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Teen Culture Update: March 2019

WHAT’S NEW

 

Social concerns

Although it’s primarily indicted parents, the recent college admission scandal has not been lost on teens for a couple of reasons. First of all, Lori Loughlin’s daughter, Olivia Jade, is a popular YouTuber (and was recently featured on the Zach Sang Show) who has been profiting in a big way from sponsored content that she’s posted to her channel. More than anything, the whole scandal has opened up a discussion and greater awareness of the way wealth and privilege affect the education system as it is, sans buying ACT scores. Teens and college students have been opening up on their own social media (especially on YouTube) to detail their personal experiences or perceptions of this type of injustice.

Additionally, the recent terrorist attack in a New Zealand mosque, while very serious and heavy in nature, has not been ignored by teens. Reminder: this generation of teenagers do not know of a world prior to 9/11 and the threat of terrorism is more felt by them more than ever. Teens in New Zealand were featured on Buzzfeed for their immediate support for the Muslim community. And once again, New Zealand’s swift ban of military-style semi-automatic weapons has opened up, once again, the discussion around gun control, which teens certainly have a voice in.

Also worth noting: teens around the world participated in student demonstrations on the harms of climate change earlier this month. Inspired by Swedish teen, Greta Thurnberg, an estimated 1.4 million teens globally sought to bring awareness to the urgency of climate change.

Music

Ariana Grande, who we’ve consistently referred to as the current main event in terms of music, has officially launched her Sweetener tour. Fans are loving it and she’s using her platform to encourage responsible citizenship among her fans, by offering attendees the opportunity to register to vote at each performance on her tour.

Another artist on the rise, who’s been getting more and more attention is singer, songwriter, Billie Eilish. Her new album WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP WHERE DO WE GO? will drop at the end of the month and she’s been breaking records on pre-adds on Apple Music. Her music and entire aesthetic is certainly dark and may seem alarming, especially some of the dark horror imagery she uses. That said, she’s a 17-year-old girl (you read that right — I’m consistently stunned by the wild success young people are capable of) who doesn’t seem to have a sinister agenda of propagating dark spirituality or activity but it is still worth being aware of whether your teens are listening to her and/or being affected by her music.

In general notable music news, rapper Logic has a new album coming out called Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, with the title track dropping on March 22. Chance the Rapper has announced cities for his upcoming album tour, and the Jonas Brothers new album is still highly anticipated. In general, the rate at which new music is being released and charting are quite astonishing.

Movies and TV

Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists premiered on March 20 and is a spinoff of Pretty Little Liars. The Freeform show is based on a novel and picks up with a group of three friends in college, striving for success, when their town is hit with a mysterious murder, which unveils imperfection, sinister intentions, and high drama. Your teens are probably watching this on Hulu.

Netflix has received a lot of backlash over its decision to cancel comedy-drama series, One Day at a Time. The show has been praised for its inclusivity and depiction of stories of experiences that are rarely displayed.

Captain Marvel blew out the box office in March and was highly celebrated for its fiercely feminine narrative, championed by actress Brie Larson. It wasn’t, however, without its critics, who would have preferred that the Marvel universe remain silent on a pro-woman agenda.

The new romantic drama Five Feet Apart might have your teens weeping over the love shared between two cystic fibrosis patients, whose conditions force them to remain a safe distance apart from one another, despite their instant connection and chemistry.

Jordan Peele’s long-awaited Us is a horror-thriller which came out on March 21 and explores broad topics through the lens of a film in which a family comes face to face with their bloodthirsty look-alikes. Following his success with Get Out, moviegoers have been looking forward to the way Peele will use thrilling narrative storytelling to unravel multiple metaphors that touch on things like American unity, race, class, gender, celebrity, and mental illness.

And finally, we’d love to recommend both Unplanned and Breakthrough as movies to see with your teens.

Unplanned (rated R for graphic but in no way gratuitous content) tells the story of Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life advocate, Abby Johnson. The story is powerful and certainly one worth unpacking, especially with your older teens, in order to open up the discussion on the pro-life movement and how to get involved.

Breakthrough tells the miraculous true story of a teen boy, John Smith, who falls through the ice and is given no hope for survival, but is brought back to life, quite literally, by the Lord’s response to prayer. It’s a powerful testament to the power of prayer, holding faith against all odds, and trusting in the goodness of God.

On their feeds

You may want to double check any credit card statements on any cards you share with your teens as Instagram has now opened a checkout feature, making it possible for users to purchase products they come across in just a few taps. Otherwise, business is mostly as usual (as usual as it can be) in the world of social media!

About the Author

Leah Murphy

I love Kanye West and Jesus Christ... not in that order. I like sunflowers, adventures, dancing, and good music that matters. I'm constantly looking for what is true, good, and beautiful in everything around me. I have a deep desire for authenticity in all things and I'm pursuing heaven on a messy little journey that Jesus is making beautiful with new mercies every day.