12 Things Buzzfeed Wants You to Know About Viral Content

BuzzfeedBen Smith became editor in chief of BuzzFeed in 2011 when the website known for its listicles and cat photos got into the business of breaking news.

Smith, an early hire at Politico, immediately built a reporting staff. BuzzFeed's mix of news and frivolity attracts more than 130 million visitors a month.


“You can’t trick people into sharing things. They have to really like it and be proud to share it.”

During a talk at the Nieman Foundation, Smith discussed social media as a news distribution channel, the importance of editors, the evolution of beats, the new hegemony of the article as a unit of media, and the value of brevity and high-energy reporters.

Viacom: Kids of Today and Tomorrow Global Study [RESEARCH]

ViacomA new global research project conducted by Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), surveyed over 6,200 kids aged 9-14 across 32 countries--one of the largest studies of its kind.

The “Kids of Today and Tomorrow Truly Global Exploration” study focused on what VIMN valls “last wavers,” or the youngest Millennials, born between 2003 and 2008. The findings point to several key traits that shape these kids’ world views and make them distinct from older members of this generational cohort.


Kids of today and tomorrow are more “we” than “me.”

The youngest Millennials extend their positive spirit to also include a commitment to community and the wider world around them.

  • 88% believe it’s important to help people in the community, with 61% having taken part in an effort to raise money for charity in the past year.
  • 94% believe it’s people’s responsibility to protect the environment.

Advances in digital media play a large part in broadening horizons and inspiring kids to use the power they have at their fingertips in a positive manner:

  • 85% agree “my age group has the potential to change the world for the better.”
  • 71% agree “having access to the internet changes the way I think about the world.”

However, they don’t see this as anything out of the ordinary or think of themselves as “techy”:

  • 2 out of 3 kids think that being connected is as much a part of everyday life as eating and sleeping – it’s simply how life is today. As a consequence of being constantly connected in a fast-moving world, it is natural for them to constantly adapt and be open-minded. They are resilient and life-ready.


  • To reach these confident kids, it is important to communicate with them with a tone of positivity, smart but not cynical humor; and a playful approach, in line with the fun and happiness they seek in life.
  • Kids respond best to authentic brand messages: they recognize when someone is trying to sell them, so be honest.
  • It’s important to be both globally and locally relevant.

Kids of today and tomorrow are grounded.

Authenticity is a key value for kids today and they live with their feet firmly on the ground.

  • 94% report wanting to be true to the close circle around them and 93% to be true to themselves. When it comes to the people who inspire them or the people they trust most, it’s all about close family and friends. They might feel inspired by celebrities and sports stars, but they know not to trust them.
  • 49% of the youngest Millennials name a family member as their #1 best friend– rising as high as 90% in Morocco and 87% in Brazil.

Kids of today and tomorrow are confident.

Today’s youngest Millennials are overwhelmingly happy and optimistic.

  • 88% consider themselves very happy, with happiness levels in this age group increasing over last six years.
  • Spending time with family and friends is the top factor generating happiness in most countries. Young Millennials enjoy doing activities together as a family.
  • Humor is important to young Millennials, who use it strategically to navigate life: 64% agree “I use humor to help me get my way.”
  • Happiness outweighs stress by a factor of 3 to 1: while almost 9 in 10 young Millennials describe themselves as very happy, only 24% report high levels of stress, with stress levels falling since 2006.

Kids today are re-calibrating their sense of what it is to be stressed as well as happy: they have grown up in a world of constant change and global economic crisis – for them, this is the norm.

  • Even in Greece, where the economic crisis is particularly acute, stress levels are only 36%. The highest stress levels among 9-14s are actually in Singapore and China (41% and 39%) – caused almost certainly by the highly pressured education systems in those countries.
  • In general, the youngest Millennials are characterized by an optimism with which they approach challenges: 90% agree “I can accomplish anything if I work hard enough” and 89% agree “I always try to be positive.”

