Children’s & youth work links

Links from the world of children’s and youth ministry:

Quarter of People Admit to Checking Work Emails on Christmas Day


The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, is calling for the UK to step away from their smartphones and put the heart back into Christmas – as the latest survey commissioned by Traidcraft, shows a quarter of the UK will check their work emails on Christmas Day.

  • Nearly a quarter (24%) of the UK admits to checking work emails on Christmas Day
  • 66% of people think that Christmas has lost its true meaning

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said:

Show you care at Christmas“Christmas is a day of good news, a day of great joy and a day to give thanks. I would encourage all those not working on Christmas Day to focus on connecting with family and friends, to enjoy this time with loved ones. I love using social media and email because of the instant connection with the world they bring but have a ‘phone fast’ from work on this day!”

While a quarter of us will check in with our work emails, the Traidcraft survey results also show that we’re a nation of Christmas traditionalists who put human connection at the top of their Christmas list: more than three-quarters (77%) of people said that a hand-written Christmas card is the festive greeting they prefer over all others.

A similar amount (72%) said that spending time with family and friends was the one most important thing to them about Christmas. In a heart-warming gesture towards those who may be spending Christmas alone, around six in 10 people said they would call in for a cuppa to show someone lonely they care.

The Archbishop’s comments come as part of Traidcraft’s Show You Care campaign, which is calling on people across the UK to show they care and support its life-changing work by buying fair trade. When you buy from Traidcraft’s wide range of fair trade products, producers and artisans in some of the world’s poorest regions can be lifted out of poverty and supported to build sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their families.

Digital Children: Tablets & Smartphones

Dave Roberts  kicked off the Digital Children conference with a session on Tablets & Smartphones:

Most people in the room have tablets and smartphones.  So want to examine how this disrupts the way we connect and work with children.  There are Christians innovating in this area, e.g. Youversion doing translations for Bibles, prayer list apps.  But how are we as a community of believers stepping back and saying what will this mean for our interaction with children.

As technology changes, the medium of delivery changes and that is why we gather today.

The facts from the UK

  • 92% own a mobile phone
  • 6/10 in the UK own a smartphone
  • 58% of smart phone owners are female
  • 51% now access the internet via their phone, 32% every day (although some say 37%)
  • Average UK household 4-6 screens
  • 13% are table users.
  • Older audience for tablets but this may relate to affordability and so this will drop downwards as market penetration deepens and price drops.
  • Anecdotal evidence and high sales of child apps suggest heavy usage of tablets among the very young.

7th June – report on tablets use in primary school in Swansea seeing a reading leap from 9 year to 13 years.  Teachers said they had never seen such a dramatic turnaround.  Touch screen is important – the more real and familiar it feels from a 2 year old perspective.

5 Reasons Why This Matters

Portability: it had to be book size, something easy to carry around, iPads aren’t small enough which is why iPad Minis are taking off.

Accessibility: increasing internet access, mobile access – e.g. finding map directions when lost.

Connectivity: finding information and communicating from wherever we are.

Affordability: this will be addressed as it penetrates further into society and basic materials for a tablet can be made for $25.

Ubiquity: when there comes a point at which saturation happens, the momentum of use increases hugely.

The learning experience

  • The auditory child (listening, watching, discovering)
  • The tactile/kinaesthetic child (puzzle-games-discovery via tablet)
  • The visual child (flannel graph – video – tablet)
  • The analytical child (facts)
  • The innovative learner (interaction)
  • The common sense learner (solutions and action)
  • The dynamic learner (synthesize from different sources)
  • Technology multiples the possibilities for children

The new world of Christian formation

Discipleship is a multi-input process – some of which will never change.  But books and narrative have always had a role.  Tablets are the new books and print.

Worship or Idolatry

  • Creativity is a creation attribute
  • There is no sacred, secular.  Only worship or idolatry.
  • Can be social innovation, compassion, teaching, enhanced community.  Can be pornography, bullying and more.
  • But we want to learn more about the good.