Super Bowl

Posted on: 01/30/09 5:16 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Pittsburgh and who?

Those are probably fighting words in my house. My wife grew up in Phoenix, AZ. She’s not a football fan, but her dad is. And she’s a pretty big fan of her daddy!  🙂  

I’m looking forward to the game on Sunday. I have to admit, I don’t watch much football. Okay… I’ll be honest. I don’t watch any football, unless you’re using the word like they use it across the pond. Because I watch soccer, better known as “football” to much of the world (Shout out to my Manchester United!) But football fan or not, I always watch the Super Bowl. I think I enjoy it because of the social occasion. I love an opportunity to hang with family and friends, eating a lot of food! I’m especially looking forward to the hot wings we’ll be making (and consuming) on Sunday. (I’m salivating as I type this!)

Those of you who have used our ministry’s free resources for a couple years probably have seen our Super Bowl Party ideas we provide every year, including our annual quiz, a fun little element we add to the party. Take a peek at that if you haven’t seen it. It’s a great little addition to a Super Bowl Party.

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No Cussing Club Receives Threats

Posted on: 01/29/09 9:21 AM | by Jonathan McKee

It started with a school project. 15-year-old McKay Hatch noticed how much his friends would cuss and use dirty language constantly.  “They did it so much, they didn’t even realize they were doing it. It bothered me so much that one day I challenged them to stop.”

That was the beginning of the No Cussing Club, and the web site. It wasn’t long before the site received a massive online attack.

ABC News reports:

But then, on the Sunday after New Year’s, his father checked the group’s e-mail after church and found 7,500 unread messages — some of them threatening, almost all of them filled with obscenities.

McKay, a 15-year-old high school student from South Pasadena, Calif., has found himself the victim of a massive online attack, with people sending offensive e-mails and trying to crash the group’s Web site. Strangers ordered pizzas sent anonymously to the family home in the middle of the night. The Hatches found their mail box clogged with porn magazines.

All, says McKay, because he was trying to make the world a better place.

Click here for the entire article. It’s amazing some of the threats that this young man has received.

It gets worse.

Now some “hate” web sites are up who are celebrating that the web site got hacked. Apparently these hacking/hate sites exposed some emails from McKay’s parents talking about the money they can make on books, assemblies, etc.

Very sad.

Many of us have read articles about the increase of cussing among today’s young people. It’s sad to see these kinds of results from an effort that seemed positive.

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TV or Internet TV?

Posted on: 01/27/09 9:36 AM | by Jonathan McKee

What is the future of TV entertainment? Traditional TV as it is now, with the help of DVR’s (you know… like TIVO)? Or online TV?

The experts can’t seem to agree on this one.

Here are the facts offered from Solutions Research Group:

  • 50% watch at least some TV online, more than double the figure from two years ago.
  • 70 percent of adults 18-34 have watched TV on the internet as compared to only 36 who said they’ve watched programs recorded on DVRs (that seems low… doesn’t it?)
  • There are 71 million broadband households, but only 28 million DVR households.

Some people look at these facts and obviously conclude that online TV has more potential. But, according to this article, “top media researchers are calling that simply hogwash.”

Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst at Leichtman Research Group in Durham, N.H., is one of those who thinks that these conclusions are ridiculous.

Leichtman disputes the data that conclusion was based on. He says his research findings are in line with Nielsen data that the average person spent 142 hours per month watching TV in third-quarter 2008 and that the average person spent six and a half hours watching programs recorded on a DVR, compared to only two and a half hours of TV online.

“And by the way, only a small percentage of online video is television [programming],” says Leichtman. He estimates that nearly half the viewing is of viewer-created videos on sites like YouTube. “You have to put this in perspective.”

Solutions research group still argues that a growing number of people find the internet more entertaining, and even more expect that every TV show will be available online.

So it sounds like TV isn’t dying. People are just trying to figure out where to watch it from.

As for young people? The articles concludes:

“For the younger generation, in particular, we’re finding that the broadband platform is being used more and more as the primary vehicle for television,”


Boosting Self Esteem

Posted on: 01/26/09 2:59 PM | by Jonathan McKee

David’s brand new Youth Culture Window article jabbed me twice this week.

