Screens and Teens – A Review

Screens and Teens – A Review

(The following is a review of the book Screens and Teens by Kathy Koch, Ph.D. For more information on Dr. Kathy and her book, check out her website.)

Raising happy, God-fearing children is an extremely complex task in a world filled with so many sources of information. Well-meaning families are completely overwhelmed by the prospect of managing the huge online world. Furthermore, the online world is changing so fast that parents born in the nineties will have as much to learn about as parents of the sixties and seventies.

Enter the book Screens and Teens…

Well-meaning parents find their protests against the media invasion into their families completely ineffective. Teens only hear their parents reactions as criticism and wall off during critical periods of their life and development. Rather than providing an outlook rooted in blame, this book acknowledges that media addiction is not their fault- they are a new product of the fast-changing world. However, the fresh approach offered doesn’t shirk the teen’s responsibilities associated with online access.

This book can be a game-changer because it is simplifying a complex topic into simple, straightforward solutions and interventions. The author’s answers have proven effective in reclaiming families overwhelmed by technology.  She speaks from a Christian perspective on who we are and who we are called to be that stretches beyond a random sprinkling of Bible verses.

This view is critical since it helps give a clear understanding of why the internet is so successful.  Playing to our five core needs of identity, security, belonging, purpose, competence, it pretends to offer all your child needs. However, these needs should be met through relationships with God and each other.

Key ideas in the book help parents understand the problems and provide solutions.  In Screens and Teens, Dr. Koch divides up the challenges posed by media into five lies incorporated into a teen’s life who has been raised by media. If they have been raised by social media, even a small extent, these ideas will be present in their world view.

These lies include – 

#1 – I am the center of my own universe

#2 – I deserve to be happy all the time

#3 – I must have my own choices

#4 – I am my own authority

#5 – Information is all I need so I don’t need teachers

Each of these beliefs and attitudes is examined individually, and examples are given of how this plays out. For example, if your child is always complaining, ‘I’m bored,’ he or she may be under the influence of the lie, “I deserve to be happy all the time.”

The author doesn’t stop at naming the challenges. She shows the solutions stemming from understanding what is going on. She relies on an understanding of life from your teen’s perspective. It also shows how to work with the beliefs and perspectives, not against it. Understandings of concepts, such as how your teen is operating on ‘relationship-based opinions’ are powerful tools in working painlessly with your teen.  Parents matter, and if you know how to work with your child, you can be a major force in the direction of their life.

Why is this Important?

As a young adult, I can vouch for the accuracy of these words in describing both peers my age and younger. Furthermore, the world we face is so different from the challenges of our grandparents and parents, and we have no one to look towards for guidance. Avoiding tech entirely is not an option. Without technology and social media, teens would be socially isolated and unable to function in a work atmosphere.

The environment created by rampant tech is dangerous. As she says, teens today are “addicted, tired, stressed… and depressed.”  As a pediatric nurse, I’ve personally witnessed the results of this new world of media.  I’ve worked with many stressed kids. Some meet criteria for actual mental health diagnosis, but most are just normal kids who have become overwhelmed by the amount of social interactions they are trying to maintain. An incredible number of my patients have cited social media as one of the key stressors that caused them to act on plans of self-harm. Given my experience, I cannot stress the urgency of being aware of the tech crisis enough.

How can I make it work for my family?

Each family is different when it comes to how they manage technology. I recommend reading through with highlighters and seeing what sounds familiar. She sets examples of how these challenges are expressed, in word for word phrases, you might hear from your teens. Then read and implement her small and simple responses to begin working on rebalancing your life.

Implementing even a few of Dr. Koch’s suggestions from Screens and Teens will be enough to create a healthy tech reset. She shares so many stories of the families she has saved and strengthened through responsible technology use. Could the next one be yours?

(If you enjoyed this post, you may also like 8 Software Tools Teens can Master Today.  In this post, you can learn how to make technology work for your child’s future goals.)

