Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Watch this- Please implore your kids not to text and drive…   Leave a comment

It’s getting worse, or maybe I’m noticing it more now that it’s illegal. On any given day, I see numerous people either slyly, or blatantly texting, or being on their phone. Usually it’s an inconvenience to me, due to someone not noticing the light change and I have to sit through another red light.

Liz Mark’s story really struck me. Although your kid texting while driving might inconvenience me, it could change your family forever.

Please watch Liz Mark’s Texting and Driving Story and talk to your driving age children about it. – Greg

Posted April 6, 2015 by sotpyouth in General, Media, Technology

10 Things Teens Won’t Tell You   Leave a comment

10 things teens won’t tell you

Published: Aug 16, 2014 8:11 a.m. ET

The secret and costly life of the American teenager

Chip Wass

1. America will look a lot different when we grow up.

Like every generation of adolescents, today’s teens have habits that are utterly unfamiliar to their parents. The roughly 25 million Americans between the ages of 13 and 18 grew up with Facebook and Netflix. They’re more likely to hang out at Chipotle and Starbucks, and less likely to hang out at the mall, than teens of 20 or even 10 years ago.

But teens’ attitudes are also being shaped by an era where people are less likely to assume that a “typical” American family is straight and white. “They’re the most socially and ethnically diverse of all generations,” says Sharalyn Hartwell, executive director at consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates, which studies teenage demographics. While their parents saw Morgan Freeman as the U.S. president in the 1998 movie “Deep Impact,” modern teens grew up with the real-life Obama White House.

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Ready to live in a nontraditional nation.

Only 55% of Americans 18 and under are Caucasian, compared with 72% of baby boomers, according to Magid. Not coincidentally, teenagers and “tweens” are more comfortable with the country’s changing ethnic balance. Some 47% say they feel positively about the U.S. becoming more ethnically diverse, compared with 32% of boomers.

Teenagers are also growing up in a society where same-sex marriage is more widely accepted, and, as a result, television shows aimed at their age group reflect this new reality, she adds. Disney’s “Good Luck Charlie” featured a same-sex couple, ABC Family’s “The Fosters” is a television show about a family with two moms, and ABC’s prime-time comedy “Modern Family” features a male same-sex couple that wrapped its last season with a wedding.

Today’s teens and tweens are also more likely than earlier generations to be the products of a particularly hands-on style of parenting—one that involves 24/7 online monitoring and more involvement in their education. Demographers and researchers say that such tighter-knit parenting can have an impact on how these teens will perceive the world as they become adults: They’ll be more likely to be realistic about their future and to embrace change—though if the parenting was too claustrophobic or authoritarian, they’ll also be more likely to be rebellious and get along poorly with others.

Also read: 10 things Generation X won’t tell you.

2. We’re one click ahead of you online

Some 95% of teenagers are online compared with around 80% of the overall population, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. In theory, that should make it easier for parents to keep up with them and track their behavior. But teens are light on their feet, and data suggests that teens are quietly fleeing mainstream social sites that have been adopted by their parents

Snapchat

During 2013, the share of teens active on Facebook dropped by 9 percentage points, while on Twitter it dropped 3 points, according to research firm GlobalWebIndex. Teens are gravitating instead to services like Blink and Snapchat, where messages are easier to keep private. “Video apps like Instagram and Vine are also playing a much larger role with this generation,” adds Jeanne Connon, chief marketing officer of FPgirl.com, a marketing firm that analyzes fashion, technology, trends and relationships among young girls. What’s more, teens are adept at hiding apps in folders on their computers or mobile devices to make them more difficult to find.

Parents are doing their best to play catch-up, Connon says, but it’s still an uphill battle. Around 1 in 5 tweens and young teenagers in middle school have received a sexually explicit message or photo, according to a survey of 1,200 middle school students published in July in the “American Academy of Pediatrics.” Those who received such a text were also six times more likely to be sexually active.

Also see: Teens rebel against Facebook.

3. We’re sooo bored…with the shopping mall

Teen-oriented retailers, take note: Shopping may be losing its mystique among the under -18 set. The latest retailing survey by investment bank Piper Jaffray found that the average teenager spent $1,000 on fashion annually, down from $1,300 in 2006, and took 29 shopping trips a year, down from 38 in 2007. For the first time in the survey’s 13-year history, they spent a bigger share of their spending money on food than clothing (20.8% versus 20.7%).

