Adam McLane http://adammclane.com changing the world one blog post at a time since 2004 Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:22:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Paris? As in France? http://adammclane.com/2014/10/22/paris-france/ http://adammclane.com/2014/10/22/paris-france/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:22:54 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15788 As I write this, Kristen is on her way to meet me in New York so we can continue on to Paris, France (for Open Paris) and St. Andrews, Scotland. (to visit friends) That’s as weird a sentence to write as it likely is for readers to read.  It’s Always a Big Deal This year […]

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>
As I write this, Kristen is on her way to meet me in New York so we can continue on to Paris, France (for Open Paris) and St. Andrews, Scotland. (to visit friends)

That’s as weird a sentence to write as it likely is for readers to read. 

It’s Always a Big Deal

This year I’m scheduled to travel 93 days to 53 cities and 6 countries totally a little over 63,000 miles of travel.

It’s weird for me to admit but I’m pretty much used to the routine of work travel. While this year has been particularly travel-heavy (thank you, Snapchat) this year has had large stretches where I’m not on the road at all.

I like to say my day-to-day life is “big” and “small.” I’m either on the road, speaking or hosting an event… something “big” or I’m at home, where my normal day consists of a 25 foot commute to the living room and trip to the post office.

But travel, even normal work travel– is a big deal to me. I hope it’s always a big deal to me. In some ways I hope it’s always something special, otherwise it’s not really worth doing.

  • Going new places is a big deal.
  • Meeting new people is a big deal.
  • Getting the opportunity to train youth workers is a big deal.
  • Talking with students is a big deal.
  • Doing a workshop for parents is a big deal.

These things are privileges and, not to sound cheesy, I’m honored to get to do it.

Circled in Red

But this trip, these next 7 days… are special. Every trip is special. But this trip is extra special.

Earlier this year we landed on dates for Open Paris. The plan on all the Open events is that I’ll go the first two years and hopefully after that they’ll be self-sustaining enough where I don’t have to go. In hopes of keeping Open organic and simple we’ve made the decision that any travel for our (The Youth Cartel team) is a personal expense, meaning even though it’s “work” we’re paying for our travel out of our personal funds and not company money. Our logic is that if no one is getting paid or getting their expenses paid for by speaking, we should do the same for everyone… even our team.

At about the same time I was invited to speak at Kellenberg High School in Long Island, NY. So the trip got a little more complicated because I could just fly to Paris and back quickly. (Which sounds weird, but I really am trying to be home as many days as I can.)

Then, basically that week, Kristen got a letter from an old employer in Chicago, letting her know that they had sold their business to someone else and had to liquidate her 401k. A 401k we’d completely forgotten about! So, instead of just rolling those funds over into our IRA, we decided Kristen (by far the most frugal person in my life) should get a little bit of a slush fund to do whatever she wanted with this unbudgeted windfall.

You see where this is going. I asked Kristen if she wanted to go with me to Open Paris… becauseParis. Shortly after that, we decided to add-on a 3-day excursion to visit our friends in Scotland.

That all happened casually and always seemed like something way off in the distance until about 2 weeks ago when Kristen and I were on a date. She said, “Hey, in two weeks we’ll be in Paris.”

Wait. What?!?! How did that happen.

Kristen and Adam… on a trip to Europe… without kids.

Giddy

I’ve spent the first half of this week in Long Island, speaking at Kellenberg and enjoying (greatly) the opportunity to learn a bit about this ministry.

And now, I’m super excited to spend this time with Kristen. Such a treat. And oh yeah, we’re going cool places, too.

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>
http://adammclane.com/2014/10/22/paris-france/feed/ 3
How can a pastor help families with social media? http://adammclane.com/2014/10/17/can-pastor-help-families-social-media/ http://adammclane.com/2014/10/17/can-pastor-help-families-social-media/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:37:21 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15783 “How can I help families with social media?” I think this is something that lots and lots of churches are wondering. While culture is ever-morphing and hard to understand– the way people are communicating and integrating technology into their lives is big/obvious and churches feel the need to offer help. The flip side is that […]

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>

“How can I help families with social media?”

I think this is something that lots and lots of churches are wondering. While culture is ever-morphing and hard to understand– the way people are communicating and integrating technology into their lives is big/obvious and churches feel the need to offer help.

The flip side is that most recognize that they are not experts on social media, much less experts on how social media integrates into adolescent life. And so they either do nothing… which is common. Or they try to provide their congregation access to “experts“… which is rare, but appreciated. (No really, thank you.)

But I want to present to you a plan that is right down the middle and plays into your expertise as a pastor.

How to Help From Your Expertise

As I’m out doing seminars and workshops with people I end up speaking out of two different postures about social media.

  1. I’m speaking out of specific, long-term research I’ve done on teenagers and social media.
  2. I’m teaching and answering questions using skills learned and refined in my ministry training and life as a pastor.

In other words, half of the skill set that I have, every pastor has.

Lean on Pastoral Counseling

Often times I’m asked about how social media impacts the home relevant to children and teens. And just below the surface of those questions are questions relevant to family life and marriage. It’s pretty normal that a spouse will attend a workshop and then make mention of their spouse being “the one with the problem in our home.” So, as a pastor, I can see that issues in the home might be flowing from a lack of communication about how the device makes his spouse feel or maybe that he’s using the device because of a larger marital issue or even that they aren’t have sex as often as they’d like because they are staring at their phones in bed instead of each other.

You don’t have to be a social media expert to talk about these things, these are pastoral counseling issues that you, as a pastor, really are an expert on. These are things you can deal with in informal counseling in your office or make a referral to a professional counselor.

