The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'teenagers'
A new study in the EU has revealed a transformation in the social function Facebook plays: as membership becomes ubiquitous, teenagers are sullenly withdrawing from Facebook for the darkened bedrooms that are Instachat/Appgram/whatever the kids call it these days; when your mum is on there, updating your Facebook is no longer fun, but rather a chore. When you're a teenager (and sometimes when you're no longer one) and your entire family are on Facebook, logging on and posting status updates isn't so much a case of hanging out with your friends and finding your own way in the world, but one of filing reports to your 'rents, an enforcement mechanism of the extended probation that is adolescence; the virtual equivalent of an electronic ankle bracelet, if you will:
"Mostly they feel embarrassed to even be associated with it. Where once parents worried about their children joining Facebook, the children now say it is their family that insists they stay there to post about their lives."Consequently, because when you post to Facebook, you're standing up straight, tucking your shirt in and presenting yourself to authority figures, you tend to self-censor more. Which also makes it less fun.
Information that people choose to publish on Facebook has generally been through a psychological filtering process, researchers found - unlike conversations, photos and video shared through more private tools such as Skype, or on mobile apps.A Facebook that's about reporting to your parents that you've been keeping out of trouble sounds like good training for the future when a clear (and respectable-looking) social media trail will be essential for everything from employment to immigration, and indeed not having one (or having one that looks forged) will in itself be grounds for suspicion.
Following the death of J.D. Salinger, author of Catcher In The Rye, the seminal formulation of mid-20th-century teen angst, the Observer's Barbara Ellen asks whether Holden Caulfield's angst, alienation and stance against "phonies" has any relevance to today's affluent, materialistic teenagers:
Watch Skins, which has a new series on E4, but also take an honest look at your own teenager/s. Compare them with your teen self. Better dressed (check), more affluent (check), perma-partying (check), healthier, better looking, better skin (check, check, check!). There have been times when I've stared at my teenage daughter and thought: "What happened to acne?" Not only acne, but having to wear horrible clothes, because you didn't get an allowance, or sitting in cold bus shelters for hours with your friends because there was nowhere else to go.
They were humbling mechanisms of youth, so boring at the time, but also so important because they gave you an incentive to get a life. All gone. A particular breed of metro-teens already has a nice life, thank you very much. In fact, many of them seem to have the lives of salaried twentysomethings. Alienated? Only if being alienated is being infatuated with one's youth, to the point of having no interest in previous generations. Do a Holden and resent and judge "phoney adults"? You'd be lucky with this lot. They barely notice we're alive.
One realises that things are more complex than that – recessions, vanishing university places, the feeling that this relentless selfdom is doubtless a mere carapace with myriad complexities bubbling beneath. Besides, I like the carapace – that merit-less self-glorification, the stubborn refusal to glance out of their yoof bubble to see how the rest of us may be doing. At least they're not wasting their glory years picking their noses to the Smiths. However, this doesn't alter the fact that the dislocated, angst-ridden "blah" of Catcher is no longer a good fit for modern teens. The defining work for this generation would more likely be the Argos catalogue.Ellen concludes with the claim that the truly lost generation aren't the hoody-wearing, Vice-reading, iPhone-toting party kids but their broke, exhausted parents, though, alas, there is no market for a book about middle-agers raging against "phoney teens".
An inventor in Wales has invented a teenager repellant. It's a device that emits an annoying noise at a frequency only youths can hear; the youths then scatter, leaving the oldies in peace.
The device, called the Mosquito ("It's small and annoying," Mr. Stapleton said), emits a high-frequency pulsing sound that, he says, can be heard by most people younger than 20 and almost no one older than 30. The sound is designed to so irritate young people that after several minutes, they cannot stand it and go away.
At first, members of the usual crowd tried to gather as normal, repeatedly going inside the store with their fingers in their ears and "begging me to turn it off," Mr. Gough said. But he held firm and neatly avoided possible aggressive confrontations: "I told them it was to keep birds away because of the bird flu epidemic."The problem is that it's only most, not all, people over 30 who are immune to its effects.
