Seven Church Products Can Strengthen Tech-Savvy Youth
Contributed By Ryan Morgenegg, Church News staff writer
According to a Pew research study done in 2013, the average teen sends 3,339 texts a month and youth ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven hours a day using entertainment media.
“The youth are plugged in,” said Mike Madsen, product manager of youth.lds.org, during a presentation at the LDSTech conference October 17 in Salt Lake City. “The way to reach them is with technology, and the Church has seven products that can help strengthen the youth.”
1. Gospel Library app. “Invite the youth to engage in the app,” said Brother Madsen. The app is available for Android, Apple, and other devices. “Encourage them to record and share their impressions.” More than 2.5 million unique monthly visitors to the Gospel Library app open it around 60 million times per month, which is much higher than the use of LDS.org, he said.
2. For the Strength of Youth website. Media-rich content is built around each standard the youth are encouraged to live by.
“One of the greatest things the youth deal with on a regular basis in the Church is the feeling of standing alone in the gospel,” said Brother Madsen. The site allows youth to share their comments with other youth from around the world.
On the topic of what was learned from this past general conference, Renz Omner Malones from the Philippines posted, “I learned a lot at this conference. Lots of talks helped me realize to change all the bad habits I have. It motivates me to become a better person and soon to become an effective missionary.”
3. Youth music website. “Youth need good music,” said Brother Madsen. “The youth music website allows youth to download music for free.” The website offers more than 140 free songs to uplift and inspire. At the end of the movie Meet the Mormons, LDS artist David Archuleta sings the song “Glorious.” A version of this song sung by Russ Dixon can be downloaded for free at the youth music site.
4. Youth videos website. This website hosts a variety of uplifting videos with messages for youth about gospel principles. Youth are encouraged to share the videos with their friends, said Brother Madsen.
For example, Charity Fuller from Arizona was highlighted in a video called “195 Dresses.” In the video, Charity talks about a project she helped put together to help youth have modest dress options for formal dances.
A young woman named Estefany Paloma from Chile responded to the video. She said, “I come from a country where modesty is unheard of among youth. And all this time, I felt somewhat lonely in my decision towards being modest. It’s great to know there are other young women all over the world with high standards as well!”
5. Youth activities website. With almost 190 activities available on the site, “this is one of the greatest family home evening resources I know of,” said Brother Madsen. Youth and youth leaders can schedule activities on the Church calendar and send invitations via email to parents and youth detailing exactly what activity is scheduled and what it entails.
“Along with the youth activity site, we are doing live Facebook events,” said Brother Madsen. The first live Facebook event with David Archuleta can still be viewed online. The next live Facebook event with Lindsey Stirling is November 25.
6. Duty to God and Personal Progress websites. The Duty to God website is designed as a father and son or individual experience rather than a quorum experience, said Brother Madsen. The site gives young men the opportunity to strengthen their testimony and relationship with God, learn and fulfill priesthood duties, and apply standards from For the Strength of Youth. A father and son can sit down side by side and work through the goals and activities to accomplish the Duty to God award together. The corresponding Young Women Personal Progress website similarly helps young women work with a parent to achieve goals and track progress toward Young Women awards.
7. LDS youth mobile app. This app has been around for about four years, but the Church just released an updated version, Brother Madsen said. The app works very similar to the main page on the youth website. It is a features-based site on which youth can click on articles, videos, and music or share uplifting memes with their friends, he said. It is available for Android and Apple devices.