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Author Archives: bigiufan29

IMPACT Tailgate Party Video

Last Sunday we had a Tailgate Party for our students. People tailgate before football games, why not before church! We had a good time with some tasty breakfast food, 9 Square (our students love that game), corn hole and even some gift card giveaways.

Dale put some of our pics into a video. Check it out:

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Media Day for U of L Women’s Basketball

10455072Yesterday was Media Day for the University of Louisville Women’s Basketball program. Various members of the media were present to conduct interviews and to take picture.

There was a good interview with Coach Walz as he gave an update on where he sees the team and the things they need to do as they prepare for the start of the season. He spoke specifically about the returning players and the five freshmen that are a part of the team this year. He talked about the development that is happening with the freshmen class and speaks specifically about each individual.

I’ve listened to several interviews of Coach Walz over the past few seasons. He always has interesting things to say and includes humor in his responses. I loved this quote as he talked about recruitment: “If you are a good coach with bad players, you are a bad coach. If you have really good players, you look like a good coach.” You can watch a video of the interview on the Women’s Basketball page on gocards.com

There is also a Photo Gallery from Media Day on the website. The picture above is from the gallery. I like the ones below as well.

Looking forward to a great season!

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Posted by on October 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Social Media Awareness

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photo credit: Highways Agency via photopin cc

Earlier this week I shared a blog post about some of the dangers of SnapChat and how many images were stolen as accounts here hacked.

This week on Facebook, some one shared a link from one of our local school districts. It was a message to parents and the community about some misuse of social media and also some of the dangers of some of those outlets. The article references a couple of social media outlets that allow users to remain anonymous as they post and communicate with others. It’s another example of how both parents and students need to be aware of how social media is used and to be wise in what is posted.

Here’s a copy of the article that your can read on the Wayne Local Schools website.

This week there has been widespread misuse of social media in our schools and community. The content of related messages has been nothing short of disappointing. For this reason we want to bring your attention to a couple of concerning apps called “Yik Yak” and “Ask.fm.”

Part of Yik Yak and Ask.fm’s allure besides the fact that it lets kids communicate with one another; users are anonymous. Users do not have to establish a profile or password. Yik Yak uses GPS location data to bring comments to a user’s feed from other users nearby. In other words, it enables and encourages communities to share information within a geographical boundary. Unfortunately the anonymity of these posts allows individuals who may have malicious intent to write comments about others that may be hurtful, harassing and possibly disturbing. This week this advent in technology created a social media phenomenon we have never seen in Waynesville; for this reason the school district has worked to block Yik Yak from being accessed via our internet network. Additionally we made contact with the company and requested a “geo fence” be placed around our schools; which restricts access to the app or site when a device is in locations identified as schools. This however does not address the issue of misuse outside of predefined geographic boundaries. The founders of Yik Yak have stated, “It’s disheartening to see our app being used in an unintended way.”

Awareness of one’s digital footprint and digital citizenship, for that matter extends across all actions online and off. For example, nearly every social network requires users to confirm their real age before downloading. In the case of Yik Yak, a push notification appears asking users to confirm they’re older than 17 before using the app. Yet many kids under 17 have downloaded and may continue to download this app and others. Remind kids that lying is as damaging to their digital reputation as it is to their offline one.

Parents and students need to be aware that anonymity is an illusion in the digital world. Hiding behind an app like Yik Yak will not prevent criminal charges or school discipline when students make anonymous comments or threats.

We will continue our efforts to educate our students regarding appropriate behavior and the treatment of others, both in the traditional sense and in the context of existing and new technologies. We urge parents to partner with us in addressing this important issue. Here are some suggested steps:

• Check your child’s phones for apps such as Yik Yak, Ask.fm, Snapchat, Kik, Whisper and Tinder, among others.

• Review the settings on your children’s phones and consider blocking apps not rated as age appropriate. For instance, Yik Yak is rated for ages 17+ so if you choose to restrict based on your child’s age; most will not be able to access this app. If they have an iOS device: Go to “settings,” select “general” and tap “enable restrictions.” You can set restrictions for “installing apps” and “in-app purchases.”

• Some kids are really good at getting around device settings. So set rules and get familiar or cyber-wise about what they’re up to online so you can see if your rules are being followed. Software such as SpectorSoft records and replays all of your child’s internet activity and provides a detailed report.

• Have a discussion with your child regarding the respectful treatment of others and to expect respectful treatment in return. The mistreatment and disrespect of others, whether in person or through anonymous means, is never acceptable.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Scary News About SnapChat

200,000 More Reasons to Delete SnapchatA number of students I know use the app SnapChat. For those who may not be familiar with it, it is a photo sharing app that allows you to share photos with people who follow you, but is supposed to allow you to control how long the photo is available.  You can send a photo to someone and set how many seconds they can view it. A recent addition is the SnapChat “story” where an image or video is available to all followers, but for a limited amount of time.