Andrew King, a professor of neurophysiology at Oxford University, said in an e-mail interview that while the ability to hear high frequencies deteriorates with age, the change happens so gradually that many non-teenagers might well hear the Mosquito's noise. "Unless the store owners wish to sell their goods only to senior citizens," he wrote, "I doubt that this would work."The article describes other devices for keeping the young and disorderly at bay, including "zit lamps", which cast a blue light that accentuates acne, and the old standby, classical music.
The Graun's Jonathan Freedland's broadside against the mythologisation of the 1960s, a decade much of whose alleged uniqueness and revolutionary character says more about the self-absorption and historical ignorance of those who grew up during it than about any genuine transformation of the world:
Note how everything they did was a first, a "revolution". Most have quoted Philip Larkin so often - "sexual intercourse began in 1963" - they've come to believe it, imagining their bedhopping was a genuine innovation. They seem unaware of the hedonistic 1920s, the naughty 1890s, the bawdy 18th century, to say nothing of the Roman and Greek empires. No, in their eyes, promiscuity was unheard of till they invented it.
They were "the first teenagers" too, as if before 1960 children mysteriously skipped from age 12 to 20 overnight. I know, I know - they're referring to the youth rebellion that gave the 60s its fire. Except that wasn't new either. In 1911, 30 kids walked out of Bigyn school in Llanelli, to protest over the caning of one of their peers, sparking a pupils' strike across Britain. Young people were at the forefront of the conscientious objection movement in the first world war a few years later. Whenever there has been a call for change, youth has usually been its voice.
(Though wasn't the whole deal about "the first teenagers" being that they were the first generation in which a large proportion of the adolescent population had the disposable income to create demand for cultural goods marketed specifically at them, hence the rise of rock'n'roll and youth culture and all that it spawned, eventually giving rise to MTV and PlayStations and, arguably, the bulk of the mobile phone industry and such?)
We know that you're too busy fighting off your biological urges and being l33t hax0rs to Get Involved, but politics is cool, m'kay?
(Hey, chill with the anti-Europe vibes already! You totally won't be able to wear the word 'fcuk' on your shirt anymore if we break our connection with France, y'dig? ROFFLE!)
So, cut it with the bling bling and do something for the community, man. Join in and take action with any of the groovy sites we've listed, or just drop Tom a line for a quiet rap by the electronic e-mail. Tom's well-up on the Interwebnet, and he won't harsh your buzz or dis you down the line.
Intentional irony, or sheer cluelessness? And if the former, has irony folded in on itself to the point where what would have been "cool" and then became lame is now ironically cool again?
Read: Why nerds are unpopular, an interesting essay which starts by asking the question of why intelligent kids are so unpopular in schools, and going from that to the malaise of living in a world detached from any real meaning:
And the active persecution is, if anything, the less painful half of the popularity equation. As well as gaining points by distancing oneself from unpopular kids, one loses points by being close to them. A woman I know says that in high school she liked nerds, but was afraid to be seen talking to them because the other girls would make fun of her. Unpopularity is a communicable disease; kids too nice to pick on nerds will still ostracize them in self-defense.
The author posits that the culture of sadism and cruelty is an emergent property of human nature in an unnatural environment (both schools and the wastelands of suburbia), and that in a world without meaning or purpose, kids find their own meaning in popularity and create their own arbitrarily vicious society. (I.e., the Lord of the Flies Effect.)
I think the important thing about the real world is not that it's populated by adults, but that it's very large, and the things you do have real effects. That's what school, prison, and ladies-who-lunch all lack. The inhabitants of all those worlds are trapped in little bubbles where nothing they do can have more than a local effect. Naturally these societies degenerate into savagery. They have no function for their form to follow.
If I could go back and give my thirteen year old self some advice, the main thing I'd tell him would be to stick his head up and look around. I didn't really grasp it at the time, but the whole world we lived in was as fake as a twinkie. Not just school, but the entire town. Why do people move to suburbia? To have kids! So no wonder it seemed boring and sterile. The whole place was a giant nursery, an artificial town created explicitly for the purpose of breeding children.
As far as I can tell, the concept of the hormone-crazed teenager is coeval with suburbia. I don't think this is a coincidence. I think teenagers are driven crazy by the life they're made to lead. Teenage apprentices in the Renaissance were working dogs. Teenagers now are neurotic lapdogs. Their craziness is the craziness of the idle everywhere.