Sarah Frederes

Sarah Frederes is a homeschool graduate and a Dakota Corps Scholarship recipient, which allowed her to attend and graduate from college debt-free with a Summa Cum Laude and a BSN. She is the oldest of eleven children and has a love and passion for music, parrots, writing, gardening, and photography. You can find more of her writing and lovely photography on her personal blog All That is Gold.

 

 

 

 

Do you have a teen that is addicted to technology? Are you looking for a book that can help you connect with your teens in the digital age? Check out our review of Teens and Screens, the book designed to help parents understand teens and technology. #bookreview #homeschooling #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy #parentingteens

8 Software Tools Teens Can Master Today

8 Software Tools Teens Can Master Today

(The following is a guest post from Lolita Allgyer, Marketing Associate and advisor at Praxis.)

8 Software Tools Teens Can Master Today

Getting a job looks pretty complicated when you’re young. That world is far away, right? That comes after you graduate college and are ready to take on the world, correct?

Not really. In fact, today it’s never been easier to gain expertise in the areas that all businesses are eager to build out. Innovation has made it possible for young people like you to break into some of the coolest careers available! One of the best ways to set yourself apart today is to learn software tools that are common to many businesses. Here are just a few examples:

Google Suite

If your résumé says “detail-oriented” this should be on your list. Even if it’s not, mastering Google’s tools will give you experience quickly in the art of organizing and systematizing data. Get your Google Suite certification here.

Ideas for documenting your knowledge:

  • Write a blog series showing the little tricks most people don’t know.
  • Make a tutorial series outlining the basic concepts of each part of Google Suite.
  • Create a short webinar geared toward people who quickly want to navigate Google’s products.
  • Write a Medium article detailing how you mastered Google Suite.

Microsoft Excel

This is a must if you want any kind of analytical role. Without spreadsheets you’ll be left handicapped! Learn Excel and learn it well. Even for those who hate numbers and want nothing to do with data, mastering excel will give you an edge in the digital world, where many people aren’t organized. You can get many different levels of Excel certification here!

Ideas for documenting your knowledge:

  • Make a Youtube tutorial series (like this one created by a Praxis participant)
  • Create spreadsheets with data from your favorite sports team, and write an analysis of your findings
  • Find a small business you love and help them build a simple CRM 
  • Start tracking some of your routines and write an article breaking down what works and what doesn’t

Salesforce

Salesforce is today’s top CRM platform. If you’re considering a marketing or sales role, learning how to navigate a CRM is essential. Even if the companies you end up working for don’t use Salesforce, your basic knowledge of a CRM will be valuable for understanding the way sales and marketing funnels work! You can get your Salesforce Administrator Certification here.

Ideas for documenting your knowledge:

  • Build a basic CRM for a small business near you.
  • Create minute-long videos about your tips for learning Salesforce and post them to your social media.
  • Create a short podcast series where you teach Salesforce for those who have no clue where to start.
  • Coach someone through the process of learning the program!

Mailchimp

Email is still the biggest way businesses communicate with each other. It’s crucial to learn an email management software, especially for anyone who is interested in marketing or customer service! Mailchimp is one of the more common platforms. (Hubspot would be another example of a tool that fits in this category.) Chimp Essentials is a great course for learning Mailchimp! Check it out here.

Ideas for documenting your knowledge:

  • Build out an email funnel for a company you’d like to get hired at. Make sure your copy is strong and that you have the HTML files on standby so they can easily access them!
  • Create a simple mailing list of your own. Play around with signup forms, open and clickthrough rates, and email copy.
  • Teach a couple of small businesses near you how to use the platform for their companies!
  • Run a webinar where you teach the tricks you learned while studying Mailchimp

Facebook Ads

It’s an obvious for someone who wants to go into marketing. But I think it’s equally as valuable for salespeople and customer service associates to know what goes into running an ad! Facebook’s certifications can be found here.

