by Celia Hannon
1. Young people making and exchanging videos isn't happening in large enough numbers for it to be considered significantly different or special.
I think the global peak to teenagers’ bedrooms is something new to our time. You feel that you have a moment with them alone. Calling this cultural expression is a completely other discussion.
2. Why should we be surprised that young people are turning their back on society - isn't what they have always done?
Are they turning their back on society, building their own subsociety or just ignoring the political structures? And let’s face it, most adults are turning their backs to it too.
3. Are young people really interacting beyond their social group? Aren't they more likely to just be communicating with 'people like themselves'?
The people like me can now mean different things than before. People interact with people like them but the groups are much more fluid and parallel than before. A big challenge for many youth organisations and public organisations is to deal with the fact that teenagers today do not stick to one group and do not often stay in one group for long. Someone could call this AD/HD…
4. How 'real' is all this stuff anyway? Does it really reflect what children care about? Isn't most of it just exhibitionism? How is it better than say the UNICEF report on the condition of young people around the world?
A lot of the stuff online is deadly serious. But the online videos are like life – they are not only funny or only serious. I think the doing silly things publicly and not only amongst your friends is something new. That also brings me to the point about real….I think these videos should be seen – as you cleverly wrote – as tools for defining who you are rather than testimonies of who you are.
5. Why should there be a role for government in this? Shouldn't we just concentrate on ensuring that children have access to school, food and jobs?
Giving a context has been needed always between youth cultures and the decision makers. No one asked ministers in the 70s to get punk records and start listening. It is not easier now than it used to be.
6. Who has access to broadband? kids in north-western Europe. Not the children of Europa - it's pretty niche stuff really?
It still is but I think the impact of broadband across borders has been massively positive. The fact that still only a few have access should encourage us to provide possibilities for more rather than brand it as a luxury phenomenon. But true, the whole youth of Europe is not online.,
7. Emotional capital? Isn't that just a new way of talking about 'trust'?
I would put emphasis on two issues: trust and self-esteem. Publishing your bedroom videos takes a lot of guts. We should not undermine it. You need to feel self-confident and safe in order to enter the public sphere.