AFP/Getty Images
Online shopping may make the teenage mall-rat an endangered species.

The big issue here is that teenagers are shopping with their tablets and smartphones, rather than in person: 75% of teenage girls and 50% of teenage boys says they prefer shopping online than in-store. (They spend an average of $56.50 per shopping trip when they do make it to a brick-and-mortar store.) “Teens are browsing regularly on their mobile devices, shopping less frequently and engaging with brands on demand,” says Steph Wissink, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray.

Teens’ spending may be waning because their parents are economizing: They remain heavily dependent on the fortunes of their parents, who contribute around 65% of their annual spending, according to the report. And while they do have a penchant for expensive clothing brands, there are only one or two that have a firm hold over them: 19% of male teenagers prefer Nike and the same percentage of female teenagers prefer Lululemon leggings.

4. We do drugs (but not the same ones you did)

Around 36% of high-school students report having used marijuana at least once within the previous 12 months, according to data released in July the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. That’s down from 41% in 1998. The share of teenagers who used alcohol over the past year has declined more sharply, to 51% in 2013 from 68% in 1998.

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Marijuana remains popular with teens, but prescription drug abuse is rising faster.

Use of other drugs, however, have risen slightly: 23% of teens admit to abusing or misusing prescription drugs, at least once in their lifetime, up from 20% five years ago, and one in six report doing so within the past year. Pain medications like Oxycodone and Vicodin and “study drugs” that combat attention-deficit-disorder are among the most commonly abused, according to Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. And abuse of human growth hormone (HGH)—often used by athletes seeking to add muscle—has risen among teens to 11% in 2013 from 5% a year earlier.

“They are not doing [these drugs] to get high, they’re doing it because they think they can stay up studying to get better grades, to relax and get fit,” says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

Also see: Cocaine use is going to pot.

5. We can’t do financial math (but neither can you)

American teens don’t fare so well on the “Program for International Student Assessment,” an international survey of financial literacy conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development every three years. The most recent version, released in July, tested more than 510,000 15-year-olds across 18 countries. Americans scored below average (492 points versus an OECD average of 500 points), finishing behind China (No. 1 with an average of 603 points), Belgium (541), Estonia (529), Australia (526 points) and New Zealand (520).

Why Johnny can’t understand derivatives

Can the U.S. improve financial literacy? We ask Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Experts blame the system—not the students. “Teenagers don’t know about financial literacy because adults have a low level of financial literacy too,” says AnnaMaria Lusardi, a professor of economics and accountancy at George Washington University School of Business. In a 2011 study conducted by Lusardi, only 30% of U.S. adults gave correct answers to three basic questions concerning numeracy, inflation and risk diversification (versus 53% in Germany and 45% in the Netherlands). Nonetheless, 62% of teens say their parents are good financial role models, according to a survey by tax preparers H&R Block.

Some states are making efforts to fill this knowledge gap, introducing more economics and personal finance classes. For the first time, all 50 states and D.C. now include economics in their K-12 standards, according to the nonprofit, nonpartisan Council of Economic Education. Still, only 22 states require students to take an economics course as a high school graduation prerequisite, and only six states require the testing of student knowledge in personal finance.

6. Your recession-era stress is contagious

Teens report having stress levels that surpass that of their parents during the school year, a recent survey by the American Psychological Association found. Teens reported stress levels of 5.8 on a 10-point scale, compared with 5.1 for adults; those levels declined to 4.6 for teens during the summer, but that still ranked above the 3.9 score that’s considered normal. One-third of teens reported symptoms of fatigue related to their stress, more than one-quarter said they skipped meals, and some 30% said they felt overwhelmed or depressed.

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School is a drag; parental stress, even more so.

Nearly 40% of parents say their high school kids experience stress, according to a 2013 Harvard School of Public Health Survey conducted for National Public Radio. About one-quarter of high-school students’ parents said homework caused their child a lot of stress, the survey found.

But school is far from the only factor, experts say. Teens pick up coping mechanisms or a lack thereof from their parents, and they’re also more likely to experience parental divorce than children were 20 years ago, says Lynn Bufka, assistant executive director for practice research and policy at the American Psychological Association. The impact of stress over divorce and financial trouble gets passed onto children who may also feel less able to tell their parents or teachers that they’re feeling stressed out, she says. “Often times, they don’t want to add to their parents’ burden,” Bufka says. If a child has a problem turning in homework or lack of attention, she adds, parents should tell teachers what’s going on at home.

