I had the privilege of appearing on The Andy Caldwell Show in California on AM 1440 KUHL & AM 1290 Santa Barbara Friday night. Here's the audio of my appearance. He saved the best for first! We discussed my latest article: Parents Should Limit Children’s Screen Time To Protect Their Moral And Spiritual Health. Read that article here.
Chad at 'Politichicks': Parents Should Limit Children’s Screen Time To Protect Their Moral And Spiritual Health
The UK Daily Mail reported on a recently released Ofcom (UK’s version of the FCC) study that said children as young as five are already spending hours per day online.
The study found children under five spend over an hour online per day. That number rises to over four hours per day when gaming and TV time are included. Children 12-15 years old spend nearly three hours per day online plus two additional hours watching TV. The study stopped at age 15, but if you have any older teenagers or college students, you don’t need a study to tell you how much they are on their phones or the computer. You witness it every day and almost every hour.
Other than the obvious problems including health issues like “text neck” and the lack of socializing with friends outside a screen, there is the concerning matter of the messages children are exposed to at this early age.
States Introducing Bible Literacy Courses For Public Schools.GOP Rep. Introduces Bill Allowing Ride Share Drivers To Carry Guns. Religious Are Happier. Schultz Is The Perfect Candidate For Democrats
On this edition of A Whittle Bit of Commentary: Six States Introducing Bible Literacy Courses For Public Schools. A Georgia Representative Has Introduces Bill That Allows Ride Share Services Drivers To Carry Guns. Facebook's Data Gathering Knows No Limits. Study Shows The Actively Religious Are Happier. Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Is The Perfect Candidate For The Democrats In 2020 But They Don't Want Anything To Do With Him. All that today from Chad Whittle on today's A Whittle Bit of Commentary. ChadWhittle.com (C) 2019 Chad Whittle.
Netflix Has Found Religion: Streaming Service To Launch Christian Shows. Microsoft's New Browser Warns You About Fake News and Chick Fil A Keeping The Faith And Not Opening On Big Game Sunday 2/1/19
Fox News reported that Netflix is planning to launch a slate of original faith and family-friendly programming that will be exclusive on the video service.
Microsoft’s mobile browser, Edge, is issuing fake news warnings to users in a new update for iOS and Android devices.
The news fake news warning is powered by NewsGuard, which rates each website you browse to and gives it either a red warning for unreliable or green for trusted in your address bar.
This idea sounds good in theory, to help people know they’re visiting a website that may contain fake news, but my question is, who gets to define what “fake news” is? And what journalists are involved in deciding which websites are real and fake?
If you’ve deleted your Facebook over privacy concerns or never signed up to a social media website to begin with, you better hope you picked your friends wisely because according to a new study, your behavior can be predicted even if you’ve never been on social media.
StudyFinds.org reported that a team of scientists from Vermont and Australia found that by examining the tweets of those close to someone, they could predict a person’s behavior, even if they’re not on social media!
Plus, Facebook has pledged to invest $300 million in local news initiatives, including partnerships, programs, and content over the next three years according to The Blaze.
“The company said it would focus on supporting local newsrooms and helping news organizations build sustainable business models.
Not even a Super Bowl can get Chick fil a to open on Sunday. With the big game taking place at on Sunday Febuary 3rd in Atlanta, many have wondered if the tasty chicken sandwich restaurant will open its Mercedes-Benz Stadium location for the big game.
All that today on this edition of "A Whittle Bit of Commentary." ChadWhittle.com (C) 2019 Chad Whittle.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has all but officially announced his run for the White House in 2020. This is the best thing that could happen to Donald Trump. It’s Ross Perot all over again, but this time it’ll help the Republicans and not hurt them.
When Ross Perot ran his failed independent campaign in 1992, he took votes away from George H.W. Bush and gave us Bill Clinton.
If Schultz goes through with his campaign in 2020, it’ll do nothing but hurt the Democrats because he is no doubt a left-leaning Democrat. Just examine the values of Starbucks under his leadership, and it’ll give you an idea about his worldview. If he goes through with running, it doesn’t matter which candidate the Democrats put up against Trump; it almost guarantees Trump gets reelected and this is especially true if they run a weak candidate again like Hillary Clinton.