Social media might be the presenting issue. But often social media is the symptom of something bigger, it’s a family problem with which you can provide counsel.

Social Media as a Window to the Soul

The more I talk and write about social media the more I realize that the behavior itself is a window to a persons soul. In a normal healthy adult situation, social media usage is congruent to their life. They say things and do things with social media they would do in real life. And where there is incongruence, it’s often from a place of dissatisfaction or unhealthiness.

That’s a two-way street, right? If someone is projecting perfection on social media but you know they are a mess, that’s incongruence. Likewise, if they are a mess on social media about their job, but happy-go-lucky at church… you know that incongruence means something.

I share that because, again, you don’t have to be an expert on social media to notice this. If you’re sensitive to knowing your congregants you’ll be able to see that plainly and ask hard, yet obvious, questions. “Tom, how is everything going at work? You seem… I don’t know… grumpy when you post stuff on Facebook at work. Can we get together and talk about that?

Use Resources to Maintain Baseline Understanding

Let’s say you want to do a seminar about social media for parents at your church, but you can’t afford to bring someone in? Well, if you take my book A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media and reverse engineer it… you’ll see my presentation. Voila! Start there and add/edit it to fit your context.

Subscribe to my blog, iParent.tv, and Common Sense Media and keep those resources in your back pocket as things come up. But don’t feel like you need to become a social media expert in order to help the people in your congregation.

Wrap-up

Don’t get caught up in the trees to miss the forest when it comes to social media usage and helping families within your congregation. Focus on your expertise, lean on it, and allow the natural love a pastor has for her congregation and your expertise in pastoral care to overcome what you do or don’t know about how to use the latest social media app.

And when you need more help, ask me. That’s what I’m here for.

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>
http://adammclane.com/2014/10/17/can-pastor-help-families-social-media/feed/ 0
Invoking the P Word http://adammclane.com/2014/10/16/invoking-p-word/ http://adammclane.com/2014/10/16/invoking-p-word/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:38:15 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15777 So let’s just call this thing what it is. Christian persecution. Right here in the good ‘ole USA. Right here in the Lone Star State. It’s happening all over the world. We just aren’t used to dealing with it in our own backyards. But the tide has turned. I have no doubt it is only […]

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>

So let’s just call this thing what it is. Christian persecution. Right here in the good ‘ole USA. Right here in the Lone Star State.

It’s happening all over the world. We just aren’t used to dealing with it in our own backyards. But the tide has turned. I have no doubt it is only going to get worse.

Today, I pray for those Houston pastors and their congregations who suffer for the name of Jesus. (See previous post “10 Things to Pray for Christians in Iraq.) May God use their persecution to strengthen their faith and bring glory to the name of Jesus. I also pray for myself. May I be counted with those who stood firm to the end no matter the cost.

Source

This blog post popped up in my Twitter timeline this morning. And I’ve seen similar sentiments pop up on Facebook and other social media this week.

To date, all I’ve seen is people going “Wow, can you believe this?” This is the first I’ve heard of someone calling what’s [allegedly] happening in Houston “persecution.” It’s quite a leap to switch from “Can you believe this mess?” to “This is persecution, just like in Iraq.

Americans friends… Let’s be careful about the ” P” word.

I’ve got 3 thoughts, feel free to disagree in the comments below:

  1. We all know that this isn’t going anywhere in our legal system. A city ordinance cannot overrule free speech– the First Amendment of the Constitution. Unless these pastors have been ordering hits on people in the gay community, they’ve got nothing to worry about.
  2. This story is about leverage, not persecution. Remove the storyline elements and you’ll see that some people are embattled with their local government and they are gaining leverage by creating public outcry. The more you tell this story the more leverage they gain. And you know what? You have no idea whose side you’re really on! It’s politics. You might actually agree with the city if you knew all of the facts. But repeating this story without really knowing the facts definitely advances one parties case.
  3. Real persecution happens. And I’m sure it happens in the United States. But be careful to not devalue our brothers and sisters disowned by their families, imprisoned, tortured, and killed around the world by invoking persecution in Texas over a city ordinance. The worst that would ever happen to those in this case is they’d get a fine, which would be tossed out by any judge at any level.

But Adam! Isn’t it a form of persecution?

In the most technical definition and sense of the word “persecution“– I suppose it is. But let’s not compare a local city ordinance issue with murder, torture, and false imprisonment.

And, to give context, these churches are experiencing no more persecution than your average 5th grader wanting to read his Bible at recess.

Yes, if this is really happening, you should be upset about it. All I’m saying is to be careful not to couch what is [allegedly] happening with a few churches in a city you don’t live in with violent persecution around the world.

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>
http://adammclane.com/2014/10/16/invoking-p-word/feed/ 1
200,000 More Reasons to Delete Snapchat http://adammclane.com/2014/10/14/200000-reasons-delete-snapchat/ http://adammclane.com/2014/10/14/200000-reasons-delete-snapchat/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 15:59:05 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15764 ‘The Snappening': Hackers access 200,000 Snapchat accounts — NY Daily News Snapchat nude photos, videos reportedly leaked online– CNET Links to Photos Said to Be Stolen From Snapchat Users Flood Message Boards – New York Times Since news of this broke on Friday I’ve received at least 50 texts, emails, and other messages about it. […]

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>

Since news of this broke on Friday I’ve received at least 50 texts, emails, and other messages about it.

I’m a little torn. I don’t want to say “I told you so.” More like– “NO!!! I tried to warn people.”

