Recently ABC’s Good Morning America aired a special series called “What Your Teens Don’t Want You to Know.” In case you missed it, the informative and enlightening series was about teens, their cell phones and social media. As a parent of a thirteen year old daughter, this was a very eye-opening interview. It’s agreed that most parents are concerned about their teen’s use of social media but since it is not something we grew up with, nor is it something we completely understand, many parents (myself included) are a little unsure of this new virtual territory. I believe there is a lot of good that can come from social media but I would be naive to think that it is completely safe and that my child wouldn’t be tempted to engage in activity on it that may get her into trouble. In the series “What Your Teens Don’t Want You to Know,” GMA correspondent T.J Holmes, met with a group of parents and their teenage daughters to discuss phones and social media. The parents in the interview discovered was that their daughters had downloaded “ghost” apps (apps that are not what they seem) on their phones. These apps have secret codes that allow users to send text messages or pictures that are hidden unless you have the code. One app in particular, Calculator+, appears to be just a regular calculator but once you put in your secret code, the hidden app is revealed. By using this app, teens can store private pictures and messages without their parent’s knowledge. The girls in the GMA interview also shared they each have a second Instagram account their parents don't know about. The account called a Finstagram (fake Instagram) and is for their friends' eyes only. "It's basically a fake Instagram that you use to, like, post embarrassing photos of your friends," explained one of the girls.”
On New Year’s Eve we are all excited about our resolutions and promises to make this year the best yet. Well, it’s almost the end of January and how many of us have stuck to our resolutions? In my opinion, that’s the problem with resolutions; they are hard to keep. In fact, they may even cause us more stress because we set our expectations so high and then when we don’t keep our resolutions we feel like a failure. Resolution sounds a lot like the big “c” word – commitment and we all know that we don’t have time to commit to one more activity in our busy lives. In fact, the very word “resolution” actually means “to make a firm decision to do or not do something or the action of solving a problem.” Thus, to set a resolution each year declares that there is something broken in our lives and we need to fix it.
Well, that’s exactly what just happened! Last month a very significant event quietly occurred in the United States. I say “quiet” because as amazing as this event was, there was hardly any media recognition about it. In October of 2015, Nobel Peace Laureates, religious leaders, global thinkers, and interfaith activists gathered in Salt Lake City for the Parliament of the World’s Religions (Congress of the Religions). The Parliament is the oldest (1893), the largest, and the most inclusive gathering of people of all faith and traditions. Traditionally, the Parliament occurs every five years. This year 10,000 people, 80 nations, and 50 different faiths came together to learn, dialogue, and pray with each other.