Starbucks is a corporate brand not well liked among conservatives, and their former CEO running will not take votes away from Trump. If it was the CEO of Hobby Lobby, that’s a different story.
This is the worst news for the Democrat Party since election night when Trump was announced the winner. Perot received almost 20% of the vote in 1992. If Schultz gets a similar percentage of the vote, it’s panic time at MSNBC.
Netflix has found religion. For many religious readers that may come as a shock considering the world’s largest streaming video on-demand service brought the world Frank Underwood and "Orange is the New Black."
Fox News reported that Netflix is planning to launch a slate of original faith and family-friendly programming that will be exclusive on the video service.
Netflix is spending $8 billion per year on programming according to reports so the company has the money to produce some high quality faith and family programming. No Christian filmmaker can come close to matching the resources of Netflix.
I think Netflix producing original faith-based programming is a smart business move. There are millions of not only Americans but families around the world that would like to subscribe to the streaming service but won’t due to a lack of family-friendly program offerings. This is a business decision that Christians should support.
With the almost countless options viewers have for TV entertainment, producing quality shows is more important than ever. Having Christian shows on Netflix will take Christian entertainment to a new level and will possibly reach many viewers that otherwise would never watch Christian movies and shows because most non-Christians are not going to subscribe to a Christian video service. However, they will watch Netflix.
If Christians want to reach millennials and other nonbelievers with the gospel, there is no better way than through the media and no bigger service than Netflix to use to do it.
Welcome To A Whittle Bit Of Commentary 2.0! Have We Flushed Our Privacy Away On Our Smart Toilets? Jay-Z Has 99 Streaming Problems With Tidal - 1/18/19
Welcome to A Whittle Bit of Commentary 2.0. it’s the same show you’ve loved for the past five years but in a new weekly and expanded format! Also on this episode: If privacy isn’t already dead, the final nail in the coffin will soon be added as almost every device in our homes will be connected to the Internet. We all have flushed away our privacy on our smart toilets. Jay-Z has 99 problems but the good news is that Beyoncé isn’t one. Bloomberg News reports that Mr. Z's streaming music service Tidal is under investigation in Norway over allegations the music service faked listener numbers that could be in the hundreds of millions of false plays of albums from top artists including his wife.
Future Political Power Belongs To Those That Tweet. Social Media is the Daisy Ad of 21st Century Politics
This may come as a surprise to many, but President Trump and Barack Obama have one thing in common when it comes to how they won the White House: Twitter. Unlike their competition, both men understood our modern culture and how important and influential social media is. This is something John McCain, Mitt Romney or Hillary Clinton never understood.
McCain, Romney, and Clinton all ran campaigns that would’ve had a better chance of success about 30 years ago. Each candidate never focused their main media efforts on social media. They instead went with a traditional campaign by hitting the campaign trail and talking with local residents, buying TV ad time, participating in debates and scheduling interviews on cable news shows. I’m not saying you shouldn’t still do those things for the 2020 election because each is still important to the success of your campaign. However, none of those efforts can drive the conversation about your campaign like social media can.
Looking at the ages of McCain, Romney, and Clinton compared to Obama you could simply say it’s just a generational thing that the younger Obama knew and understood more about social media’s power than his Baby Boomer opponents. However, 72-year-old Trump blows up that argument.
Like Obama, Trump’s team had a keen understanding on not just the power and influence of social media but how to use it to control the narrative and drive the national conversation. No one could ever be better at this than Trump. He is the Twitter master.
With one simple meme or Tweet, Trump during his campaign and now will receive countless hours of coverage on cable news shows and in newspapers across the country. Most days the traditional media no longer drives the daily political narrative, but instead it is merely reacting to what has occurred on social media.
According to Axios, newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is now second to Trump on total Twitter interactions defined as retweets and likes. This is why you recognize her name. There are other first-term Senators, but how many of them can you name? Unlike her, they have not mastered or understand the power of social media.
There is a growing debate among Congress and the political pundit class on whether the Trump administration should consider breaking up the tech titans or if Congress should pass new regulations on Facebook, Google, Twitter and just for the fun of it, I’ll mention MySpace in this conversation as well. Yes, MySpace still exists. No, I don’t know anyone who uses it.
