Culture Clips: The Family That Eats Together …

We all know that teens today face plenty of struggles—some of which I’m going to talk about shortly. But let’s start with some good news.

Want your kids to say no to substance abuse? Having dinner regularly as a family is one simple, tasty way to build a relational bond that correlates with wiser choices. The folks at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse recently interviewed Margie Skeer, an assistant professor at Tufts School of Medicine, who’s spent much of her career studying the impact of family dinners on teens’ choices. She’s found that family dinners increase communication, develop a sense of trust and help parents recognize changes in their children that could be warning signs of dangerous choices. For more on Skeer’s insights, you can read the full interview here.

Researchers continue to report that today’s adolescents are really stressed out. The American Psychological Association says teens are more anxious than adults, with 30% of teens reporting that they feel sad or depressed because of stress and 35% saying that anxiety keeps them awake at night. In her Christianity Today article “Why Are Our Children So Anxious?” Corrie Cutrer delves deeper into the factors contributing to this trend and offers some thoughts on how parents should respond.

And yet another new study indicates social media isn’t doing kids any favors. The report, “Social Media Use and Children’s Wellbeing,” indicates that as little as one hour a day spent on social media undermines their contentment. “Spending one hour a day chatting on social networks reduces the probability of being completely satisfied with life overall by approximately 14 percentage points,” the study’s authors said.

If you’ve ever wondered if young female singers sometimes feel overly objectified, the answer in at least one case is yes. Camila Cabello recently left the all-female group Fifth Harmony (creating a bit of a name conundrum for her former group along the way). She said of her experience, “Especially with being a girl group, there’s been a lot of times where people have tried to sexualize us to just get more attention. … Unfortunately, sex sells. There’s definitely been times where there’s stuff that I have not been comfortable with and I’ve had to put my foot down.”

Meanwhile, the streaming video service VidAngel—which enables users to censor gratuitous content from movies—is under fire legally. Christianity Today unpacked the details of the case, and Plugged In Director Bob Waliszewski weighed in on the controversy.

Several celebrities have been talking about their faith recently. Chris Pratt (Passengers, Guardians of the Galaxy), describes his unexpected conversion when he was 20 (albeit with a fair bit of profanity sprinkled through the rest of his interview with Vanity Fair). Everybody Loves Raymond star Patricia Heaton talks about how prayer changed her life  and helped her floundering career to take off. And the folks from The New Yorker sat down to chat with gospel singer Kirk Franklin, who articulates his desire to be as creative as possible while making music that can also earn a hearing outside the Christian “bubble”—even if that at times makes some Christians uncomfortable.

Finally, January means one thing in Hollywood: Awards season has begun. The Golden Globes kicked things off in earnest Sunday night, with La La Land taking home a record 7 awards (including Best Comedy or Musical) and Moonlight being named Best Drama. All of that, however, was overshadowed by the political nature of Meryl Streep’s criticism of Donald Trump, which generated more publicity than any of the awards themselves actually did (including a blog from Bob Waliszewski on Streep right here yesterday that’s generating a lot of conversation itself).

Who wrote this?

Adam R. Holz is a senior associate editor for Plugged In. He also writes for Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine and has been a Boundless contributor. In his free time (which there is sometimes precious little of) Adam enjoys playing guitar and constructing LEGO kits with his son. Adam and his wife, Jennifer, are the proud parents, in fact, of three children, one boy and two girls.

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