In a recent MTV study entitled “Generation Innovation,” we set off to look at the resiliency of a Millennial generation that is pushing back against a system in need of repair… whether the economy, the environment, the education system and more.
What we found was counter to the often-charged caricature of today’s youth as “entitled” and “coddled.” Instead, we found a vibrant and strong fixer/maker/builder culture where nearly 3 in 4 of Millennials believe “our generation is starting a movement to change old, outdated systems.”
Put more broadly, if the American Dream isn’t working as promised, Millennials will take it upon themselves to iterate the next “version” of America.The heady mix of forces driving this generation is only partly due to their sense of needing to fix something broken.
The other even more potent side of the coin is the primacy they place on their own power of creativity. When asked “what word best defines the DNA of your generation?” the number one response was “Creative” and number two “Self-expressive.” A full 70% of Millennials in the study agreed “Creativity will save us!”
One of the first places we checked in on our journey was Detroit. We were fascinated by the “canary in the coal mine” dynamics at work with a younger generation busy appropriating, fixing and remixing the American Dream – whether transforming abandoned factories into hack spaces, disused cycle tracks into playgrounds, distressed storefronts into galleries for emerging artists or untangling arcane local government departments.
Millennials have the motivation and DNA to run wild with innovation, but they also have access to the tools, technologies and platforms to make a real difference. In fact, 92% of Millennials feel “empowered” by technology (versus just 11% feeling overwhelmed by it).
What the generation is busy fixing and making is interesting to watch, for sure. But perhaps most fascinating is HOW Millennials are going about innovation and what we can all learn from it about what form the next version of the American Dream may take.
Today the White House released a report entitled “15 Economic Facts about Millennials” (pdf). This report takes an early look at this generation’s adult lives so far, including how they are faring in the labor market and how they are organizing their personal lives.
This generation is marked by transformations at nearly every important milestone: from changes in parenting practices and schooling choices, to the condition of the U.S. economy they entered, to their own choices about home and family.
In his new video, fimmaker Casey Neistat makes the case for Snapchat being the future of social media, but in a fundamentally different way.
It's not like Facebook or MySpace, his argument goes, though it may be their natural evolutionary successor.
Snapchat is different, Neistat (and the gaggle of Snapchat teens he interviews) says, because it actually mirrors the way we interact in the real world.
"Snapchat is great because it's virile and vital. Because it's right now. Because there's no pressure to be produced or fake, because everything disappears in a few seconds anyway." -David Pierce, The Verge
Snapchat is a way to let people live your life with you, a surprisingly close approximation of just running into someone for a few seconds at the store or on the subway platform. Neistat points particularly to Snapchat Stories, the public-facing part of Snapchat, as the feature that made Snapchat really move into the mainstream.
To illustrate the power of Snapchat, Neistat invites Jerome Jarre, the King of Snapchatwith 1.2 million follwers, to send a Snap his fans asking them to meet him in Union Square----16 minutes later Jarre racked up 142,000 views on his Snap and several hundred screaming fans actually showed up in person.
Few things strike fear in parents and educators as much as Snapchat. It wasn't too long ago that social technologies like MySpace, Facebook, SMS and camerphones had the power to elicit such a negative response.
But slowly, as parents and educators began to learn more about these new tools and social technologies, they not only embraced them, but many educators began integrating them into their teaching practice.
The guide also talks about the SnapKidz--the totally private and secure version of Snapchat designed for kids under the age of 13. Snapkidz is a fun way for tweens to privately share photos of camp, that trip to Disneyland or family vaycay with their friends, cousins and even grandma!
For educators, this guide is a great opportunity to have a discussion with your colleagues in a professional development setting to learn more about Snapchat and how students in your school are using this tool. Who knows, you might even find yourself using the "Our Story" feature to document that field trip!
New research from UK-based digital marketing platform SuperAwesome, which currently houses the largest kids research panel in the region, maps out a compelling crop of comparative digital kids data from 2009 to 2014.
The survey contains lots of really interesting stats on kids gaming, social networking and mobile habits, but one of the most interesting statistics comes from the data regarding chat apps. Back in 2009, MSN dominated, but now kids have shifted their loyalty to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
So while kids may not be using Facebook, they are using Facebook products (FB Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp) as primary social networking and communication tools. It looks like the great unbundling of Facebook strategy may pay off and keep younger users in the Facebook mobile ecosystem. And mobile ad network. (Shock! Awe!)
The other big take away is the shift from passive consumption of media to an active embrace of maker culture. Kids are creating movies and publishing them on YouTube, creating worlds in MineCraft and embracing LEGO more than ever.
While this data is primarily focused on kids in the UK, I would garner that data from U.S. kids would closely align with the SuperAwesome findings.
Noah, a short film that debuted at the Toronto International FIlm Festival, illustrates the flitting attention span and lack of true connection in digital culture more clearly than anything else in recent memory. (Warning: NSFW)
"These words are probably unfurling inside one of many open tabs on your computer screen. Perhaps one tab is for work, one is for chatting, and another is for Twitter. You probably even have some others open for no particular reason.
This is the way we receive information and the way we communicate now: constantly, simultaneously, compulsively, endlessly, and more and more often, solitarily. This strange new mode of living--and its indelible effect on our humanity--is perfectly captured in a new short film that debuted this week at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The 17-minute, mildly NSFWNoah is unlike anything you've seen before in a movie--only because it is exactly like what many of us see on our computers all the time. Created by Canadian film students Walter Woodman and Patrick Cederberg, the film begins when our high school senior protagonist types in the password that opens up his laptop, and the narrative takes place entirely on his computer screen.
It doesn't matter how far removed in age you are from the characters, if you are digitally savvy enough to be reading this, Noah will hit uncomfortably close to home."
Ben 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.
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:
"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."
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.
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.
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.
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)
In 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.
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.