While freedom of speech issues on social networks and the possible breaking up of the Silicon Valley giants are both topics of great importance, the mental health issues that are being caused by social media use is equally as important.
Recent studies report a rise in levels of anxiety and depression among teenage and young adult users of social media. The BBC reported on a study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior that found participants who said they use seven or more social networks were more than three times as those that use between zero-two platforms to have higher levels of general anxiety symptoms.
A study in the Clinical Psychological Science journal with a sample of over 500,000 U.S. adolescents in grades 8-12, found that between 2010-2015 there was an increased rate of depressive symptoms and suicide-related outcomes among those who spent more time on social media and smartphones with these participants reporting more mental health issues than those that spent time on non-screen activities.
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology discussed the growing trend of people seeking surgery to make their face be more appealing for selfies. In 2017, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that 55 percent of surgeons mentioned having patients that were seeking surgery procedures due to social media.
These are just some of the many recent academic and mainstream press stories on the growing trend of mental health issues due to social media use. However, none of this should come as a surprise.
If you have spent any time on a social media platform, then you have encountered someone that is obsessed with likes, swipes and follows. Or, maybe you are the person that is spending hours per day trying to become social media famous.
This is not healthy behavior as research and common sense continues to prove. We have a generation of fame-obsessed teens and college students that I am afraid are becoming only more infatuated with fleeting social media fame. This behavior could be not only bad for their mental health but their physical health as well. If you browse YouTube, you’ll find videos of teenagers trying very dangerous stunts in an attempt to go viral.
The next time Congress holds hearings concerning social media and freedom of speech on these platforms and regulation, I hope Senators will also hold the wizards of Silicon Valley’s feet to the fire concerning their highly addictive products.
It’s not all Mark Zuckerberg’s fault. Healthy behaviors should start at home and in schools, but it’s time social media companies do more to help turn the tide of mental health issues that their products are no doubt partially contributing to in young adults.
Helping teens and young adults have less mental health issues is something we all can give a thumbs up to.
In just a few short weeks 2018 will be history and a new year will be upon us. Many of us create New Year’s resolutions that we’re all good at keeping until about February at the most.
For the past few weeks, the amount of time I use technology from my iPhone to checking in daily on social media has been on my mind. If we all were to be honest with ourselves, we all spend too much time on our phones on a daily basis.
None of us need to check Facebook or scroll Instagram multiple times per day or in some cases, per hour. Our feeds on the average day don’t change that much between the time we log on and then log on again later that day, hour or minute.
We all could use less time on social media.
In 2019, I have decided to make a real effort to reduce my screen time for multiple reasons, and I am inviting and encouraging you to join me.
One of the main reasons I plan to reduce my online time is because social media is a time waster. Have you ever thought about how much more productive you’d be at work if you put the phone away and concentrated on your to-do list at work? Odds are you could probably go home earlier a lot of days if you would just focus and not check Facebook at the top and bottom of every hour.
Another reason I plan to put the phone away is that I want better health. A quick Google search will show there is increasing evidence from study after study that screen time is bad for your health both mentally and physically.
A recent study reported social media could increase anxiety in users. In addition, the screen is bad on your eyes and your neck as you bend it down all day long looking at the screen, a condition commonly known as “Tech Neck.”
Of course, technology is not all bad and a negative in our lives. There is no doubt smartphones have improved our lives, saved us a lot of time on daily tasks, have created thousands of new jobs for Americans and is a plus for our economy.
However, it’s like junk food. You know it’s bad for you, but you consume it anyways because once in a while is ok, as long as it doesn’t become a daily habit. For all of us, if we're honest, social media and our smartphones are the digital junk food we all need to use in moderation.
So in 2019, before you decide to “binge” on Netflix, maybe consider more healthy entertainment options like reading a book or taking a walk. It’ll do you a lot of good.
Dr. Whittle is taking off for Christmas and the New Year’s holiday. Next new column will be available January 7, 2019.
CNN recently announced they plan to no longer produce live news programming on sister network HLN, except for Robin Meade’s morning show and a few hours after her show goes off. The rest of the day will consist of taped programming.
The reason for the change from live news to taped programming?