One potentially positive sign for college-bound teens: The SAT will undergo a revamp in 2016 in ways the experts say will make it somewhat less demanding.

7. Our hunger for gadgets will cost you billions

Remember when loose-leaf binders and a new backpack were all the school supplies you needed? Parents are set to spend $8.4 billion on back-to-school electronics this year, including computers, tablets and smartphones, up 7% from last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Back-to-school shoppers will spend an average $212.35 per household on electronic items.

Stanislav Komogorov/Shutterstock

Phones are a major driver of this spending: About 27% of teens owned smartphones last year, up from 23% in 2011. Howard Schaffer, vice president of retailing website Offers.com, says these mobile devices are seen as critical by parents because they allow them to keep tabs on their kids via geolocation apps like “Trick or Tracker” or “Connect.”

Some parents say they’re trying to moderate the back-to-school tech spending this year. Only 37% of parents are buying tablets or computers, compared with 61% who will underwrite clothing and 55% who will buy shoes for their kids, according to a survey of 1,000 parents by Offers.com. And 36% say they’ll spend more than $200 per child on technology, down from 45% in 2013; Schaffer says that reflects the fact that computers and smartphones are lasting longer.

Also see: 5 apps for spying on your spouse.

8. We’ll double the price of your car insurance

Adding a teenage driver to a married couple’s car insurance can be a financial tsunami for the typical family. According to a report by insuranceQuotes.com, a division of personal finance site Bankrate.com, adding a male teenager hikes premiums by an average of 92%; while female teen drivers hike premiums by 67%. The good news for parents: The older their child becomes, the lower the premium. The premium hike falls from 96% for 16-year-olds to 58% for 19-year-olds.

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Texting and driving: Bad at any age, particularly troublesome among teens.

The most expensive state to insure a teenage driver is New Hampshire, where the average premium surged 111%. Hawaii is the only state that prohibits age, gender and length of driving experience from affecting car insurance costs, so teen drivers there cost only 17% more to insure on their parents policy.

That said, more families are dodging this bill these days. There are fewer teens on the road, says Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at BankRateInsurance.com. Twenty years ago, 70% of 18-year-olds had their driver’s license, she says, but today only 54% do, due in part to the rising cost of car ownership, increased unemployment among teens, and the increased use of social media (rather than face-to-face time) for teenage socializing.

There are other ways to minimize the financial damage: For example, some cars are cheaper to insure than others. “Choose a model that has a low crash history,” says Russ Rader, spokesman for the Highway Loss Data Institute, which publishes insurance claim data. Larger, heavier family cars such as Toyota Corollas, Ford sedans or Subarus are safer for teens, and their insurance rates reflect that. Many insurance companies offer a “good student” discount for those with B averages or better, adds Phil Reed, senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.com. “A friend of mine told his teen driver that if he got a B average, he would split his insurance savings with him,” he says. “It was good motivation and a gain for both of them.”

9. We get bullied, even when we’re popular

Teenage movies from “Clueless” (1995) to “Mean Girls” (2004) show the hazards of being on the low end of the status scale at high school. But a recent study offers evidence that popular kids get bullied, too.

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Being popular doesn’t mean they’re safe.

For the paper “Causality of Social Combat: School Networks of Peer Victimization and Their Consequences” (links to pdf), researchers at the University of California and Pennsylvania State University studied 4,200 high-school students across 19 schools. They found that students’ chances of being bullied rise 25% if they move from a group with average popularity to the 95th percentile, beyond which victimization begins to drop. (Popularity was measured based on friendship nominations among students.) Those with higher social status also experienced stronger adverse psychological consequences when bullied—because they felt like they had more to lose. More popular kids may also escape the radar of concerned educators and parents who focus on isolated students. The study also found that females are victimized 30% more often than males and “social isolates” are bullied 23% more often than others.

There has been a major push to combat bullying in recent years, including suicide prevention campaigns such as the LGBT-focused “It gets better” social media effort, which featured videos from sports stars, celebrities and politicians, including President Obama. In 2012, the Department of Education released a free training tool kit aimed at reducing bullying in schools. But 17% of students report being bullied 2 to 3 times a month during a school semester, and 1 in 10 drop out because of bullying, according to DoSomething.org, a nonprofit organization focused on young people and social change.

