“It’s this app that basically tells you how pretty you are.” Ugh. Here we go again. The Technology Monster is rearing its ugly, critical head. Several of the high school girls in my group recently started talking about an app that rates their attractiveness. They’re honestly all over app stores. They’re called everything from Beauty Score to Ugly Meter, and, of course, they’ve caught on with adolescent girls. They basically use an algorithm that bases on attractiveness on a mathematical equation called the “golden ratio” that defines perfect proportions. It scans a user’s face or photo, and then rates that person based on the proportion and placement of…Read More
A big part of the work we do at Daystar is coaching kids on how to calm their brains and bodies. If a child is struggling with anxiety or anger, ADHD or depression, social struggles or strong emotions, learning to regulate is a foundational skill. We teach kids how to get from their “Dinosaur Brain” back to their thinking brain - the part of the brain that allows us all to manage emotions and think rationally.
Learning this allows kids to navigate test anxiety, homework hurdles, sibling rivalry, friendship struggles, game day jitters…
David recently had the privilege of being a guest on The Open Door Sisterhood podcast with “longtime friends and authors” Krista Gilbert and Alexandra Kuykendall. Here’s what they had to say about the episode.
“Is parenting in this day and age difficult? Well, let’s start with the statistic that, currently, in the U.S. we have the highest numbers of anxiety in kids than any other time in history. Anxiety, along with depression are at a peak point. According to the CDC, the suicide rate is triple what it was in 2000. Substance abuse? Loneliness? All on the rise...Read More
Those of you who follow us know we enjoy a good “family experiment” -something you can do together with your kids, that supports connection, generates conversation and develops critical thinking.
Here’s a short video to watch with your kids who have a cell phone. Have some conversation after you watch the video, and be sure to listen for what your kids have to say before you share your opinion or observations.Read More
We love introducing you to our amazing staff at Daystar. We happen to believe we work with the most talented, invested, passionate group of folks, who have such a heart for kids and families. They are a huge part of why we love the work we do so much. Getting to work alongside such amazing people (and dogs!) makes the meaningful work we do even more extraordinary. Today we’re excited to introduce you to Alex Hopkins. Alex does amazing work with boys of all ages. One of his many talents includes integrating play therapy into the work he does with children and families. He sees boys on an individual basis, and leads some wonderful groups with elementary aged boys all the way through high school.
Today he shares some needed thoughts on navigating the world of video games, and some insight on what gaming accomplishes for boys…Read More
As much as technology feels like a beast we’re trying to tame, we’re wanting to identify ways we can make it work for us. And ways our kids can use it for good.
One of those ways can be to create a Gratitude Album. I challenge many of the adolescents I work with to create this on their phone. I encourage younger kids to build this on an ipad of their own, or…
We’ve long suspected there to be a correlation between screen use and happiness. We now have our hands on even more data to confirm an adolescent’s psychological well-being decreases the more hours they spend on screens. The newest findings align with previous studies linking frequent screen use to teenage anxiety and depression.
We’d strongly recommend you spend a few minutes reading about the findings from this recent study. Take a close look at…Read More
For several years now, Sissy Goff has been teaching a class called "Taming the Technology Monster." She’s been passing along important information to parents about raising digital natives. Daily we sit with parents who comment that managing, overseeing and safeguarding technology is one of the biggest hurdles they face on a daily basis.
Sissy has put the valuable information from this class into a booklet highlighting 8 important principles for parents to circle around. You can get this book…Read More
On this next Monday and Tuesday, Sissy and David are honored to be guests on Focus on the Family’s broadcast. They’ll be talking about the 4 emotional milestones that are highlighted in Are My Kids on Track:
You can check it…Read More
Really. It’s called Doki Doki Literature Club. It took me three times to get the name right when a girl I was counseling mentioned it to me. And, even though you might not be familiar with it, either, you want to pay attention if you’re a parent. Kids watch videos of it on YouTube. It was nominated for “trending game of the year” at the 2018 SXSW Gaming Awards (which are evidently a big deal in the gaming world). But, what you really need to know is that, in its first three months of release, it was downloaded over one million times, and exceeded two million downloads about a month later (according to Wikipedia). And that kids are talking about it.
At first glance, Doki Doki Literature Club appears to be a lighthearted dating simulator, but is actually a psychological horror game. The game opens with a warning: “This game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed,” and then has an intro similar to your kids’ favorite cartoon. The girl characters talk about “valuing happiness”, “finding comfort in the world of books,” and being “deceivingly cute girl with an assertive punch.” Sounds harmless enough. It’s about a male high school student who joins the literature club, which is made up of these four female students.
