Common Sense Media just came out with their brand new report about teens and social media revealing exactly how many teens now have smartphones (89%), their favorite apps (Snapchat), their feelings about how social media makes them feel (they’re fooling themselves) … here’s their infographic with the highlights:
And how are those numbers changing?
Many of us have read articles about the decreasing amount of believers in the U.S.– like this fascinating Washington Post article a few years back displaying 22 different maps of various religious groups and their influence in the U.S., or this one about weekly church attendance.
I find it interesting to see how this translates to youth ministry.
For example: I swung through Denver yesterday after spending the day with Focus on the Family in Co Springs… and I connected with one of my favorite friends in the youth ministry world, Greg Stier, passionate follower of Jesus and founder of Dare2Share Ministries, an organization who is really doing something about trying to reverse those numbers. Dare 2 Share is launching their Dare 2 Share Live event in about 30 days from now. On October 13 there will be 99 satellite sites FILLED with thousands upon thousands of teenagers getting trained, equipped and unleashed for the gospel! (It’s really cool, check it out HERE and find the site closest to you- you won’t want to let your youth group miss this one of a kind event!)
On Greg’s Dare 2 Share Live webpage they show a map of where youth ministries have responded hosting this event. Check it out:
Obviously this doesn’t necessarily dictate where true believers are… but do you notice the resemblance to most the U.S. religious landscape maps?
As a resident of California and a frequent speaker in the Pacific Northwest, I’m really hoping to see more Idaho, Montana, and Oregon churches- to name a few- getting involved in evangelism opportunities like this.
Where is your church on this map?
Maybe you should connect with Dare2Share and become a part of this?
It’s not just some alarmist headline—the CDC issued a press release Monday revealing the fourth consecutive year of sharp increases in chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in the U.S.
Are we listening yet?
Last year the country heard this warning and was surprised at the news of STDs at a record high… again. The year prior we heard the warning and many thought it was a fluke thing… I stated my own theories as to why this was no surprise.
It wasn’t a fluke thing. It’s still on the rise. In fact…
- Chlamydia was once again the most common condition reported to the CDC with more than 1.7 million cases in the U.S, compared to 1.3 million in 2013. Almost half of those are 15-24-year-old females. Here’s the scary thought: Chlamydia is often asymptomatic in females. So how many didn’t report it?
- Gonorrhea increased 67 percent overall and nearly doubled among men. And it could soon become resistant to antibiotic treatment.
- Syphilis increased 76 percent.
- Fewer young people are using condoms (and a particular group is even more at risk)
“We are sliding backward.” Director of the CDC’s STD center said.
You know what this means.
People are going to begin to point fingers.
It was almost exactly one year ago that people tried pointing fingers at Abstinence-Only Education… and I chimed in on that with a post that probably made people on both sides a little uncomfortable (the truth hurts).
And I won’t play innocent… because even I pointed my finger to one obvious source (with a fun little math problem for your kids).
So how should we respond?
Every expert agrees… we need to create a comfortable climate of continual conversations about sex.
What does this look like?
Parents: we need to have more than just the talk. It’s not one talk… it’s an ongoing conversation. Help them understand sex matters. Don’t be afraid to go to the CDC web page and show them the whole truth (did you know that the CDC STD prevention page lists “abstinence” as the most reliable way to avoid infection? I give you a guided tour of how to present this to your kids HERE.)
Are you creating a climate of continual conversations?
No, that doesn’t mean you have to bring the subject up. It just means don’t dodge it next time it comes up.
Do your kids know the whole story?
This new piece of fiction is titled Bystanders, and I thought I’d give away the print version to the first 100 of my U.S. blog readers who would love to read it… with one condition: you read it. (Sorry those outside the U.S., I love you, I honestly just can’t afford the shipping. Buy the Kindle version!)
Seriously. And if you like it Continue reading “giving the first 100 of you my school shooting book” »
But never like today.
We’ve come a long way from “Like a Virgin” being shocking. In fact we’ve come a long way from, “I Kissed a Girl.” Sure we’ve seen some raunchy lyrics from top artists before… but never so potent at the top of the charts.
So far this month the Billboard Hot 100 has only one song that is not explicit in the top 10. And those that are… really push the envelope.
Drake’s song, In My Feelings, currently at No. 1, is probably one of the cleaner songs in the charts… that is… if you ignore the sampling of Lil Wayne & Magnolia Shorty near the end of the song with the lyrics:
Bring that a*s, bring that a*s, bring that a*s back!
B-bring that a*s, bring that a*s, bring that a*s back!
Shawty say the nigga that she with can’t hit
But shawty, I’ma hit it, hit it like I can’t miss
Now let me see you
Clap that a*s, you’re the only one I love Continue reading “Depreciating Morality in the Top Music” »
Pew Research just released their newest report on Teens, Social Media & Technology giving us the newest numbers confirming what we already knew: almost all teens have smartphones and use social media a lot!
But their numbers also revealed some interesting realities about where teens navigate and their perceptions about social media. Here are some random facts that stood out to me from their report:
- 95% of teens have access to a smartphone. That’s huge! They don’t even talk about phone ownership, but access. Last time Pew released this report (in 2015) 73% owned a phone and 85% had access.
- Only 3% didn’t use social media Continue reading “The Newest on Teens, Social Media & Technology” »
Next week I’ll be at a conference speaking to young people about deciphering truth in the midst of lies. We’ll be looking at several influences like social media, music and other entertainment media, observing the subtle messages they communicate.
Let’s try one.
Fewer high school students are drinking, having sex and using drugs… but the CDC still says the findings of their most recent teen risk assessment “leaves room for concern.”
And please don’t undervalue my use of the word “fewer.” I really mean “a whole bunch!” We’re not talking a few percentage points. For example, in 1997 a whopping 37% of kids “currently” smoked cigarettes (in the 30 days prior to the survey). In 2017 only 8% “currently” smoke cigarettes. That’s a huge decrease!
Why is this? Why the overwhelming decrease in the number of kids engaging in many of these risky behaviors, and what are these concerns the CDC is referencing about their new survey results?
Let me give you the quick answers:
Why are today’s kids engaging in less sex, taking less drugs… even smoking less marijuana (yes, really) …than kids in years prior? A few months ago Continue reading “The CDC, teen risks, and who is vulnerable” »
We’ve all heard stories of tech companies concocting evil plans to launch new gadgets and apps addicting children to their devices. Sound like a rumor? Sadly, these legends have proved to be true on many levels. Like when former Facebook president Sean Parker had second thoughts about what the social network was doing to our children’s brains and cast a little insight behind the scenes.
“It was developed to be addictive,” he admitted.
He wasn’t alone in his concerns. In fact a Continue reading “Does Google and Apple care about your kids’ digital addiction?” »
A few months ago I was eating dinner with a couple who had been in youth ministry for several decades, took a 5 year break, and just began serving in youth ministry again this year. The husband leaned over to me and said, “Jonathan, everything’s different! I’ve got kids who say they’re ‘pan’ or ‘a-gender’. I’ve got a girl who doesn’t want to be a she or even a he… she wants to be a ‘they.'” Then he asked me, “What the heck has happened in the last 5 years?!!”
Great question. And I answered it in this quick little YouTube video…
This is what prompted us to launch the Anchored Leadership Conference… check it out HERE! (One day early bird registration is this Thursday!)