Ideas for documenting your knowledge:

  • Build a small Shopify store and run ads to get people to buy your products
  • Find an entrepreneur who has a small marketing budget and offer to run ads for them.
  • Write a daily blog post about what you’ve learned in Facebook Ads world.
  • Put together a Tweet thread that summarizes what you’ve learned.

Google Analytics

Want to start your own business? Interested in sales or marketing? Then master Google Analytics! You’ll be empowered if you know what the data means and how to act on it! Access Google’s Analytics Academy here.

Ideas for documenting your knowledge:

  • Plug in your personal website and write an analysis of what you learned and what you can do to optimize the site.
  • Make screenshare videos of Google Analytics functions that are helpful to you and upload them to Youtube.
  • Write a simple E-book on Google Analytics and publish it.
  • Find marketing groups on Facebook and write up some blog posts on the topic to share with them.

(Need more great ideas for your teens?  Check out our other career planning posts.)

Zoom

Video conferencing is a big deal in today’s world. If you’re in customer service, sales, or any other role where you talk to people often, it’s good to have mastered the ins and outs of a service like Zoom. Mastering this tool also means being able to walk other people through minor tech issues with the program, so make sure you can communicate what you’ve learned effectively! Zoom has some pretty cool live training for each of its different functions. Check it out here!

Ideas for documenting your knowledge:

  • Create a tutorial teaching newbies how to run a webinar via Zoom.
  • Write a series of blog posts about creative ways to use the platform for business.
  • Record a live training session where you’re walking someone through the basics of Zoom.
  • Go on Quora and search for people’s questions about Zoom. Now that you’re an expert, you can answer them!

Trello

Want to manage a team someday? Thinking of starting a business? Then it’s time you learn to master your workflow! Trello is one of the best tools to plug in no matter what your job description is. There’s a pretty cool Trello course here.

Ideas for documenting your knowledge:

  • Invite your friends to Trello and plan a couple of events on the platform.
  • Try managing a project you’re completing solely through Trello. Write a Medium article about what you learned.
  • Create an Instagram or Facebook story showing people how you use Trello!
  • Create a time management course and showcase how Trello can help time management.

Final ideas on software tools teens can master – 

  1. You can host all these tools and your other skills on a free Crash profile. Using the Crash platform, you’ll be able to show your work in a beautiful visual format and create personalized pitches to companies you want to work for. Take the fun Crash career quiz to get started! 
  2. Remember to build skills in as many areas as possible. If you’re in sales, that’s great. Lots of people are in sales. But if killing a sales role AND you have a bunch of marketing tools in your back pocket, you’ll be able to leverage many more opportunities! In today’s world of opportunities, it pays to have a diverse portfolio!
  3. Documentation is the most important part! You can master all these tools, but if no one else knows what you’ve accomplished, it’s not going to be nearly as valuable to you in the long run. Be open about your learning process, and create value for others with the skills you’re building! 

Ready to take on the world of software? Let’s do it!

Loved this? Consider applying to Praxis. We’ll help you find and build your skills, then put them to work in a startup apprenticeship. You’ll get much more coaching like this, access to a community of entrepreneurial young people like you, and a portfolio of work that will speak for you wherever you go. 

How to Perpare Your Kids for After Graduation Lolita Allgyer

Lolita Allgyer is a homeschool grad who loves education. She is a Marketing Associate and advisor at Praxis, where she works with other young people to help them build careers they love through apprenticeships. She originally published this piece here on the Praxis blog. In her spare time she is learning as much about the world as possible. Her latest interests are French and the ukulele. Interested in an apprenticeship or just want to chat about this idea? She would love to hear your thoughts! Her email is lolita(at)discoverpraxis(dot)com.

 

 

Are you looking for great software tools teens can master today? Check out this great list to help propel your high school student forward!  #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy #teens #homeschooling

More Book Recommendations for Tweens & Teens

More Book Recommendations for Tweens & Teens

Are you looking for a great book for your tween or teen?  Check out these book recommendations from the students in the True North Homeschool Academy Writing Club!