As a player, you interact with the other characters, with the feeling that you’re controlling the action. But, in reality, you aren’t. And things turn very dark fairly quickly. There are themes of depression, rape, abuse, and suicide. A website called kotaku.com, discusses the plotline and the evolution of a character named Sayori. “By the time Sayori tells the player character that she’s severely depressed, she’s clearly teetering on the edge of a breakdown, tearfully confessing her love for the player character. Even if you say that you love her back, her mood doesn’t improve. In fact, her inability to be happy that her crush is reciprocated makes her even sadder.”
The game contains optional endings. In one ending, one of the members stabs herself to death, and another finishes the game sitting beside her dead body. In another ending, another member takes her life. And, even adult game reviewers talk about how frightening and disturbing the game is. On Polygon.com, a reviewers says, “As I crawled into this “second run,” I wasn’t just horrified; I was mentally trapped in the game's world and its antics. But I still wanted to dive back in, and I spent time with myself to understand what I had to overcome in order to continue the game. In the process, I realized how Doki Doki Literature Club utilizes an underrated aspect of the horror experience: control, or the lack thereof.”
And this is a game the kids we love are playing. As always, we want to safeguard our kids online. We want to play the games they’re downloading first. Make sure we have parental controls set up, so we know what they’re watching. And we want to have conversations about the dangers of even seemingly innocent content.
I read one website that said that The First Rule of Doki Doki Literature Club is not to talk about Doki Doki Literature Club. We don’t want the kids we love to have that rule about this game, or any other trend that catches their technologically hungry eyes. For more information on how to help, you can grab a copy of Taming the Technology Monster. And follow along with us for more information on Technology Tuesday’s about what kids are watching (and playing and posting) and what we can do to help.
Every time we speak on technology, we’re asked about YouTube. Kids of all ages are investing significant amounts of time and energy on this platform, watching everything from cartoons to comedy sketches to vlogs to other kids playing video games. It’s hard to know how to protect kids…and sometimes hard to know what you might be protecting them from.
Thankfully, there is a version of YouTube called YouTube kids, with built in protections. But we wanted to give you a little more information on some additional ways you can safeguard your little ones. And, in a couple of weeks, we’ll be posting some important information regarding YouTube and the teenagers you love…Read More
“Let me check my map to see where she is.”
Last night, I sat with a group of high school girls while we were waiting for others to show up. One of the girls pulled out her phone, touched her “Find My Friends” app, and all of a sudden, the photos of several of her closest people showed up, all around town…Read More
For this Technology Tuesday, we’re wanting to let you in on where we’re heading these days with Raising Boys and Girls' technology! You may have noticed that we’re purposefully trying not to flood your inbox with emails. But, we’re also trying to put out as much helpful information as we can on social media these days. We put up activities we think might help you and your kiddos, quotes we think might inspire you, and try to lighten…Read More
Season 2 was just announced. It will be released on Netflix on May 18. The preview is every bit as provocative looking as the past season, shrouded in mystery and Polaroid photos. These folks know how to bring their A game with all of the best teenage-angst/alluring/trendy means possible to build hype for this show that took the teenage world by storm last spring.
In case you missed it, 13 Reasons Why was the television show we heard more kids talking about in our offices than any other show in 2017…Read More
A day doesn’t go by where I don’t hear something about Fortnite. It’s the game the majority of boys (of all ages) seem to be talking about these days. It was something completely different a year ago, and chances are good it will be something completely different a year from now. But for today, it’s Fortnite. Though it’s rated “T” for Teen, many parents of younger boys are allowing boys to explore it.
Many parents have compromised because of it’s cartoonish nature, or the lack of profanity or blood. There are sites and commentaries arguing the advantages of strategic thinking, teamwork and creativity. Equally so, there are sites and commentaries arguing...Read More
Happy Technology Tuesday/almost Ash Wednesday!
We are big fans of Lent around Raising Boys and Girls…if you can be big fans of Lent. At least, we’re fans of paring back, taking time to reflect and remember, and wait with a little more hunger and expectation for Easter. This year, we’ve got a Lenten challenge for...Read More
We get asked at every parenting seminar, in every school and church where we speak. “When is the right age to give kids a cell phone...?”
We recently heard about a new trend that is sweeping the country, and will undoubtedly be a part of our answer from here on out. It’s called #waituntil8th and is for parents who feel concerned about the effects of smartphones on the kids they love. One such mom in Austin, TX started the movement...Read More
Last month, we were teaching our class called Taming the Technology Monster. As always, by the time I finished talking, the parents in the room looked stricken. It’s probably the most alarming issue for parents of all ages in this technology-saturated world. One woman raised her hand and said, “I’m a mom of littles and you’ve sufficiently terrified me. Can you tell me one thing that technology has done for good in the lives of our kids?”
There are a lot of things. We are big fans of Common Sense Media and the Empathy and Social Skills building apps you can find there for kids...Read More