Wednesday, April 30, 2014

So when will you talk about sex?

10 things… You Should Know About Teens & Tweens
Dating & Sex

-       “1 in 4 teens gets an STD before they head off to college” (NCPCF)
-       “1 in 3 teens experience some kind of abuse in their relationships” (

My thoughts on approaching the topic of Dating & Sex
-       Don’t “demonize” sex or over “glorify” it (trying to make it great & special)
-       Modeling healthy relationship with the opposite sex in front of teens (honor & service)
-       Teaching an “Others-Focused” approach to dating relationships (It’s not about you)

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
-        Teens rated their parents as the most influential factor in their decisions about sex.
-        78% of all teens surveyed believed that teenagers should not be sexually active.
-        89% of those surveyed would advise their own brother, sister or friend not to have sex until at least finishing high school.

5 Tips when thinking through Teen Dating  (Adapted from
-       Talk and set the rules for dating before it actually starts. Gather their opinions about such things as curfew, where and with who a date looks like, dealing with distractions.
-       Learn about their dating readiness by asking good questions: How do you know you can trust someone? How do you know when you like someone? Lust vs. Love?
-       Know when to listen and keep your opinions to yourself. An ill-timed negative comment about the current boyfriend/girlfriend could send your teen rushing back.
-       Offer your own teen dating stories, at a time when your child is receptive to hearing them. And be truthful. Let your child learn from your mistakes.
-       Listen to their stories. You may be naturally inclined to tune out the pre-teen saga of who said what to whom each day. But this is the way this age group communicates…
o   *Think about signing your pre-teen-ager up for self-defense or assertiveness training classes. Make sure they have the tools to stand up for themselves.

Legal definitions … The State Law (Oklahoma):
-       Consent for sex in Oklahoma is 16 & older, HOWEVER, only within two years apart
-       14 year olds and older can consent to testing, treatment, adoption, abortion, etc.

Couple quick thoughts about Sexual Orientation...
-       Be Safe: Express Warmth & Empathy (Regardless of your feelings!!)
-       Demonstrate unconditional love and acceptance 
-       Find some resources and ask for help from experienced leaders

**If you are interested in my personal three-hour training of the '10 Things YOU Should Know About Teens & Tweens' please e-mail me for a FREE copy of the manuel and video link!!
**Follow Jeff, also known as "surgeberg" on: FacebookTwitter & Instagram

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why are so many kids hurting themselves?

Harmful Behaviors
The Big behaviors I see or hear about often…
-       Self-MutilationCutting, burning, etc.
o   Cutting & Burning were the highest Harmful Behavior in Teens in Youth Group in Washington County in 2009 (right at 30% of “churched” teens)
-       DisordersEating, OCD, Bipolar, Depression, etc.
o   Don’t over react but get professional help… See Resources: Phone Numbers
-       Suicide
o   QPR Training (Don’t be afraid to ask… You’re not bringing it into their mind)
§  Question… the person about suicide
§  Persuade… the person to get help
§  Refer… the person to the appropriate resource
*Also Drugs & Sex are very harmful behaviors used to cope…covered previously

The Big questions Teens & Tweens ask…
-       Who am I??
-       I don’t like who I am…I need to fit in!!
-       What does this all mean…where can I get answers??

What can we do…
-       Don’t…
o   React with anger. 
o   Go into denial about the problem. 
o   Assume this is a "phase" your teen will outgrow. 
o   Say "What did I do wrong as a mother (father) for you to do this to yourself." 
o   Ask "Why are you doing this to yourself?" 
-       Do…
o   Admit you and your child needs help. 
o   LISTEN!!!
o   Take problems very seriously. (Cutting: is not just attention-seeking behavior)
o   Be completely supportive. 
o   Discuss and seek out treatment for you and your child

Here's a couple websites that are helpful for Teens:

Feeling crazy!?  Here's a couple movies that will give you a glimpse into their world:

**If you are interested in my personal three-hour training of the '10 Things YOU Should Know About Teens & Tweens' please e-mail me for a FREE copy of the manuel and video link!!  OR visit us online:

**Follow Jeff, also known as "surgeberg" on: FacebookTwitter & Instagram

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Silly Parent Video Games are for Kids

Since recent polls state that "99% of boys and 94% of girls play video games" it makes more sense to me to blog about ways to help parents get involved then to tell you to throw them away!  In my experience I would say video games are probably the most common activity that teens do that parents ignore (often just because of how fast the games, platforms, etc. change... it's hard to keep up).  Though I'm not encouraging you to jump in and become a full on "gamer", I do think if your son or daughter loves playing video games you should read this blog and see if you can find another connecting point with your teen.

