Brett.Ullman

Category - technology

Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?

So much information in this article. I would challenge everyone to take a few minutes and walk through it.

Over the last decade, anxiety has overtaken depression as the most common reason college students seek counseling services. In its annual survey of students, the American College Health Association found a significant increase — to 62 percent in 2016 from 50 percent in 2011 — of undergraduates reporting “overwhelming anxiety” in the previous year.

Those numbers — combined with a doubling of hospital admissions for suicidal teenagers over the last 10 years, with the highest rates occurring soon after they return to school each fall — come as little surprise to high school administrators across the country, who increasingly report a glut of anxious, overwhelmed students.

Teenagers raised in more affluent communities might seemingly have less to feel anxious about. But Suniya Luthar, a professor of psychology at Arizona State University who has studied distress and resilience in both well-off and disadvantaged teenagers, has found that privileged youths are among the most emotionally distressed young people in America. “These kids are incredibly anxious and perfectionistic,” she says, but there’s “contempt and scorn for the idea that kids who have it all might be hurting.”

For many of these young people, the biggest single stressor is that they “never get to the point where they can say, ‘I’ve done enough, and now I can stop,’ ” Luthar says. “There’s always one more activity, one more A.P. class, one more thing to do in order to get into a top college. Kids have a sense that they’re not measuring up. The pressure is relentless and getting worse.”

Anxious kids certainly existed before Instagram, but many of the parents I spoke to worried that their kids’ digital habits — round-the-clock responding to texts, posting to social media, obsessively following the filtered exploits of peers — were partly to blame for their children’s struggles. To my surprise, anxious teenagers tended to agree.

Click here for the entire article.

How the smartphone affected an entire generation of kids

As I continue my research into loneliness I find more and more articles talking about social media. We need to make sure we don’t have a knee-jerk reaction and just say all social media is bad. This article has a very balanced perspective.

However, that changed a few years ago, when I started to notice big shifts in teens’ behavior and attitudes in the yearly surveys of 11 million young people that I analyze for my research. Around 2010, teens started to spend their time much differently from the generations that preceded them. Then, around 2012, sudden shifts in their psychological well-being began to appear. Together, these changes pointed to a generational cutoff around 1995, which meant that the kids of this new, post-millennial generation were already in college.

These teens and young adults all have one thing in common: Their childhood or adolescence coincided with the rise of the smartphone.

Of course, correlation doesn’t prove causation: Maybe unhappy people use screen devices more.

To be clear, moderate smartphone and social media use – up to an hour a day – is not linked to mental health issues. However, most teens (and adults) are on their phones much more than that.

Click here for the entire article.

Have you ever wondering how checking your phone every 5 minutes, every day for 4-5 years might affect you physiologically?

Love to hear your thought on this.

Did you hear Justin Bieber refused Satanic child abuse?

Really great article. Please take the time to read our Christian response to Fake News.

Many Christian influencers, especially those on social media, contribute to this trend by spreading stories such as the Bieber one or by adding sensationalistic anecdotes and hearsay about newborn sacrifices at hospitals, Oprah Winfrey endorsing face creams made from infants’ foreskins, Illuminati plots by entertainers such as Katy Perry, Jay-Z and Beyonce, and other claims.

It’s an understandable reaction, but it’s not the right thing to do.

People should be able to look to Christians as a source of truth, not a source of panic.

When we ascribe darkness and Satanic attribution to everything we see (or think we see), the devil doesn’t have to do much work himself.

We see everything a little bit blacker.

As Lewis feared, it will make us into devils.

Click here for the entire article.

SO GOOD! Please take a few minutes to read. Love your comments. Thanks

Truth vs Fear – Please stop posting fear based content…

In the past year, I have seen a growing trend in the social media posts that I see … fear. I don’t really know where to go with this post as I write it. I could easily talk about all the fear that is in articles today talking about personal health

  • doctors say these 5 foods you should never eat
  • 2 exercises you must never do
  • don’t you dare exercise before bed
  • don’t you ever eat this food before bed
  • don’t ever eat this for breakfast

Or articles I see from parents:

  • these 5 apps you MUST delete from your kid’s phones
  • don’t have your kids on screens until they are at least 5
  • don’t you dare do this as a parent …

Or news articles

  • what really happened at …
  • the truth about …
  • The real story about …
  • Here are the Facts …
  • _____ destroys someone who believes in _______
  • The Eclipse on Aug 22nd was the date of the 2nd coming of Jesus. (I read 2 dozen Facebook messages and as you can tell they were all wrong)

Or the crazy stories that have come across my social media feeds recently (actual articles)

  • Justin Bieber: Pedophiles Run The ‘Evil’ Music Industry
  • Katy Perry Dragged off Stage as Monarch Mind Control Meltdown Goes Viral
  • Police: Chester Bennington Was Murdered

Is it just me or have we lost any basic critical reflection as a society? Many people seem to believe and share anything that comes to their social media feeds without doing any checking.

Let me say something that I would hope you already know:

Just because it is on the internet does not mean it is true.

