Digital Friendships of young people aged 8‐17 years

For Safer Internet Day 2018, the UK Safer Internet Centre commissioned an online survey of 2000 young people aged 8‐17 years, which was conducted by Censuswide.

The findings reveal how central technology is to young people’s relationship and the many different platforms they are using to interact with each other. It also highlights both the positive and negative role that technology can play in young people’s relationships and that whilst they are proactively helping to build a better internet, they also want support from the adults in their lives to do so.

  • Being online is key for many young people’s relationships, and they are using a number of different platforms to communicate:
  • Technology is changing the way young people are interacting with each other as well as their ideas of what constitutes a ‘good friendship’.
  • Young people have strategies to manage their online relationships but also want adults to support them when things go wrong.

Download the Digital Friendships Report and Executive Summary

 

Top 10 Google searches of 2017

Google has released its Year in Search 2017 report which shows the top 10 most searched topics overall as well as the top 10 searches in 20+ categories.

Musicians and politicians featured heavily in last year’s top search terms, with both David Bowie and Prince appearing in the top 10 following their deaths. Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and the word election were also in the lower end of the top 10.

Actor Meghan Markle topped the top Google searches in the UK this year, followed by the iPhone 8 (second), Hurricane Irma (third) and the words fidget spinner (fourth), as the BBC reports. The term Manchester bombing was the fifth most searched term of the year, following the terror attack on an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.

No musicians made it into the top UK Google searches, however Tom Petty and Chester Bennington were in the top 10 global searches. The Linkin Park frontman, who died in July, was the ninth most searched term worldwide, while Petty, who passed away in October, was the seventh.

Not only are the top 10 lists themselves interesting but there are also some things we can learn from them which can help bring more visitors to our websites.

Top 10 Searches Overall

  1. Meghan Markle
  2. iPhone 8
  3. Hurricane Irma
  4. Fidget Spinner
  5. Manchester bombing
  6. Grenfell Tower
  7. 13 Reasons Why
  8. Tara Palmer Tomkinson
  9. Shannon Matthews
  10. iPhone X

Some of the other top 10 lists Google provides include

  • Top10 people searched
  • Top 10 news stories searched
  • Top 10 consumer tech searches
  • Top 10 how to searches

You can see the rest of the lists in the Year in Search 2017.

Scarlett Moffatt has a selfie warning for young girls

Scarlett Moffatt, who came to fame through Gogglebox, is getting real about filtered pictures of women on social media.

The 2016 winner of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and now presenter of dating show Streetmate, posted two selfies side by side on Instagram showcasing two very different looks, along with a warning for young girls.

In one picture a natural-faced Scarlett smiles into the camera. The other shows the TV personality in full make-up with her features accentuated by a Snapchat filter.

She posted:

“To all all you young girls (and older ladies) out there don’t believe all you see on social media.  This goes to show what make-up and a filter can do. Love who you are and don’t compare yourself to anybody else. As Dr Seuss once said…. Today you are You, that is truer than true . There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

The 27-year-old’s post has been liked more than 180,000 times on Instagram with many praising her decision to share the photos.

“You are such a great role model for young women. I am a mum of 2 girls and think it’s great seeing this, thanks,” commented one Instagram user.

Another mum who also responded to Ms Moffatt’s Instagram post commented: “Brilliant post… I’ve shown my 13-year-old daughter this … so important for our young girls to know what real life looks like and not life through a filter. Thank you.”

On Twitter there was similar reaction when the image was posted to Ms Moffatt’s Twitter page where the post has been liked almost 2,000 times.

Another tweet read: “Thank you – my daughters confidence is so low due to pressure from peers & her idols as they look ‘perfect’ – just shown her your tweet to inspire her!”

Others who were also inspired by the post shared their own make-up free selfies.

It’s not the first time celebrities have shared images on social media of themselves without make-up.

Holly Willoughby, Susanna Reid, and Kirstie Allsopp are just some of the other TV presenters who have posted make-up free images on Instagram.

The trend to post natural images is also popular among artists in the US. Celebrities stateside posting unfiltered photos include Alicia Keys, Tyra Banks, and Cameron Diaz.

A popular hashtag often accompanying these make-up free images is #NoFilter, although model and TV presenter Tyra Banks warned in a post she shared in 2015 about the use of the term.

“You know how people say #nofilter but you know there’s a freakin’ filter on their pic? Or maybe there’s a smidge of retouching going on but they’re lying and saying it’s all raw & real? Well, this morn, I decided to give you a taste of the really real me,” she said in the post that has been liked more than 216,000 times.

