Have You Heard about Offline October

photo credit: Go-tea 郭天 Live from the streets via photopin (license)

So, have you heard about Offline October? Today was the first I heard about it.

Knowing that teens spend an average of 9 hours a day on their phones, they check their phones 157 times a day, send out more than 208 Snapchats, spend nearly an hour on Instagram, a movement has started to unplug. I don’t know much about the movement other than hearing the news story and visiting the website, but it seems like a good idea.

According to the website, after a number of teen suicides in the Littleton, Colorado community, a group of 25 students got together to come up with a solution to state that enough was enough. The challenge is meant for people to realize the importance of human relationships and the happiness that can come from direct human interaction. The goal of the movement is this: Don’t Post A Story, Live One.

If you are a parent this would be a good conversation to have with your student. What would it be like to go offline for the month of October, or even a week in October, or even 24 hours? Perhaps you could ask your student what kind of influence social media has had on their peers or even him/her. It’s an interesting challenge to consider and talk about.

There are resources and ideas for taking the challenge on the Offline October website.

Below is one of their promo videos.

Interesting Info on Gen Z

photo credit: AdamCohn Sharing a Mobile Phone via photopin (license)

This week I’ve read a few interesting things about Gen Z.

Generation Z is made up of those who were born 1999 to 2015; they are today’s preteens and teenagers.

A lot has been written about Millenials (born 1984 to 1998) as they are the largest generation in the US workforce (35% of today’s labor force).

There were two different sources for the information and they give two different snapshots of this generation.  The first is a podcast by Pro Church Tools, which focused on how Gen Z interacts with through social media.  The second source is the Barna Group, which has done some research on the beliefs of Gen Z.

Pro Church Tools talked about how Gen Z uses social media differently than previous generations.  The main distinction they made was that  Gen Z uses social media for one to one interactionswhere previous generations use social media for one to many interactions.

So, where previous generations will post something to Facebook for everyone to see (and to generate more friends), Gen Z will use Messaging Apps, including Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram DMs, along with others.

After I heard the podcast, I sent a message to over a dozen of the high school students in our student ministry.  I asked which Messaging App they used most frequently.  In the quick survey I took, Snapchat seemed to be the most used, along with Instagram and texting.  How Gen Z communicates is a little different from other generations and it is helpful to know if we want to communicate effectively.

The Barna Group study focused on what Gen Z believes.  While there were a number of stats shared, these two were highlighted:

  • 24% of Gen Z strongly agrees that what is morally right and wrong changes over time based on society
  • 21% of Gen Z strongly believes sex before marriage is wrong – though they are mostly on par with other generations, with Gen X being the most conservative (26%)

While there is much more in the Barna study, I think those stats give an interesting look into Gen Z.  The fact that nearly one-quarter of the generation thinks that what is right and wrong changes based on society should create some interesting conversations.  If right and wrong is a sliding scale, it could have some pretty unique implications.

While I think we need to be careful not to stereotype people based on their age and not everyone who was born in a certain generation reflects those characteristics, it is good to have a sense of where our students are.

Barna does note that they only included teens 13 to 18 in their study.

Click on the links above to read all the information that Pro Church Tools and Barna provide.  If you work with students or are a parent of Gen Z, it is helpful information to have.

Teens Talk Social Media – Part 2

Last week I posted some information about a recent Common Sense Media report where teens shared how much time they spend on social media and their phones.  A few days ago, the TODAY show did a special series sharing the same information.

TODAY interviewed a family with three teenagers and talked to them about their social media habits.  They also talked to the mother and got her thoughts on how she managed her children’s time on their devices.

The students featured were then challenged to go 48 hours without their smartphones and without using social media.  They took the challenge and then share about their experiences.  They used words like “disconnected” and “distractions,” but also seemed grateful for time away from the devices.

The news piece is just over five minutes long and is pretty interesting in light of the Common Sense Media study.  You can watch it on the TODAY Show site.

Teens Talk Social Media

Common Sense Media just released a report on teens and how they use social media. They asked more than 1,100 teenagers (13- to 17-year-olds) to find out their thoughts and how they use social media. Here are a few highlights:

  • 89% of teens have a smartphone
  • Snapchat is their main social media site
  • 57% of all teens agree that social media distracts them when they should be doing homework
  • 29% of teen smartphone owners say they have been woken up by their phones during the night
  • 70% teens use social media multiple times a day (up from 34% in 2012)

There is more interesting information about how teens not only use social media, but some of their perceptions as well.  For example, 72% of teens think technology companies manipulate users to spend more time on their devices.  And, many admit that social media can be a distraction.

Common Sense Media also has a link for parents with some thoughts and suggestions on addressing the social media issue.  Some pretty common sense stuff that many parents are already utilizing, but helpful nonetheless.

There is no doubt that smartphones, technology and social media have impacted our culture and how we communicate.  This article provides some good talking points for parents and teens.

