Why Do One in Four Teen Girls Have an STD?

Posted on: 04/15/08 5:07 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Last month we saw articles in every major newspaper about the new report that one in four teen girls has an STD. People were shocked. This week we’re asking for your response and I’ll be blogging about the subject all week.

I have to admit… I wasn’t surprised by the results of this report in the slightest. What has surprised me in this highly sexualized culture is that we haven’t seen this report sooner.

If you missed the report, here’s a snippet from U.S. News:

More than 3 million teenaged girls have at least one sexually transmitted disease (STD), a new government study suggests.

The most severely affected are African-American teens. In fact, 48 percent of African-American teenaged girls have an STD, compared with 20 percent of white teenaged girls.

“These numbers translate into 3.2 million young women nationwide who are infected with an STD,” Forhan said. “This means that far too many young women are at risk of the serious health effects of untreated STDs, including infertility and cervical cancer.”

These common STDs include human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, herpes simplex virus and trichomoniasis, Forhan said.

So who is to blame?

It’s probably not too difficult to guess who Planned Parenthood is blaming:

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the study shows that “the national policy of promoting abstinence-only programs is a $1.5 billion failure, and teenage girls are paying the real price.” Huffington Post, 3/11/2008

Let’s hold off any analysis of abstinence education for a second… but we will be returning to the subject.

What about the influence of the media? Are they to blame? You might remember last month when I blogged  about lyrics and I noted that in 2007, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) revealed that “teens who listened to lots of music with degrading sexual messages were almost twice as likely to start having intercourse…as teens who listened to little or no sexually degrading music.” (Houston Chronicle)

But is that where the blame rests? Just the media?

Where are parents?

Let me assure you. The BEST abstinence and or sex education of any kind is from parents who talk with their kids honestly about sex– an ongoing conversation. Sure, we, as a society can’t count on this communication to always happen at home, so we need to provide sex education in other venues as well. But do parents really see this ongoing communication in the home as their responsibility?

What best equips kids for these sexual decisions? What kind of sex education can prevent 1 in 4 girls from getting a disease that will probably have permanent consequences?

I ask you this, because this week in this blog we’ll be looking at the effectiveness of abstinence education, the influence of the media and other issues that contribute toward this “1 in 4” stat.


Relationships Retreat Resources

Posted on: 04/14/08 8:00 AM | by Jonathan McKee

On THE SOURCE Podcast Episode #14 Furby and I talked about a retreat that Furby’s church does for junior high students every year called the Relationships Retreat. It’s a retreat where they talk about everything to do with sex and dating- a whole weekend on the subject.

In the podcast we discuss it and then we mention that we’ll provide you with the rough outline of what subjects they talked on and any books and or websites they used for reference material. So here’s the list, as promised:


Topics we hit at the Relationships Retreat:
• Self-Image and Puberty
• Friendship (God’s plan for real friendship)
• Dating (boundaries, how far is too far, etc.)
• Porn and Masturbation (we split up the guys and girls for this)
• Sex and consequences
• What to do if you’ve messed up in the past
• Purity Challenge (VERY DISTINCT from a Virginity Challenge)

Here’s a list of GREAT resources we used to write our booklet and to teach out of.  I’ve put the books in order of most used and relevant:

Purity Under Pressure.  Neil T. Anderson & Dave Park
The Invisible Bond.  Barbara Wilson  (Barb’s book and all her work are incredible.  We ALWAYS have Barb or one of her interns come and speak at our retreat.  Her work and ability to communicate are incredible.  I would highly recommend to anyone trying to do a Relationships Retreat that they make Barb Wilson an essential part of the their Retreat.)
Sex God. Rob Bell
Sexy Girls.  Hayley Dimarco
Too Close Too Soon.  Jim Talley & Bobbie Reed
The What’s Happening to My Body? Book for Boys.  Lynda Madaras
And the Two Became One.  Dianne S. Dewane
God on Sex.  Daniel L. Akin

And of course Jonathan’s resources and his seminar: www.RecommendingSex.com

And here’s some more web sites:
www.sitemaker.umich.edu  (University of Michigan educational website)
www.icrsurvey.com  (stats)
www.cdc.gov  (Center for Disease Control)

Now it’s your turn. We want you to use the comment feature of this blog to let us know what resources you have used to teach on the subject.