David’s YCW article is always good. But this week’s article about the declining self esteem in young girls had me squirming in my seat twice (for two totally different reasons).

I first questioned the stats about drinking. Do you ever do that? Do you ever read something and think to yourself, “No. That’s gotta be wrong!”

David reports…

More and more teenage girls are trying to drink their self-esteem problems away. We know that roughly 11% of all the alcohol that is drank in America is consumed by a teenager, but recent studies by Columbia University debunk the myth that teenage guys drink more than teenage girls. At the heart of the increase is, you guessed it, low self-esteem. So now it’s the girls who are drinking the guys under the table.

I literally thought, “Yeah, right.” But then I read the report he linked (Don’t you love how we link the studies we quote in the YCW articles?) and looked it up myself. I even jumped back to another Youth Culture Window article he wrote back in October, “The Blame Game on Drinking Games,” an article that I remembered had quoted (and linked) the most recent Center for Disease Control youth risk survey results. Sure enough, more girls were “lifetime alcohol users” than males. Males and females were almost exactly tied for “current alcohol users” (had at least on drink of alcohol on at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey).

This surprised me. I thought I had remembered guys drinking a lot more. More guys are found to do “episodic heavy drinking” or “buying alcohol.” But girls not only were keeping up in most these drinking stats, they surpassed guys in a few of them. That was surprising to me. And that Columbia University report said that much of this drinking is tied to self esteem issues.

The other part of David’s article that hit me was our response or application. What can we do to battle low self esteem in young girls?

Think about this for a second. How do we build the self esteem of our young girls? Do we just assure them that they are God’s creation? Do we just tell them to simply turn off MTV and stop looking at Vogue? Do we assure them that they’re pretty?

These all sound good in theory… but are young girls actually going to listen to this? Is our voice louder than the media images they are taking in telling them that they just don’t measure up?

That’s where David and I went back and forth a little with the draft of this article. We realized that this issue doesn’t have easy answers. But here’s a little piece of what we finally came up with:

One of the most effective strategies I’ve found to boost self-esteem is providing opportunities to serve. When we put young people in situations where they help others who are worse off than themselves, it is not only a great opportunity to show love and compassion to the needy, it provides these young people with a larger world view than the “plastic” exterior they see in the media and the shallow world around them. When students spend a weekend feeding the homeless or spending time with the elderly in a convalescent home, all of a sudden, their own perceived inadequacies are minimized. This is nothing to do with works. We are saved by grace, through faith. But as God begins to renew our mind and change us, we no longer looks to temporary fulfillment from this world (including looks, status, stuff) … instead we look to God for fulfillment

Seize opportunities to help kids be used by God..

Create these opportunities.

Whadaya think?

Hottest Virtual Hangout Growing Even Bigger

Posted on: 01/23/09 12:14 PM | by Jonathan McKee is back in the news again, with $10 million of financing from Best Buy’s corporate venture-capital group. IMVU is the 3D virtual community (picture a virtual pickup bar, but filled with teenagers and adults all anonymously guised as perfect looking people) that has grown to more than 30 million users. It’s literally one of the largest of its kind.

Many of you remember an article that David and I wrote last June after diving into this virtual world and experiencing it firsthand. After two hours of navigating our newly created avatar through this world of cybersmut… we had seen enough. The site is nothing more than a virtual pick up place. Nobody is who they say they are, and morals are nowhere to be found. That’s probably why we titled our article:

The Hottest Virtual Teenage Hangout… A Little Too “Hot”
A Virtual Pick Up Joint Where Authenticity is Scarce

Check out that article, not only to see our research about the site, but for a detailed description of what we encountered personally.

Here it is six months later and the site has grown by another 10 million users and with 10 million more dollars to spend on development. I shudder at the possibilities.


(ht to Anastasia at YPulse for the new article)

I’m Envious

Posted on: 01/22/09 1:14 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Shout out to David, my team of writers, and our whole web team at

I don’t know how many of you regularly take a peek at our web site’s front page… because, wow! I can’t believe how much cool stuff is on our front page alone this week. I gotta brag about my people for a moment.