I would also say that just because you want something to be true, or feel something is true does not make it true.

Something is true because it is true.

I also know that there are differing sides to any topic and that is where the good healthy debate comes in to play. We must be able to challenge the status quo in areas but it has to be done with facts and not fear.

There are some assumptions with the language in all of these articles:

  • We really don’t know what is happening but the person posting does
  • If we only “opened our eyes” we would see that is truly happening
  • For some articles, there is this vast conspiracy that if we only knew the facts we would believe
  • We are pretty stupid as people and need to “get with the program” and what is really going on

So how do we move from what all of these articles have in common – fear; and look towards teaching people how to learn what is true or not.

Let’s just take one online article and see if we can learn how to distinguish the difference between fake articles and real ones.

A few weeks ago Chester Beddington from the band Linken Park took his own life. As someone who struggles with anxiety/depression, these stories always hit close to home. Within days I saw people posting this article on social media talking about how he did not commit suicide but was murdered. This shifts all the conversation on mental health, suicide prevention, supporting friends and family etc (where the conversations should be) and moves it to a homicide investigation which by the way is just not true. So how do we know something is just not true.

I had some conversation with a few people related to this article and no matter what I said they could not think any other way other than this article was true. I had statements like “It might be true”, or “I think it is true”. We need to use some thought as we look online. I like the infographic below. It asks you to look at things from 8 perspectives.

So looking at this article about Chester being murdered.

  1. Consider the Source – the website YourNewsWire.com is not one I have ever heard of. A quick google search shows all kinds of people talking about how this site is a fake news site. Even the site itself has a tab for conspiracies. Not a site that I would trust for news.
  2. Check the author – The article says the author is Baxter Dmitry. A quick search and there is really no information on this guy. Not something a credible news source would be. Even their own website has basically no information.
  3. Check the date – There is a date for this article. It is not an older article being reposted which happens to often.
  4. Check your Biases – this is always a tough one. I do come from the bias that this article is false and fake news. We all come at the news with a bias. I just want there to be something in this article that is newsworthy and not all hearsay. For me to move to another direction there has to be something real to make me move in that direction.
  5. Read beyond – We need to go further than the headlines. I get it. The headline says Chester was murdered and then we have to look beyond that.
  6. Supporting Sources – this is where this article falls apart. From what I can see there are basically no sources. It says “police have reportedly launched a murder investigation? Did they or did they not? The title of the article says he WAS murdered. The police either did or did not launch an investigation. It says that “insiders beliving that it is extremely likely”. So which insiders? Who are” they”? The entire article is the same. No real evidence and lots of generalizations and no proof.
  7. Is it a joke – to be honest, I assumed it was when I first read it due to the shoddily written article with no sources but I think that there are people who actually believe this
  8. Ask the experts. Sites like Snopes say this is fake and if you read the comments in this article people then call Snopes fake. There are no experts arguing this. No real reporters or actual facts.

There is another great website that I would encourage people to go through. https://checkology.org They have a number of great videos to walk through 4 main steps to decide if something is real or fake. They talk about how anything posted could be made to entertain as opposed to inform. Great thoughts.

  1. Filtering News and Information
  2. Exercising Civic Freedoms
  3. Navigating Today’s Information Landscape
  4. How to know what to believe

I think that we have to be really careful what we post these days. We live in a world where anyone can post a blog or news article online. In our current culture we have a responsibiltiy to not be perpetuating any articles that are just not real. Before you post to take some time to think through what you are posting, sharing and “liking” online.

Love to hear any comments on this. How do you discern real news from fake or fear based news?
Thanks

Heading into my 20th year speaking… can you help?

As I head into fall 2017, I am excited to begin my 20th year as a speaker. I am honoured to have had ongoing opportunities to speak across Canada and the US for 2 decades on topics like mental health, media, sexuality, pornography, dating, and men. Thank you so much to the hundreds of people, likely including you reading this now, who have supported us both financially and with prayer over the past 20 years. I could never have dreamed up how far this ministry has come since first starting out. As my wife now tells me, “I was terrible”! However now, I see daily the fruit of mine and others investments when students and parents gain new perspectives and hope from one of my talks.

The favourite parts of my job are researching, creating presentations and then to deliver those presentations in order to challenge people to connect their ancient faith with this modern world. I want to encourage my listeners to “enter the danger” on topics that may be difficult to work through. In these confusing times, we need Christ centered perspectives and intelligent insights into current matters more than ever. The students we are mentoring are looking to us to help them navigate these topics and we all need better equipping.  One of my least favourite things I need to do is fundraising.  One of the least liked, shared or commented on posts that I put on social media are about fundraising. The hard part with this is that for a non-profit organization like Worlds Apart, fundraising is necessary for our functioning.  As a small charity, our funds come in from 3 sources

40% – speaking engagement honorariums
40% – tax receiptable donations/fundraising
20% – sales of books, DVD’s, digital downloads

For this ministry year, I am looking forward to these projects below:

  1. Creation of a App to be used before, during, and after my speaking engagements
  2. Filming the new dating.for.life presentation
  3. Filming the media.faith.culture talk for students and parents
  4. Updating aging technology

I’d like to tell you more about each project in the hopes that one or more of them may interest you specifically and you may be prompted to give.