Fantasy Book Recommendations

The Map to Everywhere series (four books), by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis; Two children along with their magical friends go on adventures together to find the pieces to the Map to Everywhere so they can save people they love. Fantasy.  Four stars (the third book has a less than satisfying ending in my opinion).

The Wingfeather Saga, by Andrew Peterson; Chronicles of Narnia/Lord of the Rings genre.  Five Stars. It is a wonderfully whimsical adventure with spectacular characters and some deep underlying themes.

“The Moffats.”, by Eleanor Estes; Four stars. An older book, this hilarious story is a laugh a minute, following the lives of the unforgettable Moffat family. I would recommend this for a younger audience (ages 7-12).

All the wrong questions Lemony Snicket, five stars,

The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm, by Christopher Paolini; Fantasy.  4.5 stars. A wonderful addition to the Inheritance Cycle!  It follows the further adventures of a dragon rider named Eragon, as he and Saphira work to establish a new home for dragons and riders alike.

Story Thieves, by James Riley, five stars

The Wings of Fire series, by Tui T. Sutherland.  You will laugh and cry!  Five stars.

Fiction Book Recommendations

Middle School: The Worst Years of my Life, by James Patterson.  Five stars.

Peanut Butter Friends in a Chop Suey World. A look at the world of mission work and cross-cultural experiences.

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins;  Not great fiction,  Three stars. I have often wondered why people liked this movie/book series, especially after my brother praised it rather highly (he has since repented of his blunders) and so in a quest to become educated in the world of literature, I began my quest by reading The first hunger games. I was rather disappointed, and half way through the second book, I was forced to put the book down. The main reason was it was rather gruesome, and gory, (not to mention multiple nude references) not only that but I felt rather ‘bummed’ after reading it because there doesn’t seem to be any authoritative hope, or redemption at the end. (plus it was just plain SAD!) The first book was tolerable, but I did not like the second one at all.

Beauty, by Robin McKinley, five stars.  This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.  Excellent vocabulary and unique storytelling.The Outlaws of Sherwood, by Robin McKinley, five stars. This is a retelling of Robin Hood.  Good character development and suspense.

Pictures of Hollis Woods, by Patricia Reilly Giff. This is a relatively short book about a girl in foster care, trying to find a family.  It’s very picturesque and descriptive, and Giff has a unique way of getting into her character’s personalities.  Fictional. Five stars.

Winnie the Horse Gentler, by Dandi Daley Mackall A fun story about horses and a young girl who must learn to live without her Mom. 5 Stars

The Imagination Station Series by Focus on the Family. For fans of FoF Imagination station and want more than just the radio drama. 5 Stars

Mystery Book Recommendations

Mr. Lemoncello’s Library series (three books in the series), by Chris Grabenstein;  Kids get placed in a library and have to solve riddles and puzzles to escape. Five stars.

Chasing Vermeer, by Blue Balliett; Fun and thought-provoking. Two kids go on an adventure to save a missing painting. In the illustrations, there is a puzzle that’s really fun to solve.

The Prisoner of the Pyrenees by C. R. Hegecock in her amazing Baker Family Adventures series. This book is part of my very favorite series. This series is a wonderful group of books, full of excitement, wonderful truths, and awesome mystery. Not to mention the great characters, settings, and plots. You could tear up on this one!

The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart;  Mystery/fiction. 5 stars.

Historical Fiction Book Recommendations

Listen to the Moon, by Michael Morpurgo; A boy and his father find a young girl who cannot speak on an island near their home. They try to figure out where she came from and what happened to her. Historical fiction (set in 1915). Four stars (it’s kinda sad).

Projekt 1065, by Alan Gratz; Historical Fiction.  5+ stars. This is a fantastic book!  It follows the story of an Irish teen who joins the Hitler Youth- as a spy.

