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Can You Keep Up with What's "OK?"

"Coming Out" With A Shirt

Recently childhood actress, singer, dancer, and influencer JoJo Siwa who even has a clothing line featured on and in stores, came out on social media. She didn't actually speak the words, instead, she allowed her t-shirt to do the "talking".

Over 54 million fans, across TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube heard her. As CNN pointed out:

There's no precedent for what JoJo did -- no star of her caliber, at her age, whose audience is made up of mostly elementary schoolers, has come out so publicly. And JoJo, with her unflappable joy, is an example unlike any LGBTQ young people have had.

The now 17 year old became popular during her time on the TV show Dance Moms. Since then, her over the top and larger than life persona has been pulling in young fans who are drawn to her bright style and confidence.

It's always good to keep up with those influencing our students and to know that they are not shy about using their platforms to communicate their values and beliefs. One thing is very clear to our teens whether we agree with it or not: it's all about who you identify WITH.

Unfortunately we are also not dealing with a level playing field. If you find yourself on the wrong end of an issue or identity, you can easily be cancelled. It's all a part of the "cancel culture." What is cancel culture? According to the New York Times, it's — the phenomenon of promoting the “canceling” of people, brands and even shows and movies due to what some consider to be offensive or problematic remarks or ideologies.

You add to it an element of Identity Politics and you now have people being ridiculed because they aren't willing to openly embraced the espoused views of those who seem to be in charge of progressive culture.

The So What?! Teens who look up to Jojo or other influencers are now under the impression that in order to be VALUED you have to ascribe to the "values" that are being promoted from those perceived to be in power. Teens can easily feel that in order to gain attention, I must ALSO become like __________ so that I too can get the attention or be accepted. The opposite is also received: if I act/believe like ___________ I will be a nobody. Now that identity politics has taken center stage, the debates have only gotten more dangerous as one side is afraid to speak up for their OWN VALUES lest they become cancelled. The debate grows silent when FREE SPEECH is taken away.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we must be in constant communication with our teens and young adults so that they keep Christ, not CULTURE at the forefront of their beliefs and values.

For more info on the cultural relevance of Jojo Siwa's coming out"

1. Buzzfeed article

2. Axis Info guide for parent's on LGBTQ+

"How your EMOJI Might Be Showing Your Age" 😂😂😂

According to internet and cultural reporter Taylor Lorenz, our use of certain emoji's may now be defunct. Taylor Lorenz, who reports on influencers and Gen Z, the youth have deemed the crying-laughing emoji as “cringe” and it is now reserved for people 30 and above.

Why you could choose to switch it up, or not: Affectionately dubbed “cry-face,” the “crying-laughing” emoji has been used for over a decade by iPhone and Android users alike as a shortcut to depict laughter or amusement. When teens text with each other, the cry-face might be interpreted as sarcasm or a passive aggressive response. If you’re still using “cry-face,” rest assured, your teen probably isn’t judging you. A parent sending “cry-face” will have different implications than it would when teens send it to each other. (Digital life has heaped layers of context onto our communication that will take years to untangle.)

To better speak your teen’s (texting) language, you could try texting the skull emoji (as in, “that’s so funny, I’m dead”) or the actual crying emoji (as in, “that’s so funny, I’m weeping”).

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