This blog is just the first on this subject this week. Tomorrow we talk about the “1 in 4 teenage girls have an STD” statistic.

Worship on American Idol?

Posted on: 04/11/08 10:38 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Okay… I am constantly shocked by TV, but last night was a totally different kind of surprise. If you saw it, you were probably as surprised as me. American Idol opened up their show last night (Thursday) with the “Top 8” singing the worship song, Shout to the Lord.

Yes… the first words sung on American Idol last night were, “My Jesus, My Savior, Lord there is none like you.”

Check it out! (if you are receiving this in an email, click here to see it)



Yes… last week (with Dolly Parton) we heard them sing about Jesus in a couple of songs. I was a little suprised then. But wow… two weeks in a row? And Shout to the Lord? Wow.  (Did I mention, “Wow!”)

But then I discoverd something interesting on the internet this morning. This was the SECOND time they sang this song.


Yeah… I missed the first time also. For the rest of you who have TIVO like me, when we watched Idol Gives Back, your recording probably ended without hearing the closing number. But if you go on YouTube today you can view the closing number of Idol Gives Back (Wednesday night) where the “Top 8” are wearing white outfits and singing Shout to the Lord. (followed by Ben Stiller coming on stage for a final word where he drops a few cuss words that have to be bleeped out- talk about a contrast)

Wait… this gets more interesting. In that previous version, they start with the words, “My shepherd, my savior. Lord there is none like you.”  That’s right. They left Jesus out of it. Check it out (if you are receiving this as an email, click here to see it).


It’s funny. Yesterday the internet was filled with blogs of ticked off Christians ranting about “Why did they take Jesus out of the song!” People were outraged.

Sure, I wouldn’t have liked it (if I had seen that version of the song first). But it doesn’t surprise me at all. What surprises me is that Jesus made it back in!!!

So what happened overnight that put Jesus back in the lyrics? (because I know Fox wasn’t listening to those whiney blogs)

Does anyone know why Jesus was voted back in just before Michael was voted off?

Florida Teens Numb to Consequences

Posted on: 04/10/08 3:01 PM | by Jonathan McKee

By now you’ve probably heard the news about eight Florida teens that beat their friend senseless and filmed it to post on YouTube. Six of the teenagers were girls. The victim? A 16 year old girl.

The shocking part of the story is that they filmed the whole thing and didn’t ever realize that the film would be used as evidence against them. Now there is a chance that they might be tried as adults and could be sentenced to life in prison.

Even more shocking is their responses. At their arrests, the girls joked, “Guess we’re not going to go to the beach on this spring break,” while another one asked detectives, “Am I going to be released in time to go to cheerleading practice tomorrow?”

CNN describes the scene:

The video shows a brutal scene: The 16-year-old victim is punched, kneed and slapped by other girls. She huddles in the fetal position, or stands and screams at her attackers, but the assault continues. Authorities say the eight teens said they were retaliating for insults posted on the Internet by the attack victim.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd called the March 30 attack “animalistic.”

Ironically, our own David R. Smith was writing a YOUTH CULTURE WINDOW article on violence when this occured. Next week you’ll see his research in that article on our front page (in the big magnifying glass).

Recruiting & Training Volunteers

Posted on: 04/9/08 10:38 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Today’s blog will be short as I’m finishing up my last touches on a workshop I’m teaching In Sacramento tomorrow where I’m training volunteer managers how to recruit and manage volunteers. I’m focusing a good chunk of the workshop on understanding GENERATION Y but I’ll also be teaching them how to recruit 21st Century volunteers and keep them once you’ve got em!’

This workshop is fun to prepare. It’s called THE NEW BREED, based off the book of the same title that my dad and I wrote together.

I love training. Nothing excites me more than equipping a group of people to go make a difference. It doesn’t get better than that.