At the global level, these high levels of happiness, low stress and growing positivity are combining to form a “virtuous circle” of mutual support that helps kids create an overall sense of confidence.

  • Belief in themselves: 65% believe not only that they are smart but also that they are smarter than other people.
  • Belief in their future: Despite everything, a large majority (84%) believe they will earn more than their parents
  • Belief in their generation: This is the winning generation … the expression “#winning” suits them perfectly and is acknowledged by many more 9-14s than by older Millennials (77% vs. 66% of 15-30s)
  • Belief in their creativity: 89% believe their creativity will help them to keep on winning in a fast-paced world.

Kids of today and tomorrow are simultaneously more and less sheltered.

The difference is very clearly defined: in the real world, they are much more sheltered than in the past, with parents restricting and controlling their interactions with everything. However, given advances in technology and access to a wide range of devices, there is often relatively little protection – kids have unprecedented exposure to global ideas and images.

  • 43% own their own computer/laptop and 28% own a smartphone.
  • 61% have a social media account (and 11 years is the average age for having a first account – despite being below the age threshold set by many social platforms’ Terms & Conditions).
  • 9-14s have 39 online “friends” they have never met (up from five since 2006).

Kids of today and tomorrow are proud to be.

The youngest Millennials are increasingly expressing a sense of affinity with their country. Their sense of national pride is growing stronger and they are more likely than six years ago to believe it’s important to maintain their country’s traditions.

  • 87% agree that they are “proud to be [their ethnicity]” up from 81% in 2006.
  • 79% agree “it’s important to maintain my country’s traditions,” up from 60% in 2006.
  • At the same time, they are tolerant of other cultures: 74% think it’s great to have people from other countries living in the kid’s country.


This VIMN study is based on 6,200 interviews with the 9-14 age group (at the time of research, born 1998-2003, which we have defined as “last wavers” within the Millennial generation) across 32 countries (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, US, Canada, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Russia, Hungary, Poland, China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa).

Video is also available in the following languages:

Tess Explains It All: Teens, Social Media and the Myth of Internet Addiction

image from www.clubfemina.comEarlier today I ran across a really insightful (and spot on!) article, written by high school student Tess Harkin, for Huffington Post Teen. In her post, Tess tackles the widely held narrative that teens are 'addicted' to technology and as a result, aren't engaging in real life human connection.

Tess explains the relationship between teens and social media and how it actually does facilliate and foster relationships (IRL!) with her peers

Turns out, when it comes to teens and technology, they're mostly misunderstood.

 "It's almost too easy to agree with the majority and think, "People are right, technology is destroying the human connection." But I think just the opposite.

Technology brings people together. Shocking, I know? It sounds like some crazy marketing ploy, and many commercials support that. But the fact is, it's the truth.

I can talk to one of my friends in California, Canada or Taiwan with the touch of a button. Technology has helped me forge lifelong connection with people I would have lost touch with ordinarily. I can say I talk to more people now, whether it be through Facebook, texting or tweeting, than I did three years ago. And for the argument that nothing compares to face-to-face conversation?

I'd love to engage and be a part of that, but the fact of the matter is, without Skype or Google Hangouts, I wouldn't be able talk to a large portion of my friends. I'm not trying to advocate for technology to replace all forms of in person conversation, I'm just trying to suggest the stigma attached to it isn't necessarily just."

You can read the entire Huffington Teen post here.

Youth Service America: New Resource to Fight Childhood Hunger

image from d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.netYSA (Youth Service America) – a national nonprofit that encourages and facilitates community service among youth. Published by YSA and Sodexo Foundation, A Teacher’s Guide to Engaging a New Generation of Anti-Hunger Leaders, demonstrates how addressing childhood hunger with students benefits the community and students.

It’s also an exciting opportunity for teens to present to their teachers who can use the guide’s tips to implement service-learning at school.