Since news of this broke on Friday I’ve received at least 50 texts, emails, and other messages about it.

I’m a little torn. I don’t want to say “I told you so.” More like– “NO!!! I tried to warn people.”

More than 4 million people have read my post, “Why you should delete Snapchat.” The PDF of that post has been downloaded 45,000 times. It’s been taught as an example of a persuasive argument in just about every state in the United States.

But here we are. My efforts weren’t enough.

Somewhere, in the ether of the internet, are 200,000 images posted online without permission. That’s on top of the countless number of Tumblr blogs and other websites dedicated to sharing captured Snaps.

The facts of what I wrote about Snapchat in August 2013 haven’t changed

  1. Snapchat is built on a lie that digital images disappear. They don’t. Once you take a picture with your device and send it to another person you’ve given up control of that image. Itmight get deleted. Once you send it via text, email, or upload it to an app… you lose control.
  2. You think you’re anonymous online, but you aren’t. Whether it’s Snapchat or Yik Yak or an online forum, everything you post online points directly back to you. Everything. That happens at the device level with metadata. It happens with your ISP or mobile provider. And it happens with app developers at the server level. The only one who doesn’t know who everyone is on an anonymous app are the actual users. And, as we’re about to learn with the Snapchat leak, facial recognition is a double-edged sword.
  3. Snapchat was created as a safe way to sext. In the past year since the January 2013 uproar, Snapchat has done a very good job navigating further and further away from it’s genesis story of a safe sexting app. I’ve acknowledged that publicly. They introduced some new features, they’ve said all the right things in the press, they’ve educated users, and– even for me– they truly have done a good job trying to pivot Snapchat from the salacious history, which indeed fueled the initial popularity, to something better and more mature. But they can’t get away from their history or the subset of users who use the app as a safe way to sext. As Mitt Romney learned in 2012… you can’t “Shake the Etch-a-Sketch” and just tell a new story sometimes. If they were serious about getting rid of the subset of users who sext with the app they would invest a few million dollars to develop a feature that detected nudity and blocked it. (ala facial recognition in Facebook or iPhoto.)
  4. The Snapchat leaders seem more interested in blaming others than blaming their app. When they settled with the FCC, it was a misunderstanding and they didn’t own responsibility. When user names and passwords were leaked, it wasn’t their incompetence as developers– it was unscrupulous people wanting access to an unlimited treasure trove of private data. And in this latest leak, it’s not the fact that Snapchat has an open unofficial API that even an untrained developer can crack into within a few minutes then build and release iOS and/or Android apps on the official marketplace— it’s these 3rd parties who are to blame. We all know people like this. Whether it’s entitlement or immaturity or arrogance, they can’t simply admit that their leadership failed, that Snapchat is bigger than they are capable of leading, or that their skills as a developer are not up to snuff. Instead they play the “Hey, I’m just a kid, I make mistakes” card. Snapchat is valued at anywhere from $2 billion to $10 billion. (Though with existing and pending litigation I can’t see it.) Isn’t it time for the leadership at Snapchat to be held responsible? Shouldn’t the board, likely full of VC investors, make a decision to remove the founders and put in place someone capable of finishing the job? Surely, if the eventual goal of Snapchat is to sell it to Google, Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, or whoever wants it– the maximum value of Snapchat will never be achieved with a bumbling leadership team who can’t publicly own failure. Duh.

If anything, what I wrote in August 2013 has been validated time and again. Which only leads me to the same conclusion: Delete the app.

Do not trust an app built like this. And do not trust people like this.

There are white hats and black hats in this world, Snapchat wears a black hat.

Beyond “I Told You So”

Right now, nearly every hour, a story is coming out blaming Snapchat for this leak. And they are 100% to blame. No doubt many will join me in calling the Snapchat board to remove Snapchat’s founders for their incompetence.

But, emotionally, I’m just not interested in “I told you so” any more than I truly care about who is the CEO of an app people should just delete.

Just like there wasn’t anything in it for me when I wrote the original post in August 2013, I am not somehow filled with pride that this has happened and I was right all along. (If you didn’t know, I wrote the post in response to requests from a group of moms at a seminar. I couldn’t answer their question about Snapchat sufficiently on the fly, I told them to watch my blog and I’d write some reasons you should delete it.)