Last year Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley also issued a warning about the pressure to look perfect on social media when she posted a photo and the words, “I woke up like this #nofilter #nomakeup” written on it.

She said: “Social media is great but also a bit scary ’cause what people post is the most filtered, most carefully chosen and cleverly edited moments of their lives.”

NSPCC warns of ‘blurred boundaries’ between YouTube stars and fans

NSPCC warns of ‘blurred boundaries’ between YouTube stars and fans

“Blurred boundaries” between prominent YouTube stars and their young, often impressionable viewers can put young people at risk, the NSPCC has warned.

They have created a helpline for victims and have urged those who watch YouTube videos to:

  • Never share your personal information online
  • Do not accept friend requests from people you don’t know in real life
  • Have conversations with your parents about where you are going and what you are doing online

Many people have come forward in the last few years to accuse a wide range of YouTubers, ranging from popular big names like Toby Turner to smaller creators like Alex Carpenter. Most of these accusations have not resulted in criminal complaints, but they remain archived in the pages of internet history.

Emily Cherry, of the NSPCC, told the BBC in an interview that YouTubers have a “responsibility” to make sure relationships with young fans are appropriate.

Ms Cherry warned that online stars have huge power and influence on young people and the way they think about the real world.  She told BBC Radio 5 live:

“One child told me that checking their social media accounts and what their favourite YouTube stars are up to was as important to them as eating”

If young people have been affected by any issues or need advice on staying safe online, on protecting your children, or as an Internet personality, the NSPCC has a helpline you can call on 0808 800 500 2.

8 Reasons to Rethink Teens & Sexting

megan-maasMegan Maas has written a blog on 8 Reasons to Rethink Teens & Sexting for the Huffington Post.  Here’s a few snippets from the blog which are essential reading for any youth worker:

… In order for us to address sexting in a realistic way with teens, we must first understand the sexual culture they live in that normalizes sexting.

1. Teens think everyone is sexting and it’s no big deal. 

2. Boys and girls engage in sexting for different reasons. Girls feel pressure to send sexts and are more likely to do so than boys. Boys feel more pressure to collect sexts and are more likely to receive sexts and share them with friends or post them online than girls. This poses an issue because it sets up a type of marketplace, where the boys are the consumers and the girls are the products to be consumed …

3. The sexual double standard is alive and well in sexting. We think nothing of a boy requesting a nude image or video, but when a girl participates, we think something is wrong with her …

4. Sexting can be a sign of self-objectification

5. We have a victim blaming culture, even when it comes to sexting. When I do educational seminars about sex and technology with parents and teachers, I overwhelmingly hear stories of “sexting scandals”. Usually followed by a, “Why would she send a nude photo of herself in the first place? Something must be wrong with her.”

6. We need to redefine female sexual liberation

7. We need to support girls to foster their own talents and abilities in multiple areas of life, and encourage boys to support them too. You don’t want your teen to sext? Try telling them not to do it. That didn’t work you say? Shocking. It’s important for parents of boys to acknowledge the pressure girls feel to prove they are sexy and to encourage them to recognize girls’ interests, talents and knowledge above their looks whenever possible. For parents of girls, it’s important to focus on their abilities and not just their looks or dress from a young age. It’s not that it is bad for teen girls to express sexuality, it’s just that we don’t want their only dose of daily self-esteem boost to come from a sexy selfie because her sexual worth is her only worth.

8. We need to hold boys and men accountable for their actions, they are capable of not acting on sexual impulses. 

Sir David Attenborough narrating Pokémon Go

You might think that David Attenborough and Pokémon Go was a marriage in heaven waiting to happen.

Who better than the beloved naturalist to narrate a popular game where people go hunting for exotic creatures in the wild?

Thanks to Lovin’ Dublin, the dream is now reality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo7jXmrFVmw

The mash-up features Attenborough describing Charmander as a “top predator” and giving a brilliant understatement on a Spearow – “It is, of course, a bird.”  But the best one might be his comment on those irritating Zubat: “Bats, with their fluttering zigzag flight are not easy targets.”

 

An Infographic on Anonymous Apps and Teenagers

An Infographic on Anonymous Apps and Teenagers

One of the most frequent questions I receive from parents is about apps that teenagers are using and what a caring parents perspective should be on them.

The team from Rawhide.org have released a helpful infographic which gives a quick and concise overview of these anonymous apps – something you can share with parents.

