What You Don’t Know about Teens

Posted on: 08/10/15 9:21 AM | by Jonathan McKee

girl-mom-fightI always find it interesting to compare articles and studies about today’s youth culture and look for common denominators.

Last week, Ypulse posted a noteworthy article about young people titled 5 Things You Don’t Know about Millennials and Teens. That article not only addressed the fact that 1/3 of the young people they surveyed have sexted and ¼ have had a one night stand, but also tackled subjects interesting to marketers like where young people eat (1/3 go to fast food on any given day), where they shop (the growth of online shopping), and how they communicate on their phones.

Earlier this summer, Download Youth Ministry released a ready-made parent newsletter package with 5 of my new “Parent Tips” articles, including one titled 5 Teen Trends That Aren’t Going Away Anytime Soon. Funny, in that article, I also touched on how young people communicate with each other, noting the same conclusion—that Instagram rules because “pictures communicate better than words.” In fact, I also noted the increased use of emojis in texting. Anyone working with teens has probably seen texts with no words, just a thumbs up emoji, or steaming pile emoji.

Since my audience isn’t marketers (I write to parents and youth workers desiring to better connect with today’s young people), I touched on a few other notable trends, like Netflix binging, their love for music, and ephemeral apps.

Ypulse takes surveys of young people constantly and posts their results (here’s another one from last week). I encourage you to compare those with our Youth Culture Window articles, Walt Mueller’s posts at CPYU, and most importantly, to hang out with young people in your area and see which of these trends seem to impacting them.

Helping You Interact with Teens about This
The big question many of you might be asking is… what’s next? In other words, so what if I read an article telling me young people are binging in Netflix… how do I talk with them about it?

Glad you asked. Here’s some great resources:

  1. Our free Youth Culture Window articles ALWAYS end with several tips helping you apply what you learned that week. Take a peek at the questions we provided to engage your teens about the topic of marijuana in last week’s article, Smoke Screens.
  1. My blog is weighty in application. Take my last post, PG Porn, about two brand new music videos in the top ten. I provided you with discussion questions you could use with teenagers to talk about these videos. Or a few weeks before that I posted a new Andy Stanley video for parents of middle schoolers and provided discussion questions to follow.
  1. Several of my new books offer significant help to parents and youth workers looking to better connect with kids and engage in meaningful conversation:

More Than Just the Talk– helping parents and youth workers create a climate of continual conversations about sex

Get Your Teenager Talking– a book full of over 1,000 questions engaging young people in conversation

The Guy’s Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket– a candid devotional for teen and tween guys—a great discipleship tool

Sex Matters– A brand new book for teens clearly presenting God’s plan for sex and answering the tough questions today’s teens are afraid to ask

2 Replies to “What You Don’t Know about Teens”

  1. A continued thanks, Jonathan, for all of the resources you provide for us to parent well and with Christ!

  2. The “5 Things” article is interesting, but not helpful. Putting a 13yr old in the same category as a 32 yr old isn’t helpful at all. How many 13yr olds are sexting? Or is the 1/3 more on the 25 & up category.

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