So here’s what I’m feeling about the Snapchat leak:

  • I feel terrible for the people who will now pay a penalty for their lack of understanding on how the internet works. Yes, we should hold Snapchat responsible. And I believe that the FBI will hold those who have leaked images of minors will be arrested for distribution of child pornography.
  • For those who have had images leaked, I hope they seek and get justice. What was done to them was wrong, it’s against the law, and the perpetrators may have had a good reason (to expose Snapchat’s vulnerability) but that’s not reason enough to violate the law.
  • I hope the public learns from this leak. For those who will have images posted, I hope they’ve learned that no matter what is promised, anything shared online is ultimately public. Take solace in knowing you aren’t alone. But make a correction in your behavior, as well, so that it never happens to you again.
  • As a Christian, I believe all humans are ultimately fallible. This isn’t about Snapchat– it’s about us. (Ourselves and the people we thought we trusted.) We make mistakes, people we trust betray us, and we all live in a space between blaming ourselves and blaming others for a lot of stuff. (Not just this leak) This is what we do as humans. While we all have good in us, as we’re made in the image of God, we also have evil in us. Last week I wrote about a new research study about teenagers and sexting. In talking about this with some friends I came to this conclusion: 100% of us are susceptible to sexting. The reason many haven’t is that the opportunity hasn’t arisen in our lives. The hormones of sex and the dopamine rewards of our inborn reward system are simply stronger than us. We all need Jesus. We need his strength to resist. We need forgiveness when we mess up. And we need His hope (and the actions of His people) for freeing the world of sexual exploitation. But I don’t see myself any better than those who have leaked images or had images leaked. And neither should you.
  • Let’s not forget that the leak is about sexual exploitation and the power of shame in our society. In the coming days it’ll be easy to throw people under the bus and blame them for taking these images. But there’s a big difference between exchanging these images with someone you trust (or are flirting with) and having them published, perhaps with their usernames or real names. Trust me, those affected will feel terrible enough as it is. Let’s not forget that the release of these images is illegal. (Do I even need to say it… DON’T LOOK AT THEM!)
  • These aren’t 200,000 images. These are 200,000 people. That’s a lot of hurting people out there. Ugh, my heart hurts.
  • I’ve got more work to do. One thing that’s become clear over the past year is that there aren’t a lot of people actually trying to educate teenagers about social media in a useful way.Scaring them doesn’t work. Instead, I’ve found that helping them understand how basic principles of social media play out in the real world as well as creating some common language with the adults in their lives really, really helps. In so many ways– I’m sick of talking about social media. But I also don’t feel like I can stop because the need is so great.

Why Have You Deleted Snapchat?

I’d love to hear from people who have had enough and deleted Snapchat. Now that you aren’t using it, what are you using instead?

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Junior High Retreat 2014

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Last weekend we took our junior high students to the annual Middle School Retreat held at our church camp Butler Springs. We had a good weekend playing some pretty messy games, hanging out, singing together, listening to some good messages and just having a good time.

The leaders of the weekend did a good job unpacking the theme Messy Spirituality.  We started the weekend by admitting that we are all a mess – we all have our shortcomings, we all fail, we all mess up. The good news is this:  Jesus knows that and He gets in the mess with us and helps us clean up and move forward.

There were two phrases that they used during the weekend that I thought were helpful for our students.  The first was this:  “Say ‘Yes’ until you can’t.”  The idea behind that phrase was to encourage the students (and adults) to simply try.  Whatever task or challenge that was presented, we should say “yes” until we couldn’t anymore.  Rather than decline an invitation because we didn’t know if we could handle it or accomplish it, we should simply say “yes” and give it a try.

The second phrase made sense to Star Wars fans.  It was this:  Yoda was wrong.  In the movie The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda has a conversation with Luke Skywalker.  Luke is faced with a challenge and tells Yoda, “I’ll give it a try.”  Yoda says, “No. Try not. Do…or do not. There is no try.”  The invitation in following Jesus is to try, to trust in His power to help us when we need it and to depend on His grace when we mess up.  The invitation to follow Jesus is to be faithful, not to be perfect.

It was a good retreat and gave our leaders and students a chance to spend time together outside of our regular student ministry programs.  I’m grateful for our leaders and the time they invest in our students.

Here’s a short video with some pics from the weekend.  Special thanks to Dale for putting it together.

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Cell Phone Usage Infographic

I think these infographics are a cool way to share information. I saw this one today on Youth Ministry Media and it shows how cell phones are being used today. The numbers are pretty astounding when you read them. For example:

  • Two Hundred Trillion Text Messages are received in America Every Single Day  – every day!
  • 3339 – Average Number of Texts Sent Each Month by an American Teen – that’s a lot!
  • 83% of Teens Use Cell Phones to Take Pictures – images more powerful than words?

The article underscores that cell phones are a part of our culture (especially for teens) and raises the question how we use texting (and other social media outlets) to communicate.

Check it out::

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Posted by on October 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Walk to End Alzheimer’s 2014

PrintThe second weekend in October is the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Dayton. I participated in my first walk last year and walk in honor of my mother-in-law Phyllis. She was diagnosed a couple of years ago and has been living in a care facility. While I don’t carry the weight of caring for her on a regular basis, I’ve seen up close what a struggle that is for her family. She is not the same wife and mother due to this disease and it is a sad process to watch.

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is designed to raise funds to further research to find a cure. Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Last year we walked with hundreds of people in sea of purple to bring awareness to this disease. I would love to have your support as I prepare to walk. You can make a donation of any size on my Walk to End Alzheimer’s page.

Thanks in advance for any gift you can give.

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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