I’ll Be Watching You: Plurals’ Hyper-Monitored Childhoods

Plurals, often the children of Millennials, are being watched at almost all times from the day they are born, with tech acting as a second set of eyes for vigilant parents. We’ve spoken in the past about the ways that Millennial parents could change families, from bringing the baby to the biergarten to relying on lifehacks and tech to help them navigate parenthood. Now we’re seeing a new implication to this tech/parenting integration. Hyper-monitored childhoods are becoming the norm, moving beyond the generically over-protected upbringings of many Millennials, and making growing up a tech-supervised, increasingly quantified experience.

 

Baby monitors have been around for years in audio form. But today, video monitoring systems have become the norm on baby shower registries, and cameras have become as common a fixture above cribs as mobiles. Nightvision has moved from spy ware to parenting tool, with cameras that can see in the dark to make sure all is well in the nursery after children have been put to bed. Systems like iBaby Moniter send a video feed of baby straight to mom and dads’ smartphone—letting them not just watch, but also talk to their child from wherever they are. iBaby offers multiple monitors, and a two finger swipe on the accompanying app allows users to quickly change views between cameras throughout the house. Once children have graduated from the crib, whole house monitors are available, streaming feeds of every room to laptops and mobile devices. Though currently less common, it is not too hard to imagine that Millennial parents used to seeing their child’s every move might want to continue to watch as they grow up, even outside the house. Systems like WatchMeGrow put cameras into the classroom, equipping childcare centers with video monitoring systems…

 
 

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“I saw some heartbreaking stories in the internet, and decided to look up some international charities and donate to them.”—Male, 20, WA

Magazine covers aren’t dying in the age of digital—even when publications go out of print. Digital-only covers are “captur[ing] the print magazine's tangible essence” while building hype for media brands on social media (especially Instagram). PorterComplexNylonGQ and more publications have taken on the trend, featuring celebrities like Chance the Rapper to Sophie Turner. For magazines looking for a comeback with young consumers, digital-only covers can “translate their own brand for the web." (Fashionista)

Following “a series of scandals,” YouTube is taking major steps to overhaul its video review process and ad placement policies. The new guidelines “kick tens of thousands of video makers out” of the ad program by requiring anyone who generates ad revenue to produce 4,000 hours of content and gain 1,000 subscribers in one year, upping the ante from the previous requirement of 10,000 lifetime views. YouTube is also promising to manually review every video in its top tier of advertising (Google Preferred), and they’ve hired 10,000 new employees in the last year to get the job done. (recode)

Some Millennial parents are applying their minimalist tendencies to their kids’ toy chests to battle play clutter with “toy limitation.” It’s not a new concept—some schools of thought that have “advocate[d] simple, open-ended toys” include Montessori, Waldorf, and RIE—and today’s advocates say limiting toys can improve focus and happiness. A report from the University of Toledo concluded that toddlers “played ‘better’” when given fewer toys, meaning they played with each toy for longer and in more creative ways. However, some parents worry that they’re “denying [their children’s] self-expression” when they limit toys, and so the debate continues. (Slate)

Tostitos is giving fans their very own personalized Super Bowl ads to invite friends to their game parties. The platform takes a user's name, address, and other invite info and spins it into a video perfect for Customization Nation. Each ad features a different combination of Super Bowl clichés, including a “talking baby, puppies, sassy older women, [and] a celebrity pitchman.” Considering Ypulse data shows 64% of 13-34-year-olds watched some or all of the 2017 Super Bowl with friends and family, it’s a safe bet at least some will be sending out invites, possibly with some Tostitos product placement this year. (Adweek)

Facebook’s new feature lets Groups co-view each other’s content. “Watch Party” allows Group admins to show any Facebook video to members simultaneously, and to comment on a “dedicated reel” for a “shared viewing experience.” The feature is another step towards the platform’s new goal to “encourage meaningful social interactions,” and their new focus on Groups. The push for social viewing could possibly be integrated into other aspects of Facebook and its properties, like group chats. (TechCrunch)

“I plan to go to a free barre class at a local studio that is offering them as part of a New Year's promotion.”—Female, 33, MA

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