Our teen years vs. theirs

Teen on phone
Pabak Sarkar/Creative Commons

It’s only been a few years since most of us were teens. We at the Clog, however, have noticed quite the cultural shift between norms and trends when we were teens compared to norms and trends for teens in 2016. The ways in which youth culture has changed is as hilarious as it is unsettling. Here are a few things that have changed since we were teens, many (all) of them related to media and technology.

Posting pictures then: Facebook albums, for the memories and viewing pleasure
Posting pictures now: Instagram, exclusively for the likes

Gauging social media presence then: number of Facebook friends and wall posts
Gauging social media presence now: number of Instagram likes per hour and a high follower to following ratio

How to gain popularity then: having friends
How to gain apparent popularity now: strategy

Messaging people then: Facebook messenger and Gmail chat
Messaging people now: direct messaging through Instagram or Twitter

TV then: watching whatever is on on nights and weekends
TV now: binge streaming TV and movies and watching them all in one sitting

Shopping then: in a store with friends and other humans
Shopping now: in bed with your smartphone

Downloading music then: iTunes
Downloading music now: unheard of; Spotify is the primary source of music

Acceptable age to purchase first phone then: the ripe age of 14
Acceptable age to purchase first phone now: before puberty

Conversations with best friend then: long texts and phone calls for hours
Conversations with best friend now: gold heart and 100-day Snapchat streak

Selfie culture then: embarrassing; only done in the privacy of one’s home
Selfie culture now: shameless, wherever appropriate (anywhere)

Spending free time then: reading and playing sports
Spending free time now: coding and gaming

Phones in school then: distraction
Phones in school now: learning tool

We at the Clog cringe at the fact that teens nowadays spend so much of their time on the Internet, streaming, coding, thinking about their social media presence or sending Snapchats of a wall and just the word “streak,” but maybe we’re just getting old. Even though adults probably didn’t understand the trends of our teen years, we can’t wrap our heads around how much they’ve evolved in only a few years since we were teens and how much they’ll probably continue to evolve for years to come.

Contact Jasmine Tatah at [email protected].