More than 4 million people have read my post, “Why you should delete Snapchat.” The PDF of that post has been downloaded 45,000 times. It’s been taught as an example of a persuasive argument in just about every state in the United States.

But here we are. My efforts weren’t enough.

Somewhere, in the ether of the internet, are 200,000 images posted online without permission. That’s on top of the countless number of Tumblr blogs and other websites dedicated to sharing captured Snaps.

The facts of what I wrote about Snapchat in August 2013 haven’t changed

  1. Snapchat is built on a lie that digital images disappear. They don’t. Once you take a picture with your device and send it to another person you’ve given up control of that image. It might get deleted. Once you send it via text, email, or upload it to an app… you lose control.
  2. You think you’re anonymous online, but you aren’t. Whether it’s Snapchat or Yik Yak or an online forum, everything you post online points directly back to you. Everything. That happens at the device level with metadata. It happens with your ISP or mobile provider. And it happens with app developers at the server level. The only one who doesn’t know who everyone is on an anonymous app are the actual users. And, as we’re about to learn with the Snapchat leak, facial recognition is a double-edged sword.
  3. Snapchat was created as a safe way to sext. In the past year since the January 2013 uproar, Snapchat has done a very good job navigating further and further away from it’s genesis story of a safe sexting app. I’ve acknowledged that publicly. They introduced some new features, they’ve said all the right things in the press, they’ve educated users, and– even for me– they truly have done a good job trying to pivot Snapchat from the salacious history, which indeed fueled the initial popularity, to something better and more mature. But they can’t get away from their history or the subset of users who use the app as a safe way to sext. As Mitt Romney learned in 2012… you can’t “Shake the Etch-a-Sketch” and just tell a new story sometimes. If they were serious about getting rid of the subset of users who sext with the app they would invest a few million dollars to develop a feature that detected nudity and blocked it. (ala facial recognition in Facebook or iPhoto.)
  4. The Snapchat leaders seem more interested in blaming others than blaming their app. When they settled with the FCC, it was a misunderstanding and they didn’t own responsibility. When user names and passwords were leaked, it wasn’t their incompetence as developers– it was unscrupulous people wanting access to an unlimited treasure trove of private data. And in this latest leak, it’s not the fact that Snapchat has an open unofficial API that even an untrained developer can crack into within a few minutes then build and release iOS and/or Android apps on the official marketplace— it’s these 3rd parties who are to blame. We all know people like this. Whether it’s entitlement or immaturity or arrogance, they can’t simply admit that their leadership failed, that Snapchat is bigger than they are capable of leading, or that their skills as a developer are not up to snuff. Instead they play the “Hey, I’m just a kid, I make mistakes” card. Snapchat is valued at anywhere from $2 billion to $10 billion. (Though with existing and pending litigation I can’t see it.) Isn’t it time for the leadership at Snapchat to be held responsible? Shouldn’t the board, likely full of VC investors, make a decision to remove the founders and put in place someone capable of finishing the job? Surely, if the eventual goal of Snapchat is to sell it to Google, Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, or whoever wants it– the maximum value of Snapchat will never be achieved with a bumbling leadership team who can’t publicly own failure. Duh.

If anything, what I wrote in August 2013 has been validated time and again. Which only leads me to the same conclusion: Delete the app.

Do not trust an app built like this. And do not trust people like this.

There are white hats and black hats in this world, Snapchat wears a black hat.

Beyond “I Told You So”

Right now, nearly every hour, a story is coming out blaming Snapchat for this leak. And they are 100% to blame. No doubt many will join me in calling the Snapchat board to remove Snapchat’s founders for their incompetence.

But, emotionally, I’m just not interested in “I told you so” any more than I truly care about who is the CEO of an app people should just delete.

Just like there wasn’t anything in it for me when I wrote the original post in August 2013, I am not somehow filled with pride that this has happened and I was right all along. (If you didn’t know, I wrote the post in response to requests from a group of moms at a seminar. I couldn’t answer their question about Snapchat sufficiently on the fly, I told them to watch my blog and I’d write some reasons you should delete it.)

So here’s what I’m feeling about the Snapchat leak:

  • I feel terrible for the people who will now pay a penalty for their lack of understanding on how the internet works. Yes, we should hold Snapchat responsible. And I believe that the FBI will hold those who have leaked images of minors will be arrested for distribution of child pornography.
  • For those who have had images leaked, I hope they seek and get justice. What was done to them was wrong, it’s against the law, and the perpetrators may have had a good reason (to expose Snapchat’s vulnerability) but that’s not reason enough to violate the law.
  • I hope the public learns from this leak. For those who will have images posted, I hope they’ve learned that no matter what is promised, anything shared online is ultimately public. Take solace in knowing you aren’t alone. But make a correction in your behavior, as well, so that it never happens to you again.
  • As a Christian, I believe all humans are ultimately fallible. This isn’t about Snapchat– it’s about us. (Ourselves and the people we thought we trusted.) We make mistakes, people we trust betray us, and we all live in a space between blaming ourselves and blaming others for a lot of stuff. (Not just this leak) This is what we do as humans. While we all have good in us, as we’re made in the image of God, we also have evil in us. Last week I wrote about a new research study about teenagers and sexting. In talking about this with some friends I came to this conclusion: 100% of us are susceptible to sexting. The reason many haven’t is that the opportunity hasn’t arisen in our lives. The hormones of sex and the dopamine rewards of our inborn reward system are simply stronger than us. We all need Jesus. We need his strength to resist. We need forgiveness when we mess up. And we need His hope (and the actions of His people) for freeing the world of sexual exploitation. But I don’t see myself any better than those who have leaked images or had images leaked. And neither should you.
  • Let’s not forget that the leak is about sexual exploitation and the power of shame in our society. In the coming days it’ll be easy to throw people under the bus and blame them for taking these images. But there’s a big difference between exchanging these images with someone you trust (or are flirting with) and having them published, perhaps with their usernames or real names. Trust me, those affected will feel terrible enough as it is. Let’s not forget that the release of these images is illegal. (Do I even need to say it… DON’T LOOK AT THEM!)
  • These aren’t 200,000 images. These are 200,000 people. That’s a lot of hurting people out there. Ugh, my heart hurts.
  • I’ve got more work to do. One thing that’s become clear over the past year is that there aren’t a lot of people actually trying to educate teenagers about social media in a useful way. Scaring them doesn’t work. Instead, I’ve found that helping them understand how basic principles of social media play out in the real world as well as creating some common language with the adults in their lives really, really helps. In so many ways– I’m sick of talking about social media. But I also don’t feel like I can stop because the need is so great.