 

Is Facebook Dead? (Hint: it’s not…)

facebook-jaggedSocial media has changed the way we interact with each other and the world.  I saw a story on the news today that people are angry at Facebook for allowing false news story to be posted on the site.  The problem?  Those false news stories, some are saying, had a negative impact on our recent presidential election.  How true that might be is unclear, but it does speak to the fact that social media has a huge influence in our world.

I received an email this week from Jon Acuff with the title Is Facebook Dead?  I thought what he shared was pretty interesting in regards to how Facebook stacks up in numbers with other social media sites.

Near the beginning of this year I posted some information I read about the State of Social Media.  I have also shared an article about the growth of Instagram and other social media related topics.  I think it’s interesting to see what’s happening with real numbers compared to what other people are saying about the power and reach of various social media platforms.

Basically, that’s what Acuff shared.  In his article he gives information about the same article he posted on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  While all of those social media sites showed good engagement from those who saw it, Facebook had the largest numbers far and away.

Here are the numbers:  On Facebook, it was shared 7,384 times. It was liked 18,000 times. And most importantly, it had a reach of 2,899,540 people. Let me repeat that. On Facebook, the post reached 2.8 million people.

Then Acuff made these two observations:

  1. If you’re an entrepreneur, ignore Facebook at your peril.
  2. Facebook might not be the coolest platform, but it is the most effective

You can see the entire article on Jon Acuff’s website.  If you are one who uses social media to engage others, this is pretty interesting information to think about.

IMPACT 16-17 Calendar

IMPACT 2016-2017School is back in session and we are gearing up for a great school year in IMPACT Student Ministry. The image above is a snap shot of the special events and activities planned for the next 9 months.  The school year is full with academic, athletic and other extra-curricular activities.  We hope that by getting this information out early, it will help families and students balance the busy schedules.

Here is some more specific information for upcoming events.

Small Groups promo 16-17

Small Groups start September 11!  Small Groups have become one of the most important things we do in the school year. We have some great adults who meet regularly with students to talk about life, read the Bible together, ask questions and pray together.  We think that the relationships that are developed in small groups are so helpful and important that we encourage all of our students to be a part of a group.  There is still time to get signed up for a group.  Register online to be a part of Small Groups!

As part of our Small Group kick-off on September 11, we will have an IMPACT Tailgate Party @ 9:30 am.  Our Junior High and High School classes will meet in the front parking lot of the church for breakfast, games and a fun start to the school year. People get geared up for the big game by tailgating.  We are getting geared up for a great year of small groups…so let’s tailgate.

color wars imageTo welcome student back to the regular schedule of the school year, we are having a IMPACT Kick-Off Event on Saturday, September 17, 5:00 – 8:00 pm.  We will have food, play 9 Square in the Air (our students love this game) and we will end with our very first Color War.  Students need to wear a white shirt for this event. This is also a great time for our students to bring a friend.  We ask students to sign up by Sept. 14.  Sign up for the Kick-off Online!

Stitch_exportEvery fall we participate in the retreats hosted at our church camp, Butler Springs Christian Camp.

The Junior High Retreat is scheduled for Oct. 21-23. If our students went to summer camp, it’s a chance to reconnect with students they met. It’s also a great chance for our group to experience a weekend together. Total cost is $60 and registration is due Sunday, Oct. 2.

The High School Retreat is scheduled for Nov, 4-6. This retreat,due to attendance, is held over two different weekends.  We will attend weekend #1 and, in order to reserve enough spots and get the best price, a $25 deposit is due Sept. 18 (after this date, the price goes up $10).  Total cost for the retreat (if registered by the early bird deadline is $60.

Both weekends provide a great environment for students to connect with their own youth group as well as meet other students.  There are times of singing, teaching, discussion, sports tourneys and other great elements.

 

We want to do our best to communicate well with families.  There are a few different avenues we use to communicate.  Please choose the one(s) that are best for you:

FACEBOOK:: “Like” our IMPACT Student Ministry Page or Wilmington Church of Christ page

INSTAGRAM:: Follow our IMPACT Student Ministry Account

TEXT – text IMPACT909 to 95577 to receive occasional text updates

EMAIL Click here to subscribe to receive occasional email blasts

Website – Visit our WCC Webpage

We are looking forward to a great school year!

Report on the State of Social Media 2015

My daughter is a marketing intern at U of L and works in the digital side of things. She retweeted a link about the current state of the major social media networks. I have posted some articles on the supposed decline of Facebook and the growth of Instagram in the past, so I found the article interesting. Simply Measured did a report to be a resource for people working with social media. I kind of glanced through the 47 page report, but thought this graphic was very compelling.

It’s kind of mind-blowing to think that Facebook has 1.4 billion monthly active users and 936 million daily active users. Instagram has 70 million photos per day, there are over 500 million tweets per day and 1 billion views each day on YouTube. That’s a lot of activity in our digital world.

Kind of makes the number of followers I have seem pretty small.

Found this information interesting and wanted to pass it along.

State of Social Media