The Doogie Howser Segment: Accelerated Development

Kids these days just aren’t growing up at the pace they use to. The rapid speed of which our culture is moving and the tools that we’ve been given are no doubt affecting and shifting our human behavior. The best way to understand a culture and the direction it’s moving in is to look at the tools a society uses in their everyday life. For example, when traveling to a foreign country, something as simple as turning on the TV in your hotel room will give a foreigner great intel into a culture. Even with a language barrier, visuals are a powerful indicator of what a culture is a reflection of. 

We can’t overlook technology as the main tool, of course. The convergence of social trends, democratization of access via technology, boomers refusing to grow old, 40 is the new 30, and Millennials surpassing everyone as the most brand literate and style conscious generation on earth while at the same time struggling with adolescent adulthood...the boundaries between the generations have shifted and overlapped, rendering everyone the same age. But where does that leave the kids of the world? How are they maturing, and at what pace? While older Millennials are experiencing a prolonged adolescence, it seems as though the younger set (and the next generation) is getting older faster.

Back in 2009, Nielson reported that children aged 2-11 comprised of nearly 16 million, or 9.5 percent, of the active online universe. That means that the growth of children online outpaces the overall growth of children in the entire U.S. A scary realization, and in 2013, I’m sure that number has freakishly grown. Growing up wired, with an all-access pass is just one of many examples driving the fast rate of growing up. Studies have also shown the rapid drop in age when it comes to hitting puberty. A recent study

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“There are alleys with street art that I've walked out of my way to take pictures of to share on Snapchat/Facebook.”
—Female, 32, IL

Mattel’s new toy franchise Enchantimals is inspired by Instagram and Snapchat filters. The new line of 14 dolls are all half-animal—think the bunny and deer filters—and each “shares a ritual trait with her animal friend.” Their origin and the YouTube series starring the girls are no doubt a part of Mattel’s “five-pillar strategic plan” to be a more digital brand. Appealing to Millennial parents and their kids has been a tough sell for Mattel, but they’re making moves like changing up Barbie’s body type and asking kids to pick the next big toy on TV to keep up with the next generation. (Kidscreen)

Harry Potter fans, raise your butterbeers up, because this franchise and its fandom will never die. Two more books from the Harry Potter universe are hitting shelves this fall—though they aren’t actually written by J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter: A History of Magic and Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic are instead both written by the British Library, to coincide with an exhibition dedicated to celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the first book. The two new works will include “exclusive manuscripts, sketches and illustrations from the Harry Potter archive,” to delight serious fans of the series. (USA Today, New York Times)

Restaurants are being designed with Instagrammability in mind. From unicorn foods to neon signs and tile floors with hidden messages, restaurateurs aren’t just tolerating Instagrammers, they’re intentionally acting as “Instagram bait” to earn some free press. And it doesn’t end at Instagrammable design touches. Many restaurants stress having perfect lighting, and one even provides “Instagram packs” at customer request, consisting of “a portable LED light, multi-device charger, clip-on wide-angle lens, tripod, and a selfie stick.” (The Verge, Grub Street)

Some student loan debt is getting “wiped away” in court because of missing paperwork. Students defaulting on their private loans are getting taken to court by aggressive creditors, but as it turns out, many don’t have the required documents to make them pay up. National Collegiate is at the center of many of these trials—one lawyer in Iowa represented 30 cases brought on by them, and 27 were dismissed because of “critical omissions or flaws” in the paperwork. Some Millennials prioritizing paying back debt might just catch a lucky break. (New York Times)

Millennials want older generations to know why they stand by political correctness. While some may despair the overly PC state of the world, many young consumers see political correctness as protection from prejudice, and a show of respect. What some may view as an over-sensitivity epidemic, many Millennials see as “being morally minded.” Ypulse’s PC Police trend tackled this topic, and found half of 13-33-year-olds would describe political correctness as treating others with respect, and 66% agree that political correctness is one way to make culture kinder and more inclusive. (Business Insider)

 “I’m too lazy to exercise on purpose. Too much work…If I can't get it with my dog, my job, or my nightlife, it ain't happening.”
—Female, 23, CA

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