What is youth culture? Youth culture is the term used to describe the ways teenagers lead and conduct their lives. It can refer to their interests, styles, behaviours, music choices, beliefs, vocabulary, clothes, sports preferences and dating relationships. The concept behind youth culture is that adolescents are a subculture with norms, behaviours and values that differ from the main culture of older generations within society.
Youth culture, especially in the western world, is more about what they wear, the lifestyle they support, the electronic gadgets they own, as a majority or group. There are even competitions for higher ranks, wherein the high ranking ones are the most beautiful, richest, own a wider array of gadgets, and have the most amount of cool friends.
It isn’t that much about who you are but more about what you have. Reality television shows, magazines and the newest gadgets are what rules the youth and the world at large today. It is getting quite out of hand, and because of the new life-stage as ‘teens’, young people doesn’t realise the big importance they have on the future.
Development of Youth Culture
Youth culture was first developed in the 20th century when it became more common for adolescents to gather together in groups or fandom. Historically, prior to this time, many adolescents spent a large portion of their time with adults or with their siblings. But the introduction of compulsory schooling and other societal changes made the joint socialisation of adolescents more prevalent.
Psychologists such as Erik Erikson have theorised that the primary goal in the developmental stage of adolescence is to answer the question, “Who am I?” If this is the case, it is natural to assume that in finding out one’s own identity, one would seek others within the same age group and generation to grow and learn together and understand the social norms and values of society.
Theorists such as Adele M. Fasick agree that adolescents are in a confused state of mind and that identity development happens during this time as they exert independence from parents and have a greater reliance on their peer groups.
Characteristics of the Youth today
The youth of today are not like any other preceding generations. They are stronger, more united, and far more understanding. One of the main characteristics of the youth of today is their firm determination. Some might misunderstand this trait for stubbornness, which is also true.
However, our youngsters set their sights very firmly on a certain goal, and do everything in their power to achieve it, sometimes going even beyond what is in their hands to do extra.
This gives them stamina and immense courage to accomplish their target on time with utmost perfection. If we closely observe their behaviour, we notice that their dedication and sincerity towards the work increases day-by-day.
Our young generation also has a very good capacity to withstand the stressful situations. They can manage any and every circumstance in a patient manner. Gender is no bar to the withstanding ability. Everyone is equally tested and treated in the world of employment and performance and the parameters are very competitively met by our charming youth.
The ability to manage stress is also one of the primary investigators in the field of psychoneuroimmunology, which is the study of the relationship between psychological factors and working of the immune system. Seeing as our youth ward off stress not just by ignoring it, but actually working around it, the youth are also constantly in good health.
One of the down factors is that the blood of the youth gets heated up much too frequently. The youth lacks patience in some areas and they all need their tasks to be completed as and when required and that too immediately. The loss of patience and the hot temper is often the cause of violence and rage. This is evident from the new-fangled tradition of cursing horrendously at the littlest of things.
Our youthful generation is also extremely tech-savvy. They can complete every task in a single click. The cyber world has given them a life of ease and comfort, in comparison to the long hours that used to be spent at offices. However, this has a downside too. The tech savvy youth have lost the values of physical exercise.
Running games are now played virtually on a gaming screen. These factors are landing the youth into poor health conditions at a tender age, especially due to factors such as obesity. We have reached an era where our youth are unable to perceive anything without the Internet. They have become completely dependent on the technology.
Probably the most defining characteristic of the youth of today is their strong rebellion. Now this might be taken as a bad quality by a lot of people, but in my opinion, this is an excellent thing. The youth do not simply rebel against anything and everything.
They pick and choose their battles carefully and only rebel against the wrong things in our society. For example, the youth are standing up for the rights of women. They have taken up the fight against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and many other problems.
The older generations often criticise the youth for being lazy, and not being outdoors all the time. But I believe that that is a wrong notion. They may not be as active as the earlier generations in terms of playing games, but the important thing is, they are keeping themselves busy doing something.
The youth don’t just sit back, relaxing. When they see a problem, they devise methods to overcome it, instead of sitting and gossiping about it. They hold protests, strikes and marches in support of their demands.
The youth are currently the only people working towards saving of our planet from climate change, seeing as no one else is taking it seriously. Contrary to popular belief, there are many other sides to this new youth culture than just sex and teenage pregnancy.
The youngsters are well aware of the balancing equations of life. The general IQ and the social awareness cause them to help in the upliftment of the rural segments of the world. They are the ones who plan and promote the development of the under-developed nations. They are passionate about their nations, and sometimes, even more passionate about the world as a nation together.
Reasons for the Youth Culture of Today
The youth of today are unlike any before in all of history. This is because of several factors. The world is ever changing, developing in certain fields and regressing in others.
The previous generations, when they were youth, never had to experience the kinds of difficulties and pressures the today’s youth go through almost every day. Of course, no one means to undermine the difficulties of the past generations.
Some of the factors that are responsible for the youth culture of today include the school shootings, the rising paedophilia, easy access to narcotics, the dark web, graphic sexual images on billboards and magazine covers, ever rising racism, and several others. Imagine going to school every day, innocently, and yet never knowing whether you will be coming back home or not.
Young people are being challenged in their everyday lives by the media, their peers and by school. They are challenged to go beyond their own personal and familial boundaries. Modern technology and advancement has given everyone invaluable tools for communication: cell phones, e-mail, pagers, computers, instant messaging and text messaging, all for the purpose of improving our communication skills.
But very often, although parents are very quick to supply their children with all these communication tools of our modern age, they realistically don’t spend more than fifteen minutes a day speaking to their children on a one-on-one basis.
It is crucial to understand that the youth culture is a type of stereotype wherein we are trying to fit in all the youth of the world. This is not realistically possible. The youth are from all over the world, they glorify in their diversity.
Trying to fit them all into one culture is the same as saying that the lion, dolphin and ostrich are all the same simply because they are all in the animal kingdom.
In conclusion, the youth is like the clay in hands of the sculpture. The more careful the sculpture is, the better is the resulting statue. Our youth require to be moulded carefully and tactfully. All that we need is the encouraging society who can uplift the young generation to create a better tomorrow.