Why Have You Deleted Snapchat?

I’d love to hear from people who have had enough and deleted Snapchat. Now that you aren’t using it, what are you using instead?

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>
http://adammclane.com/2014/10/14/200000-reasons-delete-snapchat/feed/ 5
Speaking Opportunities for 2015 http://adammclane.com/2014/10/13/speaking-opportunities-2015/ http://adammclane.com/2014/10/13/speaking-opportunities-2015/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 15:52:50 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15759 With the latest round of social media leaks making waves today, this time impacting Snapchat users, I’m in the odd place of looking like an Old Testament prophet. I’m not a prophet. I simply applied long-standing principles of social media to the current wave of ephemeral apps popular today. And here’s the deal: I love to share those […]

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>

With the latest round of social media leaks making waves today, this time impacting Snapchat users, I’m in the odd place of looking like an Old Testament prophet.

I’m not a prophet.

I simply applied long-standing principles of social media to the current wave of ephemeral apps popular today.

And here’s the deal: I love to share those principles of social media with anyone who will listen– teenagers in school, teenagers at church, teenagers in a social club, teachers, parents, youth workers, etc. 

In 2013-2014 I spoke in dozens of classrooms, school assemblies, youth group meetings, parent groups, conference, and even a farm safety day. I’ve spoke to grandparents trying to sort out what their grandchildren are doing on their phones and I’ve spoken to kindergartners about picking games that are fun and safe for them.

If you’d like me to come to talk to your group… let’s chat.

Here’s What I Don’t Do

I’m not a “scared straight” speaker. I don’t find that trying to scare teenagers or parents about all the bad things that can happen with social media affects any change.

Here’s What I Do

But what does help bring change is two-fold.

  1. Build understanding
  2. Create common language

When adults learn both how social media works and why it’s important to the teenagers in their life with some common language that everyone can use to talk about it… they can bridge the gap to get beyond behavior management and into a conversation about shared values.

It’s much more productive to lead people to a place of “Who are we trying to be as a school, family, church and how does social media impact that?” instead of “Why do you take selfies?

Got Some Samples?

I’m not systematic about getting recordings of every talk, but I do allow groups to record me… so there are plenty of YouTube and Vimeo links out there.

Here’s a few:

Teaching in Church

Leading a Parent Meeting

Conference Presentation for Youth Workers

How to Book Me

If you’d like to have me out in 2015 (or even late 2014) drop me a note on my contact form. I’m willing to work with your organizations needs, budget, schedule, etc.

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>
http://adammclane.com/2014/10/13/speaking-opportunities-2015/feed/ 0
The American Teenager: A Sexting Machine? http://adammclane.com/2014/10/08/american-teenager-sexting-machine/ http://adammclane.com/2014/10/08/american-teenager-sexting-machine/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 16:28:35 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15747 (if the clip doesn’t show up in your browser, here’s the link) In her latest movie, “Men, Women and Children,” Jennifer Garner plays an overprotective mom who obsessively monitors her daughter’s every keystroke, reading all her texts and even deleting objectionable ones. Source I’m over it. The media invented the term sexting out of thin air. They […]

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>


(if the clip doesn’t show up in your browser, here’s the link)

In her latest movie, “Men, Women and Children,” Jennifer Garner plays an overprotective mom who obsessively monitors her daughter’s every keystroke, reading all her texts and even deleting objectionable ones.

Source

I’m over it.

The media invented the term sexting out of thin air. They linked unrelated stories together to create a term. And their scary “warnings” for this term were, essentially, the promotion of sexting until it actually became a real-life problem. Way to go! 

And it all feeds the thing Americans are best at: hysteria.

Mainstream media built a myth about the American teenager and their cell phone: Leave a high schooler alone for more than 15 seconds and they’ll pull down their pants and send a photo of their junk to their girlfriend. 

So of course there will be a movie about it. And now we need to try to normalize over-protective parenting. Because if your kid does that thing that you fantasize that they might do… it’s not about the damage to your child, it’s about your failure as a parent.

Conversely, there’s no doubt that sexting does indeed happen. There really are teenagers who sext. There really are teenagers who engage in sexual behavior.

