Brett.Ullman

Category - youth workers

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.

’13 Reasons Why’ holds many important lessons for parents of teenagers

As a full time speaker who spends 1/2 of his life speaking to high school age students I think this article is a great wake up call for parents. I find that many students today seem to be raising themselves with parents who are so busy with the downward spiral of their own lives that they have little time / capacity left to be actual parents to their own children.

Successfully parenting today’s teens requires close supervision, effective limit-setting and SM monitoring. Identifying symptoms of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal thoughts is imperative for early intervention and improved outcomes. But what is most important for parents — and lacking in 13 Reasons Why — is curiosity. Curiosity about teens’ friends, hobbies, homework or hairstyle choices. Parents too often dismiss their teens’ emotions as entitled, or their school-related struggles as trite, which leads to a feeling among teens that they are misunderstood and alone. But adolescence isn’t trite. High school experiences and the decisions made during those formative years shape teens’ mental and emotional development for life.

Please take a few minutes to read this article.

Click here for the entire article.

Serving Parents Who Do Not Go To Your Church

This is a really good article for anyone who works with students in the church world. I have often said that a Jr/Sr High Pastors job needs to be educating and empowering parents as well. As a parent myself I had to take a second and try and figure out if I am one of the parenting styles he mentions:

  • Helicopter Parents– they hover too close to the kids at all times.
  • Karaoke Parents– they try too hard to be cool, often parroting back what their kids do, say, and wear.
  • Dry-Cleaner Parents– drop their kids off for others to raise.
  • Volcano Parents– erupt over minor issues. (If you’ve never witnessed this just spend more time at Wal-Mart.  You’re bound to encounter these parents.)
  • Dropout Parents– these parents have just quit on their kids.
  • Bullied Parents– can’t stand up to their kids.
  • Groupie Parents– treat their kids like rock stars.
  • Commando Parents – let rules trump relationships.

There are some good practical ways to engage the parents of the students you work with.

Click here for the entire article.

The Adolescent Brain – What All Teens Need to Know

Amazing blog. Parents, teachers, youth workers and young adults please check it out.

Adolescents have dynamic, open, hungry minds. They are creative, brave and curious. It has to be this way. The only way to learn many of the skills they will need to be strong, healthy adults will be to stretch beyond what they’ve always known and to experiment with the world and their place in it.

The adolescent brain is wired to drive them through this transition, but there will be a few hairpin curves along the way. Skilful drivers are not born from straight roads.

Most of their behaviour, even the most baffling, frustrating, infuriating parts of it, can be explained by the changes that are taking place in their brains. This can feel as confusing for them as it does to us. It doesn’t mean they can sit back and blame their brains for their troublesome behaviour. They need to manage these changes in a healthy, adaptive way, but to do this they need information. When they have the information, they expand their capacity to respond to the world in ways that will help them thrive.

Click here for the entire blog.

Dear Church, 11 signs you’re burning out your staff.

Something I see as I travel around Canada and the US speaking is talking to many church staff members teetering on the edge of burnout or breakdown. Working 80 hours a week ongoing is not a badge of honour; it is actually a problem. Some great thoughts here. Senior leaders take a few minutes to see if you might be burning out your staff.

I saw burnout after burnout as staff members fell away from the church, and in some cases the faith, after bad experiences.

My favourite. #11. “You think this list is dumb.”

I took a lot of heat when I mentioned this post on Twitter. If this list fills you with rage, you might be this list.

Click here for the article.

How can parents keep updated on the changing trends in culture?

I often get asked how I keep current on today’s social media, current trends, music and other aspects of todays popular culture. Below are the blogs that I sign up for. I would encourage all youth workers and parents to sign up for all of them. I am NOT saying just “like” them on social media but actually sign up for their blogs.  It means you will get updates directly to your mailbox each week on where current culture is and where culture is heading. All these are free.

  1. Center for Parent and Youth Understanding: Click Here. Sign up for their weekly e-update
  2. Fuller Youth Institute: Click Here. Bi Weekly updates.
  3. Azuza Pacific University HomeWord: Click Here. Sign up for their Weekly Culture Updates.
  4. The Youth Culture Report: Click Here. Daily youth culture trends
  5. Pluggedin: Click Here. Sign up for their newsletter and choose Culture Clips
  6. Youth Ministry Unleashed: Click Here.
  7. Brett Ullman: Click Here. Sign up for daily or weekly updates.

If you know of other great blogs let me know and I will add them to this list.
Enjoy