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 don't spend money, really on anything. I enjoy video games and will enjoy getting video games, but I receive as gifts from grandparents, parents”—Female, 14, IA

Airbnb is booming in Africa, where young travelers are “looking for culture rather than comfort.” Over two million people have used Airbnb in Africa to book vacation accommodations in the last five years, reportedly earning African hosts $139 million in just the past year. Wanderlusting Millennials are pushing themselves out of their comfort zones to discover new places, rather than retread old ground, and locales like Africa are getting a boost because of it. (Quartz)

Nielsen says they finally have a way to measure Netflix viewership—but Netflix says they’re way off base. Nielsen claims they can keep track of all viewing on the platform, including originals, “whether or not a studio or network wants them to.” Netflix claims, “The data that Nielsen is reporting is not accurate, not even close, and does not reflect the viewing of these shows on Netflix.” Ouch. Regardless, Nielsen’s move is a step in the right direction to measure what The Post-TV Genis watching, and has “direct implications for the ad business.” (MediaPostAdAgeFortune)

Influencers are using Instagram’s new polling feature, beating brands to the punch. Influencer network Blog Lovin’ found that 66% of their followers (many of which are influencers) had already used polling, while 87% plan to in the future. Polling is not only an opportunity to engage with customers but a way for brands to “[ask] for feedback about products, creat[e] engagement around topics that are in the media and [conduct] market research.” But brands have been slow to ask influencers to use the new story feature for promotions or to utilize the feature on their standalone accounts. (Glossy)

High school students are increasingly taking college courses—but little is known about whether it will benefit them. Thanks to dual-enrollment programs, which are expanding rapidly, students can get a head start on college credits, cutting down on the cost of higher education. Some also argue that Advanced Placement courses are more rigorous, and worthier of students’ extra effort. However, the impacts of programs on “a diverse set of students” is not yet known. (WSJ)

Kids have online influencers too, and they’re pushing branded toys to devoted viewers. Unboxing videos on YouTube are not a new phenomenon, but kid stars unboxing toys are getting brands’ attention as a way to leverage The Influencer Effect. MGA Entertainment, the world’s largest private toy company, pivoted 90% of their ad spend to digital in 2014 and report the strategy is paying off. Studies show children’s attention is switching from cable to YouTube, and influencers help brands reach a “much more engaged smaller audience” and give them “that potential for virality.” (Bloomberg)

"I love coffee and love the experience of having someone make me a nice latte. I like being around other people and hanging out in restaurants or cafes.”—Female, 20, PA

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