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These pages report, but don’t endorse or recommend, what’s hot with preteens.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the task of staying up-to-date on all the latest preteen media trends. That’s where our Keeping Current section saves the day.

What is “Keeping Current”?

In each issue of Children’s Ministry Magazine, we provide a quick overview, as well as our take, on the latest media trends for 10- to 12-year-olds. You’ll find reviews on music, games, apps and websites, books, television shows, and movies.

Want to look up past media reviews? Search through our archive, or search by category for even more reviews:

Lastly, we provide easy-to-share videos summarizing each issue’s media reviews. Keeping Current is a perfect way to help parents stay up-to-date on what their preteens might be exposed to.

The book cover for the book The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm.
Book

The Third Mushroom

The Scoop

In this new book written by Jennifer L. Holm, The Third Mushroom, Ellie is a middle school girl living in San Francisco. She lives with her mom, grandpa, and stepdad, who’s frequently out of town for business. Her divorced parents remain good friends, and her grandpa thinks he’s still 14. When Ellie’s grandpa decides to attend her school, they partner up for the science fair, experimenting with the concept of eternal life.

Our Take on The Third Mushroom

The Third Mushroom has many positive messages. It encourages kids to be okay with failure and teaches them about flexibility. It touches on the concept of loneliness, which is a familiar feeling for many preteens and also addresses preteen romance in a natural and innocent way. Preteens who have read this book might appreciate a discussion about loneliness or the loss of a pet, topics the book touches on.

Make sure to check out all of our previous book reviews! Looking for more reviews on media often consumed by preteens? Check out our reviews for movies, music, TV, games, and apps/websites.

For even more Keeping Current reviews of preteen media trends in every issue, subscribe today to Children’s Ministry Magazine!

An Image of Bear Gryll on top of a hill with the sun setting behind him. He has his hand out towards the viewer. It says You Vs. Wild.
TV

You Vs. Wild

The Scoop

You Vs. Wild is an interactive Netflix Originals series. Viewers join host Bear Grylls on missions and make choices about what the Australian host will do throughout the episode. For example, he might ask viewers to decide whether he should travel through the woods or travel by river. Viewers make all kinds of choices—from what Bear Grylls will eat to retain energy to the beasts he’ll approach—and then click on one of two choices in each scenario to continue the story.

Our Take on You Vs. Wild

Violence and bad language are very limited in You Vs. Wild, and the positive role models are plentiful. The show encourages critical thinking and promotes courage in kids as they participate in Bear Grylls’ adventures. We think it’s a fine choice for preteens and their families.

Make sure to check out all of our previous TV reviews! Looking for more reviews on media often consumed by preteens? Check out our reviews for movies, music, games, books, and apps/websites.

For more Keeping Current reviews in every issue, subscribe today to Children’s Ministry Magazine! Looking for more information about preteens? Check out all our preteen posts for teaching tips, lessons, ideas, and insight into the mind of a preteen.

Endel logo in white on a black background.
Music

Endel

The Scoop

Some might not call it music, but that’s not stopping kids from listening to this up and coming sound. Endel is an algorithmic sound designed to provide focus, stress relief, and relaxation to listeners. Tracks (with names such as “Three Through the Mist” and “Two Visible Heavens”) sound like a combination of organ notes and earthier sound machine tones. Endel is available on its own app and it’s also available through media-streaming providers such as Amazon, Google Play, and Spotify.

Our Take on Endel

Endel is part of the “chill-out music” trend teenagers have latched onto while they’re doing homework, chores, or sleeping. And teenage trends always seem to make their way down to preteens. Endel has as times replaced regular music for kids—and it’s replaced silence, too. While completely replacing silence isn’t a good thing, Endel sounds can bring peace to already stressed-out preteens instead of pop, rap, and rock, which often deliver unsuitable lyrics for kids. The sounds may even help preteens focus during prayer.

Make sure to check out all of our previous music reviews. Looking for more reviews on media often consumed by preteens? Check out our reviews for movies, TV, games, books, and apps/websites.

For more Keeping Current reviews in every issue, subscribe today to Children’s Ministry Magazine! Looking for more information about preteens? Check out all our preteen posts for teaching tips, lessons, ideas, and insight into the mind of a preteen.

The Game logo for Beat Saber. Beat is in red neon letters and Saber is in blue neon letters. Under the title, it says "Rhythm slashing VR game."
Game

Beat Saber

The Scoop

Beat Saber is a virtual reality (VR) game where players slash approaching blocks to the rhythm of hip-hop-like music. The movement in the game promotes exercise and dancing rhythm. It’s rated E for everyone, and various difficulty levels and song speeds make it challenging for all ages. Check out more about Beat Saber on their official website.

Our Take on Beat Saber

While we have not heard all the songs, the lyrics to the music are simple and seem appropriate. We like that the game promotes movement and rhythm. Plus, it’s pretty simple and doesn’t include violence or inappropriate scenes. That said, keep in mind that virtual reality hasn’t been around for long, and there are some potential concerns about how it can impact young kids’ brains.

Make sure to check out all of our previous Game Reviews! Looking for more reviews on media often consumed by preteens? Check out our reviews for movies, music, TV, books, and apps/websites.

For more Keeping Current reviews in every issue, subscribe today to Children’s Ministry Magazine! Looking for more information about preteens? Check out all our preteen posts for teaching tips, lessons, ideas, and insight into the mind of a preteen.

A screenshot of the game Plague Inc. It includes a map of the world that's showing an outbreak.
App/Website

Plague Inc.

The Scoop

Warning: Plague Inc. is bleak. The goal of this simulation game is to create a sickness that infects and eventually kills the entire world population. The sickness can evolve and become stronger, but “doctors” work to get rid of the disease. Players must work quickly to end the human race before doctors find a cure. The game includes various scenarios in which the sickness takes over, such as an anti-vaccination community and a Christmas celebration.

Our Take on Plague Inc.

Plague Inc. doesn’t contain sexuality or unacceptable substances, and there’s very little inappropriate language. Given the subject matter, it’s surprising that the game doesn’t contain blood and gore. It’s rated E for everyone and does have educational aspects. Despite this, the concept is overly dark and intense for preteens.

Make sure to check out all of our previous apps/websites. Looking for more reviews on media often consumed by preteens? Check out our reviews for movies, TV, games, books, and music.

For more Keeping Current reviews in every issue, subscribe today to Children’s Ministry Magazine! Looking for more information about preteens? Check out all our preteen posts for teaching tips, lessons, ideas, and insight into the mind of a preteen.

The movie poster for Abominable. It features a white-haired yeti with blue eyes and an underbite.
Movie

Abominable

The Scoop

DreamWorks’ new animated movie, Abominable, tells the story of a Chinese teenager named Yi who finds a yeti on her roof in Shanghai. She and her friends travel the world with the yeti, named Everest, looking for his family. Meanwhile, an evil man wants to capture Everest and keep him captive. The teenager and her friends learn lessons about themselves along the way.

Our Take on Abominable

Rated PG, Abominable contains a bit of mild rude humor and a few scary moments. It’s also said to have some mild references to sexuality. Other than these aspects, the movie is kid-appropriate. It also promotes the idea of perseverance and encourages an adventurous spirit as the characters travel the world.

You can view the trailer for Abominable here.

Make sure to check out all of our previous movie reviews! Looking for more reviews on media often consumed by preteens? Check out our reviews for TV, music, games, books, and apps/websites.

For more Keeping Current reviews in every issue, subscribe today to Children’s Ministry Magazine! Looking for more information about preteens? Check out all our preteen posts for teaching tips, lessons, ideas, and insight into the mind of a preteen.

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