10. We don’t buy into the American Dream

Like member of other generations, most teens define the American Dream as involving homeownership, educational opportunities, a high standard of living and the likelihood of doing better than the previous generation. But teens are more likely to see that Dream as out of reach. According to a survey by Magid Associates, only 60% of teens and tweens believe in the American Dream compared with 71% of millennials, 64% of Generation Xers and 75% of boomers.

Although most teens are too young to remember 9/11, they’re not too young to recall how their parents struggled during the recession. “They’re influenced by their Gen X parents and older siblings,” Hartwell says. Many Xers were clobbered financially by the housing bubble, while millennials have more college debt than any previous generation of Americans. Older role models are “telling these kids that it’s not going to be better for you just because it should be.”

But that doesn’t necessarily make teens negative or pessimistic, it makes them pragmatic and realistic. “They still have the optimism of youth,” Hartwell says.

Snapchat Capture App – Another reason to guard your children (and yourselves)from SnapChat   Leave a comment

SnapCapture for Snapchat SnapCapture is the most popular solution for easy snapchat saving.Save all the snaps and stories you’d like to keep forever.

Well, if you didn’t believe it before that Snapchat photos don’t really disappear, Take a look at this app. I just saw over on Appbrain.com. It’s an app that can save Snapchat photos: http://www.appbrain.com/app/snapcapture-for-snapchat/de.innovationz.snapcapture.noroot

If you haven’t read about why we must make sure our kids aren’t using Snapchat, check out:

https://greggornation.com/2014/01/01/urgent-parents-i-strongly-recommend-uninstalling-snapchat/

I’m going to leave you with a comment one user made about this new app:

A Google User
Yesterday 5:16 AM

“Yay Great app lol I get to save nudes”

Posted January 28, 2014 by sotpyouth in Family, General, Media, Technology

How Do You Know Your Child Isn’t Having Sex?   Leave a comment

young couple
IS YOUR CHILD HAVING SEX? ARE YOU SURE???
The truth is that we really don’t know. Especially if we’ve never talked to them about it. Friends, I hate to say this, but Middle School and High School students all over are engaging in sexual activity.
This is about having “the talk” with your children. Quite honestly, there are about 500 painful things I would rather do than talk to my children about sex. I’m sure you’re right there with me. It’s important, though. Our children need to hear from us, their parents, about the correct information about sex and casual hookups can lead to a lifetime of pain. They definitely should not be hearing what the entertainment industry (TV, movies, magazines, etc.) thinks they should learn about sex. If you think your son or daughter is too young to learn the truth about sex, think again…If they watch TV, go to the movies or read magazines, they are learning about sex. But, is is what they should be learning?
Here are a few things to ponder:

  • Among kids ages 15 to 17, 44% of boys and 39% of girls have engaged in some kind of sexual activity with an opposite-sex partner. (CDC)
  • Although 73% of mothers tell researchers they’ve talked with their teenager about sex, only 46% of teens strongly agreed they had. (Girls Uncovered)
  • More than 80% of parents who have sexually active teenagers know that their kids have had intercourse, but only 45% of parents whose teens said they’ve had oral sex knew it. (USA Today)

Again, although these are things we would probably not like to know, those statistics you have just read show alarming reasons why we parents need to have “the talk”. And not just the “mechanics” talk. We need to have the “I am concerned about how our culture says that casual hook ups are ok/you don’t find your identity in how you look and how good you make someone else feel/I am going to fight for you to have a healthy mental state, healthy attitude about sex, and have a disease free future” talk about sex. It’s not teaching our kids about remaining a “technical” virgin until marriage. It’s about deciding to live a pure life so that our kids don’t have to worry about engaging in dangerous, casual sex hookups and the emotional and physical damage that can happen from them. It’s so important for our kids to know that their identity comes from their creator and not from what some boy or girl thinks about them because they won’t give in to the pressure bestowed upon them.

