YouTube Fail. YouTube is overhauling its kids app. The overhaul of YouTube Kids is a result, at least in part, of complaints that it doesn’t give parents enough oversight, and that it allows videos with profanity, violence, and sexuality. According to WORLD, “starting this week, parents can select certain channel collections (like Sesame Street or PBS Kids) they want their children to access, and when a parent turns off the search button, only videos verified by the YouTube Kids team will be recommended. Later this year, YouTube plans to add a feature that will allow parents to specifically handpick every video and channel available to their child in the app.” Many critics say the new solution doesn’t really solve the problem. “Giving parents more control doesn’t absolve YouTube of the responsibility of keeping the bad content out of YouTube Kids,” said Josh Golin, director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC). User statistics and surveys show that most kids use the regular YouTube app anyway.
Box Office Mojo. It’s been a few weeks since I mentioned the remarkable success of the movie “I Can Only Imagine,” but as the movie ends its run in theaters it is worth noting that it passed the $80-million mark last week. It is now the 6th largest grossing Christian movie of all time, behind only “The Passion of the Christ,” the three “Narnia” movies, and “Heaven Is for Real.” Perhaps more interestingly, it is the 3rd-ranked musical biopic of all time. It recently passed “Ray” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Only “Straight Outta Compton” and “Walk The Line,” (the Johnny and June Cash story) are ahead of it.
Run Out of California? Summit Ministries, one of the nation’s most effective youth ministries, is cancelling student conferences in California because of a new bill making its way through the California legislature. Summit Ministries’ president Dr. Jeff Myers calls AB2943 “the most blatant chilling of free speech in America in my lifetime” while announcing removal of Biola University worldview training from its schedule. According to a statement from Summit, “For more than 55 years, Summit Ministries has held conferences at its headquarters in Manitou Springs, Colo., and across the nation, training nearly a half-million young Christians to become leaders in their schools, communities, churches, families, and country. But the group has had to cancel its June 10-23 and June 24-July 7 sessions at Biola University near Los Angeles due to concerns that California will forbid some of what it teaches.”
Change of Heart. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released more than $100-million in funding for organizations that promote sexual abstinence before marriage. Since 2010, federal government programs aimed at teenagers have focused on what it calls “sexual risk-avoidance.” These programs assumed that premarital teenage sex would occur, and the only proper posture was to encourage safer sex. But the new regimen is asking for proposals from groups that say sex outside the bounds of marriage is inherently risky.
Milestones. The Louisiana Purchase took place this week (April 30) in 1803. It was one of the defining moments in American history, adding more than 800,000 square miles to U.S. territory. The acquisition, which was negotiated secretly, was denounced as unconstitutional by many members of Congress. The purchase price was $15-million, or about $300-million in today’s dollars.