Temporary and Anonymous Apps

 

Why your church needs to know about Pokémon GO

Pokemon Go

The Church of England has written a very helpful blog post on what your church needs to know about Pokémon GO:

The NSPCC has issued advice to parents of those children playing Pokémon GO in the UK. Whilst we would encourage churches to engage with those playing the game, be they adults or children, we also understand the concerns that the NSPCC have raised with regards to keeping children safe. Our first priority as a church should be to provide a safe place for children and vulnerable adults with regards to Pokémon GO.

Please make sure you read the advice on the NSPCC’s website here:https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/pokemon-go-parents-guide/

If you have any concerns in relation to those playing Pokémon GO, please feel free to talk to your Safeguarding Officer.

——————————————

First of all, what is Pokémon GO?
Pokémon GO is a mobile and tablet app game which lets players find Pokémon (Animated creatures, first created in the 90′s, which players have to catch, train and battle with). The game takes place in augmented reality (meaning the game combines real life action with virtual gaming) by using GPS as you walk around towns, cities and other locations to find the Pokémon.

The game has been an overnight sensation with millions playing it around the world.

Why does your church need to know?
Your church might be a ‘PokéStop’ – real life buildings and landmarks that players have to visit to get certain items they need to play the game. Your church could also be a ‘Gym’ where players can battle their Pokémon. (Being Gym means people spend significantly more time battling Pokémon.)

Pokémon Go is therefore giving churches around the country a great opportunity to meet people from their area who might not normally come to church. However, we all need to be aware that this game means that children under the age of 18 may come into contact with people who may present a risk.

How do you know if your church is a Pokestop or a Gym?
Download Pokémon Go on your mobile or tablet. Through the game you will be able to see if your church is a PokéStop or a gym.

You might also spot people standing outside the church on their phones who may be playing the game and at your ‘PokéStop’.

What can your church to do get involved?

  • Place welcome signs outside: encourage them to come inside and offer them drinks and snacks. The game also uses a lot of battery so why not create a battery charging station? If you’ve got it, let them connect to the church’s wifi

  • Speak to players about the game: learn how to play it yourself, it’s a good way to start a conversation that may lead on to other things.

  • Hold a Pokeparty like Christ Church Stonehttps://www.facebook.com/events/246500169067368/

  • Tweet about it: Just like St Stephens Rednal and Hope Church Islington did. Don’t forget to use #PokemonGo

The Dangers of Social Media for ‘Missing’ Children

Last week I read a brilliant blog post on the dangers of posting about missing children on social media, over at Barefoot Social Work, do check it out:

Missing Children

I’ve seen a couple of ‘Missing Child’ posts on Facebook this week and I wanted to explain why I won’t be sharing them. They are always heart wrenching pleas for help. Some of them, I have no doubt, are genuine. I know this as a quick search on Google and I find that the police are also concerned for their whereabouts and are actively searching for them with the support of authorised charities and agencies. However, there are some that are not what they seem*.

Some are simply a hoax and some of them are not ‘missing’ at all. The child may have been adopted due to the risk of significant harm; they may be in hiding with their other parent as a result of serious domestic violence within the home; or the whole family may be in police protection and the concerned ‘father’ is not who he claims to be. Furthermore, ‘missing adults’ may wish for their location to remain anonymous, and they do have that right which we must respect. As virtual strangers we do not know the circumstances of their ‘disappearance’ and we should trust in the expertise of professionals to get the full picture.

In my current role we will share posts from Hampshire Constabulary but we haven’t shared other posts until we can verify the information for exactly the reasons outlined above.

Digital Children: Q&A with Bishop Paul Butler

Q&A with Bishop Paul Butler at the Digital Children conference:

Why is it that most Vicars only receive 1 seminar on children’s ministry in 3 years of full-time training?  Wouldn’t disagree with you, keep arguing and don’t seem to get anywhere.  Heads of Theological colleges began to take it on board but changing the culture takes time.

In Australia people are licensed as a Children’s Minister or Youth Minister – everything rises and falls on leadership – why are we not empowering on this?  The last year or two of CYM has struggled to get its numbers in the Children’s Course and the number of churches that are employing a children’s specialist.  If All-Age becomes the sustainable model do the training colleges begin to slim down?

Churches seem to struggle to find the calibre of workers should we employ from abroad?  But the Border Agency would not welcome this.

Refreshing to have a Bishop who gets it – don’t take that for granted – for many a children’s worker issues of leadership are real.  How do we encourage leadership generally from sentiment and rhetoric to meaningful action?  Show me a budget and I will tell you what your focus, but let’s be honest in our accounting so that we include volunteer hours.  Honestly don’t know the answer which is one of the frustrations.  Chair the Joint Liaison Safeguarding Group between CofE and Methodists – one of the positives is that Bishops are now waking up to the seriousness of the situation and to the wider issue of where are headed with childhood.  One of the things might be to find different ways in – coming from another angle people are now willing to speak about The Good Childhood etc.  Alongside Safeguarding try Parenting and Grand-Parenting skills.