Check out what the February 2013 issue of “The ParentLink” from Group Publishing says about our “hookup culture”:

happy_couple_2TACKLE THE LIES OF OUR HOOKUP CULTURE
Casual encounters have replaced dating among many young people, as glamorized in movies such as Friends With Benefits and No Strings Attached. These promiscuous “hookups” accentuate the devil’s diabolical skills:

  • Mental impact—Satan uses the false promises of promiscuity as a primary temptation to overcome a low self-image: “If you can get a guy or girl to sleep with you, it proves you aren’t as [ugly, fat, awkward, unpopular, generally undesirable] as you think you are.”
  • Physical impact—God created sexual foreplay and intercourse as a celebration of unity between a man and woman who’ve vowed to stay together forever. But the devil flaunts sex as just something physically fun to do—a recreational pastime with no downside.
  • Spiritual impact—Satan promises relationship through physical intimacy but leaves us with only wounds and damage to our ability to be in relationship with God and others.

The hookup culture is so enticing that conventional approaches to helping kids avoid its traps are nearly useless. Young people need to hear about positive relationships, about how God treasures them as his children, and about his limitless forgiveness.

It’s probably wise to think about the following questions to ask yourself before you have “the talk”:
  • How has the hookup culture affected your kids’ attitudes about sexuality? How has it affected your views?
  • For you, what’s the most challenging aspect of discussing sexuality with your teenagers?
  • What’s the most important message you’d like to convey to your kids about sexuality—and how can you do that?

Lauren Surprenant, a ministry director for Youth for Christ, suggests these redemptive approaches to engaging with young people on the topic of sex:

  • 65e27476Ignore the awkwardness. Instead, open your mouth and start talking. Kids may giggle, but they’ll still talk to you. So be adult enough to tackle the topic. You won’t be a magnet for tough questions until you’ve proven you can navigate choppy waters.
  • Be “for,” not against. Rescuing kids from the hookup culture is centrally about being for the beauty and power of a redeemed relationship with God.
  • Move from the givens of promiscuity to the starting point of “asexuality.” Calling kids into a commitment to asexual behavior (no sex) generates more interest and discussion than does the use of churchy words. The asexual standard isn’t simply targeted at intercourse. If kids wouldn’t want Grandma watching them do something, then it isn’t “asexual.”
  • Cancel the condemnation. Share the good news of the redemption behind Jesus’ sacrifice. No matter how destructive and repugnant the behavior, it isn’t an impediment to God’s grace and mercy.
  • Speak the Truth. If teenagers are turning to sex to fill their God-shaped hole, then they haven’t yet discovered their place in that epic adventure. Remind them that they’re in the story.

A Template for “The Talk”

Expert Insights for Parents of Teenagers

By Lauren Surprenant

Use this guide for discussing sexual choices with teenagers. Also pray for the Holy Spirit to give you the words he wants you to say to your kids.

young love 1

  • I’m not going to preach at you; I just want to help you understand the long-term ramifications of sex-too-soon with someone besides your spouse.
  • First, you could get pregnant—and you won’t be on a TV show that pays all your bills. Having a baby won’t provide you with someone who will love you unconditionally. (If that’s what you want, get a dog.) If you’re a girl, look at your relationship with your mother; for boys, look at your father. You’ll be just like her (or him), and your child will be just like you. Your child will always have greater struggles, and your life will be over because you’ll exist for your child. And if you think using birth control will prevent these consequences, you’re wrong.
  • Next, consider the impact of intimacy and how your sexual involvement will impact your future spouse. The level of intimacy you have with your sexual partner should enhance a life-time commitment. When you save that treasure for the soul mate you marry, sex isn’t a heat-of-the- moment act but a true expression of love. When you hookup as a teenager, however, you will be having an awkward conversation later with the person you’d like to marry—and that could be a deal-breaker.
  • Premarital sexual involvement also leads to drama and damaged reputations. Don’t give people “something to talk about.” And don’t do stuff that will come back to haunt you in the future.
  • Finally, remember that Jesus sees you as wholesome, valued, and pure. He knows what’s best for you, so consider trusting him by doing things his way. Step away from “sex too soon” and live a life of purity, repenting and walking away from sin.

(Group magazine)

Holding_Hands
I close with this thought – If God were to give you an item, say a really cool watch or something, and He said “I want you to take special care of this. I am sharing it with you, but you need to follow my directions in taking care of. Don’t let it get dirty, and don’t break it. I need it stay as new as it looks now. Someday I will come for it and give it to someone else, someone very special who will then take care of it for you”, wouldn’t you treat it like the priceless gift it is and follow God’s instructions to the letter? That’s what He did with our children. They are not ours. They are His and we are charged to take care of them in any way we can until the day comes that He gives them to their bride or groom. That just might mean having an uncomfortable talk with them.

