Teens and Changing Technology

Technology is in a constant state of change. The latest buzz has been about the unveiling of the iPhone 5. I saw a tweet today that said the Apple store is off-line as they update their stock. (It is off-line….I checked!) If you feel like you just can’t keep, welcome to the club.

In light of that, I thought a post on Doug Field’s blog was timely and informative.  In this entry. he talks with Jonathan McKee, a youth worker, speaker and author.  They discussed the changes in technology and social media and specifically how teens are using these various outlets.

Here’s a few of the questions and answers.  Thought their thoughts on texting and Twitter were interesting and worth watching.

DOUGI’m almost afraid to post something about technology, because it might be out of date by the time I hit POST. In your book The New Breed you talk about how much technology has shifted in the last 5 years alone. Give us a glimpse of some of these big changes.

JONATHAN: It’s even scarier talking about technology in a book, in fear that it will be out of date by the time the book goes to print. When the first edition of this book came out five years ago (which really isn’t too long ago), MySpace was still a social network contender. Now, most people chuckle when you mention the site (“It’s so three minutes ago!”). In the last 5 years…

MySpace has shriveled while Facebook has become the social networking powerhouse. As of the end of 2011, 93% of 12-17-year old social media users have Facebook pages, while only 24% have a MySpace.

Pinterest has proven to be a major player in the social networking scene, especially among women (I already have a page so I can see my daughter’s posts of her artwork).

•As texting and social networking grew, young people use email less. You know this if you’ve tried to email a kid—they don’t email back. Text them, you’ll get a response in 10 seconds.

Smartphone ownership crossed the 50% mark recently, with 55.5% of US subscribers now owning smartphones. 58% of 13-17-year olds now own a smart phone, compared to 36% last year, and 74% of 25-34 year-olds own smartphones, up from 59% last year (NielsenWire, 9/10/12). This increase has obviously boosted mobile browsing to new levels

•The time people spend on apps per day finally surpassed traditional web browsing. (TechCrunch)

DOUGSo, I hate being asked about the future, but I’ll ask you–what do you think is next?

JONATHAN: Wow, you’re asking me to go on a limb here. I usually don’t like to predict the future as much as provide a glimpse of what is current. I’ll push the envelope here a little bit and give two predictions based on recent changes:

Texting has hit its peak. I’m not saying that texting is dying… I don’t think it’s going anywhere. It’s simple, quick, easy… and fun. But Nielson’s teenage texting numbers actual dropped a notch in the third quarter of 2011 for the first time in years! Personally, I think this is because of the rise of smart-phone ownership, mentioned above. More young people can Facebook each other or Tweet. I think these alternatives will trim the edge off of texting. Texting will stay strong… but I think we’ve seen its peak.

Twitter is on the rise. In the past year I chuckled when people mentioned Twitter and Facebook in the same sentence. Over 90% of teenagers are on Facebook, and at last count, about 16% of online teenagers were on Twitter  (and 95% of American teenagers are online). But watch closely… that Twitter number is growing. Why? Young people are still TV addicts and they can only watch people like Howie Mandel on their favorite shows Tweeting their fans so many times before they think, “I’ve gotta get me that!!”

Hilarious Promo Video for Teaching Series

I’ve mentioned Josh Griffin’s blog in previous posts. Doug Fields and Josh teamed up to do a teaching series called “Facebook Official” and they talked about love, sex, dating and relationships in the four-week series.  Below is the promo video that they made and it made me laugh out loud.  I showed it to two others in the office because I thought it was funny.  You can read more about Josh Griffin and Doug Fields at their respective websites.

Enjoy the video.  It was meant to be funny so feel free to laugh.

Youth Ministry….what an honor! (a repost)

One of the blogs I subscribe to from Doug Fields. He has been involved in youth ministry for many years and has a lot of wisdom to share.

One of the great things about him is that he is relational and really connects with others in youth ministry. His blog post today is a story shared by another guy in youth ministry. Thought is was a great example of why serving in the church is both a challenge and rewarding.

You can see the original post at Doug Field’s blog.

Every once in a while someone will send in an email into our podcast that grips my heart. This one came from Craig Piefer from Walla Walla, WA. I hope it does your heart well like it did mine.

Best moment and worst moment in youth ministry happened last week. Dominic a senior, his sister Elizabeth (a junior) and their little brother Benjamin (8th grade) lost their mom, Peggy, to breast cancer. Elizabeth was home when she passed, but the boys where at school. Their dad Tim, called me directly after calling the paramedics. Tim and I had planned days earlier for me to come and get the kids so they didn’t have to be there as they transferred their mother’s body, but now my task was to pick up Dominic from school and tell him about his mom. I won’t describe that moment, but I will hold it close to my heart forever. The day went on with lots of hugs and crying. Their small group leaders joined me at the kids’ home for more hugging and crying. It was tough. It was beautiful.

Now after that day, after the funeral, after the crying, I have a little time to reflect, and all I can think is this: What an honor. What an honor to have the love and respect of their father. What an honor to be drenched in the tears of students I love so dearly. What an honor to partner with Tim and Peggy in raising whole hearted followers of Christ. What an honor to look into the eyes of Dominic, who in the six years that I have known him has grown into a man, and deliver the worst news possible for a teen to hear. What an honor to be that families pastor. It’s more than words can describe, and I’m sure it sounds weird to many. But for those who have walked this road you know what I mean.

I praise God and even thank Him for calling me to this work, as much as it stresses and frustrates me, it is a blessing to be a pastor to students.

Promise of Glee or Glory

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the Youth Ministry Summit at Cincinnati Christian University.  It was a good day of hearing from the keynote speaker, Doug Fields, and attending some workshops on practical things in youth ministry.

There were at least two highlights of the day.  The first was Doug’s chapel message in the morning.  He referenced some of the TV shows we love, primarily the mega-popular show “Glee.”  Now, I am not a fan of the show.  A lot of students love the music, but as Doug pointed out, what really keeps the viewer is the story line.  The script puts certain characters in the starring role and whatever issues they are dealing with are somewhat resolved in the 60 minutes the show airs.

Doug then made the connection that we want exactly what we see on “Glee.”  Our script places us as the star and our issues are resolved in a short period of time.  Unfortunately, we don’t write the script; God does.  What happens to some is that when the story God is writing doesn’t place us in the starring role, we walk away.  When we face difficult scenes in life, drama and conflict we weren’t expecting or the story doesn’t put the spotlight on us, we walk away from a relationship with God.

Then he made this cool statement:  God didn’t promise us Glee; He promised us Glory.  Jesus said we would face trials and difficulties, but He has overcome the world.  At the end of the story, God wins and we can share in His glory.  We just need to trust Him as the writer of the story.

It was a good reminder that we need to hear on occasion.

The second highlight was simply this – we are doing some things right!  I have a great team of volunteers in our student ministry and some of what was said at the conference is what we are trying to do.  We aren’t doing things perfectly, but I think we are on the right track in some areas.  Sometimes I have gone to conferences and come away feeling we were doing nothing right.  While we can continue to get better at what we do, it was good to hear that in certain ways, we are on target.