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Does Your Teen Have FOPO?

Posted by Axis on April 05, 2019

Image Via: dole777 on Unsplash

Three Things This Week

1. MLK & Gen Z

What it is: 51 years ago yesterday, Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated on his hotel balcony in Memphis, TN for championing equal rights and an end to racial segregation.

Why it still matters: Though three generations separate them, Dr. King and Gen Z have similar worldviews. Both believe Christians are called toseek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before God. This justice-centered Christianity is rooted in the understanding that faith isn’t merely a set of tenets to believe, but also a way of life to be followed. And since today’s teens seem to be following in Dr. King’s footsteps, they don’t see salvation and justice at odds with one another, but rather understand them to fit together hand in glove. “Justice fits squarely in the frameworkof biblical Christianity. It flows fiercely out of the gospel as a practical implication of loving God." Ask your kids what they are passionate about. What moves them to tears? Where can they put their faith into action to bring about salvation, flourishing, and peace in the physical world?

2. FOPO 

What it is: Despite fame and fortune, NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes millennial players are “unhappy,” and he blames social media.

Why it’s not the what but the how: The Fear Of People’s Opinions (FOPO) is only exacerbated by social media. “It’s a dark place,” says Philadelphia 76ers guard JJ Reddick, who quit social media last summer. “It’s just this cycle of anger and validation and tribalism. It’s scary, man.” But there is good news. Unlike millennials, Gen Z is engaging social media for entertainment purposes, instead of social validation. Could it be that social media isn’t to blame, but rather how we’re using it and what we expect from it are? Ask your teen if they use social media more to engage with others or to find fun content to consume. How might that change social media’s impact on their self-esteem and identity?

3. Accountability > Filtering

What it is: This recent blog post reminds us that, as helpful as Internet filters can be (especially for younger device users), our tech-savvy tweens and teens don’t have to work very hard to get around them.

Why it’s eye-opening: The post lists just 6 ways to get around our well-intentioned filters, but the truth is that there could be many more. Our kids understand their devices much better than most of us ever will. But what’s more surprising is that stats show that people who have filters actually seek out p*rnography more than those who don’t have them. All of this reminds us that the world is not filterable—not forever, anyway. More than anything else, as our kids mature, they need conversation, accountability, and mentoring to learn how to use the Internet wisely. Training their hearts to love truth and goodness takes time and accountability, but is far more powerful and sustainable than any filtering software alone (Covenant Eyes’ tool Screen Accountability can help with this process).

The Pilgrim’s Progress Movie Spotlight: The most popular book of all time (next to the Bible) is coming to movie theaters for the first time ever as a feature length, animated movie! In partnership with the film, we’re excited to announce that every movie goer will receive our Parent’s Guide to The Pilgrim’s Progress. To get your tickets today, Click here!

When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

17-year-old singer Billie Eilish has been beloved by her peers for awhile, but with the release of her debut studio album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, on March 29, she’s also become a de facto mentor to and voice of Gen Z. The album, which is set to have one of the biggest streaming debuts for an album by a woman, improves upon her previous work, showcasing a love of originality, sarcasm, darkness, playfulness, self-awareness, and ambiguity. Upon first listen (or watch, if you start with her music videos), we might be shocked by the lyrics and immediately censor the album. But rather than a knee-jerk reaction, embrace the discipleship opportunity her album presents.

Besides her strangeness, Eilish appeals to Gen Z because she is first and foremost an artist. Not only is her sound unlike other pop artists’, she writes all her own lyrics—something decidedly rare amongst her predecessors—and they’re neither trite nor expected from someone so young. Take some time to listen to a few of the tracks, noting the sound, style, and effects. Then read some of the lyrics to get a feel for what she does (and doesn’t) sing about.

Second, ask your teens why they like her. Why are they drawn to her more than other artists? Acknowledge any of the positive aspects they bring up (like her refusal to do drugs). Then ask them to give you their honest opinion of her lyrics. Does she give voice to what they’re already feeling? Does she get them thinking about new things? Is it possible that her words have more influence than they realize? Why or why not? Does singing about things like depression, suicide, and self-harm help people cope with it? Or does it simply glorify it?

Ultimately, like previous generations, Gen Z is looking for artists that “get” them and make them different from their totally uncool parents (a la Nirvana for Gen X). And like every singer before her, she has immense power through her words, persona, music videos, and lifestyle. As tempting as it sounds, our job may not be to completely shelter our teens from her music, but rather to help them discern, discriminate, and make God-honoring decisions about the music they listen to by honestly assessing the impact music makes on their mood, emotions, and faith.

Keep the Faith!

The Axis Team

Editor’s Note: Axis links to many different sources within this e-newsletter; a link does not equal an endorsement. We cannot guarantee the content of each site (especially its ads). Please be forewarned. Also, we highly recommend something like AdBlock.



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