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Keeping in Contact September 14, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Families.
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As I was perusing the Sunday papers I noticed a gadget for sale which is a child’s digital watch with a GPS locator in, so that parents can keep tabs on where their offspring are. But more than that, if the strap is undone by anyone other than the parent it sends a text to the parent letting them know that this has happened.

Now as someone old enough to remember growing up in the days when we went off playing for an hour or two with our parents knowing roughly where we were, this all seems a bit odd. I know we parents can worry but where does this all end? When do we equip children to be out of contact?

I wonder if we are in danger of creating a very infantile culture. It seems to me that babies need to be in constant contact, and we want to know where babies are to make sure they’re safe. But isn’t part of maturing the ability to be out of contact and be able to negotiate life safely? But as we are constantly connected either by GPS watch, or mobile, or Facebook… when do we mature?

Youth Stats September 1, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Young people.
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The BBC has got an interesting report by the OECD which finds that 15 year old girls in the UK are more likely to get drunk than in any other developed country and more so than 15 year old lads in the UK. This makes for a good shock headline for the article, and whilst it is a serious issue that youth workers need to be aware of, right at the end however are a couple of sentences to celebrate some of the good work going on here in the UK.

It states that ‘children in the UK enjoy a high quality of school life and enjoy school much more than many of their international counterparts. Also bullying is less frequent and teenage suicides are less common in the UK than in most other industrialised countries’.

Is it Just me? August 4, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Young people.
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There is, what I think is, a rather worrying report on the BBC website today about the increasing numbers of teenagers ‘sexting’. Sending intimate or sexually explicit images by ‘phone. The report highlights the dangers of this and in the middle of it there is this quote from Helen Penn from CEOP The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, which I’m sure is an excellent organisation. However, she says “We can completely understand why young people want to post these images to each other.” Perhaps it’s just me being prudish or old fashioned but given all the inherent dangers or problems associated with this … I can’t.

Real Friends? August 3, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Media, Young people.
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There’s been 3 items about social networking that have caught my attention in the past few days

The first was the report written by 15 year old Matthew Robson claiming that few of his friends ued Twitter and wanted stuff for free off the internet. It seems to challenge some of the previously held views about the way teenagers use the internet

Second was Archbishop Vincent Nichols reflections that over use of soical networking leads to young people not being able to form authentic friendships

Finally was Thought for the Day by Giles Fraser that argued that too often church was only interested in ‘thick communities’ ie the traditional close knit community. Whereas for young people who were different, either through ethnicity, sexual orientation, faith, fashion or whatever then the ‘thin community’ on-line provided a place for them to find genuine community.

Different views, different ages. No real conclusions but a discussion that youthworkers need to keep up with in the coming years / months / weeks depending on how fast all this changes!

Lack of contentment June 21, 2009

Posted by John Stephenson in Media, Youth Work.
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I’ve had a busy week and there are a number of items that I’ve read but haven’t had time to post about sio will spread them out over the next few days.

On Tuesday the Times reported on the fact that we are better off than we have ever been, but we have lost any sense of contentment. The reason? The Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggests that this is because the institutions of the past – including family and church – provided ‘commitment devices’ that stopped us thinking only of our own interests. We lose things because of the rampant march to individualism. This is all part of their publication ‘Contemporary Social Evils’.

As I think about youth work I am left wondering if we are pampering to societies norms rather than offering alternatives that enable young people to think differently about the world?

Neets Increasing June 17, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Young people.
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There’s an article on the BBC Website that makes for sobering reading. It highlights the latest statistic that the number of young people Not in Employment Education or Training (NEET) has risen to more than 1 in 10.

Christian Lad Culture June 5, 2009

Posted by Andrew in Youth Work.
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I’ve just got back from the SU Conference and was struck by something one of the speakers said. He commented that he is noticing a trend of laddishness and laddetteness amonst some Christians. In their attempt to be genuinely human they were neglecting the challenge to ‘Be Holy’. It’s a trend that I’ve noticed and find quite concerning. Perhaps it’s a sign of old age that I disaprove of what young people (in their 20’s) are doing, or perhaps it’s a warning from one generation to the next.