I know for some video games are a sore subject but sometimes they lead to good things too... For example this week some online gamers witnessed a robbery and were able to call for help for their friend (read more here) OR that fact that many platforms are trying to develop games to stretch and grow students learning capacities since the future is in computers (here's a list of "5 games that won't rot your brain").

This blog has taken information from all over to give you a quick overview to "get you in the game" or at least educate you on enough to help you stay in the conversation with your son or daughter...

The Basics… Genres of Games 
- Action-Adventure
- First Person Shooter (FPS)

- Roll Playing Game (RPG)
- Simulation (Sim)
- Strategy
- Sports

The rating system...

esrb ratings symbol for ec gamesEARLY CHILDHOOD
Content is intended for young children.
esrb ratings symbol for E-rated gamesEVERYONE
Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
esrb ratings symbol for e10 gamesEVERYONE 10+
Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
esrb ratings symbol for T-rated gamesTEEN
Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
esrb ratings symbol for m-rated gamesMATURE
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
esrb ratings symbol for AO-rated gamesADULTS ONLY
Content suitable only for adults ages 18 and up. May include prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual content and/or gambling with real currency.
esrb ratings symbol for rp ratingRATING PENDING
Not yet assigned a final ESRB rating. Appears only in advertising, marketing and promotional materials related to a game that is expected to carry an ESRB rating, and should be replaced by a game's rating once it has been assigned.

Top PC (Computer) Games:
- World of Warcraft ($10.5 billion)
- Minecraft (over 5 billion hours)
- League of Legends
- The Sims
- Diablo

Top Console Games:
- Tetris (143 million copies)
- Wii Sports (81.9 million copies)
- Super Mario Bros. (1985)
- Call of Duty (10 games currently)
- Grand Theft Auto (15 games)

Connect with your Teen through Video Games (by Eric Rogers): 
  1. Talk 
    • What are you playing and what do you enjoy most about that game? 
    • Are you playing with any of your friends? If so, who?
    • Are there any games coming out soon you are excited about?
  2. Play
  3. Watch
    • When you watch the professionals, you are watching the best (yes, I said professionals)
    • When we watch we learn
    • When we watch, we share in the experience

*Go to YouTube and type in "Let's Play _____" (insert whatever game you are looking for)Disclaimer that many will have foul language 
**Want to blow your mind... Here's the full documentary on some professional gamers playing free online games, click here to watch "Free to Play" (You can also find it on iTunes)

Picking out a game for my son or daughter...
- What game would my teenager be interested in? (Ask & start keeping a list!!)
- What content is in this game? (See Rating system above)
- Is this game any good? (PluggedIN & Metacritic)

Parental Controls (Set passwords, manage time, block users, etc.):
- WiiU:
- Xbox One:
- PS4:

Did you know!?!?!?!?
- There are “Glasses that eliminate eye fatigue for gamers
- Carpal Tunnel or “Trigger Finger Surgery” for excessive gamers
- “Predators Targeting Online Gaming

**If you are interested in my personal three-hour training of the '10 Things YOU Should Know About Teens & Tweens' please e-mail me for a FREE copy of the manuel and video link!!

**Follow Jeff, also known as "surgeberg" on: FacebookTwitter & Instagram

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

You're watching that!?

I have a little secret.  Some know it but most probably don't know how deep it goes.  It's something I have been involved in for sometime.  I've read about it, study it and have spent countless hours participating in it... I love movies!  And not like, "Hey, I enjoy a good flick every now and then" but like I have watched all 100 of the AFI's top movies (both lists), have seen every Academy award winning Best Picture and most of the 'Best Picture' nominees from each year.  Though many like going to movies to be entertained I go to experience the art... the emotion, the story telling, the dialogue and the cinematography.  I love it anytime someone can tell you a story and draw you so far in you cry, are angry or laugh so hard you can't breath when they are finished.  But I also love critically thinking about what the director was trying to convey and seeing if that "truth" is applicable to my life.  It's been my experience that most folks don't know why movies receive ratings they have or process the intent of movies very often.  For most individuals movies are just fun or about a plot they were drawn to.  I'm not saying it's wrong to go to a movie for purely entertainment reasons... that's why we have Marvel!  I just thought I would explain the ratings and show you a couple resources so you can be ahead of the curve.

So where do they get those ratings?

MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) is a group that pushes movies and technology forward through many different avenues but is most well known by the MPAA Rating System.  The rating system is voluntary for every film (though most theaters will not show a movie that hasn't received a rating) and decided by a group of 13 members from different backgrounds all with parenting experience to give a parent's perspective, crucial for the rating system.