From leading food drives and fundraisers to successfully lobbying for school feeding programs, these teachers and their students are demonstrating significant increases in academic engagement while making a real difference in their communities. 

Featuring success stories and practical tips from K-12 teachers, the guide includes examples of alignment with Common Core and other academic state standards. 

Bridegroom Lesson Plan: Teaching LGBT Civil Rights

image from www.reellifewithjane.comThis lesson, based on the documentary film Bridegroom, will help students better understand the issues concerning the disparity of civil rights extended to different communities in American society.

The film also addresses student strategies for coping with bullying and overcoming feelings of social isolation.

The lesson is also aligned to McREL learning standards, contains project based learning activities and a discussion guide for educators. 

These learning materials have been released under a Creative Commons license and may be shared and downloaded for educational and non-profit use, with attribution.



To complete this lesson, students will need access to the following:


 Bridegroom Lesson Plan


ZABRA #BeCyberAware Twitter Chat: Social Media and Digital Parenting Resource List


One of the things I enjoy most about my work is having the opportunity to talk with parents, educators and brands to dispel some of the myths or fears around teen use of social media.

Tonight I’m going to be participating in a digital parenting Twitter chat hosted by Zabra that will be moderated by Josh Shipp.

The event starts at 7pm EST and you can participate through the hashtag #BeCyberAware. I hope you’ll join us for a lively and informative discussion.

No matter the audience, my message is pretty consistent: Don't panic! I'm frequently asked to share some of my favorite digital teens & parenting links, tips and other resources.

So here we go! I've sorted through my bookmarks and tweets and put together this (hopefully) handy handout. Feel free to tweet it or share it with anyone you think would find it helpful.


Cyberbullying: A Sociological Approach  http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2013/04/cyberbullying-a-sociological-approach.html

Young Adults Communication on Social Media

INFOGRAPHIC: Golden Rules for Social Media Use by Teens  http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2013/07/infographic-golden-rules-for-social-media-use-by-teens.html

INFOGRAPHIC: Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat –How Teens Use Social Media  http://www.businessinsider.com/infographic-how-facebook-could-be-unraveled-by-mobile-first-teens-2013-4

Southern Poverty Law Center | There Are No Bullies http://www.tolerance.org/magazine/number-45-fall-2013/there-are-no-bullies

Southern Poverty Law Center | Bullying Quiz http://www.tolerance.org/lesson/bullying-quiz

Facebook Lets Teens Post Publicly: Why That's a Good Thing http://huff.to/19QNvvK

Digital Citizenship Includes Rights as Well as Responsibilities http://huff.to/9JoWlm

Beware of the Internet Safety Industrial Complex http://www.connectsafely.org/beware-internet-safety-industrial-complex/

INFOGRAPHIC: How Millennials Are Using Social Media for Good  http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2013/10/infographic-millennials-use-social-media-for-good.html

INFOGRAPHIC: Teens, Social Media & Privacy  http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2013/05/infographic-teens-social-media-and-privacy.html

Alert: Your SnapChat Photos Aren’t So Secret http://www.businessinsider.com/alert-your-secret-snapchat-relationships-arent-so-secret-2013-9



Facebook for Educators & Community Leaders Guide  http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2013/10/facebook-for-educators-and-youth-community-workers-guide.html  

Facebook for Educators Handouts

Facebook 101: Digital Citizenship

It’s Always Sunny on Facebook



The CDC reports that 60 percent of high school students claim that they have though about committing suicide, and around nine percent of them say that they have tried killing themselves at least once.

Whatever the causes of teen suicide, it is important to note that the pressures of teenage living can lead to suicide. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL):

  • 19.3 percent of high school students have seriously considered killing themselves.

  • 14.5 percent of high school students made actual plans for committing suicide,

  • 900,000 youth planned their suicides during an episode of major depression.

Many times parents may not know that their child is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts. There are so many resources available for teens in crisis. Here are some organizations leading the charge to help teens in crisis.