Youth worker seeking ordination thinks schools and community work has to stop – that you graduate from children’s and youth ministry to focus on the grown-up issues of weddings, funerals and more.  Part of that is about placing Ordinands with Vicars and Rectors who get it.  It is still depressing to hear that said especially given how we now say bring your business skills, or teacher skills or social work skills.  In some Dioceses the do a weekend to train Curates on Children’s and Youth ministry.

Parishes that are having the most significant success are those that are tackling the issues of poverty – for churches doing football etc., they were feeding children, building better homes and more.  We can ask for more children’s workers but it is about missiology and the child piece in that.  It is not rocket science to look at what works for the community, 8am service was to allow the workers to milk the cows, do the service and then go back to cook lunch whilst the Lord and Lady attend the 10.30am.

Half churches aren’t engaging in children’s and youth work – there is a sense of larger churches growing due to their churches – thereby leading no people to lead that work.  How do we solve this?  There are schemes to get a part-time worker; maybe it is okay for some churches to not have children’s work as some areas have a demographic where there are very few children and so should focus on the elderly etc., and partner with a local place for the few children; ecumenical partnerships will be increasingly important.

Sticky Faith talks about involvement in all areas of the church being key for faith development, but All-Age Worship is often the worse attended, committed to it as a principle but how do we shake that image.  The only way is to shake it up by having an all-age group to plan the all-age worship to think how the different ages etc. work as too often it is child worship not all-age.

We are still focussed on aspirations – children and young people who go to university – half don’t so how do we connect with them?  So much is connected to those who go off to university, and we have to go back to Rakes with the Sunday School movement and the Ragged Schools – what is the equivalent for us – Glee Club and where we can raise aspirations.

Greatest cricketer in Viv Richards asking a guy in his congregation who was a poor county cricketer to improve him.  How?  He watched and spotted and commented it and left it to Viv to make the changes.

Digital Children: Bishop Paul Butler

Bishop Paul Butler led the next session at the Digital Children conference:

Children in attendance at church has been in decline although in 2011 Baptist numbers were up and the CofE numbers were just about steady

Sales of Sunday School materials are in decline, wider materials such as Bible reading notes etc. are also in decline.

Half of all churches have little or no contact with children, and more than half have little or no contact with young people.

Schools

Our engagement with schools is stronger than it has been for a number of years, and the opportunity is there.  We all know it can vary from Head teacher to Head teacher, but the options are there, especially if we are creative.  Why is Open the Book so successful?  It says you don’t need to be young, it is dramatic, it is creative, people enjoy it, and it tells the Bible stories very faithfully.  Too many churches still think engagement with schools is taking assemblies even though they haven’t been called that for a long time – it is running gardening clubs, breakfast clubs, after-school clubs.

Messy Church

Lots of research but no one knows why it works.  It is the willingness to explore the questions as to what it looks like – what do the sacraments look like in Messy Church, how does it change from a monthly event to a lifestyle – trying things out some of which work and some of which don’t.  Whilst in Walthamstow, was told by a Superintendent from the police the problem is that we have to know it works before we will try it.  Messy Church will continue to grow and variants will develop, e.g. Godly Play in prisons and Alzheimer’s work.

Toddler and Carer Groups

They continue to flourish at extraordinary rates – very quickly parents are asking for wisdom on how to parent and bringing children up spiritually.

Church Clubs

Still a huge role for places where children can enjoy, run around, be free to explore.  But we need to explore BGT and XFactor which is dance, drama and comedy – why aren’t we doing more Glee Clubs etc.

Sport culture

150 years of football which local churches started.  Southall is a town of 7,000 inhabitants, on Sunday morning there are 500 young people in the local football club.  Why are churches not freeing adults to go and be at Southall Town FC – don’t set up your own clubs.

Mentoring

Single parent families seeing so many young people growing up with no male role model, where does the church fit in with mentoring.

Residentials

We need to grow these further, interesting conversations from schools visits with senior staff about how they matter to the life of schools and how funding limits could cause problems.  We need to help churches grow their residentials, also including families.

Church Worship

Churches will move to all-age as the norm, what Mary Hawes does in Teddington with 25 minute services is going to be important.  Sustaining Sunday groups as they are in the current format is near impossible.  We may even see the beginning of Sunday afternoon school again as seen in the development of the Messy Church timings.