Each movie is submitted by the production company, then reviewed by the MPAA board and issued a rating.  The production company then decides to release their film with the given rating or appeal the decision seeking a different rating (we have seen a rise in the winning of appeals in the past couple of years).
Current rating scales and reasons:

G — General Audiences. All Ages Admitted. A G-rated motion picture contains nothing in theme, language, nudity, sex, violence or other matters that, in the view of the Rating Board, would offend parents whose younger children view the motion picture. The G rating is not a "certificate of approval," nor does it signify a "children’s" motion picture. Some snippets of language may go beyond polite conversation but they are common everyday expressions. No stronger words are present in G-rated motion pictures. Depictions of violence are minimal. No nudity, sex scenes or drug use are present in the motion picture.

PG — Parental Guidance Suggested. Some Material May Not Be Suitable For Children. A PG-rated motion picture should be investigated by parents before they let their younger children attend. The PG rating indicates, in the view of the Rating Board, that parents may consider some material unsuitable for their children, and parents should make that decision. The more mature themes in some PG-rated motion pictures may call for parental guidance. There may be some profanity and some depictions of violence or brief nudity. But these elements are not deemed so intense as to require that parents be strongly cautioned beyond the suggestion of parental guidance. There is no drug use content in a PG-rated motion picture.

PG-13 — Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13. A PG-13 rating is a sterner warning by the Rating Board to parents to determine whether their children under age 13 should view the motion picture, as some material might not be suited for them. A PG-13 motion picture may go beyond the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, adult activities or other elements, but does not reach the restricted R category. The theme of the motion picture by itself will not result in a rating greater than PG-13, although depictions of activities related to a mature theme may result in a restricted rating for the motion picture. Any drug use will initially require at least a PG-13 rating. More than brief nudity will require at least a PG-13 rating, but such nudity in a PG-13 rated motion picture generally will not be sexually oriented. There may be depictions of violence in a PG-13 movie, but generally not both realistic and extreme or persistent violence. A motion picture’s single use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words, though only as an expletive, initially requires at least a PG-13 rating. More than one such expletive requires an R rating, as must even one of those words used in a sexual context. The Rating Board nevertheless may rate such a motion picture PG-13 if, based on a special vote by a two-thirds majority, the Raters feel that most American parents would believe that a PG-13 rating is appropriate because of the context or manner in which the words are used or because the use of those words in the motion picture is inconspicuous.

R — Restricted. Children Under 17 Require Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian. An R-rated motion picture, in the view of the Rating Board, contains some adult material. An R-rated motion picture may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements, so that parents are counseled to take this rating very seriously. Children under 17 are not allowed to attend R-rated motion pictures unaccompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Parents are strongly urged to find out more about R-rated motion pictures in determining their suitability for their children. Generally, it is not appropriate for parents to bring their young children with them to R-rated motion pictures.

NC-17 — No One 17 and Under Admitted. An NC-17 rated motion picture is one that, in the view of the Rating Board, most parents would consider patently too adult for their children 17 and under. No children will be admitted. NC-17 does not mean "obscene" or "pornographic" in the common or legal meaning of those words, and should not be construed as a negative judgment in any sense. The rating simply signals that the content is appropriate only for an adult audience. An NC-17 rating can be based on violence, sex, aberrational behavior, drug abuse or any other element that most parents would consider too strong and therefore off-limits for viewing by their children.

Great resources for parents and others to research each movie before going:
IMDb (See: "Parents Guide" midway down on any specific movie selected)
Plugged In (See: "Movie Nights" in the top right corner)
Screen It (Unfortunately not free anymore but far more detailed than Plugged In)
The Source for Parents (Great free spot for lots of resources including movie reviews)

**If you are interested in my personal three-hour training of the '10 Things YOU Should Know About Teens & Tweens' please e-mail me for a FREE copy of the manuel and video link!!

**Follow Jeff, also known as "surgeberg" on: FacebookTwitter & Instagram

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

If you hear what I hear...

This week rapper 'Bizzle' released a song in response to the popular "Same Love" byMacklemore (If you have no clue what I'm talking about click on the underlined names above but to break down in a nutshell: rapper Macklemore released a song a few months back that gained a lot of traction in the LGBT community and was used most recently at Grammy's last month while "Queen" Latifah married off 150+ gay couples during the show,click here to see the story).  Since the release of his very open and honest response to the pro-gay song, rapper Bizzle has received hate mail and death threats from the gay community (Story here).  Hear the song by click on image below...

