3 THINGS THIS WEEK
1. Depop Mode
What it is: Teens and college students are making thousands of dollars by selling thrifted and vintage clothes on Depop. But for some, the profits come at a stiff price.
Why it’s so attractive to aspiring fashion moguls: Depop offers anyone the opportunity to easily turn a profit on used clothing. With Y2K fashion trends in heavy demand, finding things to sell on Depop is often as easy as looking in a parent or older sibling’s closet. Selling on Depop offers a bit of the thrill factor of being your own boss and as an added bonus, Gen Z might reason, recycling clothing is an eco-friendly business that weakens the fast fashion industrial complex. But while selling on Depop might seem easier than slinging burgers or scooping ice cream all summer long, it’s not as easy as it looks. According to The Verge, some of the most successful Depop sellers report that they need to spend hours on their phone and be ready to run to the post office at a moments’ notice in order to make a sustainable income on the app.
2. Bible Curious
What it is: The American Bible Society has released the fifth chapter of their annual State of the Bible report. This latest chapter focused on how Gen Z relates to and views the Bible in terms of their everyday lives.
Why it’s a mixed bag: The survey used a small sample of 91 Gen Z youth and compared them with a much larger sample of adults from all generations. Gen Z youth was less likely than Gen Z adults and Millennials to consult the Bible for wisdom on a regular basis. Gen Z youth were also more likely to say that they decreased their Bible use over the course of 2020. But there is hope: 81 percent of Gen Z youth and 74 percent of Gen Z adults surveyed said that they were curious about the Bible, and 64 percent said they wish that they read the Bible more.
3. The Age of Chaos
What it is: Chaos-posting (also called [expletive]-posting), made headlines this week as internet culture writers struggled to explain the appeal of posting things that make absolutely no sense to anyone.
Why it’s a sign of the times: Posts with a frenetic, manic energy are taking over Instagram and TikTok. On Instagram, these posts take the form of “text memes,” (paywall/language) where ironic or stream-of-consciousness thoughts are posted alongside what appear to be random, haphazard images. TikTok posts along this same vein are referred to as “chaos edits” (language); surreal videos that emphasize a dissonance between the images and words or text. Observers say these types or posts are the organic result of many teens being trapped on their screens for most of their social interactions over the past several months. Others suggest that, in a time of information overload, posting ironic, dizzying nonsense speaks specifically to the moment that we’re in.
Slang of the Week:
Thirst trap: A photo or post that is an obvious ploy for attention; typically a post where the person looks attractive or enticing.
Ex: “Why did she even bother with writing a caption, that IG post was such a thirst trap.”
The World to Come
This week, the United Nations released a new report on climate change and the human influence on rising temperatures around the globe. For some, this report’s conclusions will sound an alarm bell about melting ice caps, shrinking habitats, and dire implications for the human species. For others, this report will barely register as a blip on the radar. Most teens would appear to be in the “alarm bells” camp.
About one third of Gen Z surveyed by the Pew Research Center say they, personally, have done something within the past year to address climate change. A survey conducted two years ago by Amnesty International indicated that 41 percent of young people think that climate change is the most important issue facing the world.
In the past, attitudes about environmental issues were more starkly divided among party lines. Gen Z appears to be shifting this trend. From Pew’s report: “Gen Z Republicans are about three times as likely as Baby Boomer and older Republicans to favor phasing out fossil fuel use entirely (20% vs. 6%). And roughly a third of Gen Z Republicans (34%) support phasing out gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035, compared with 14% of Republicans in the Baby Boomer and older generations.”
What does all of this data tell us? For one thing, chances are that not everyone in your household or church group is going to have the same opinions about climate change. Young people may see it as a defining issue of their time and feel frustrated about what they see as older generations’ hesitancy to implement solutions. Older generations may feel cynical about what they interpret to be alarmist rhetoric.
Climate change is one thing, but climate anxiety is something else. We can help our teens to articulate and recognize the difference. Climate change is a science; in some ways predictable, and in other ways, only possible to measure in hindsight. Climate anxiety, on the other hand, is a fear response to a global catastrophe that is out of our individual control. It’s a fixation; not a solution.
Three questions to ask your teen:
- How much time do you spend thinking about climate change? Is that amount of time increasing or decreasing?
- In general, do you feel comfortable at home talking about climate change and other big, global issues?
- What are some ways that we, as a family or community, can make a plan of action to better care for the earth?
Keep the Faith!
- The Axis Team