(1) Brett Ullman Speaking App I have the chance to speak to tens of thousands of students, parents, and leaders each year. One of my struggles is how to engage people attending my talks better both before, during and after my talks. An app will allow me to help people with taking notes during the presentations, live polling and resourcing people in all aspects of my talks. My talks are meant to spur people into deeper, more intentional thinking and providing an app to support the talks will provide more easily accessible information to the audience. This is in keeping with current technology trends in society today.

Total needed for App $5000

(2) Filming new dating.for.life talk. The demand for my talks outweighs my abilities to go in person to every audience. With the talks being filmed, we are able to get these out to people digitally (Vimeo on Demand and on DVD). Our past talks that we have filmed have been bought in countries all over the world which is really exciting as many of those places would not be able to afford to fly me in. I want to reach as many people as possible with true, hope filled conversation. With each DVD/digital download sold, more people are taught and more income is generated to sustain this ministry. To film, edit, print DVD’s, and create a trailer for the dating talk, I need to raise $7,500.

(3) Filming media.faith.culture talk. This is one of my most popular talks that I do challenging people in all aspects of our media choices, faith growth and engaging our culture. It would be amazing to get this talk available to people. Similarly to the dating talk, we need to raise $7,500 for this project. I would love to film this talk in Winter 2018.

Total needed for filming of both talks $15,000

(4) Technology: now this is not an exciting place for fundraising but technology is also something I use daily in my office or when I am speaking. Presently my laptop is almost 6 years old and my desktop is 5 1/2 years old. When I am speaking I need a current, functioning laptop will be able to be used for my presentations without any issues. My data projector is also aging at 8 years old. One of the reasons I am able to keep the attention of students so well is my use of technology to connect with them.

What I need in the technology area

  1. iMac – This is the main computer I use for all aspects of my work when I am not on the road speaking. Cost ~$3,000
  2. MacBook – This is the computer I use for all of my speaking presentations. Cost ~$2,000
  3. Data Projector ~$900

Total needed for technology – $5,900

Total fundraising needs – $25,900

I have to be honest this is an overwhelming amount for a small charity like ours. One thing I have heard from people over the years is that if I ever need help, I just need to ask. So this is me asking.

  1. Can you help? You can make a one-time donation or monthly donations through Canada Helps by clicking here. Some people support at $10 a month while for others they might be able to support at $50, $75 or $100 a month. For others, it is a one-time donation. Every donation helps, please don’t think that what you can contribute does not matter. “For anything great to happen, what is needed is a long obedience in the same direction.” Let’s make something great happen and do this together.
  2. Can the business you work for help? I know many companies offer donations to charities. Some businesses want to do anonymous donations which are always ok. Some companies also do matching donations so if you donated $500 they will match and give another $500. Maybe you’d like to stretch your donation dollars by looking into your workplace giving plans.
  3. Do you know of any foundations that might be able to help? Please send through their information.
  4. Networking: If you cannot donate, would you be willing to send this to someone who might be able to? Would you consider telling your church, Christian or Catholic school and other networks about my talks so that they may look into bringing me in to speak to their group.
  5. Purchasing: You could help by purchasing a talk from our store. There are 4 books and 4 DVDs or digital downloads available. All money from these products goes back into the charity. Click here for the store.

I look forward to continuing to empower and equip students, parents, and leaders in tough conversations with your help. Please consider donating. If you have any questions please send me an email at brett@brettullman.com.

Thanks for your time.
Brett Ullman
Worlds Apart
www.brettullman.com

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

In my Loneliness research, the conversation on how Social Media might be affecting a new generation keeps coming up. Here is a great yet scary article. Just because we like social media does not mean it is good for us. Love to hear peoples thoughts on this.

I’ve been researching generational differences for 25 years, starting when I was a 22-year-old doctoral student in psychology. Typically, the characteristics that come to define a generation appear gradually, and along a continuum. Beliefs and behaviors that were already rising simply continue to do so. Millennials, for instance, are a highly individualistic generation, but individualism had been increasing since the Baby Boomers turned on, tuned in, and dropped out. I had grown accustomed to line graphs of trends that looked like modest hills and valleys. Then I began studying Athena’s generation.

Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states. The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear. In all my analyses of generational data—some reaching back to the 1930s—I had never seen anything like it.

The experiences they have every day are radically different from those of the generation that came of age just a few years before them.

Psychologically, however, they are more vulnerable than Millennials were: Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.

But the allure of independence, so powerful to previous generations, holds less sway over today’s teens, who are less likely to leave the house without their parents. The shift is stunning: 12th-graders in 2015 were going out less often than eighth-graders did as recently as 2009.

One line in the article stopped me.

So what are they doing with all that time? They are on their phone, in their room, alone and often distressed.

I feel like I could have just pasted the entire article. Just a taste above.
Please click here for the entire article.