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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.

An image of Simba from the new Lion King movie. He's a cub and standing in front of a large lion paw print.

Lion King

The Scoop

Parents who grew up in the ‘90s will be chomping at the bit to take their kids to the new live-action version of The Lion King. If you were a child of the ‘90s, you’re probably looking forward to the iconic songs such as “Hakuna Matata.” We hope you won’t be looking for the song “Be Prepared,” though, as it’s been dropped. The good news is, a new song written by Elton John, Tim Rice, and Beyonce will be featured. Other than these small changes, the movie is supposed to stay pretty true to the 1994 animated version. It will, however, have some necessary adjustments to match the true African Savanna and its wildlife.

Our Take on The Lion King

We expect this to be a solid family movie. But with the real African beasts in action, parts of this movie may be a little intense for sensitive kids. If leaders plan to watch this movie with their pre-teens, we’d suggest giving parents a heads-up first just to make sure they know about the violent and frightening scenes.

Check out all of our movie reviews!

For more Keeping Current reviews in every issue, subscribe today to Children’s Ministry Magazine!

The main image for the Miracle Workers. It features Daniel Radcliffe standing wide-eyed in front of a large framed picture of Steve Buscemi as God.

Miracle Workers

The Scoop

Miracle Workers is a new TBS network show about a company called Heaven Inc., and “God” is the CEO. There’s an extremely small department of angel workers who receive, sort, and answer people’s prayers. “God” only receives the largest of the prayers. In the opening of this show, “God” is a cynical, unkempt man with a drinking problem. After a new angel worker causes a tragedy by trying to answer a prayer, she convinces “God” to get to work. However, his plans aren’t to save the world…

Our Take on Miracle Workers

This show is not going to answer serious questions about the real God; in fact, “God” seems to be the opposite of the real God, and it’s actually some rogue angels who eventually demonstrate the positive messages in the show. Miracle Workers contains language, some violence, and substance abuse (done by “God”). If your preteens are watching this show, we recommend you initiate some discussions, encouraging kids to differentiate between the real “God” and this poor representation of him.

Check out all our TV reviews!

For more Keeping Current reviews in every issue, subscribe today to Children’s Ministry Magazine!


The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge

The Scoop

Authors M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin (who also was the illustrator) have created a prolific portfolio of books for children, preteens, and teens throughout their careers. The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge, their most recent book, is a clever, middle-grades fantasy adventure that was a 2018 National Book Award finalist. This book centers around an elf who’s been sent to a goblin nation as a diplomat. The two nations are not friends, however. In fact, each nation is plotting the other’s demise, even as this diplomatic exchange takes place. Through humor and mishaps, the book displays how cultural differences and prejudice cause hatred and unnecessary conflict where there could otherwise be unity.

Our Take on The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge will help kids think about how perceptions and experiences can be different for people in different social circles and communities. The narrative that uses both words and pictures will have girls and boys turning pages, laughing, and learning all along. We recommend it for preteens.

Make sure to check out all of our previous book reviews!

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

The cover of the game One Piece: World Seeker, featuring a cartoon main in a an open red button down. He has an explorer's hat and it looks like he's running high above a city.

One Piece: World Seeker

The Scoop

Based on a popular anime series called One Piece,  the action-adventure game”One Piece: World Seeker,” takes place in the same anime universe. The main character, Luffy, explores a huge world and battles enemies. He’s also given side missions from other characters in the game, and he gathers various items for his treasure box. It’s available on the main gaming stations, including PS4, PC, and Xbox One.

Our Take on “One Piece: World Seeker”

Although rated T for teen, preteens are showing interest in this game, too. And while “One Piece: World Seeker” is easy to play and has both positive role models and positive messages, there are some things to be aware of. Things that may cause concern include anime violence, characters with cigarettes or cigars in their mouths, and some sexy-looking characters and suggestive references. We recommend caution and adult supervision if preteens are playing it. If your preteen shows interest in playing “One Piece: World Seeker” it would be helpful to review the game first.

Make sure to check out all of our previous Game Reviews as well!

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

Billie Eilish is in all orange and red baggy winter clothes. She's posed in front of a deep orange background, crouched down.

Billie Eilish

The Scoop

This 17-year-old American singer/songwriter has rocketed into popularity among preteens in the last year. In April, her fans packed the enormous Outdoor Theatre at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, and many showed they knew nearly every word of her songs as they sang along with her. Billie Eilish’s rise to stardom began after she uploaded her home-recorded song “Ocean Eyes” to SoundCloud at age 13, and the song went viral nearly overnight.

Our Take on Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish’s lyrics and videos are dark, and her music is within the realms of goth, EDM, and dark pop. In “I Don’t Wanna Be You Anymore,” she calls herself an explicit name. In “Bad Guy,” she sings about a male love interest and alludes to her desire for a seemingly abusive relationship. Other song titles include “All the Good Girls Go to Hell,” “Bury a Friend,” and “Wish You Were Gay.” We don’t recommend Billie Eilish’s music for preteens, but the fact is, she’s serving as a role model for young girls. So be intentional about having conversations with your girls about the mistruths she’s singing.

Check out all of our music reviews!

For more Keeping Current reviews in every issue, subscribe today to Children’s Ministry Magazine!

The app logo for Tik Tok. It features a music note with a blue and pink outline on a black background.


The Scoop

Where Instagram posts are typically centered around creating beautiful Photoshopped scenes, posts in TikTok generally present overdone images. For example, girls attempt to look desirable using excessive and clearly overdone makeup. They even admittedly try to gain attention with their videos and memes.

Some girls, known as “egirls,” create posts where they’re playing video games, taunting boys, or listening to sad songs by Billie Eilish.

Our Take on TikTok

Many of the egirls use their internet identities to become what they think boys their age fantasize about. This is a big concern for us at Children’s Ministry Magazine. As kids get more involved with the app and copy their peers, what starts as innocent may quickly become inappropriate.

While TikTok does have a separate section for kids under age 13 and reportedly monitors posts to limit inappropriate content, the app isn’t foolproof. We definitely recommend close adult supervision of any kids who are using the TikTok app.

Editor’s Note: TikTok may seem familiar to you because it merged with the app in 2018.

Check out all of our previous App and Website Reviews!

For more Keeping Current reviews in every issue, subscribe today to Children’s Ministry Magazine!

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