The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, Self-published.  Five stars. If you’re looking for a good historical fiction series, this series is the place to go to. The characters are amazing, and the plots keep you wanting to read on.

Amos Fortune Free Man, by Elin Yates, five stars

Little Britches, by Ralph Moody. Autobiography.  5 stars! We read this one out loud, and everyone was next to, (if not in the midst of) tears at the end! It’s a biography about a boy, (Ralph Moody himself) as he grows from a boy, into a young man. It also portrays, in a very, very beautiful, realistic, touching, and even humorous aspects of family, and everything that goes with it; including love, joy, sorrow, and pain. One of the best books I have ever read! (it is actually apart of a series, but I haven’t read any of the other ones.) It also portrays the times very well, and is a great family read aloud!

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak; historical fiction. Will make you cry (a LOT!) and laugh . . but not as much as you will cry. 5 stars! Another one of the greats! A very, very creative, thoughtful, and interesting perspective on not only WWII, but also on regular life. It is for sure one of the best books I have ever read. Though, just a heads up, I wouldn’t allow anyone below the age of 12, maybe even 13 to read it, due to some swearing, and rather complicated concepts. Told from a unique perspective you follow the interesting life of Liesel Meminger. WARNING! You will probably cry at the end . . . HARD!

Miracles on Maple Hill, by Virginia Sorensen; 4 stars. Simple, and sweet. A story about family, and the beautiful countryside, plus all of the awesome miracles that come with both! (though, I gotta disagree with the author that winter is a nice time of year. Where I live, it’s the blue-fingered time of year).

Operation morning star by Dorothy LIlja Harrison. A brother and sister must travel across war-torn Germany to reach their father before he sails for America. 5 stars.

Gothic Fiction Book Recommendations

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë;  Gothic Fiction. An excellent read- grab your tissues!  4 stars. Made her cry.

Thriller Book Recommendations

The Cooper Kids Adventure series, by Frank E. Peretti.  Mystery/adventure/action.  Five stars. A great book series for children and teens alike who are looking for thrilling reads that are clean.

 Non-Fiction Book Recommendations

He’s Making Diamonds, by S. G. Willoughby.  Non-fiction.  Five stars. A non-fiction that is applicable to many in their life. It’s super encouraging with very very good truths and illustrations.

The Elements of Style, by William Strunk;  Four stars.  Writing\grammar.  A great start to the confusing world of writing style.  It covers everything from punctuation to format.

Romance Book Recommendations

The Thief, the Damsel and the Dragon by Angela R Watts; Self-published. Romance/contemporary fiction. five stars. A unique romance with a very intriguing plot.

This booklist was compiled by our Writing Club for AWesome People! We meet bi-monthly and have a blast talking good books and great writing! Next year we’ll also be offering Jr. High Writing Club! 

Do you struggle to find quality books for your tween or teen? Check out these book recommendations from the crew in the True North Writing Club! #homeschool #homeschoolreading #booklist #tweens #teens #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy

Unique Gift Ideas for Tweens and Teens

Unique Gift Ideas for Tweens and Teens

(I have been blessed to participate in the Homeschooling through the Holidays series over on LifeofaHomeschoolMom.com, be sure to visit the entire series!)

The holiday season is just around the corner! Gift giving is an important part of our Holiday tradition, along with stringing miles of lights and decorating multiple trees, filling our large 4 x 4 farmhouse with holiday cheer! If you are in a rut with gift-giving or feel like its materially oriented and has lost the joy of giving and gratitude, consider giving gifts that will contribute to experiences and that you can share together.

What hobbies, skills or crafts grab your kids’ interest that you could encourage? Is there a local guild or artisan around who could mentor/ help them? What about YouTube links in a card as part of the present?

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Are you looking for a unique gift for your tween or teen?  Check out these great ideas from True North Homeschool Academy! #Christmas #homeschooling #TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy