Cologne (dpa) – Just when you think the whole world has gone digital, cutting-edge youth are stampeding back into the pre-digital past, a German youth culture researcher is telling dpa.
Personal relationships, outdoor adventure, cooking sybaritic meals and handicrafts are ultra-cool among young Europeans now growing up, says Philipp Ikrath.
The head-down generation, too busy with smartphones to talk to you: They are the older people.
“I think that this complete embrace of the digital that people have assigned to today’s youth is an incorrect diagnosis, and it has prompted a backlash,” said Ikrath, who heads the Institute for Youth
Culture Studies in Hamburg. “There’s a conscious attempt now to create a parallel, analogue sphere.”
One trend to watch is the de-friending phenomenon on Facebook. “These are the people who clear off everyone who isn’t truly a friend from their Facebook friends list. There’s also so-called digital suicide: People who choose to give up social networks because they feel they’re in over their heads.”
The trend, which has also been documented by research in the United States, stems partially from youths’ bad experience with their parents.
Many are sick of seeing parents constantly glued to a laptop, tablet or smartphone, leaving little time to interact with their own children.
Ikrath says he thinks the trend means today’s 15- and 16-year-olds will have a very different relationship to technology than their parents had.