But we need to be reminded of some basic facts:

  1. There have always been teenagers who have had sex. Chances are very high that you are alive and breathing today because two teenagers back in the day did the humpty hump. (married or unmarried)
  2. Fewer teenagers are engaging in sexual activity than when you and I were teenagersJust like violent crime is way down, so is teenage sexual activity. Embrace it as a reality. Fewer kids today have sex than did when you or I walked high school hallways.
  3. Adults have always been obsessed with and hysterical about teenage sexuality. I would describe teenage sexuality as a primary worry of parents of teenagers. But it’s not just parents… generally speaking, adults in our country are obsessed with teenage sexuality. Anything that has to do with teenage sexuality is going to draw attention.
  4. There are larger societal forces at play, which get pinned on teenagers, but aren’t exclusive to teenage sexuality. (Extension of adolescence, delaying marriage until the late 20s, normalization of cohabitation, the internets impact on the popularization of non-normative sexual behavior, the impact of mobile devices on relationships, on and on)

Correcting the Headlines

Clickbait is the name of the game on the internet. News agencies are desperate to grab readers attention. And so, the American teenager is just a victim of this.

For instance…

An update to a longitudinal study was just published by The American Academy of Pediatric that is studying a possible connection between teenage sexting and teenage risky sexual behavior. This is as salacious of a study as there is… it hits on every parents fear and activates our societal obsession.

The update on the study shows that within their sample [in Texas, not nationally], not the final findings, that 72.4% of teenagers studied have never sent a sext. (Defined as a nude image)

And what did the Chicago Tribune run as a headline?

“Sexting is the new normal for high schoolers, study finds”

Source

How is it that 72.4% of those studied DO NOT engage in sexting but the headline reads that “sexting is the new normal for high schoolers?

I’ll tell you how. Even in the study itself, though researchers point out a clear, definitely link between sexting and risky teenage sexual behavior has not been proven among their findings, the researchers write in their conclusion:

Although additional research is needed, current data indicate that sexting may precede sexual intercourse in some in- stances and cement the notion that sexting behavior is a viable indicator of adolescent sexual activity. That we did not find a link between sexting and risky sexual behavior over time may suggest that sexting is a new “normal” part of adolescent sexual development and not strictly limited to at-risk adolescents.

Source, emphasis mine

See, the data didn’t say that, but the researchers still assumed it to be the case.

And where does that assumption lie? Not in science, but a culture obsessed with and hysterical about teenage sexual activity.

Correcting the Narrative

I’ve spent my adult life investing in middle and high school students. It bothers me, to the core, that there is a powerful cultural narrative that assumes that teenagers are amoral, sub-human, incapable masses of hormones just waiting for an adult to leave them alone long enough so they can drop their pants, commit a violent crime, or otherwise act as a deviant.

That narrative is false. We all know it. And yet we are silent when our teenagers are stereotyped as such.

We believe teenagers are incapable until they aren’t. We celebrate them when they sail around the world or climb Mount Everest or win gold medals. But we don’t celebrate our teenagers when they are normal, when 72.4% of them aren’t sexting, when fewer and fewer of them are engaging in risky sexual behavior.

And, ultimately, that’s a narrative about the perversion of our society (church culture included) more than it is a narrative about the American teenager.

Stand up, friends. Defend and advocate for the teenagers you love.

And let’s write a story together of the new normal. 

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>
http://adammclane.com/2014/10/08/american-teenager-sexting-machine/feed/ 4
4 Emerging Apps for High School Students http://adammclane.com/2014/10/07/4-emerging-apps-for-high-school-students/ http://adammclane.com/2014/10/07/4-emerging-apps-for-high-school-students/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 16:11:59 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15740 I’m often asked: “What’s the big social media thing with teenagers right now?” That’s a really hard question right now because of a fractured landscape. Unlike in 2010, when Facebook dominated, it’s hard to point to a single application and say it’s the big thing. The only thing I’d describe as dominant right now is texting. […]

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>

I’m often asked: “What’s the big social media thing with teenagers right now?”

That’s a really hard question right now because of a fractured landscape. Unlike in 2010, when Facebook dominated, it’s hard to point to a single application and say it’s the big thing.

The only thing I’d describe as dominant right now is texting. According to Amanda Lenhart of Pew Internet Research 95% of teenagers use the internet regularly, 78% have a cell phone, and 75% of all teens text.

Three Overarching Behavioral Trends

Instead of dominant applications I’d like to point to dominant behavioral trends among teenagers which help us old people understand the behavior more than just get excited about what’s cool.

Here’s three:

  1. Teenagers/young adults go where their parents aren’t – In some sense this is a no brainer yet needs to be called out. For the most part teenagers isn’t going to make a social media app their go-to if it’s the same application their (overbearing, over-involved) parents use. Now that Facebook is the #1 network for 35-49 year olds, many teenagers don’t use it as often. Likewise if their parents are on Instagram, they become less interested, if mom is on Twitter, they tend to shy away or have multiple accounts.
  2. Teenagers Hide in Plain Sight with Coded language – Dana Boyd’s book, It’s Complicated, does a great job documented how teenagers code language and behavior so that their friends know what they are talking about while adults are kept clueless. I find this especially true on popular social media apps like Twitter & Instagram. Often times an adult will skip right over a post because it doesn’t make sense (or is overly emotive) when in fact it’s a coded message their friends totally understand. (For example: An image with a quote from a song or a meme can communicate meaning beyond the lyrics. Sometimes you’ll see emoji responses from friend or a bunch of likes on a post from friends to show support.)
  3. Perceived anonymity is enough – When I talk to teenagers about the reality that there’s no such thing as anonymity online, only perceived anonymity… they really do care and understand that what they do online can be traced back to them. So they fully realize if they post a threat that police or an investigator could find out that they did it. But they also know that perceived anonymity is good enough for most of what they want to do because 99.99% adults in their lives don’t truly care what they do online, as a result perceived anonymity is just as good as real anonymity for what they are doing.

