Are we to blame the social media for the decline in coming of age for this generation of Britain’s adult?
The concept of teenagers, and that transcendent phase between child and adult, is now in its sixties. Never entirely defined, though these days it seem to stretch awkwardly far up in the ages. Spotting man 30+ on skateboard is no longer unusual, but merely a statement of the ever-lasting youth that we all want to be a part of. This generation is off the rails. It loves freedom, but hated the responsibilities that comes with it. These 30 year olds still live in their teenage daze. Who is to blame?
Social media has become a mass exposition for eternal youth. Both through Instagram trend, but also the deeper aspects. Platforms like Pinterest and Tumblr floods over with artistic glorifications of adolescents. Dazed published a piece titled “why are photographers so obsessed with youth”. This question strongly involves social media, as that is the main platform for which photography as an art form is exposed.
The Instagram queens are barely 18, and yet they are some of the most influential sources these days. With hordes of fans girls like Gigi Hadid and Kendal Jenner leaves marks, not only in the fashion industry, but re-new the way this generation reflects upon themselves. This constant exposure of youth and the most glamorous sides of adolescence have, understandably, a certain allure and makes the concept of suite-wearing, tax-paying adultery seem pretty dull.
A city thing?
You can argue that this issue is just a “city thing” and that the Peter Pans roaming the city simply long for eternal youth and by that evolves their entire purpose around prolonging their adolescence. Yet you can no longer argue against the fact that this generation has reached about a third into their average life expectancy, and still they are caught up in the “teenage daze”. The impact is heavier than just the aesthetic though.
The Economist published “The End Of the Baby Boom?” this year, suggesting that the generation of adults to come, is not yet ready to take on the adult responsibility leading to a massive decline in births in the UK. This was the first birth rate drop since 2001 and the biggest since the 1970s. Now you cannot sensibly argue that this is because people rather hashtag than make babies. But, it is some underlying factors about how youth and declining responsibilities is a new pop-cultural phenomenon and that this is boosted by the vast amount of platforms you can expose yourself on these days.
We are undoubtedly surrounded by the consequences that follows a generation denying its ability to grow up. Not only can we now spot men and women being carried out of clubs, flashing their sins to the oblivious world, but my mum, 47, has more followers on Instagram than I have.
In more serious matters there are now 3, 3 millions 20 to 34-year-olds still living with their parents and horrifyingly high suicide rate amongst young men, this is more than just a vivid joke. It is not a call against social media, but awareness is needed in order to pop the many bubbles of ‘social media glorifications’ and the effects they have.