So why do I point out this "debate" in music?  I have many reasons but let me just stress two.  
1) Music effects all of us on some level.  This is why when that song you heard on the radio the moment you broke up with your high school boyfriend/girlfriend comes on you immediately have a flood of emotions, even though it's been months or even years.  This is why we listen to heavy metal when we work-out or slow jazz when we're relaxing.  This is why the one lyric stays on repeat in our head all day long... Music effects our hearts, heads and thus our actions!
2) There's a fight for control of your thoughts.  Though I'm not a big believer in hidden messages if you play that one record backwards on a slower speed in the dark while tripping out to acid!  I do believe every band or musician wants to be heard, wants to change someones life through their music or at the minimum, be famous.  The only way to do either of those things is to get you to listen, mediate, talk about and even purchase their music.

Make no mistake... The music you or your kids listens to effects you in either a healthy or negative way.  Music is not neutral and often has a purpose and focus behind it. 

So what's your stance on music?  Is it different for you than it is for your kids?  Are you more or less strict than your parents?  What do you allow and not allow?  What do you listen to when you're in the car all alone?  What do they?

DISCLAIMER: Just because a group or song is listed below does NOT mean I think they are evil or you will go to hell if you listen to it.  The point of these tips are to educate others on what's out their, making others aware of helpful apps and to teach us that ultimately "Everything is suspect" (There are "Christian" artists who do not teach or preach Biblical values and thus could be just as damning if not worse than listening to "Secular" jargon)

My #1 plea to parents and students is: Listen & Hear!

If there is a song you are going to play over and over again.  Stop and listen beyond the "cool beats" and hear the message they are wanting to share.  Is there one?  What does it teach or say about culture?  What does it say about you?  How does it make you feel?

With that said let me give you a couple tips for parents about music... 

Downloading vs. Streaming...

Did you know that you can listen to music without having it on your iphone, ipod, mp3 player, computer, etc.?  In other words, even though your son or daughter do not have songs or bands you have said no to on their ipod doesn't mean they can't listen to them.  
Downloading: putting music on your ipod (iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, BandCamp, etc.).
Streaming: playing music from the internet through your ipod (Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Radio, etc.).  
When downloaded you will see the music when searched, however in contrast, when streaming you would only know what's been played if logged online.  Spotify seems to be one of the most popular with teens.  Read more about it hear at last months blog: 'Top 10 apps parents should be aware of'.

What makes it [Explicit] vs. [Clean]... 
In short, language that the culture has deemed taboo or in sensitive (Read all the answers here: RIAA).  Most songs if containing a phrase or word that has been deemed explicit has to be marked as such on iTunes or the cover of the CD with the PAL logo (Parental Advisory Lyrics).  You can see an image below of what it would look like on iTunes.  Often artists today make two recordings, one the way they did originally and one without the explicit words typically earning them a "Clean" or non-labeled song. 

As a parent and student I would argue for you to really think about the content (Listen AND Hear).  Just because they took out the "F-word" or worse just removed the part of the word leaving what youth culture guru, Jonathan McKee says: "the uck free version (see his helpful blog to parents here).  Does removing one word magically make the rest of the song quality in content or a message that needs to be shared, mediated on, etc.?  Often foul language is the least of our worries when compared to the point of the song.

Parental Controls...
There are several tools available to help parents do everything from track what your teens are listening to, to just out right block it.  Though I firmly believe that the most important thing is to teach "the Why" said music (or content) is unacceptable.  It is often needed to take extra steps to protect our kids as best as we can as well.  For example, if you "share" an account through iTunes (and iCloud) you can not only block certain apps and purchases, any app or song downloaded to their phone will automatically sync to yours (See links below).

Helpful sights to check-out:
iTunes (restricting Music, in-app purchases, volume, etc. on ipods, iphones, ipads, etc.)
SafeEyes (works for anything observed or downloaded via the internet)
Common Sense Media (has quickly become one of my favorite resources for parents)

*Here’s a quick rundown on what's hot right now (
-       ‘Dark Horse' (Katy Perry)... Here's an analysis of the song, here
-       ‘Happy' (Pharrell Williams)
-       ‘Talk Dirty’ (Jason Derulo)... See lyrics, here
-       ‘Say Something’ (A Great Big World)
-       ‘Drunk In Love' (Beyonce)... See lyrics, here
-       ‘Counting Stars’ (OneRepublic)
-       ‘Timber’ (Pitbull)... See music video, here
-       ‘Pompeii’ (Bastille)

**If you are interested in my personal three-hour training of the '10 Things YOU Should Know About Teens & Tweens' please e-mail me for a FREE copy of the manuel and video link!!

**Follow Jeff, also known as "surgeberg" on: FacebookTwitter & Instagram