Posted February 27, 2013 by sotpyouth in Dating, Family, General, Main

5 Things Our Kids Will Wish They Had Done Differently   Leave a comment

I do this…I find myself asking, “what if I had done this differently?” It’s not that I’m not happy with the way things have turned out. I don’t want a different “now”. I love my “now”. But I do wish I had acted different in other situations in my life, like treating people better, acting in better ways, saying different things.
I stumbled upon this blog post from R. Eric Tippin over at  theinksociety.net. I think us parents can take what he wrote to his fellow millennials and use it to guide our children.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

BY R. ERIC TIPPIN
NOVEMBER 28, 2012

 

Eric is a freelance writer, a reader and a man. He blogs at The Ink Society and tweets on Twitter@rerictippin.

It’s never fun when you are young to think about growing old and feeble. That time of life seems ages away, hazy and irrelevant to twenty-somethings in the prime of life and health. Alas, the truth remains, unless the FDA approves a magical elixir of youth and wonder, we have no option but to age, lose our hair and hearing and start using words like, “youngsters” and “fiddlesticks.” But, when sinful humans with consciences age, they accumulate something other than wrinkles—namely, regrets. Inevitably, we who are young will someday be old and look back to younger days and say, “Fiddlesticks! I regret some things about my life as a youngster (coughing fit).” Though these regrets are an inevitable part of being human, they can be predicted and, with a little determination, limited. The hope is that, years from now, when you are sipping V8, playing Bocce Ball, wearing a knit cardigan and reminiscing with your friends in “the home,” you never find yourself saying any of the following:
1. “Most of my spare time was sacrificed to social media.”
Collectively, Americans spend 100,000 years on Facebook every month. (Don’t tell Einstein, but it looks like the space-time continuum has been broken.) That means the average Facebook user chooses to spend six and a half hours of his or her month feeding Zuckerberg’s chubby brain child. Add Twitter, Pinterest and other social sites and multiple days of the year disappear like Facebook’s stock value in May. These are lost days that could be spent learning an instrument, writing, cooking experimentally, praying or even having coffee with an old friend.
TIME WASTED NOW WILL BE TIME REGRETTED LATER.
Undoubtedly there are exciting, constructive uses for Facebook, Twitter and the other platforms, but there is a colossal difference between building relationships through social media and replacing them with social media. When you’ve spent twenty minutes on Facebook, are you satisfied deeply and are your relationships strengthened or are you just letting it fill the passing time—one of our most precious resources? Because time wasted now will be time regretted later.
2. “I knew more about celebrities than I did about my neighbors.”
Many people will protest this. “Tabloids make me nauseous!” and from the more dramatic “I’d rather die than follow Taylor Swift’s ‘love’ life!” But even if you distance yourself from the 3 billion dollar tabloid industry, you cannot escape “celebrity.” For in its pure sense, it has only to do with popularity among the masses, and, in the information age celebrities abound—celebrities of sport, celebrities of entertainment, celebrities of politics and even celebrities of the church. As with social media, the institution of celebrity in itself is not sinful or inherently bad, but, like social media, it demands that its followers invest large swaths of their time in order to feel connected. There are two troubles with this: (Run away! A list within a list!)
a. Much of the information learned about celebrities will prove untrue or irrelevant within your lifetime.
b. The relationship with a celebrity is one way and two-dimensional. In other words, you have no opportunity to affect their lives, only observe them.
Most of the time, it is simply not worth your time. Celebrities are people, and it is natural to wish to invest in people—especially pretty people. But why not take the advice of that frantic man on YouTube to, “Leave Britney alone!” and invest that time and effort in our neighbors and classmates. Make someone down the street your new “celebrity,” and change their lives.
3. “I was so set on buying things, I never got the pleasure of making them.”
We are the generation of pre-made pie crusts, instant streaming music, ready-made suppers, waterless shampoo, faux taps bugles, prewashed jeans and even click and grow plants. In many ways it is simply glorious. A colorful and reasonably edible dinner can be cooked and eaten in fifteen minutes so there is more time to apply pre-painted pres-on nails while watching the Do it Yourself (DIY) Network and sharing delicious recipe ideas on Pinterest.
In all this instantity we find ourselves falsely assuming the only reason for doing something is finishing it. But there is another truth that has obviously been shoved behind the microwave: The process of making something can be enjoyable and deeply satisfying. Ironically, we have more opportunity than any of our ancestors to “make for pleasure” and our conveniences make this possible. Instant dinners and dishwashers can make for longer evenings of carpentry, song composition, beer brewing or novel writing. If we pass up this unique privilege history has given us, we may be sorry.
4. “I wasted my life entertaining myself.”
The key word here is self; what Dickens called the, “Grasping, eager, narrow-ranging, overreaching self.” As long as we are preoccupied with self-entertaining, we have little time for reflection on the needs of other people. And—because of a little invention called the computer chip—our available self-entertainment options are stunning. The gaming industry pulls in 10.5 billion dollars of revenue each year. Video games hold no charm for you? How about the 1.3 billion dollar romance novel industry or the 2.2 billion dollar college football industry? Now, the problem here is not video games, college football or romance novels, it is a matter of math. We have manufactured hundreds of new ways to spend our time, but found no substantial way of increasing that time. Every moment of our lives, we will be faced with the choice of self and selflessness. If we indulge the former, our lives will be wasted.
“LIVE LIKE YOU WERE AN EIGHTY-YEAR-OLD WITH A TIME MACHINE.”
5. “I never found time to be quiet.”
Little needs to be said here, especially if this is being read aloud. Our lives are full of noises: humming refrigerators, buzzing lights, dripping coffee pots, roaring interstates, pumping earbuds, ringing phones, and chattering televisions. It is difficult to escape all this constant droning noise, but we need just that. And when we do, we’ll realize that silence isn’t really very silent after all; it only hushes bigger voices so we can hear the small. God spoke in a “still small voice” at least once before. Let’s not miss it when he does again.
It seems like every other singer-songwriter on the radio charges us to, “Live like you are dying,” But it might be more helpful—if less catchy—for them to sing, “Live like you were an eighty-year-old with a time machine.” Or “Don’t let the old you scold you.” Our generation has unprecedented opportunities for excellence and unprecedented temptations toward mediocrity. Let’s go for excellence and make our future crusty old selves proud.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Parents, are we going to be content content with letting our kids speed through life forgetting the important things? Are we content with speeding through life forgetting the important things?
Peace, Greg