My dad offers a ton of free resources and idea for managing and equipping today’s volunteer on his website: www.VolunteerPower.com

Sex a Big Turnoff for TV Advertisers

Posted on: 04/8/08 9:34 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I’ve been researching our highly sexualized media this week in preparation for next week’s discussion forum we’ll have about the recent statistic that “1 in 4 teenage girls has an STD.”

(Side note: if you aren’t a subsriber to this blog yet, make sure you pop onto my blog page and sign up using the red Subscribe button on the left hand side bar. You won’t want to miss next week’s discussion.)

In my research I came across this interesting little tidbit from Media Life Magazine… sex, violence and dirty talk remain big turnoffs for TV advertisers.

Media Life reports:

And the shows that turned off advertisers three or six years ago still turn off advertisers, and leading that list is “Jerry Springer,” the daytime chat show in which couples often go at each other with foul language and fists.

That’s the finding of a Media Life survey of media planners and buyers that was posted earlier this week asking readers to identity the Dirty Dozen, the TV shows their clients were most inclined to avoid.

Other shows advertisers are inclined to avoid are wrestling, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Cops,” “Reno 911,” “Sex and the City,” “South Park, “Family Guy,” “TMZ,” the new syndicated gossip show, “Desperate Housewives,” “Maury,” “Two and a Half Men,” “The Simpsons,” the syndicated court shows, “Cashmere Mafia,” “Dexter,” “American Gladiators,” “Nip/Tuck,” “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila” and “Rescue Me.”


Save the World Madonna Style… Have Sex

Posted on: 04/7/08 8:03 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I’ve noticed two trends out of numerous musical artists and celebrities lately.

  1. Become more sexualized
  2. Care about the world

Why not do both? That’s what Madonna is proposing (along with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland) in her new song “4 Minutes.” Check it out.

The video speaks for itself, and the words of this catchy song convey a message that Madonna has been preaching for years. “If you feel it, It must be real.” Isn’t that good advice? Get in the back seat with your boyfriend/girlfriend and go with “what feels right” at the moment.

Here’s an excerpt from a Madonna lyric site:

Madonna and Justin:
If you want it, You already got it
If you’ve thought it, It better be what you want
If you feel it, It must be real just…
Say the word, and I will give you what you want

Madonna: Time is waiting
Justin: We only got 4 minutes to save the world
Madonna: No hesitating
Madonna: Grab a boy
Justin: Grab a girl
Madonna: Time is waiting
Justin: We only got 4 minutes to save the world

So, are our kids actually listening to this? The answer is a recordbreaking “yes.”

“4 Minutes” sits in the #1 spot on iTunes right now in “Top Songs” AND “Top Videos” AND “Top Ringtones.” This song helped Madonna surpass Elvis Presley from his standing as the artist with the most top 10s (This is Madonna’s 37th top 10). Billboard reports that “4 Minutes” jumped from 63 to #3 last week on their Hot 100 chart. That was spurred by over 200,000 downloads the first week of it’s release along with Mariah Carey’s “Touch My Body” (surprise surprise).

MTV.com has the highly sexualized video readily available on the front page. iTunes has the song and video, along with a pre-order for her new album Hard Candy (already ranked #9 in downloads right now, and it’s not even available yet… what’s that tell you?). YouTube has it. Verizon had it as a “Verizon Exclusive” digital download… and yes… if you haven’t figured it out by now, most kids now have it in their phones and iPods.


Food for thought as we talk about abstinence and the “1 and 4 girls have an STD” statistic next week.

Fear of the Crosswalk Lady

Posted on: 04/4/08 5:11 PM | by Jonathan McKee

What’s your biggest fear? Shark attack? Hurricane? Spiders?

If you asked me that question I wouldn’t even hesitate to answer: I’m scared of the crosswalk lady at my daughter’s school!

That’s right, the crosswalk lady. To the innocent passerby she might seem nice and sweet. But really she’s just waiting to pounce on someone and inflict her justice! She’s a mall security guard gone bad!

My daughter’s school has numerous volunteers that help guide traffic in and out of the parking lot, stopping traffic as needed for the children to cross the crosswalk onto the school campus. Some of the volunteers are nice soccer moms. Some are men. But one of them is a woman with an agenda. She’s gonna clean up this school by kicking butt and taking names!