It's important to have the discussion with your kids to let them know if they or one of their friends are suffering from depression or threatening to harm themselves they need to immediately tell an adult, teacher or direct them to one of these crisis providers. If they feel there is an eminent threat, call 911.

Facebook 101: How To Report Suicidal Intentions http://www.scribd.com/doc/75718714/Facebook-101-How-to-Report-Suicidal-Expressions

Crisis Text Line: Get Help Now http://www.crisistextline.org/get-help-now/

ReachOut USA http://us.reachout.com/

Trevor Project: Warning Signs of Suicide http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/warning-signs  

Trevor Project: Get Help Now http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/get-help-now

To Write Love on Her Arms: Get Help Now http://twloha.com/find-help



Real to Me: Girls and Reality TV http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2011/11/real-to-me-girls-and-reality-tv.html

Reality TV Tip Sheet for Parents http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2011/11/real-to-me-reality-tv-tip-sheet-for-parents.html

What Pop Culture is Teaching Your Boys About Masculinity  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/progressive-parenting/2011/04/19/what-pop-culture-is-teaching-your-boys-about-masculinity

Boys, the Media and Body Image: An Open Letter to The Ellen Show http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2011/04/media-boys-body-image-pop-culture-an-open-letter-to-the-ellen-show.html



Parents Guide to Facebook

48% of Parents Believe the Internet is a Good Contribution to Their Children’s Lives http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2012/02/survey-48-of-parents-believe-the-internet-is-a-good-contribution-to-their-childrens-lives.html

Social Networking Tips for Parents http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2010/10/social-networking-facebook-privacy-tips-for-parents.html

Empowering Parents Through Technology http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2010/09/research-empowering-parents-through-technology.html

Facebook Security and Safety Resources for Parents http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2010/04/facebook-security-and-safety-resources-for-parents-teachers-teens.html

Facebook for Parents http://www.facebookforparents.org/

Connecting with the Facebook Parenting Duo

Why Anti-Bullying Programs Are Failing http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2013/02/why-anti-bullying-programs-are-failing-brooks-gibbs.html

INFOGRAPHIC: School Bullying http://www.debaird.net/blendededunet/2012/01/infographic-school-bullying.html

What Parents Need to Know About Ask.fm & Kik http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/parents-know-ask-fm-kik-144900812.html

Study: 63% of College Students Actively Using Facebook or Twitter While Watching TV

Mobile is having the biggest impact on how college students apportion their screen time. Daily time spent on the computer and watching TV decreased in 2013, while daily time spent with the mobile phone and tablet were up by about 18 minutes each, compared with 2012.

But even if daily time spent watching TV is diminishing, a considerable 60% of college students reported owning a flat-screen TV; and TV viewing was still a major portion of students’ media time, clocking in at 2.8 hours per day. While time spent on the computer or mobile may be higher, activity on these devices can run the gamut—from using a word processing program for schoolwork to making a phone call.

image from www.emarketer.com

By comparison, when students turn on the TV, it is to watch a program, even if using other devices is a corollary part of the experience.

The study found that eight out of 10 college students reported using a second screen at least a few times a week while watching TV. Only 13% did so less than once a week, or not at all.

The most popular activity students engaged in while watching TV was using Facebook or Twitter, at 63% of respondents. Social TV can be boon to TV marketers and advertisers, but there is always the possibility that social networks are merely distractions from TV content.

Surfing the web was the next most common activity while watching TV, at 58% of respondents, while half also reported playing games. Schoolwork wasn’t completely forgotten while students vegged out in front of the television, though—37% said they did homework or research while watching TV.

