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Tuning in to Today’s Youth

Even with all of today’s technology and information available to us, understanding our youth seems more evasive than ever. It seems that almost overnight, our youth have created their own culture and are working hard to preserve it as they come up through the ranks and decide for themselves how they want to spend their time and where they want to spend it. While it seems that today’s youth is different than we were when we were their age, the question begs to be asked: is it them or are we the ones who are different? Technology and communication online comes so naturally to our youth that it makes it seem like they are the ones who need help navigating relationships and society; but maybe it’s not them after all. With so much information out there, what if it is actually helping our youth to figure out who they are faster than ever?

Social Media

Social media, while it can be damaging to self-esteem and confidence, can also build up self-esteem and confidence amongst our young people. And it seems that whether they are being bullied or they are being praised, youth are going to make their way to social media channels regardless. Imagine what having the whole world in your pocket would have been like when you were younger? Sure, you might want to figure out how to deactivate Tinder after giving it a go, but instead of thinking of all the ways social could hurt our youth, start thinking about how youth are using social media to plug into what is going on in the world -- our youth are better informed than ever before. You can ask them questions about world events, local politics, and international affairs, and because it is all on social media, they know something about it. That’s pretty impressive.

Music

With iTunes and YouTube and Spotify, our youth can get to the source of entertainment faster and easier than we ever could. This means that they are not limited to what is on the radio to discover their tastes and interests in music. When I was growing up, I only listened to the likes of Johnny Cash because that’s what I heard in the house all day. Instead of waiting until I was older to discover music, I could have known about the whole world’s music. Imagine what it is like growing up with every musical artist in your pocket, on your smartphone! That can’t be a bad thing?

We give our youth a hard time for how much they rely on social media and the internet for entertainment, but we aren’t taking the time to think about how this kind of access is a good thing for our young people. While there is a lot of information out there than can hurt our youth or misinform them, there is just as much information out there that can help guide them and help them transform into the people they are meant to become. And social media and the world’s music has a hand in that growth and transformation.