Poverty

In 2011 Paul’s diocese was the fastest growing, one common feature is they engage with the local community for the sake of the community not for bringing people into the church.  We need to work alongside Sure Start, social workers, schools etc., as the poverty issue is going to be the one that will run as there is a growth in child poverty, even the government are admitting that 250k extra children will fall into child poverty due to Welfare Reforms.

Get the Story Out

We have to get the story of Jesus out into people’s lives.  We have to use digital resources but look at low tech not high tech in the sense of YouTube, Facebook, Gavin Tyte’s beatboxing – not technically brilliant, mass market and massively possible.  We want some people who are brilliant at high tech but we have to get the message out.  This doesn’t just apply to children’s and youth work – it is the whole work of the church.

Which are the stories that will connect?  Paula Goodyer and Paul Butler are working on a book for 2014 taking a dozen bible stories with Bible scholar and passionate children’s worker reflecting together on the stories.  There is the whole of the Bible not just the favourite bits which are often mis-represented in the way they are told and dumbed down.

Don’t give up on evangelism with children – who knows what we might be sowing for the long-term.

Digital Children: From Clay Tablets to iPads

Dave Roberts  carried on the Digital Children conference with Clay Tablets to iPads:

Watching a programme about impressionist paintings was like watching paint dry, but was surprised and became hooked to the four programmes in the series.  The presenter spoke about howthe artists wanted to paint the ordinary things.

They were aided by several things

  • Tube technology for storing paint came into being
  • Someone invented an easel that you could fold up and take with you
  • The railways were invented so people could travel to do the Normandy scenes
  • The brushes changed allowing the daubing to take place.

What is the core of who we are?  God the Father, Jesus the Son, work and nature of the Holy Spirit.  But John 1 with the word becoming flesh is pivotal.  Words capture faith – who we are and what we believe.

  • How has culture dealt with words, how have Christians dealt with words?
  • Are we early adopters of technology with words.

Clay Tablets

Or tablets of stone, the 10 Commandments were handed down on tablets and still guide us now.  Lots of storytelling was done in hieroglyphics and picture form on clay tablets – much of which we morally wouldn’t agree with; recorded debt – each bit scratched off and then the tablet is broken when the debt is paid is a legitimate purpose but often turned out to be illegitimate; literacy related to the devout who formed schools for children to learn – honey on lips – honey on the tablets for the letters which they picked out with hteir fingers.

Scrolls

The medium for the scene was Jesus picking up a scroll and reading Isaiah saying this is what he had come to do.  This suggests Jesus had literacy skills.  The children were taught to read so they could read the scrolls – but in reality they were asked to memorise the first five books of the Bible.  The oral tradition was very strong – some countries the Christians learn scripture by memory in case they have their Bibles taken off them by persecuting governments.

Paul writes epistles on the scrolls and uses them to help believers.

Mass Teaching Needs

The reformation was important as it allowed dissent from one theological view – John Wesley was key for this and was influenced by Zinserzolf.  But Zinserzolf was in rebellion against monastic scholasticism, and wanted ordinary people to meet in homes and begin to understand the Bible.  Out of this comes a push for mass literacy.  In pietistic communities they start to educate the girls as well as the boys.  In general literature we see references to blackboards enabling teachers to communicate on a highly visible surface.

The move to mass literacy needs equipment

Then something happened coming from Wesley based around the Clapham Sect who said they would help Wilberforce to abolish slavery, then led to the formation of the NSPCC and the RSPCA, the Religious Tract Society and the Bible Society.  We saw a tension between the Bible, Pilgrims Progress etc., against books on the Occult, witch craft.  All of the big publishers came from Christian movements, e.g. Harper Collins, Hodder & Stoughton, Mills & Boons.

Mass literacy through organisations such as the London City Mission breaks the hegemony of a particular view point bringing democracy and equality.  This needs tools – clay was discovered to develop pencils.

Tell me a story

Mass literacy is an important aspect in the story telling.  Telling the story through pictures came through television and flannelgraph.

There must be an alternative

The CUBE project of the 1950s was The Eagle, started by a Anglican Vicar who believed children’s minds were being poisoned by comics and felt that the church had an inadequate response.   The first print run had 900,000 with Dan Dare being a manly vicar or parson.  The back page had a story linked to the Apostle Paul.

Tell me the story with moving pictures

Christians got involved in moving pictures telling great stories with good skills, leading to Veggietales in the Charts and films in the Cinema.

Conclusion

The Word is the Word is the Word.  Sometimes used for desperately hurtful purposes but equally for building up.  We’ve been in the business of using technology from forever.  Taking information away from elite groups and onto the wider population.