The school has a routine in place of how parents should drop off their kids. It’s a little tricky for new parents, but once you get it down it’s easy. This school is a special school that brings kids from all over town. There are no busses, so the “car” traffic is pretty busy on any given morning. No worries. All a parent needs to do is wait in the line of cars, pull in the long circular driveway, stop when traffic stops, and drop off your child.

Where’s the problem?

That’s what I’m still wondering.

Here’s what seems to be the problem:

  I didn’t pull up far enough.
  I pulled up too far.
  I didn’t stop soon enough.
  I stopped too soon!
  I dropped her off to early… no…. I dropped her off too late!

Aaaaauuugh! I feel as if I’m being followed by a police car in a 55 zone and he’ll pull me over for speeding at 56, but he’ll cite me for obstructing traffic at 54. “Please little foot… be strong and sure! Maintain that 55!”

My wife Lori and I “rock-paper-scissors” who gets to drop off Ashley each morning. We don’t mind dropping off Alec. Heck, I’ll carry Alyssa on my BACK to her school! Just DON’T make me have to go and face that NAZI at Ashley’s school.

So if you ever see me in the corner of my office, crouched in fetal position, sucking my thumb and mumbling, “Mama… mama…” you’ll know that I just dropped off Ashley.

Oh how I loathe that crosswalk lady!

Nick Focuses on Virtual

Posted on: 04/3/08 10:15 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Virtual worlds are huge with kids today… and they are about to become even bigger.

Nick announced today that it’s developing an entire virtual world, “involving games, avatars and a strong social-networking component, based on network hit ‘Spongebob Squarepants.'”

What is a virtual world you ask? Our own David R. Smith in his recent Youth Culture Window article on virtual worlds defined them as “3 dimensional internet communities that couple the attraction of online social networking with the appeal of online gaming.”

Have you heard of Gaia Online? Club Penguin? Webkins (I’ve blogged about them)? Neopets? Nicktropolis? These are just a few examples of these online worlds where kids can create a character (avatar) and live in an online la-la land.

Are these just for kids? Nope. They’ve been around long enough that many of today’s younger teenagers have grown up with them. Ypulse‘s Anastasia listed virtual worlds first as one of the biggest trend with teenagers in 2007. Anastasia shares…

I have no doubt that virtual worlds, like Habbo Hotel, Zwinktopia, Gaia Online, There and MTV’s worlds have become a hit with millions of teenagers. I just don’t sense that it’s teens en masse quite yet. But I think eMarketer got it right when they predicted that “by 2011, 53% of them will be going virtual.” This year, the real explosion of virtual worlds happened for kids and tweens. Club Penguin and Webkinz can almost be seen as the mothers or fathers of the next wave of virtual worlds for kids.

Rueters reported today about Nick’s development of an entire virtual world and…

Nick also is expected to announce that it is developing Monkey World, a social-networking and massive multiplayer game based on an original concept and not tied to any of its existing franchises.

The network also will announce that it will increase the interactivity on its Neopets site through a new virtual world called World of Neopia, and will add a paid tier to Nicktropolis, the overarching virtual world that’s divided into sections based on Nick television shows and other properties. SpongeBob, Monkey World and Neopia also will have paid tiers when they launch next year.

Nicktropolis currently averages about 1.5 million visitors per month, and executives said the paid tier will preserve that traffic by charging only for additional features like personalization. The company declined to disclose pricing details for the new tier or say what it might charge for various virtual words, though it’s likely that pay tiers could be a key part of its revenue strategy.

It sounds like eMarker’s prediction of 53% of teenagers going virtual by 2011 might not be far off.



Mariah Carey “Touch My Body”

Posted on: 04/2/08 9:24 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Can you say eye candy?

Well, Mariah is at it again, selling what sells. And our kids are watching.

If you jump on MTV.com (like our kids do) and look where your eyes lead you on the front page today they will drift to the MTV.com video picks. The number one slot is filled with Mariah Carey’s “Touch My Body.”


 (I’m preparing you for my blog in the next few weeks where I will be addressing the issue of teens and their decisions about sex)