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Therapeutic Blogging for Teenagers

The study, published in the journal Psychological Services and conducted by Meyran Boniel-Nissim and Azy Barak, psychology professors at the University of Haifa, Israel, found the engagement with an online community allowed by the blog format made it more effective in relieving the writer’s social distress than a private diary would be.

Source

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] think a lot of times we have a tendency to look at students using various forms of social media with suspicion. And then when we stumble upon their attempts to express themselves we are quick to point out their immaturity. But have we taken seriously the therapeutic benefit to students expressing their feelings in a relatively open format?

A lot of youth workers blog. (I’m one of them.) And a lot of youth ministries have blogs. But almost all of them are writing by adults. What would it look like if your youth ministry blog was a place for your students to express their success, failures, fears, doubts, etc?

Personally, I’d love to see that! 

What do you think? 

photo credit – tumbr staff blog

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The McBackfire

The Daily Mail (UK) is  reporting on a social media campaign gone horribly wrong.

It seems someone at McDonald’s thought it would be a good idea to get Twitter followers to share stories using the hashtag #mcdstories. That’s when anti-McDonald’s advocates jumped on the opportunity to make a splash.

And within an hour McDonald’s had to change course because it was starting to go viral… in a bad way. A couple of my favorites from the article:

  • @jfsmith23 wrote: ‘Watching a classmate projectile vomit his food all over the restaurant during a 6th grade trip. #McDStories’
  • @nelo_taylor who wrote: ‘These #McDStories never get old, kinda like a box of McDonald’s 10 piece’
  • @JKingArt #McDstories I lost 50 lbs in 6 months after I quit working and eating at McDonald’sRead more

What does this have to do with youth ministry? When you plan things you always have to keep The Law of Unintended Consequences in mind. Ask yourself, what is my most perverted 7th grader or my most creative 10th grader going to do with this game idea?

Because if you don’t? They’ll McLove you. 

Photo credit – happymealy – Flickr (Creative Commons)

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Sex Education via Text

Sex education is a thorny subject for most school systems; only 13 states specify that the medical components of the programs must be accurate. Shrinking budgets and competing academic subjects have helped push it down as a curriculum priority. In reaction, some health organizations and school districts are developing Web sites and texting services as cost-effective ways to reach adolescents in the one classroom where absenteeism is never a problem: the Internet.

Source

I thought it was interesting that the angle of this article was that this was a big cost savings for school districts. (Giving students access to online and SMS resources for sexual education.)

I just can’t get over what a great idea it is, in general. For students to have a way to ask the questions they really need answers to without having to risk raising their hand in class or visiting the counselors office… these are great tools!

What do you think? Skip having small groups… just have small group via text?

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True Love isn’t Waiting, Anymore

We caught this article on the CNN belief blog (which referenced an article in Relevant) and were intrigued by the conclusions.

While the study’s primary report did not explore religion, some additional analysis focusing on sexual activity and religious identification yielded this result: 80 percent of unmarried evangelical young adults (18 to 29said that they have had sex – slightly less than 88 percent of unmarried adultsaccording to the teen pregnancy prevention organization.

Yet the article also asks a question that rarely comes up in discussions about abstinence movement. Relevant notes that in biblical times, people married earlier. The average age for marriage has been increasing in the U.S for the last 40 years.

Today, it’s not unusual to meet a Christian who is single at 30 – or 40 or 50, for that matter. So what do you tell them? Keep waiting?

Read the rest

Here are two thoughts I had as I read this article and the dozens of others which sprang up from the discussion.

  1. Why are adults so fascinated with adolescent sexuality? What does it say about US to care so much about what they do or don’t do sexually? After all, this generation didn’t invent pre-marital sex any more than ours did?
  2. We simply cannot argue for both waiting for marriage to have sex and waiting until your 30 to get married. (Average age of a males first marriage is now 28.5!)
As you interact with these articles, what’s on your mind? How do these findings and this discussion impact your day-to-day youth ministry?
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Are you ready for Tebow-mania?

With last weekends John Elway-like comeback victory against the winless Dolphins, preceded by more than a year of fan demands to see him play, Tebow-mania has now officially commenced nationwide.

This week’s edition of ESPN Magazine brings some insight on Tebow-mania which I found interesting:

The people rejoiced, and their faith was rewarded. In the fourth quarter, down 26-10, Tebow led two touchdown drives in 3 minutes and 38 seconds. He ran for one, he threw for the other. He was typically unconventional, underthrowing and scrambling and occasionally having trouble with snaps from center. In the game’s final 24 seconds, Tebow drove the Broncos to the San Diego 29, where his final pass, coming after a 12-second scramble, fell incomplete in the end zone. He was unconventional, yes, but unconventionally effective. It was one of the coolest losses ever.

Read the rest

While its hard for Florida Gator fans to understand, Tim Tebow winning the Heisman trophy didn’t necessarily make him a household name. There are tons of people who care about the NFL way more than they pay attention to anything that happens in college. On top of that, many college football fans are so focused on their own teams that they never bother to catch the storyline of another teams player.

But now that he is the starter and has done what Elway so famously did in Denver… the Tebow nation is commencing. He’s already got the #1 selling jersey in the league. But are we ready for a full-fledged role model?

What have you seen? Have the students in your ministry taken notice of Tebow?

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Dead Sea Scrolls Now Available Online

As an undergrad I became fascinated by the Dead Sea Scrolls. I devoured several books on the content of the various scrolls as well as scholarly explorations of the communities who likely left the scrolls behind.

Now, remarkably, all of the scrolls are available to you for free online. More than just hi-res images of the scrolls– it’s completely interactive.

Check it out here.