And in a sign that the second screen may be an opportunity for TV marketers and advertisers to gain student viewers’ extra attention, about one-quarter of students looked up the TV schedule on a second screen, and about the same percentage shopped. (Source)



MTV Study: 57% of Millennials Like to Take a Break from Technology to Make Things with Their Hands

Keep_calm_and_carry_onIn a recent survey, MTV Insights set out to understand the younger end of the Millennial demo, 13-17 year olds, who will soon move into the “sweet spot” of MTV’s core target demographic of 18-24 year olds. 

This is a landmark generational study that builds on MTV’s long legacy of deeply understanding their audience, as part of an effort to constantly reinvent ourselves and stay at the bleeding edge of youth culture.

One of the most interesting findings?

Of those who repsonded, 57% reported that they like to take a break from technology to make things with their hands…and 82% agree “when I’m stressed or overwhelmed, I like to stop and just do one thing at a time." As Julia, 17 puts it “When I craft I’m in the zone, it really soothes me."

With social media, crafts & baked goods are granted a “second life" and serve an important function in helping hone one’s personal self-brand. We see teens today even more adept at developing their unique persona from a young age, realizing both the need to stand out to get social media likes and, moreover, showcase a unique side to get noticed in a highly competitive college admission process. 

Why are younger Millennials so stressed?

They came of age in an economic downturn, seeing college grads struggling with huge student loan debt and living through a cascade of social media-amplified tragedies like Hurricane Sandy and Sandy Hook. For them, life has always been a 24/7 social media show.

Younger Millennials’ “adaptive survival strategies”


These pragmatic youth are natural preppers in the face of an unpredictable world – whether planning for physically safety in light of violence or prepping for their futures in a more uncertain economic climate.

Accustomed to high school intruder drills, they are always in “exit strategy” mode, withover a third agreeing they “plot out escape plans when in public places, because of events like Sandy Hook.” Although half are scared of violence at school, they seem to have adopted a practical “Keep Calm and Carry On” mentality.


YMs are consciously taking time to self-soothe (a classic coping mechanism from hyper-stimulation) disconnect, de-stress, de-stimulate and control inputs. They “mono-task” and focus on immersive hands-on activities like baking, sewing or crafting. They claim their dependence on social media is overrated: one girl says “My parents Facebook more than I do.” 

  • 8 in 10 young Millennials agree that “Sometimes I just need to unplug and enjoy the simple things”
  • 82% agree “when I’m stressed or overwhelmed, I like to stop and just do one thing at a time”
  • 57% like to take a break from technology to make things with their hands
  • 54% of 14-17 year old girls say baking makes them feel less anxious


This is the first generation of “digital latchkey kids.” Though increasingly physically protected by parents, teens’ web behavior is not as closely monitored. But like the Gen X Latchkey Kids who created their own rules and regimes while parents worked, youth today are surprisingly filtering out what’s overwhelming to them online: avoiding certain Youtube videos or sites that they think are gross, inappropriate or disturbing.

They’re slimming down their social networks and finding niche/private places to share in a controlled environment, whether it’s Snapchat or a locked Instagram feed.

Unlike older Millennials who were pioneers in the “Wild West of social media,” today’s teens are “tech homesteaders” – they’re more savvy about how to use the internet, build "gated" groups, "hide in plain view", curate and filter.

Source: MTV Insights | The New Millennials Will Keep Calm and Carry On

Infographic: Golden Rules for Social Media Use by Teens

The British Council is marking Social Media Day 2013 with a set of five golden rules to help parents and educators keep kids safe on social media.

Every year the British Council engages directly with up to two million children globally, and seven million indirectly through teaching, exams, programmes, and projects. The organisation is committed to keeping children safe and protecting them from all forms of harm and abuse.

image from www.britishcouncil.org

Trend Watch: What do your Instagram posts say about you? It's high school all over again.

PromagramHow you see the world is at the heart of Instagram, turning it into the digital version of high school, complete with its own cliques and cast of characters.

If you think about it, it’s not a surprise. After all, the idea at the heart of the social network is to use photos as a unique expression of your personality.

