OPINION5 February 2010
OPINION5 February 2010
We stick with the prediction theme this week: here are three more youth movements to monitor.
Empowered youth: Following on from last week’s ‘Rise of the Teens’, it seems it’s not just teenagers who are becoming more empowered. As the National Curriculum introduces more topics and children have almost limitless access to technology, school kids now know more than grown-ups about certain topics. They are teaching their parents how to cut their carbon footprint, set up Facebook profiles and send picture messages. Whilst this more reciprocal exchange of information between parents and children is not exactly new, it’s only recently that publishers have recognised the opportunity to tap into this knowledge and consult kids for content. How to Turn Your Parents Green and Teach Your Granny to Text are recently published books that kids have contributed to. Beyond this, green initiatives in schools are being fronted by pupils themselves: via the Eco Schools initiative, school children are responsible for setting up and implementing green policies and running eco-committees. Expect youth empowerment to evolve in 2010 as increasingly confident kids and teens take the lead.
Going out is the new staying in: Social networking and mobile phones have enabled and encouraged a shift towards remote social interaction over the past few years. The popular image is of teens barricading themselves in their bedrooms, spending hours chatting to friends on Facebook, MySpace and MSN. However, there is evidence to suggest that as this lifestyle proliferates, there is growing unease among youth participants. A recent study suggests that depression levels are higher amongst those who spend more time online and qualitatively, we have heard teens admit that they are less enthusiastic about aspects of online interaction than we may have assumed. Whilst we’re by no means predicting an end to online social interaction, we are seeing a shift towards technology that enables the face-to-face. Google Latitude, Foursquare and Loopt are examples of online services that allow users to physically locate other people, thus encouraging spontaneous meetings – not just with friends but with other likeminded souls. It’s not just specifically developed location services that enable this kind of real world impromptu meet-ups. The growing accessibility of Twitter and Facebook via mobile phones also points in this direction. It’s not just technology platforms that could reap the benefits: local services, venues and events are also well placed to capitalise.
From bloodsuckers to moon howlers? 2009 was the year of the vampire. But what can we expect for 2010? With Twilight, True Blood, Daybreakers and a glut of other bloodsucking movies and TV series hitting our screens and bookshelves in 2009, our taste for blood has never been thirstier. But fickle audiences will doubtless tire of fangs and brooding teenage angst, so what next to satisfy our bloodlust? Well, we seem to be returning once again to the world of ancient folklore, this time the werewolf. Wolf Man will be released in the UK in a couple of weeks and the 1973 film The Boy Who Cried Werewolf has been re-made and will be released later this year. Surely the ‘80s classic Teenwolf is due another TV outing? But it doesn’t stop there. On a less menacing note, some are tipping angels as the new vampires. Whilst, at the moment, this is largely a literary rather than screen phenomenon, with Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush Hush and Elizabeth Chandler’s Kissed by an Angel recently hitting the bookshops, January’s release of Legion indicates that the celestial theme is likely to escalate.