Three Things This Week:
Attack of the Clubhouse Clones
Why it could be the future of social networking: Audio-only apps simulate the feeling of being in a room together, which is what makes them so appealing. It’s more socially intimate than leaving a comment on a post, and simulates a “live” experience instead of being something static that happens on the screen. Gen Z wants social media to be interactive, organic, and dynamic, and audio-only apps that host live conversations check all those boxes. What’s likely is that live conversation apps will continue to evolve. Reddit Talk, Facebook Live Rooms, and even Clubhouse are just the latest iterations of the “digital campfires” trend of semi-private places where teens can gather to chat online.
Roblox Gets Rated
What it is: The Roblox gaming community recently came under fire for having leaky content protections for younger users. Roblox now says they will develop a rating system for the games that they host to better protect the teens and tweens who use their software.
Why it’s a start, but not a quick-fix: A rating reckoning for Roblox is probably way overdue. According to Statista, 29 percent of Roblox users are between the ages of 9 and 12. While plenty of the games that live on the app are safe for minors that age, there’s also recent reports of children under the age of 10 being exposed to sexually explicit content on games that are meant to simulate “hanging out.” Roblox’s developers admit that they have struggled to keep explicit and sexual content off of the app. A ratings system will provide more options for parents to block certain types of games on the platform, but it’s likely this will be a work-in-progress for some time. Be aware that the parental controls on Roblox are still off, by default, in the app, and you have to manually turn them on to filter mature content.
Demi Lovato’s Froyo Debacle
What it is: Pop singer Demi Lovato drew ire this week when she slammed Los Angeles frozen yogurt shop The Bigg Chill for promoting “guilt-free” and “sugar-free” products. Lovato claims language like this encourages disordered eating.
What it means for the diet culture wars: It’s true that there’s a thin line between promoting “healthy” options and shame-based “diet” options, and it can be confusing to navigate. Lovato, who has an eating disorder, clearly felt triggered when promotional language for yogurt and other desserts referenced guilt and shame. At the same time, a fro-yo shop has every right to be able to describe what they are selling in order to appeal to a wide audience and capture the health-conscious demographic. The body positivity and body neutrality movements continue to create cultural conversations centered around what bodies are for and what a healthy body image looks like. Those conversations are often at odds with each other, but this is a topic on which God’s word provides plenty of clarity. Our bodies are sacred places where God actually dwells, but we also will outlive our bodies as they currently are. A conversation with your teen that brings together the spiritual dimensions of being human with the contemporary concept of body neutrality could reinforce what it is to be made in God’s image.
Slang of the Week:
lives in my head rent-free: refers to something you dwell on frequently, whether an experience, image, video, or person. (Ex: I spent so much time learning the TikTok dance for “Savage,” now it’s going to live rent-free in my head forever.)
Teaching Money Management Skills
In 2020, the average student loan debt taken on for college was $37,500, though obviously some students took on much more. Some credit card companies eagerly await teens’ 18th birthday for a chance to capitalize on our cultural habit of instant gratification. Until personal finance classes become mandatory for high schoolers, more and more students can easily slip into unhealthy and unhelpful financial habits before they know what they’re getting themselves into. And yet, in the face of these complex issues, one of the best solutions is for parents to teach (and model) money management skills to the kids still under their roof.
We recently had the chance to partner with Ron Blue and Compass to create our first-ever Money Conversation Kit. Like our other Conversation Kits, this video series uses current and classic media examples to help springboard discussion on deeper issues, in this case the topics of generosity, greed, and stewardship. When God told Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:15 to work and take care of the garden, He was setting a standard for humanity: human beings are responsible for cultivating and stewarding the world around us. Money, though often awkward and difficult to talk about, is one aspect of the world that the Lord has commissioned us to steward responsibly.
Mashable recently published a list of 6 allowance apps that can help parents teach teens and pre-teens money management skills via giving them an allowance. We invite you to check out that list here. In addition to this and our Conversation Kit, we recently published a Parent Guide on how to talk about money with your teens, which you can read here for free. The Money Conversation Kit is available with our ever-expanding Axis Membership.
In the meantime, what have the conversations about money been like in your home? Have you been able to have fruitful discussions about this issue? Here are some questions you can ask your teens to help spark this conversation:
- What do you think it takes for someone to live generously?
- Do you think going into debt is inevitable?
- What’s one thing you would love to do if you had enough money saved up?
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team