Guest Post: Have You Heard About the “Fire Challenge”?

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Teen boys walking while silhouetted by sunset

As I was driving home from work the other day, I heard a disturbing news story on the radio that instantly grabbed my attention.

A new and life-threatening social-media trend has gone viral among teens.

It’s called the “fire challenge.”

In short, teens are daring one another to use flammable liquids to set themselves on fire, quickly douse the flames and then post a video of the entire incident on YouTube or Facebook.

As this story reports, the trend has become so popular that it has resulted in tens of thousands of horrifying “fire challenge” videos appearing online—in addition to emergency room visits across the country.

Are We Middle School Bullies on a Social Media Playground?

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Teenage Girl Being Bullied By Text Message On Mobile Phone

Is it just me, or have you noticed a real increase in downright meanness online these days?

While cruel and hateful words can rear their heads just about anywhere, unkindness is especially intense in the social media world. It seems the gloves can come off and a verbal free-for-all can explode at almost any time. Sadly, this is too often the approach of professing believers and non-believers alike. It can be sparked by even what may at first seem to be the most innocent of topics.

Is Your Smartphone Making You into an Android?

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Urban man on his smartphone

I spend a lot of time in airports.

Air travel is a little easier when you love your job – as I do – and when I can pass the time in between flights visiting with my fellow travelers. Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had have taken place in an airport … maybe because people there come off a little more honest, a little more vulnerable, with those they likely won’t see again.

But I’m finding those airport conversations a little harder to come by.

Human Cloning Advancements Pose Serious Questions for Life Advocates

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Researchers working in a laboratory

I consider myself blessed to live at a time where we benefit from so many advances in medical science. In terms of physical health, we’re all much better off today than we were or would have been just a few decades ago.

But what happens when the latest and greatest in medical science comes at the expense of another human life? How would you feel knowing that a human life was created only to be destroyed for your benefit?

Santa Barbara Killings Remind Us of Violent Video Games’ Role in Culture

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Profile view of a young man

Video games are in the news more and more – and usually, it’s not for good reasons.

Gaming is sometimes blamed in the growing trend where young men are finding it increasingly difficult to achieve major life milestones like moving out of their parents’ house, going to college, getting married and starting a family. Some of these men are stuck in a prolonged adolescence; one stat says 18-to- 34-year-old men spend more time playing video games than 12-to- 17-year-old boys.

Guys… Put Down the Phone

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I’m not that old, but I can remember the days when young men and women who were interested in each other interacted in ways that were pretty low-tech compared to today’s standards. If a guy liked a girl but wasn’t able speak with her in person he picked up the phone and called her. If he couldn’t do that, he wrote her a letter. Remember those?

Today, though, many guys are relying on a communication tool that’s proving to have its downsides in the dating realm – the text message.

VIDEO: The Best Social Media Product of the Year?

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Coca-Cola is rolling out a new product sure to help those of us who might be dedicated enthusiasts of social media.

Well, not really. The giant soft drink company actually debuted a new tongue-in-cheek commercial that nevertheless sends all of us who have a smart phone always-at-the-ready a worthwhile message:

Put down the phone. Look up. Connect with your loved ones and share a “real” moment with them.

What a great reminder to take into the weekend.

The App You Would Like Your Child to Have

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On any given Sunday there’s a significant number of folks who pull out their cell phones when the pastor asks them to turn to the morning’s passage. They’re not being rude – they’re just accessing the Bible via their smartphones.

The free YouVersion Bible app is one of the most popular ways to access different versions of the Bible via a smartphone or tablet. In 2013, the app was installed about 49 million times. It was opened 31 times per second, or 1,000,000,000 total times in 2013.

Protecting Your Family from the Digital Invasion

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I recently asked my blog readers if they could do without a handheld device like a smartphone or tablet for 24 hours.

It’s a reasonable question to ask since mobile users check their smartphones an average of 150 times a day.

Digital addiction can be an easy thing to fall prey to, especially since access is all around us. We use computers for work, we carry devices in our pockets and most places offer free WIFI.

VIDEO: 7 Ways God was Faithful in 2013

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There’s no doubt that God helped Focus on the Family accomplish its mission of helping families thrive this year. There are so many tangible ways He’s guided and blessed our efforts during 2013 that I can’t list them all. I do want to share a few of them with you, however.

1. Our radio broadcast efforts included news-making interviews such as our program with U2 front man and activist Bono, and the launch of a brand-new show, “Everyday Relationships,” with Dr.