Three Things This Week
1. Peace Prize
What it is: Nadia Murad became the second youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts “to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.”
Why it’s a start: In 2014 Mrs. Murad was kidnapped and taken into sex slavery by ISIS, where she and hundreds of girls were repeatedly raped and beaten. Thankfully she escaped to champion the rights of young women caught in the crossfire of war. In our slacktivism world, it’s encouraging to see a young person turn their empathy into action. It’s one thing to express outrage on social media, it’s quite another to go to work to end injustice. Whatever justice movement your teens are passionate about, help them mobilize their beliefs toward real change. Because “emotion without action is irrelevant.”
2. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Why what you watch matters: It seems every TV reboot is more malevolent these days. Shipka even admits, “there’s something next level dark” about the show. This modern makeover has “tons of horror, the occult, and plenty of witchcraft.” Remember, there is a difference between gore and suspense. Research suggests students who prefer gory entertainment have reduced levels of empathy while students partial to suspenseful thrillers express higher than average levels of empathy and compassion. Which type shows are your teens watching and what conversations should you start with them based on their preference? Here’s an interesting video on the psychology of horror-based entertainment.
3. Debunking the Vaping Myth
What it is: A new study by the American Physiological Society significantly debunks the myth that e-cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes.
Why you have to talk about it: FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb says, “E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous–and dangerous–trend among teens.” Due in large part to the mythic narrative that vaping is safe. This recent research shows that not only vapor harms the lungs, but the added flavor in e-cigs exacerbates the detrimental impact of vaping. It’s a double whammy. Your teens probably believe e-cigs are safe and more significantly they may be drawn to them because vaping just looks cool. Here’re some great tips on how to talk with your kids about the dangers of vaping and smoking.
Should Your Family Celebrate Halloween?
Jamie Lee Curtis brings chills and thrills to a new generation with today’s release of the newest installment from the Halloween franchise. Over on Netflix, shows like Veronica, Creeped Out, and The Haunting of Hill House have teens and adults losing sleep from sheer viewing terror. Which should beg the questions: What’s with our culture’s obsession with death and darkness? Why are so many neighborhoods just as festively decorated for Halloween as they are for Christmas (Americans spent $9.1 billion on Halloween last year)? Why do we wait in line at haunted houses and pay for someone to scare us? It is a bit weird.
Making sense of your family’s response to and involvement in celebrating Halloween is complicated. As Christians, we are commanded to think on things that are good, beautiful, and true. How should we reconcile those precepts with our penchant for the macabre? Thankfully, we just released a Parent’s Guide to Halloween which gives you practical and theological guidance on how to navigate this holiday with your family. You just might be surprised by our suggestions!
Get your copy today! It will equip you with the questions, answers, and framework to think holistically and biblically about Halloween.
11 PREMIUM INSIGHTS
A broader look at the world that teens inhabit.
Skim our summary or click the links to read more.
Engage your teens in conversation about their world.
They said it best:
1. “Generally, [working for long periods or for more than 40 hours a week is] associated with a host of mental and psychological health issues as well as physical health issues and the third one, which we don’t really hear a lot about, relational health issues.”
–Azizi Seixas an assistant professor at NYU Langone Health who has been studying work, stress, and sleep. In summary what he’s saying is if you want to be happier, feel better, and have better relationships, make sure you find time for that sabbath day.
2. Apparently, Apple made a “very poor” bagel emoji. Apparently, this was “extraordinarily upsetting” to a lot of people. Apparently, Apple immediately “fixed” it. Apparently, the world has lost all semblance of reason and sanity.
3. Facebook is reviving MTV’s The Real World for its Watch platform. The Real World bills itself as the first reality TV series and will attempt to reuse its formula of provoking 7 strangers to behave badly in a house with the addition of interactivity with viewers through Facebook’s platform. The announcement comes at the same time as Snapchat’s launch of Snap Originals, a mix of reality and scripted shows available only on Snapchat. Snapchat also hopes to engage viewers with elements of interactivity. With the deluge of shows available on a plethora of platforms, Snapchat and Facebook are both trying novel interactivity as their latest bid to maintain control of your teen’s eyes. Teaching teens to learn to self-regulate their screen time will be an increasingly important skill to teach as companies seek to tighten their hold on user’s attention.
4. Want to know where the next hit music is going to come from? There are two places. One is an algorithm, now owned by Apple, that analyzes social media feeds and streaming music sites to identify the next big artist before everyone knows about them. The other is more of a bottom up discovery. Spotify is now allowing independent artists to upload directly to the platform, so people can discover their music without the artist having to sign with a label. What do your teens think of these two approaches? Is one better than the other? What does Spotify stand to gain from this move? Are they revolutionizing the old music label system or simply taking over it?
5. The Friendship Bench program is low-cost talk therapy for depression that started in Zimbabwe and has since spread to countries around the world. We thought there were two very interesting aspects to the program. One was that it started with grandmothers. To all the grandparent-aged-folks reading this, you still have a very important role to play in the lives of teens you know. Second, was that these grandmothers understood that in order to truly connect with their clients they needed to speak their language. Teen culture can be incredibly confusing, but that’s the reason Axis exists. We do our best to help you speak and listen to teens in their own language and culture. Start with our Parent Guides to learn more. Who knows how you might change some young person’s life?
7. Several years ago, gamification was promised as a way to make our lives more fun and help us get more things done that we wanted to do. And gamification has certainly made its way into our lives. The question is, has it done the things we expected? Or has it been used to make us play games that we never wanted to? Has it kept us hooked on our apps more than we would like? Has it made our work less fun? What do your teens think about the ideas of gamification? Should life be one big game or does that ruin the joy of actual games?
8. This street artist has an interesting way of dealing with hate symbols and demeaning graffiti. Instead of just painting over it, he replaces it with fun and whimsical paintings of food. It’s a creative way to combat fear and hate. What are things your students love that they can use to cover over the injustice and hostility in their world?
9. Canada has become the second nation in the world to legalize marijuana at the national level. Due to its size and modern economy, all eyes will be watching to see what kind of effects national legalization has on health, addiction, elderly, and teens. For more info and ideas about how to talk about weed with your teens, check out our Parent’s Guide to Marijuana.
10. As mentioned above, Halloween (and what to do about it) may be on many teens’ and parents’ minds. As a part of your Culture Translator Premium subscription, The Parent’s Guide to Halloween is available for you to download for free! Download it here.
Tip of the Week
11. Time seems to be a tricky thing for us humans. We either dwell on it too much (can’t get over the past), or don’t pay enough attention to it at all (disregard the future). One author reckons that we must both understand the importance of both the past and the future in order to act responsibly in the present. One way that helps us do this is to take a telescopic view of time, or, as a famous prayer says, to take the long view. Taking the long view does not just mean thinking about how our actions will impact the future. It also means honoring those who have come before us – learning from their mistakes, but also their triumphs. Help your teens experience this, at least on a small scale, and share with them this week a story from your past. Help them to see how your mistake or your victory is something that they can build upon, and subsequently that their kids will be able to build upon, and so forth. Your great-great-grandchildren may thank you for the time you spend teaching this important perspective.
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
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