Top Posts from 2014

2014_updated_health_reform_timelineEvery December I like to share my top posts from that year. These are posts that I wrote during the year and had the highest views. Below are my top four posts from this year.

What Bruno Mars is Teaching Teens. Bruno Mars had a good year in music. He had some hits come out this year and also performed at the Super Bowl. In this post I talk about what one of popular songs Locked Out of Heaven teaches teens. It’s a catchy song but packs a distorted message of sex.

Using Instagram in Student Ministry. Because students are surrounded by and use social media constantly it is a wise thing for student pastors and youth workers to use social media in their ministries. In this post I share a few ways to use Instagram in a student ministry context.

Sobrr – What Parents Need to Know. Sobrr was an app that came out this year that gained some popularity. It’s far from competing with other social media app but it’s still an app parents need to be aware of. In this post I explain how Sobrr works and what parents need to be aware of.

What “Hot or Not” is Teaching Teens. Hot or Not is a pretty popular app among teens. However the whole idea of the app teaches teens that their worth and value is determined by what others think of them, especially their looks when it comes to this app. I explain more of that in this post.

I’ve enjoyed writing these posts this past year. I look forward to writing more posts this coming year.

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What “Hot or Not” is Teaching Teens

Hot-or-Not-575x340One of the most popular trending apps right now is an app called “Hot or Not.” Even though this app attracts many young adults, teenagers are very much into it as well and are using it. Basically, it’s an app where you browse pictures other users have posted and you rate them as “hot” or “not.” The rating scale is 1-10 with low rating obviously meaning your “not” and high ratings meaning your “hot.” The photos can range from appropriate to sexual explicit. If you rate someone as “hot” and they rate you as “hot” as well, then you become connections and can chat (which is where this app opens up a huge window for sexting). That’s basically all the app is. So it seems harmless right? Seems like it’s a fun app teenagers can use to find people they think are attractive and maybe chat with them. Parents, click here to read a really good parent review of this app.

I’d like to suggest that this app is teaching teenagers, especially teen girls, that their value is found in their outward appearance and the approval for others. If you have a teenager, again especially a girl, or work with teenagers, you know how much of a struggle this is. Even though this is a tough issue for girls, the guys are not excluded from this as well. Teenagers want to be liked by their peers. Teenagers, in many different ways, are crying out for the approval of others. So many teenagers will run to this app, find the best pictures of themselves, post them, and wait in hopes that someone will make them feel valuable by rating them as “hot.” However, this comes at a cost and a risk. The risk is not everyone will think they are “hot” and that approval they long for may instead by shouts of disproval by people rating them as “not.” And maybe if they wear less clothes and show more skin they can get their ratings up? Do you see how this app can be devastating to teenagers?

It’s most devastating because it goes right against the Gospel. While teenagers are fighting for acceptance, approval, and value their Creator is shouting to them that He has the eternal acceptance and value they are looking for! He sent Jesus to die on a cross, to pay for their sins, so they can find eternal value and acceptance in a relationship with Him. They don’t need to look for approval and value in their outwards looks, even though there is nothing sinful with outward beauty, and the approval of others. The Gospel is what they need and when they take that step of believing in that Gospel and entering into a personal relationship with their Creator they can find all the acceptance, approval, and value they need in Him!

I think it’s important for parents of teens and those who work with teens to understand the devastating message this app could be sending. As parents, you may want to discourage your teens from even using this app or at least having honest conversations with them about the message it may be sending them. It may be that this could be a great platform to explain and teach the Gospel to your teenager.

The bottom line is that what teenagers want, what all of us want, is found in the Gospel. The Gospel is the answer and our only hope.