The “Cable news landscape is dominated by politics,” said HLN head Ken Jautz. He further explained to his staff that due to HLN’s focus on non-political stories, the network really could not compete in this current news and political environment.
While he did not say Trump specifically, at this point, isn’t the word politics just interchangeable with Trump’s name?
CNN is missing a real business opportunity by not embracing politics on HLN, specifically conservative Republican Trump politics.
If you like Trump or vote Republican, you watch Fox News. If you hate Trump, you can watch either MSNBC or CNN and get your daily fill of anti-Trump programming. One reason Fox News dominates both Trump hating networks in the ratings is that MSNBC and CNN split the liberal viewership.
I believe CNN’s parent company Turner Broadcasting is missing a big league ratings opportunity by not providing content for the MAGA viewer.
There is no way CNN would ever hire a pro-Trump host for a primetime slot. Their viewers would revolt.
However, HLN is a separate channel, and the past few years it’s really struggled to find its own identity. CNN should rebrand it as a Fox News competitor.
If HLN became Fox News-lite with a primetime line up of respected conservative commentators and reporters, it would give Fox News competition and would peel away viewers from the nation’s leading cable news channel. However, this would not happen overnight. It would be a long-term project because it would take years to establish trust among conservative viewers, but hiring someone like Ben Shapiro, for example, would go a long way in establishing trust.
Not only would this move provide CNN with millions more in revenue, it would also open the door for more voices and would make cable news overall stronger as viewers would have more options for conservative commentary.
Competition makes everyone better, stronger and pushes them to create better products. More competition in cable news would be a good thing for the viewer at home.
WWE CEO Vince McMahon announced in January his plans to bring back the XFL that lasted only one season in 2001. The XFL held a press conference last Wednesday to reveal the eight cities that will host XFL teams when the league kicks off in 2020.
While the original XFL flopped due to lousy football on the field and a circus-like atmosphere off the field, the league was innovated on the media and technology front.
Some of the TV coverage innovations the XFL pioneered the NFL adopted including the “sky cam” and mic’ed players during the game.
With all the technology that is available now that no one could even imagine in 2001 during the XFL’s first and only season, the new league has probably the best opportunity of any sports league currently in operation to create a league that is built for the 21st century.
Unlike the NFL, the XFL does not have to worry about potentially offending TV partners that pay billions of dollars for TV rights by signing contracts with online streaming services in addition to TV. Airing Thursday night games on Amazon in addition to Fox probably does not make Fox extremely happy that they have to share their coverage with Amazon.
The XFL has no TV or online partners yet. The league can structure their media rights any way they want to. Look for innovation when it comes to media rights deals with the XFL. The field is wide-open for them to sign contracts with any traditional or digital media outlet. Since the league is new, traditional TV partners will be more understanding if they sign online rights in addition to a broadcast or cable TV deal.
Or, the league could go digital only and bypass traditional TV all together. McMahon stated in his XFL revival announcement that TV ratings would not be the only factor that determines if the XFL is a success because the media world has changed and TV ratings are not as important now as in 2001.
He already owns the digital/OTT WWE Network, which would be the logical choice to stream XFL games online. However, if he goes with his own streaming service, he should open the games up to all for free because there’s not going to be enough fans willing to pay to watch the new league. Amazon and YouTube are always great options as well. YouTube especially if he wants to reach the millennial crowd.
Another digital option is to stream all the games for free on the XFL app the league is creating. In addition to streaming games on the XFL app, the league could provide fan experiences and access to players that no other league can on the mobile app. Unlike the NFL, the league won’t have a players union and they’ll be no multi-million dollar contracts that restrict what players can and cannot do, so they can really be innovated in this area as well.
During live broadcasts of games, the XFL can experiment with technology that will make the fan experience even better by connecting what is happening on the field with the conversations occurring online on their app and social media. During XFL 1.0 there was no such thing as social media. Now that Facebook and Twitter exist, these social networks can be integrated into the game experience in real-time to make fans feel closer to the action.
The original XFL was a failure, but this time around McMahon seems to be doing everything right and taking his time to make sure he has the league more planned out than he did with the original version.
If XFL 2.0 is anything like the first from a media and technology standpoint, look for real innovation that will help create a unique fan experience that might just be adopted by rivals including the NFL.
Facebook is a mess right now.
