Truett Foster McKeehan, eldest son of Christian hip hop artist TobyMac, died suddenly Oct. 23 at his home in Franklin, Tennessee. As the artist and his family grieve their loss, TobyMac spoke about his son, saying that Truett “had joy that took the room when he entered.” He also released this statement: “My wife and I would want the world to know this… We don’t follow God because we have some sort of under the table deal with Him, like we’ll follow you if you bless us. We follow God because we love Him. It’s our honor. He is the God of the hills and the valleys. And He is beautiful above all things.”
Another artist gracing headlines this week is Kanye West, whose album Jesus Is King released this past week along with his musical documentary of the same name. Ever since his hospitalization in 2016, where he was treated for temporary psychosis and sleep deprivation, West has been changing his ways. According to Fox News, West said, “I’ve spread a lot of things. There was a time I was letting you know what high fashion had done for me, I was letting you know what the Hennessey had done for me, but now I’m letting you know what Jesus has done for me, and in that I’m no longer a slave, I’m a son now, a son of God. I’m free.” Slate reports that while many Christians (and others) remain skeptical of West’s transformation, he has also “provided plenty of signals that he is not just dabbling in God-language as a motif, but plunging into the distinct values and practices of 21st-century American evangelicalism.” And West himself said on The Late Late Show with James Corden that “Kanye West works for God!”
As November and the holiday season draws near, so does the release of Disney+ and Apple TV+. And so does the time where we must all make the decision about what, if any, subscription services to keep and what to nix. According to NBC News, “Viewers need to consider not only how many services they need to purchase in order to watch all their favorite shows, but also how to keep up with the hopscotching of each show from one platform to another as licensing deals expire.” Mike Vorhaus, chief executive at Vorhaus Advisors, a media consultant group, told NBC that the combination of choice, cost and platform shifts could mean consumers are unlikely to buy many more streaming services than they already have. So if you’re on the fence about adding more services to your streaming repertoire, you’re not alone.
(Incidentally, NBC—the network behind the reporting in the last paragraph—has its own streaming service on deck. Expected to be launched this coming April, NBC’s streaming platform is expected to be called “Peacock.”
Besides the confusion created by having multiple streaming platforms to navigate, viewers will also have to contend with the cost of having multiple streaming platforms. According to USA Today, an analysis last year by the WestMonroe consulting firm found that 84% of people underestimate what they spend on subscriptions each month. Between video streaming services, music streaming services, cloud storage, identity theft protection, meal kits and more, the average person forks over about $237 each month in subscriptions.
The reason these subscription platforms continue dipping into wallets could be related to the increase in online video viewership. ABC News reported on the same Common Sense Media survey that we mentioned yesterday, reiterating that American youth are watching lots of online videos (though the survey was paying especially close attention to free streaming services like YouTube). “It really is the air they breathe,” said Michael Robb, senior director of research for Common Sense Media. In addition, USA Today reported that by age 11, 53% of kids have a smartphone of their own, and by age 12, more than two-thirds have one, making access to these online videos and streaming platforms that much easier.
But kids aren’t the only ones to blame. According to Study Finds, a survey by The Genius of Play found that nearly half of parents of school-aged children have been asked by their own child to put their phone away. It also showed that 62% of parents admitted that they spend too much time on their phone while their children are present and 69% of parents feel “addicted” to their smartphones. So it’s entirely possible that parents, leading by example, are at least partly to blame for the increase in children’s screen time. The same survey went on to reveal that many parents “use these devices to keep their kids occupied (58%), as a reward (53%), or to calm their child down when they become agitated (52%). Most parents (63%) also use the threat of taking away screen time as a punishment.”
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by this subscription fatigue and screen addiction, there are a couple of solutions. One is the “Paper Phone” offered by Google. The Paper Phone is simply that—a phone made of paper. You simply choose the information most important to you—such as your contacts, calendar, to-do list and maybe even a sudoku puzzle—and it is printed onto a single piece of paper. You fold the paper into a rectangle, and it becomes your “phone” for a day, with all the essentials you need. According to The Washington Post, “Google’s Paper Phone is the latest in a string of offerings attempting to grab the attention of an audience weary of the ever-expanding presence of tech in our lives, as well as the feeling of being chained to your phone.”
However, if you need a more long-term solution, USA Today suggests uttering three simple words: “Cancel my subscription.”