So when you choose what to capture and how to filter to get the right effect, you’re not just composing a shot, you’re revealing who you are. And like high school, those masterpieces peg you into broad archetypes, creating a Breakfast Club 2.0, if you will, for the 21st century.

Instead of jocks and cheerleaders roaming the halls or the cool clique smoking in the bathroom, you have visionaries, fashionistas, artistes and proud parents, each with their unique slant on the world, as well as hidden neuroses that make them human.

No matter what effect you lean towards or how much you crop, ultimately, you filter your sense of identity through the same lens that started to develop in high school — and it’s what you carry through life, whether you realize it or not.

So where do you fit in? What do your Instagram posts say about you?

Photo Credit: eminic23

Infographic: 7 Types of Social Media Fans

U.S. consumers spend an average of 37 minutes a day on social media sites, according to eMarketer, and much of that activity involves brands and products. Consumers do everything from follow brand pages looking for deals to sharing their positive and negative experiences with the world.

It’s critical for marketers to understand as much as they can about these social media consumers. This week’s infographic breaks them down into seven major types, gives insights into their thinking and behavior, and shares tips on how to market effectively to each group.

Here are some of the stats on social media users:

  • 70% trust brand/product recommendations from friends
  • 49% follow brand pages for deals, specials and promotions
  • 45% are likely to share negative experiences with brands/products on social media
  • 42% who contact brands on social media expect a response within an hour

image from cdn.pamorama.net
















































































Source: Yahoo! Advertising Blog

Trend Watch: Is Teen TXTNG Killing Language? [VIDEO]

Does texting mean the death of good writing skills? John McWhorter posits that there’s much more to texting -- linguistically, culturally -- than it seems, and it’s all good news.

In this TED talk, linguist John McWhorter thinks about language in relation to race, politics and our shared cultural history.

Cyberbullying: A Sociological Approach [RESEARCH]

image from www.igi-global.comSocial media and text messaging have assumed a dominant role in communication among adolescent society. And, as common in teenage social environments, these circumstances often involve online teasing and harassing. This has become known as “bullying.” 

Delaware state Attorney General, Beau Biden, describes cyber bullying as a communication that “interferes with a student's physical well-being, is threatening or intimidating, or is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it is likely to limit a student's ability to participate in or benefit from the educational programs of the school.”

According to Delaware Online, the state recently implemented a law enforcing that schools penalize cyber bullying issues the same as they would for incidents that happen within school walls. 

Many states have begun to implement similar laws enforcing stricter punishments for those engaged in cyber bullying, and sometimes the victims are not only teens. NPR recently addressed a North Carolina law that was passed to protect teachers against bullying from their students.

A teacher at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School had a student create a fake Twitter account under the teacher's identity, and posted offensive comments. Under new laws, students charged with such offenses could potentially face a month in jail and fines of up to $1,000.00. 

The recent International Journal of Technoethics article “Cyberbullying: A Sociological Approach” evaluates the concepts of bullying and cyber bullying and addresses the emerging nature of these occurrences: “Cyberbullying has become a major social concern because it raises questions about the ethical use of technology.

In recent years, this has been the subject of research and information and prevention activities for different groups such as governmental and non-governmental organizations and schools and parents’ associations to protect against the misuse of technology.” 

Written by José Neves and Luzia de Oliveira Pinheiro of the University of Minho, Portugal, the article features studies evaluating Portuguese University students in observation and focus groups, interviews, and investigations that aims to explore and define the characteristics of cyberbullying in Portugal. 

Cyberbullying a Sociological Approach

Search, Music and Social Networking Among Top Activities of UK Youth

image from www.futurity.orgUK teens have a significant presence online and are at the leading edge of many digital behaviors, according to a survey conducted by Research Now and initiated by K&A BrandResearch.

When UK teens go online—whether via PC or mobile—using search engines to seek out information is their No. 1 activity, in line with the ubiquity of this action among older age groups as well.