The Mark Zuckerberg social giant is currently in the middle of multiple controversies that range from top executives leaving the company, to privacy concerns among a multitude of users, to talks of investigations into antitrust violations from Capitol Hill.
It seems the company is getting it from all sides and that many are wanting to “unfriend” them.
From a user standpoint, fixing Facebook isn’t as complicated as it may seem.
In fact, it’s a very simple solution.
Facebook users are becoming increasingly concerned with what personal data the company is obtaining and for what purposes they are using their data.
If Facebook wants to calm user’s fears, the social network should give users greater control over how their data is used. This would include providing more controls over how their data is used for advertising purposes and provide more opt-in and opt-out policies for consumers that would allow them to decide how their data is used.
Another move the company should make is to offer paid subscription options that provide users with an ad-free experience and also allows no data collection whatsoever by the social site. In addition, with a higher tier subscription plan, the site could offer a more encrypted experience for users to help protect their data better.
Not only would subscription tiers be great PR for the company to show they’re concerned about their user’s data, it would also help make up for loss revenue from their declining advertising business.
A report on Fast Company reports consumption time on Facebook was down from 16.5% in September 2017 to 14.3% in September of this year. The less people log onto Facebook, the less time they are seeing display ads resulting in a decline in revenue. However, the site is still second to only Google in digital consumption, so it’s not time to panic yet if you’re a Facebook investor. The company is still making billions.
To help stop accusations of political bias, Zuckerberg should show goodwill by creating a board that includes leaders from both the right and the left that meets to help discuss and put into practice policies that make sure all voices are heard fairly on the platform.
Facebook is a company in crisis on many fronts, but it’s silly to think the tech behemoth will suddenly disappear like MySpace. The company is almost too big to fail at this point and is too ingrained in our daily lives and culture for there to be a mass revolt of users away from the platform.
However, there are changes that the company can and should make in order to turn the ship around before it enters into uncharted tech territories that could eventually sink it because history has proven that even some of the world’s largest corporations can hit a financial iceberg and go down like the Titanic.
According to media reports, the Trump White House has drafted an executive order that would open an antitrust investigation into the business practice of some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent firms including Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
The investigation would examine whether online platforms have violated antitrust laws and address online platform bias as well. President Trump has Tweeted his concerns about the potential political bias of some of the nation’s largest social platforms that all lean left.
The federal government has a mixed record of success when it comes to breaking up mega-corporations.
The most famous examples of the government successfully breaking up companies include Rockefeller’s dominant Standard Oil and the 1980s breakup of the AT&T/Bell telephone system.
We are many years, court cases and Trump Tweets away from coming even a 100 miles close to a breakup of any technology or social media company.
However, for the sake of discussion and argument, here is where the federal government could start if they want to breakup some of the biggest tech titans in the world:
1. Require Facebook to sale Instagram and WhatsApp. According to recent reports, Instagram has over 800 million users and WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion. Facebook has over 2 billion users. That is a lot of access to user’s data for Mark Zuckerberg to have.
2. Require Google to sale YouTube. The video sharing website reports nearly 1.8 billion users each month, almost matching Facebook’s 2 billion users.
3. Spinoff Amazon into multiple smaller companies. Possible spinoffs: Twitch.TV, Whole Foods Market, Zappos, and the list could go on.
Of all the tech companies, Twitter is in the best position to not be broken up because the company is smaller than their bigger rivals and the company has not invested as heavily into acquiring other companies. If you want to include Apple on the list, you could require the spinoff of Apple Music or not allow the company to produce original content, but only offer music and TV shows on their apps from third-party producers.
As I said before, we are years away from any potential breakup even becoming a possible reality, but there is no doubt that the tech titans have more influence and control over our lives than prior oligopolies could even imagine.
Instead of antitrust lawsuits and breakups, a quicker and simpler solution may be to pass more regulation that protects user’s privacy and governs more how these firms operate.
Either way, the days of Silicon Valley having a blank check (or unlimited Bitcoin for all of the tech-minded readers) to do what they want is quickly coming to a close.
I am working on a new experience here at ChadWhittle.com and with my podcast content as well. Details coming soon. Thank you for your support. In the mean time, sign up for my FREE newsletter here to stay in the know!