70 Things You Need to Know About Today's Kids

Today’s kids have cultural characteristics that influence the way they think, learn and connect with others. Here are some important factors to keep in mind as you seek to effectively minister to kids:
  1. They have never needed an actual airline “ticket.”
  2. They have never needed a set of bound encyclopedias.
  3. They prefer to watch television everywhere except on a television. 
  4. They don’t take pictures on “film.”
  5. They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.”
  6. With MP3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all.
  7. The Green Bay Packers have always celebrated with the Lambeau Leap.
  8. The Metropolitan Opera House in New York has always translated operas on seatback screens.
  9. They have always enjoyed school and summer camp memories with a digital yearbook.
  10. They know many established film stars by their voices on computer-animated blockbusters.
  11. Point-and-shoot cameras are soooooo last millennium.
  12. Two-thirds of the independent bookstores in the United States have closed for good during their lifetimes.
  13. Astronauts have always spent way more than a year in a single space flight.
  14. They “swipe” cards, not merchandise.
  15. As they grow up on websites and cell phones, adult experts are constantly fretting about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.
  16. Their school’s “blackboards” have always been getting smarter.
  17. American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.
  18. Amazon has never been just a river in South America.
  19. Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you’re talking about LeBron James.
  20. Video games have always had ratings.
  21. Music has always been available via free downloads.
  22. Grown-ups have always been arguing about health care policy.
  23. Sears has never sold anything out of a Big Book that could also serve as a doorstop.
  24. Electric cars have always been humming in relative silence on the road.
  25. While they’ve been playing outside, their parents have always worried about nasty new viruses borne by birds and mosquitoes.
  26. Charter schools have always been an alternative.
  27. New kids have always been known as NKOTB.
  28. Nurses have always been in short supply.
  29. Colorful lapel ribbons have always been worn to indicate support for a cause.
  30. They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.
  31. Computers have never lacked a CD-ROM disk drive.
  32. “Viewer Discretion” has always been an available warning on TV shows.
  33. There have always been HIV-positive athletes in the Olympics.
  34. The dominance of television news by the three networks no longer exists.
  35. The post office has always been going broke. 
  36. The Green Giant has always been Shrek, not a big guy picking vegetables.
  37. They have never used a card catalog to find a book.
  38. Babies have always had a Social Security number.
  39. Cable television systems have always offered telephone service and vice versa.
  40. There has always been a Cartoon Network.
  41. They have always been able to read books on an electronic screen.
  42. They have always watched wars, coups and police arrests unfold on television in real time.
  43. There have always been flat-screen TVs.
  44. Everyone has always known what the evening news was before the evening news came on.
  45. Most communities have always had a megachurch.
  46. There has always been blue Jell-O.
  47. GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
  48. Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.
  49. Shampoo and conditioner have always been available in the same bottle.
  50. Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.
  51. Schools have always been concerned about multiculturalism.
  52. They have grown up with bottled water.
  53. High definition television has always been available.
  54. MTV has never featured music videos.
  55. They have never heard anyone actually “ring it up” on a cash register.
  56. They are wireless, yet always connected.
  57. Text messaging is their email.
  58. Madden has always been a game, not a Super Bowl-winning coach.
  59. Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents’ attics.
  60. Reality shows have always been on TV.
  61. They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.
  62. They never had the chance to eat bad airline food.
  63. They have virtual pets to feed, water and play games with, lest they die.
  64. They don’t remember when “cut and paste” involved scissors.
  65. Pixar has always existed.
  66. Digital cameras have always existed.
  67. Miss Piggy and Kermit have always dwelt in Disneyland.
  68. Photographs have always been processed in an hour or less.
  69. Network television has always struggled to keep up with cable.
  70. “Ctrl + Alt + Del” is as basic as “ABC.”
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Dale Hudson
Dale Hudson has been serving in children's ministry for over 28 years. He is an author, speaker and ministry leader.  He is the founder and director of Building Children's Ministry. BCM helps churches build strong leaders, teams and children's ministries.  (www.buildingchildrensministry.com)

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