More Churches Vetting Volunteers
You can’t be too careful these days. With scandals in the Catholic Church still making headlines nearly every week, many churches and youth ministries are paying extra attention to the employees and volunteers who spend time with the congregation’s children. In many churches, that can mean background checks. LifeWay Christian Resources, a publishing and research adjunct for the Southern Baptist Convention, began a partnership with about two years ago. In that time, more than 900 churches and ministries have utilized’s services, looking into the backgrounds of more than 11,000 folks. Of those, about 2,300 background checks returned some sort of criminal conviction, be it a misdemeanor or a felony. More than 600 had felony convictions in their backgrounds. (Associated Press)

MTV Finds Hit in ‘Teen Mom’
MTV has seen a resurgence in its ratings of late, and one of the big reasons why is its reality show “Teen Mom.” The program, which follows the exploits of four new teen mothers, has become practically an addiction for many of its fans. For its makers, “Teen Mom” is more than a ratings winner: It’s good television because it offers a good, hopeful message. “This is a show that’s just heartbreakingly honest,” says MTV general manager Stephen Friedman. “There is such a hunger for the discussion that’s going on around it.” Not everyone believes “Teen Mom” is all that healthy. The mothers have become celebrities in their own right, showing up on a host of magazine covers. As Dominique Ingram, a junior at Howard University and avid fan of “Teen Mom” says, “The show has become too ‘Hollywood,’ too glamorized. Whether subliminally or not, the show is teaching young girls that teen pregnancy is OK and that everything will be all right.” (Entertainment Weekly, ABC News)

Strong Family Ties Make for Healthier Adults
Teens who believe they’re an important part of their families are more likely to be high-functioning adults, suggests a new study. According to data from the Simmons Longitudinal Study, youth who at age 15 felt they were a valued part of their families were far better off when they were 30, too—having higher self-esteem, fewer problems with their peers and were far less likely to smoke. “These results show there are several aspects of teen-parent relationships that need to be targeted in work with families,” said Helen Reinherz, a Simmons School of Social Work professor who led the study. “Our findings also demonstrate that despite the push for peer relationships during adolescence, the family remains a central factor for teens.” (PR Newswire)

Got a Minute? Online Video Viewers Don’t
Folks watch the beginning of a lot of YouTube videos—more than 2 billion a day, according to YouTube officials—but that doesn’t mean many people make it to the end of them. According to Visible Measures, more than 44 percent of online viewers leave videos in 60 seconds or less, and 19.4 percent leave after 10 seconds. (New York Times)

Leave a Reply

About The Author

Paul Asay has written for Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. He writes about culture for Plugged In and has published several books, including his newest, Burning Bush 2.0 (Abingdon), available now. He lives in Colorado Springs. Check out his entertainment blog at or follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.