live in. I can’t really blame many of these young men. No, I’m not trying to defend them in any way. But our society has taught them that this is okay. It’s the norm in every music video. A few months ago I was watching the Regis and Kelly show, when Kelly threw up her arms and began dancing like that with rapper Ludachris.

Dare I quote Billy Ray Cyrus? “It’s what today’s young people do.”

Full report coming. Some of these thoughts will be in there. I just wanted to share them with you first.

AFTER DANCE THOUGHTS:
We just got home from the dance. My wife just said, “I’ve never seen so many trampy girls in all my life!”  LOL

She’s really not exaggerating. The most surprising elements were the short dresses across the board, and how much “front to back” dancing there was. Kids barely face each other anymore, girls just rub their butts into the guys crotches all night. Teachers didn’t even bother stopping it because they’d have to send everyone home.

I “tweeted” throughout the entire dance- crazy stuff. I wish I had a video camera, it was literally amazing. I would love to see all the mom and dad’s reactions to what they’d see. I’m SOOOOooooooo glad my kids weren’t there.

Here’s some of my tweets during the dance.

At the dance- the female teacher i was just talking with has already had to tell 2 girls to pull their dress down to cover their underwear.
At the dance- this is amusing. The teachers are tring to stop the kids from getting low and backing up, but thats what the lyrics are saying
At the dance- it’s bad that i can see a girl’s underwear right now, right? Her dress is so short it keeps hiking up. Sigh.
At the dance- the senior that just won homecoming king just fell off the stage, toasted. One of his buddies already sent home for drinking.

CLICK HERE to read all my tweets that night.

And HERE for the article.

Be the First

Posted on: 09/29/10 10:58 AM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s official. I just “Tweeted.”

I’ve finally given in to all the people who keep bugging me, “Do you have a Twitter?” “Do you have a Facebook?” We’re launching both! (Facebook is within days of launching)

Jump on my Twitter page and be the first to follow my tweets: http://twitter.com/InJonathansHead  We will be having a contest uniquely for my Twitter subscribers all through October, so sign up to follow that page now.

Check out my first Tweets!  (Man, I love saying that! “Tweets!”)

The Pop Culture Porthole… the MTV VMAs

Posted on: 09/13/10 11:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Last night in the world of pop culture, all eyes were on the MTV VMA’s.

All eyes? Okay… maybe not “all.” Let’s put some numbers to it. In 2009, 26.9 million viewers watched the show on the night it aired (a record-breaking 9 million people watched it on MTV alone, but if you look at the total viewership of all three channels that aired the show, you’ll find a number closer to 27 million. More on that breakdown here). And that doesn’t include the 5.5 million people that visited MTV.com the next day to watch the show online. Neilson reported that the VMA show was the #1 viewed cable show of the entire year among people age 12-34.

How about them apples.

So allow me to rephrase. Last night, “numerous” eyes were on the VMAs. I have yet to see this year’s numbers. But most people had two questions on their mind: What will happen between Taylor Swift and Kanye? And how many awards will Lady Gaga actually take home?

Personally, I only had one question: who freaking cares!

Unfortunately, most teenagers do.

The MTV VMA’s show is an interesting phenomena. Youth Culture guru Walt Mueller refers to it as a “map and a mirror.” A show this popular with young people not only reveals to us the direction that youth culture is going (map), but it also provides a glimpse of what youth culture looks like right now (mirror).

Every year I encourage parents and youth workers to take a peek at this show to get their thumb on the pulse of youth culture. This year… adults probably fell asleep watching the show. I know I almost did.

I asked my wife Lori, “Is it just me, or is this show really boring?”

She answered, “Well, we are getting old. Maybe we relate to this stuff less and less.”

Nice. I’m old!

Thanks Lori!  🙂

In retrospect, I think I’d settle for boring more than the excitement that usually plagues this show. Because the buzz-worthy moments that MTV usually creates are either crude or overtly sexual.

This year wasn’t tame, by any means. The host, Chelsea Handler, was as lewd as expected, Gaga was bizarre and preachy (particularly about homosexuality), and the commercials (particularly the ones for “Gucci Guilty” and the new MTV show “The Challenge” ) were over the top. Typical of MTV to use sex to sell. (I guess the MTV execs didn’t listen to the American Academy of Pediatrics plea for responsible programming in their brand new report last week, “Sexuality, Contraception, and the Media.”)

You can read my entire two cents about the VMA’s later this afternoon (Monday) when we post our Youth Culture Window article on the subject.