I received this email from Youth Worker eJournal, and it had the following article from Dare2share Ministries in it. I know as a current youth worker myself, I am deeply interested in seeing what trends 2009 will produce and how I can help shape the trends in youth ministry during 2009.
Here are Dare2share’s trend predictions for 2009:
1. Family economic stresses will negatively impact parent/teen relationships. As parents become increasingly stressed by the financial implications of the economic downturn and self-absorbed trying to manage the fallout in their careers and home life, teens will experience a growing sense of isolation from their families’ emotional support systems. Financially-stressed parents will fight more with each other and with their adolescents, creating an emotional distance within the family unit and triggering long-term negative impacts on the parent/teen dynamics in many families.
2. Teen interest in politics will continue in the post-election political cycle.
Teens are looking for a cause in which to believe. Obama’s tenure as president will fuel continued teen interest in politics. Obama’s growing use of the Internet as a political connection point will continue to generate increased interest in political causes among teens. From college financial aid to global warming, teens will engage in the post-election political cycle at levels not seen since the Vietnam War era.
3. Technology’s impact on teen social interactions will escalate the paradoxical tension between feeling more connected and more isolated. Cell phones and Web sites, such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube foster extensive technology-based social networks for teens and create opportunities for shared online experiences. Teens’ heavy reliance on their wired world will continue to eat away at their time and their real world social interactions. As real face-time with friends and family is increasingly interrupted by text messaging and incoming calls, real-life social interactions will become less satisfying, in turn creating a downward cycle of less focused time spent being physically present and invested in significant personal relationships.
4. Teens will seek out opportunities for service projects that will assist those in need in their community. As financial resources dwindle for more expensive long-distance “mission trip” service projects, teens will find new, local opportunities to serve those in need. From tutoring to sorting food at the local food bank to building Habitat for Humanity homes, teen idealism, coupled with the growing need for an extensive “community service” component to their college applications, will push teens to find new, creative outlets for service in their own backyards.
5. The “emo” subculture of self-harm will gain increasing acceptance among teens. As teens and their families experience growing economic and emotional turmoil, more and more teens will turn to behaviors, such as cutting and substance abuse to mask their pain. In response to a range of emotional pain and relational difficulties, self-harming behaviors will gain increasing acceptance, becoming a more common outlet for teens struggling with emotional distress, depression or suicidal thoughts.
For more info about Dare 2 Share Ministries (D2S), visit: www.dare2share.org
What are your picks for the top trends of 2009? How will you address them?