4 Emerging Apps for Teenagers

Preamble: I’m pointing these apps out, specifically, not because I think they are dangerous or adults need to freak out about them. I am mentioning them because I’m seeing/hearing/observing a high amount of teenage activity on them. (Mostly anecdotally, the research tends to trail behind a bit.)

Tinder

Tinder is pretty simple. The app displays images, you swipe to the right if you like the person’s picture and left if you don’t. If the corresponding person also swipe’s right on your picture… the app connects you as a match. It’s basically a slightly more grown up version of Hot or Not.

Tinder is targeted at young adults. But, like is so perfectly demonstrated in the promotional video above, Tinder is attractive to teenagers because it’s promoting the idea that this is how young adults are meeting new people right now. Watch the video with the eyes of a 15 year old… young adults know that this isn’t how life really works, but if you’re 15… that looks/feels grown up and that’s the life I want. (Who doesn’t want to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge with a friend, snapping selfies, then play in Central Park flirtatiously?

Yik Yak

yik-yak-logo

The Yak burst onto the teenage seen in the worst way possible, negative publicity in the mainstream media. Early 2014 saw tons of news articles about bullying and bad behavior on high school campuses. These stories have persisted with more and more high school and college campuses banning the app, which of course just makes it more popular with high school students!

But, as Lora Kolodny reported in the Wall Street Journal, Yik Yak pivoted their approach over the summer. They geofenced their app from every middle and high school in the United States [meaning that you can't post or view the app while at school] and refocused their efforts on college campuses.

I live very close to San Diego State University, where the “Yik Yak game” is pretty active. I’ve been keeping tabs on campus usage for about a month now and I have to be honest in saying that I see Yik Yak as mostly harmless. It’s college students whining about early classes, talking up their fraternity, and bragging about their drug/sexual exploits.

I’m mentioning this as an emerging app for teenagers because, like Tinder, teenagers have a natural tendency to look up to college students and replicate their behavior. If Yik Yak establishes a foothold on campus it’ll trickle back down to high school students. The big challenge I see for Yik Yak, behaviorally, is “Will it establish it’s own vernacular?” [Like Twitter has done] Right now, that hasn’t happened. I think it can overcome basically being pointless… but only if it establishes a reason why it’s pointless via a vernacular.

Twitch

twitch-logo

I should be clear, Twitch isn’t an emerging application for teenagers, it emerged a year ago. But it’s about time it’s recognized as such. What is Twitch? Twitch is a video game streaming service used by gamers.

The premise is simple… login to Twitch and watch your favorite gamer play your favorite game live. (Usually with commentary by the gamer along the way.) In our house, it’s pretty normal for our kids to watch streaming gameplay while they are playing. It’s one of the reasons they don’t watch TV… ever.

Unlike Tinder and Yik Yak I think Twitch is going to move up to high school as younger, more game-addicted, teenagers move up from middle school.

WhatsApp

whatsapp-logo

WhatsApp is one that hasn’t exactly emerged for American teenagers yet, but I’d put it on the watch list because of a couple specific reasons.

  1. It’s where parents aren’t. Lots of teenagers use non-text-messaging services because their parents monitor their texts. Whatsapp is like Kik, but better.
  2. It’s owned by Facebook. Just this week, Facebook officially closed on a $19 billion deal on Whatsapp. Facebook currently owns a giant repository of more than 1 billion people’s social data. When the largest holder of social data makes their biggest investment in a messaging app, you know messaging is about to become the biggest pivot in Facebook’s history since they dropped “The” from their name nearly 10 years ago.

So while Whatsapp might not be a thing among American teenagers right now, I think we’ll see it emerge as a player in the next 6 months. (Full disclosure: I have a Whatsapp account with exactly zero connections! I’m struggling to get started.)

Wrap-Up

Over the next few months I’ll be presenting to a number of students and parent groups. Between the feedback I get there, the observations I make among teenagers as I travel, and forthcoming research it’ll be interesting to see which of these, if any, can become dominant.

My prediction is that the age of pseudo-anonymity is fading and teenagers will once again flock to a new place, en masse, where everyone somehow has a verified identity. (ala Facebook) And I wouldn’t be surprised to see it be… a reinvented Facebook.

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>
http://adammclane.com/2014/10/07/4-emerging-apps-for-high-school-students/feed/ 6
d5Q http://adammclane.com/2014/10/06/d5q/ http://adammclane.com/2014/10/06/d5q/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 14:16:23 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15733 Over the past few months I’ve been piecing together everything I’d need to take my kayak out lobster fishing. For those who don’t live in Southern California, the spiny lobster is a local treat that grows along coastal waters. And while it’s not fished extensively for commercial purposes it is one of the most popular […]

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>

Over the past few months I’ve been piecing together everything I’d need to take my kayak out lobster fishing.

For those who don’t live in Southern California, the spiny lobster is a local treat that grows along coastal waters. And while it’s not fished extensively for commercial purposes it is one of the most popular (read delicious) seasons for Southern California fisherman.

The Danger Zone

Lobster fishing is also the most dangerous fishing season in San Diego. It’s popular, which means it brings out lots of boats and lots of inexperienced fisherman. It’s cheap, basically you can only use a hoopnet baited with something nasty like fish guts or raw chicken. It’s easy, a rookie has basically the same odds as someone who has been out 1000 times. And it’s dark, lobster are most active at night.

Last weekend’s opening saw a diver in San Diego drown. And then there was a close call last weekend with one of San Diego’s most experienced kayak fisherman. He got flipped by an unexpected wave, and despite having experience and all the right gear, this video of a local diver helping him shows just how close he was to complete disaster out there.

Watching that video raised my blood pressure big time. Being dark and on the water makes everything more dangerous.