I just was just looking at this week’s page at and thought, “Dang. I wish I had a resource like this 10 years ago when I was a full time youth guy!” You heard me correct. I’m envious of you youth workers today!  🙂

Having been where you are- we make it a priority to weekly update our front page with free resources at your fingertips. Name it: youth culture research, new resources, classic resources, spiritual growth curriculum & ideas, outreach curriculum & ideas, podcasts… it’s all there.

Check it out.

  • This week’s Youth Culture Window article is a great article about Brittany’s new attempt to slip vile lyrics “under the radar” of parents.
  • This week’s Four Minutes video is a great insight from evangelist Greg Stier about real conversations about theology that matters- including an exclusive link to a free download.
  • This week’s Outreach Resource of the Week is a brand new Movie Clip Discussion using the film Bolt. This Bible lesson provides all you need including small group questions, transition statements and a wrap up.
  • This week’s Spiritual Growth Resource of the Week is a brand new Bible Lesson on the power of our words.
  • The link to A LIL BIT, our podcast for kids, provides another brand new Bible study for your kids- a continuation into the book of Mark.
  • The link to THE SOURCE PODCAST is my interview with Hollywood dIrector Scott Derrickson about using movies as discussion starters.

Whew! All this on our front page this week.

A few years ago we started receiving an increasing number of emails from youth workers asking us to help them find the best resource for their venue that particular week. Basically, over the years, our web site had become so large that some people were literally overwhelmed with how many free resources and ideas we provided. So in the last year we have totally revamped the front page of our web site to provide you with a weekly supply of resources at your fingertips… at a glance!

Check it out yourself—it doesn’t get much easier than this.

Greg Stier on Embracing Real Conversations

Posted on: 01/21/09 10:20 AM | by Jonathan McKee

If you haven’t been following the new FOUR MINUTE videos that we’ve been putting up on our front page, we’ve been featuring a new one every three weeks or so.

I love the one we just put up there. Dare to Share’s Greg Stier talks about the need for youth workers to embrace real conversations about theology that matters. In this quick little video, he challenges us to be ready for questions that might even be uncomfortable. He also talks about a tool that will help us initiate these conversations, a brand new reality TV DVD series they offer called The Gospel Journey Maui. We have an exclusive free download of one of the episodes of this cool little show for you on their web site here.

Here’s the FOUR MINUTE video. 

(Click here to see the video if you receive this blog as a feed or email.)

Good stuff!

Lyrics “Under the Radar” of Parents

Posted on: 01/20/09 9:47 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I’m so used to today’s music being blatantly raunchy and sexual, I’m almost surprised when musicians use sneaky tactics to slip messages under the radar of parents. But that’s exactly what Britney has done with this new song on her popular new album Circus… she’s dropping the “F bomb” without actually saying it.

The song is If You Seek Amy. It looks innocent enough when you read it… but go ahead and say it like she does in the album. Read this outloud: “But all of the boys and all of the girls are begging to if you seek amy.”


David does an incredible job unveiling this in this week’s Youth Culture Window article.

Update: According to this Aussie newspaper, Britney might be changing the name of the song for some radioplay.

A Big Booty is Healthy

Posted on: 01/16/09 10:34 AM | by Jonathan McKee

A fat bottom might actually be “a sign of good health.”

Husbands. Try that one on your wives. “Honey, you look extremely… HEALTHY!”

Don’t believe me. New research from the journal Cell Metabolism suggests that “the fat responsible for producing the pear shape flaunted by celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce may be active in protecting women from diseases by releasing certain hormones.”

Click here for the entire article.


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Posted on: 01/15/09 10:49 AM | by Jonathan McKee

We all know that kids love texting, with repercussions good and bad. And many of us have heard stories of kids who text literally thousands of text messages per month. After all, the average number of monthly texts for a 13- to 17-year-old teen is 1,742, according to a recent Nielsen study.

But 14,528 text messages in one month?

California dad Greg Hardesty almost fell out of his chair when he discovered his AT&T statement was 440 pages long (thank goodness it was an online statement). His daughter Reina had texted 14,528 text messages that month.

Grab your calculator….

    -That’s 484 texts a day.

    -That’s 34 texts every waking hour.

    -That’s more than one text message every two minutes that Reina is awake!

This girl’s cereal definitely gets soggy every morning.

Can  you say, “out of control?”

Click here for the entire article.

(ht to Youth Culture Window guru David)