Posted January 7, 2013 by sotpyouth in Family, General

Snapchat app – Why Parents need to be very concerned   Leave a comment

Parents – Here is just another reason why you NEED to know what is on your child’s phone. The newest, hottest social media app is Snapchat. It’s an app that allows users to take a picture, add some text if they want, and send it off. When the recipient receives it, the picture deletes itself up to 10 seconds after it has been seen.

For those of you I know personally – Some of your children are using this app. I added this app to my phone and it tells you what contacts in your phone are using this app. Some of your children’s names popped up. I am no going to divulge who those young people are. That is something you need to investigate and talk with your children about. (By the way, the same holds true for Instagram – Your children are using this app too.) Facebook is full of requests from our young people to “Snapchat me”.

snapchat-500

What is this picture, taken from Snapchat’s website implying?

My first thought after hearing about this app was “Well, that’s stupid. Why would that appeal to anyone?” That thought lasted about as long as a person can view a Snapchat picture sent to them. My next thought was this app is just begging for people to send nude photos of themselves. I’m sure the Snapchat user’s thought process goes like this: “What could be more perfect? Take a naked picture of myself, send it to ___________ (fill in the blank of the person to be impressed by said picture), he/she will be impressed and like me. Life will be great because photo will automatically deleted and I will be considered cool because I’m giving him/her what he/she wants. This is awesome!”

Ad for Snapchat from a college website

sexting-480x330

This thought process couldn’t be more wrong, and this is why we need to stay vigilant as parents in keeping up on what our kids are doing. We MUST keep reminding them that what they do online will be there forever no matter what they read or hear.

Snap chat arms immature minors (there are no age restrictions) with an easy way to send photos of themselves and others that could have long lasting consequences past the 1 to 10 second timer on the app.