And Saturday, north of Santa Barbara, a kayak fisherman was attacked by a great white shark who mistook his boat for a seal.

Go Time

My fall schedule is tight. With 6 Cartel events going between September and November amidst the normal day-to-day stuff, I’ve got to jump on opportunities to get stuff done.

So the schedule was just right for me to try to get out on the water last night and catch some lobster. The problem was that I didn’t have anyone to go with me. I even posted on a couple local fishing forums trying to get someone to go with me… nothing worked out.

So a quick trip to Wal-Mart to grab some chicken livers and I pulled into the lot at about 6:30 just as the sun was going down. There were two things I hadn’t anticipated. First, the parking lots were packed. I’d been to that spot several times, even at night, and never seen more than a few cars. But for some reason every family in Point Loma was having a party down by the water last night. Second, I didn’t anticipate the amount of boat traffic. It seemed everyone with a boat was out Saturday night, which meant that the water was very choppy with tons of waves crashing on shore. (A Navy ship was headed out to sea, as well. So there were people there to watch that.)

The Tipping Point

After about 20 minutes of relaying my kayak and all the gear through the parties to the shoreline, sweat was pouring off of me and I got ready to launch. With the waves piling in one after another I put my kayak in the water and waded out a little bit into the darkness of the bay. This wasn’t a surf launch but the amount of boat traffic sure made it feel like one.

As I swung my legs into the boat I finally was seated and ready to go. Just then it became evident that I had more weight on deck than I was used to, making me top heavy. And as I unleashed my paddle to get going I got slapped with a big wave. Literally, a minute after launching, the kayak leaned hard to the right, I couldn’t counter it enough, and I went over the side.

Cuss words.

Really… I was in no danger. My rule is that everyone always wears a life jacket. Plus, I was like 20 feet from shore in a sandy spot. I stood up in the waste deep water, did a quick gear check to realize everything was still in place, shoved the hoop nets back in position, and hopped right back on no worse for wear… just wet!

But, as I started to paddle out towards some sail boats anchored in the harbor, with adrenaline going full blast, I took a little timeout to drink some water and get my bearings.

I desperately needed to calm down. My heart rate. My breathing. My mind. Everything was moving too fast. 

My d5Q Moment

After a few minutes of slowly paddling around things began to fall back into focus. To my right, sailboats bobbed in the wakes of passing boats. To my left, partygoers sipped cocktails under tents while kids ran up and down the beach. To my right, bells, wind chimes, and ropes slapped against sleepy boats. To my left, chatter and laughter

All the momentum in the world was pushing me out to continue with the plan, into the darkness:

  • I’d spent money on gear for this moment.
  • I’d waited for the season to start.
  • I’d run around to get all the last minute stuff.
  • I’d practiced for this.
  • I’d driven all the way there and spent all the time to get my gear set up.
  • I’d even told people I was going out, so surely they’d ask how it went.

But in that same moment I had what I’d call my “Don’t die doing something dumb and dangerous moment“:

  • I didn’t have a buddy.
  • Lobster season just opened but it lasts until March.
  • While I’m an experienced kayaker, I’m not experienced at kayaking at night.
  • The ocean is really, really scary at night. It’s disorienting and even though I don’t have a fear of the dark, well… it’s scary out there.
  • While I have all the right gear, this is still really, really dangerous.

I like risk, almost to a fault, but I have learned to trust my instincts.

I turned around. The conditions weren’t right. With conditions like that I needed at least one other person with me. At a minimum, the hoop nets I’d brought along were just too heavy for the amount of chop in the water.

By my calculation there was a 95% or greater chance that everything would be fine. Yet there was a legitimate 5% chance that I’d end up tipping again. And, of that, there was a very tiny chance that I’d get into serious trouble. Like if I tipped over and in the course of trying to get back into my boat got exhausted. Or if I tipped over in shallow water I could get stuck on the rocks.

The d5Q

I’m not a super fancy social scientist like Dave Livermore. I’ll never be able to prove that you can measure a cultural intelligence quotient (CQ) like you can measure intelligence. (IQ)

But I do believe some people have high d5Q while others don’t, the “Don’t die doing something dumb or dangerous quotient” is a real thing!

I can think back to specific instances where I calculated a risk and decided it wasn’t worth it. Whereas, I can think of other times where I’ve calculated that risk… a real risk… and everything was just fine.

And I can think of tons of times in my lifetime where I’ve heard of someone dying doing something dumb.

Having high d5Q isn’t the absence of taking risk. In fact, you could have low d5Q if you are overly cautious. (cough, suburban American parenting today celebrates debilitating, very low d5Q.)

High d5Q isn’t about age, it isn’t about experience, it’s something in certain people who look at something and go: “Yeah, that’s not worth it to me.

The difference between high d5Q isn’t just about one between life and death. It’s just about on-time risk management.

How has high d5Q kept you out of trouble? 

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>
http://adammclane.com/2014/10/06/d5q/feed/ 2
Help! My Teenager is Addicted to Reading http://adammclane.com/2014/10/02/addicted-to-reading/ http://adammclane.com/2014/10/02/addicted-to-reading/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 15:03:27 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15727 I heard giggles coming from her bedroom. It was nearly midnight. She’d gone to bed hours before. I stared down the hallway expecting to see darkness but I saw a streak of light peaking under her door. Inching near her door I heard it. It’s a sound every parent fears coming from their teenagers room. […]

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>

I heard giggles coming from her bedroom. It was nearly midnight. She’d gone to bed hours before. I stared down the hallway expecting to see darkness but I saw a streak of light peaking under her door. Inching near her door I heard it. It’s a sound every parent fears coming from their teenagers room. I took a deep breathe and opened the door unsure of exactly what I might discover.

