This book is an overview of popular culture for youth workers, parents and educators. Explores the dynamics of why kids are drawn into the culture and how it shapes their development.
Mueller is the Gold Medallion Book Award Winner for Understanding Today's Youth Culture and founder and president of the Center for Parent Youth Understanding. In this resource, Mueller updates his teachings, addressing several primary areas of influence and concern: media, marketing, peer pressure, sexualized culture, materialism, and substance abuse. He maintains that no adolescent today, regardless of upbringing or access, is immune to the society in which they live. "[W]e live in the culture and that culture influences and affects us all. There's no escaping it." To effectively parent and work with teenagers, adults must understand this culture and its impact on teens' lives and character. A youth minister for more than thirty years, Mueller addresses the issue with respect to Biblical mandates about the Christian life, and he includes a final chapter specifically for parents trying to help teens "find their place in God's story.ö Mueller's general observations are both insightful and helpful. For example, when discussing today's media, he talks about convergence, "a blending of multiple technologies that our teenagers currently use in a variety of difference devices into one piece of equipment," and the impact it will have on teenagers, including the fact that it will change their accessibility to and ways in which they relate and interact with others. He provides an informative text for anyone invested in teenagers, and the information is useful in understanding, working with, and catering to today's youth culture, but the book will be especially helpful to those looking at the spiritual lives of teens. Reviewer: Karen Jensen