The next two most popular activities showed the ways in which teens’ digital priorities may somewhat diverge from older consumers.

Just about 80% of UK teens said they went online to visit social networks. And another seven out of 10 used the internet to listen to music. These responses beat out email, watching video and playing games as teens’ primary digital activities.

image from www.emarketer.com















Read the rest of the article over on eMarketer


Mobile Youth: Graham Brown on the Voices of a Mobile Generation

image from ecx.images-amazon.com

Graham D. Brown, an internationally recognized expert on mobile technology, wants you to know that just about everything you think you know about about kids, mobile phones and technology is wrong.

No really.

In his new book, Mobile Youth: Voices of Mobile Generation, Graham brings years of expertise working in the communications and youth marketing space, coupled with interviews with youth from around the world, into a compelling exploration of how the mobile youth culture revolution is driving our increasingly social and mobile future.

It's Not About Technology, It's About Relationships

While news outlets run stories warning parents of the dangers of teen ‘internet addiction’, social media and texting, (most often during ‘sweeps week’ to garner eyeballs and advertising dollars) Graham takes a more nuanced, balanced and global look at the behaviors and sociological drivers behind these mobile trends.

The book contains several case studies of how youth---from Beijing, Tokyo, L.A. and even Amish Country in rural Pennsylvania---use mobile phones as a way to connect with their families, teachers and, most importantly, their peers.

As Brown points out, the most important thing any brand, marketing campaign or youth-focused organization can do is help consumers connect with their peers. The most successful brands, whether it’s a mobile tech firm like Samsung, a food truck in Los Angeles or social media company like Twitter, provide consumers with a way to connect with each other, which in turn creates value, relevance and stickiness for your product.

And this is the real secret sauce behind of why mobile devices have become our most valuable possessions. In the end for today’s youth, it’s about using technology (mobile, social) to connect people to their friends, passions and community.

Simply stated, the emotional connection they have with their mobile phone isn’t so much about technology, it’s about relationships.

Kids and Technology: Same Behavior, Different Tools

The other important lesson, this time for parents and educators, is to take a step back and release that teen behavior hasn’t changed from when they were kids, just the tools and technology.

Think of it this way: twenty years ago, teens hung out at the mall to share ‘status updates’, stalk and make friends and, occasionally, get into trouble. And don’t forget the hours upon hours that were spent talking on the phone (the one with the curly cord) and watching TV.

These youth behaviors still happen, but now the mall is out and Facebook is in. Hours on the phone tied to the wall has been placed with SMS, KIK and Twitter. Wasting time watching TV is out and wasting time watching Hulu and YouTube is in.

Mobile Youth: Voices of Mobile Generation is a must read for anyone--youth marketers, parents, educators, youth pastors--wanting to garner a better and deeper understanding of the emotional relationship between young people and their mobile phones.

About Graham D. Brown

  • Since witnessing the growth of youth media and technology having lived in Japan in the early 90s, Graham, along with business partner Josh Dhaliwal has helped grow mobileYouth to serve over 250 clients in 60 countries worldwide - names such as Vodafone, Nokia, Coke, McDonald's, Telenor, Red Bull, Nike, Monster Energy, Orange, O2, Verizon, Boost Mobile, the UK government and the European Commission.
  • Graham is a regular public speaker and has presented at the 3GSM World Congress, Barcelona and been interviewed on CNN, CNBC, BBC TV and Radio. His work has also featured in the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and the Guardian. 
  • He is author, Director and Founder, mobileYouth and Chairman & Founder of The Youth Marketing Academy. Business author & speaker on the psychology of communication and media. 
  • Graham also hosts the youth marketing stream on Upstart Radio and mobileYouth's own TV channel. Graham is also a judge on the Mobile Marketing Association's Award Panel, advisory board member to UNICEF on their mobile media strategies and an advisor to the Global Youth Marketing Forum in India.