I’d caught her reading. Again.

My heart sank because this isn’t the teenage life I’d dreamt of for her. It’s not supposed to be this way.

Like millions of parents of teenagers I struggle with a teenager who is addicted to reading. Over coffee I explain the symptoms to my friends, their eyes swell sympathetically.

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Good grades
  • Growing vocabulary
  • The occasional late fee at the library
  • Excessive ideation and imagination
  • Exposure to life outside of San Diego

I know I’m not alone. Other parents suffer through this hellish reality, we are silently united– bonded over the sorrow of a lost teenage experience.

Action Plan to Cope With Teenage Reading Addiction

Though there is no known cure for teenage reading addiction, there are some things you can do which might help your teenager find their way out of the rabbit hole.

Alice-in-Wonderland-Alice-Looks-Down-The-Rabbit-Hole-24-2-10-kc

  1. Introduce YouTube – They say free time is the devil’s playground. Well, I suggest trying to keep your teenager distracted from reading by occupying their time with something more healthy… viral video. With millions of videos in every genre known to mankind, encouraging your teenager to access YouTube on their phone or tablet seems to distract their mind from the itch they feel to pick up a book.
  2. A Boyfriend – It’s nearly impossible to read books while kissing and/or holding hands. A boyfriend is an excellent remedy for a reading addiction. Just make sure to check his wallet. If he has a library card he is bad news, kick him to the curb.
  3. Bullying – Many teenagers who bully also have a low literacy rate. This can be an excellent alternative for teenagers with a high literacy rate. While introducing bullying to your teenagers life may be a tough sell, they may discover that being the villain in their story is more interesting than reading about the villain in a book.

Fellow parents: What are other ways you are helping your teenager overcome a reading addiction? 

Photo credit: Pile of Books by Texas State Library Archives via Flickr (Creative Commons)

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>
http://adammclane.com/2014/10/02/addicted-to-reading/feed/ 6
College Football Thoughts – Week 6 http://adammclane.com/2014/09/30/college-football-thoughts-week-6-2014/ http://adammclane.com/2014/09/30/college-football-thoughts-week-6-2014/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 15:26:34 +0000 http://adammclane.com/?p=15722 Let’s start by offering a tip of the cap to Charlie Weis. Charlie is still getting paid by Notre Dame about $5 million per year through 2015 and after getting fired; on Sunday he got fired from Kansas with 2 years left on his $2 million per year deal. In other words, he’s getting paid […]

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>

Let’s start by offering a tip of the cap to Charlie Weis. Charlie is still getting paid by Notre Dame about $5 million per year through 2015 and after getting fired; on Sunday he got fired from Kansas with 2 years left on his $2 million per year deal. In other words, he’s getting paid about $7 million not to coach college football right now. By contrast, all Mountain West Conference head coaches will make a total of about $8 million in 2014.

Ain’t nobody mad at you, Charlie.

Hoke Watch hits week six. I’ve got to admit that I’m surprised he’s still employed in Ann Arbor. The second half of last week’s game against Minnesota was highlighted by two things: Chants loud enough to be heard on TV of “Fire Hoke. Fire Brandon.” And “Shane Morris Brain Gate” which was so bad that Michigan AD David Brandon issued a press release at 1:15 AM last night. Will Hoke get fired before seasons end? I am starting to think that he won’t… that they will Charlie Weis him instead of Lane Kiffin him. (See what I did there?)

Last week was another week of almost upsets among the top 25 with only South Carolina succumbing. But there were some scares which made the week interesting. But mostly, things played out as you’d expect.

San Diego State

I didn’t get to see any of the game because I was traveling. But I like that Donnel Pumphrey gathered 4 TDs before halftime. The key into this weekends game with Fresno State is going to be at QB. Fortunately for us, even though we’ll have a rookie signal caller, the plays will most likely involve handing it off to the left or handing it off to the right with the occasional screen pass. The Aztecs aren’t very good this year, but let’s face it… neither is the Mountain West.

Notre Dame

Haters gonna hate. Despite having the countries toughest schedule we’re already starting to hear that the Irish haven’t played anyone. They beat up on Syracuse last weekend and fell in the polls. With Stanford, Florida State, Arizona State, and USC left on their schedule… the bottom line is simple: An undefeated Notre Dame team would be #1 in the country come January and a 1-loss Notre Dame team would probably get a spot in the playoff. So then there’s that. Heading into this weekend I think we’re going to see  a tough game on the defensive side of things and the Irish just go over and around Stanford. (Who struggled mightily with Washington and couldn’t move the ball at all against a USC team who gave up 37 points to Boston College… and Boston College then got beat by the 4th best team in the MWC.)

Results

Week 5: 8-5

Overall: 26-26

Week Six Predictions

Stanford at Notre Dame – Irish

Aztecs at Fresno – Fresno

Utah State at BYwho – Holy Rollers

Texas A&M at Miss State – MSU

Florida at Tennessee – Florida

Bama at Ole Miss – Bama

Oklahoma at TCU – Okies

Baylor at Texas – Baptists

Navy at Air Force – Falcons

LSU at Auburn – Tigers (of LSU)

Michigan at Rutgers – Rutgers

ASU at USC – Arizona State

Nebraska at Michigan State – MSU doesn’t lose at night

This is original content from Adam McLane. © adam mclane

]]>
http://adammclane.com/2014/09/30/college-football-thoughts-week-6-2014/feed/ 0