Although an interview with Snap Chat’s CEO, explains that sexting is not the motivation of the app the FAQs say something completely different:

According to Snapchat’s 22-year-old co-founder and CEO, Evan Spiegel, “it doesn’t actually make sense for sexting. Because you see the photo for, what, three seconds?”
Snapchat photos don’t last very long.

From Snapchat’s FAQs:

IS THERE ANY WAY TO VIEW AN IMAGE AFTER THE TIME HAS EXPIRED?
No, snaps disappear after the timer runs out. You can save snaps that you capture by pressing the save button on the preview screen.

WHAT IF I TAKE A SCREENSHOT?
Screenshots can be captured if you’re quick. The sender will be notified immediately.

Yes, anyone can take a screen shot if they are quick enough, and as we can see by watching our kids text, they can be very nimble with their fingers. Even though the sender is notified if a screen shot is taken, it doesn’t matter. The damage is done. A digital photo can be taken of the phone when a Snapchat image is received. Then, the sender doesn’t even know that the image was captured.

Those pictures could be sent around faster than you can imagine, ruining a young persons reputation in a matter of minutes.

Snapchat’s main feature is definitely implying a false sense of security. Their privacy policy states that they “cannot guarantee that the message data will be deleted in every case” and “Messages, therefore are sent at the risk of the user”. So, theoretically, if a child were to send an inappropriate photo through Snapchat, the image could be floating around on their servers even after the photo has been deleted from the recipient’s phone. How do we know that we can trust Snapchat employees to respect their users’ privacy? The answer is: We can’t. And the consequences can be disturbing, with parasite porn sites stealing and spreading images and videos of young people, and tragic tales of victims like Amanda Todd, who was bullied so badly over images of her that were shared over the net that she commited suicide. (Taken from Nakedsecurity.sophos.com)

As you can see from Appdata.com, as of today, Snapchat ranks 2nd in photo sharing apps.

top photo app stats

Snap chat is currently sharing more than 10 million images a day.

Parents, as you can imagine, Snapchat would allow a child or teen to send nude photos to their friends without fear of becoming the laughing stock of the school or ending up on a porn site, but we should expect more from our children. We should expect them to make good decisions for themselves, regardless of how easy technology makes it from them to do otherwise. My hope is that you will take this knowledge and use it to leverage your vigilance at home. Keep an eye out for this app on your child’s mobile device. If you see that they’ve downloaded it, chances are it’s time to sit down and have a serious conversation about the consequences of sexting.

(Sources: Yoursphere.com, Nakedsecurity.sophos.com)

Posted December 4, 2012 by sotpyouth in Bullying, Family, General, Media, School, Technology

Sharing the good news of Christmas at the mall   2 comments

I found this video on Facebook. It is so moving to me for some reason.

 

 

I’m pretty sure these people were intentional with the contrasting message of the consumerist aspect of being at the mall (focusing on spending money to purchase gifts that will eventually find their way to being stored in the basement, going out of style, or being replaced by the new upgraded version, etc.) to proclaiming the birth of the newborn King, our Savior, Jesus Christ (focusing on the One who was born in a lowly, crude stable. The One who will never be put into storage in my basement, and hopefully, not yours either. The One who will never go out of style. The One who doesn’t need an upgrade; He was already upgraded once on the cross for our eternal salvation, and doesn’t need any more upgrades).

Here’s the great news – There’s no cost for our salvation. We don’t need to go to the mall to buy it. The price was paid when Jesus went to the cross. He gets what we deserve, and we get what He deserves. It is a gift given freely from God. There is nothing we need to do to have it. In fact, He wants to give us this gift so badly that he chases us to give it to us. We just need to let him catch us.

Please experience the joy that this video gives in heralding the birth of Christ, at the mall, to those who don’t know Him. It’s probably not unlike when the angel announced that the Savior had been born in the town of David. Then a host of heavenly beings appeared with the angels and began singing praises to God. When the singing was over, the shepherds decided to travel to Bethlehem and see the Christ-child. (Luke 2:1-20)

I don’t know for sure, but I bet there were some “shepherds” there who decided to find out some more about Jesus that day.

Feel free to experience the joy of this bringing tears to your eyes as people are moved to fall on their knees in worship. Maybe they didn’t even know why they fell to their knees. That my friends is the Holy Spirit in action.

Feel free to experience Christ.

Posted December 2, 2012 by sotpyouth in General, Music

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