What would you be like as a 16-year-old today?

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Maybe I'm just being a weird nerd. I think about it sometimes. The world being so much different these days. If I'd been born a queer autistic kid in '08. Merriwether Post Pavilion or whatever coming out when I'm a baby. Donald Trump becoming President when I was eight. COVID hitting right about the same time I hit puberty.

I think I'd probably be really into Undertale and creepypasta. Maybe be really obsessed with old-timey music like Animal Collective or, like, I don't know, Godspeed You! Black Emperor or something. Or maybe I'd be more into music coming out around my time. Maybe I'd be even more into Angel Marcloid's music than I am now. I'd probably like Spiderman a lot.

I'd probably be really messed up. I'm just gonna assume that my parents would be about equally as bad as the parents I had. Would I actually have friends? Not sure. I don't think my parents would be transphobic but I also don't think I'd be able to get on Lupron or anything.

How about you?

Kate (rushomancy), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 01:07 (one month ago) link

OK Boomer

The SoyBoy West Coast (Whiney G. Weingarten), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 01:16 (one month ago) link

was talking about this to a buddy on a hike this weekend.. he has a 14 year old

the world is so different obv, but also there's SO much anxiety/mental health issues with young people these days; I guess I also had it as well in a typical 80's teenage way (especially after I saw Quadrophenia, but it wasn't really considered a pathology back then like it is today. I've heard that kids are also more stay-at-homers now, like they don't care about the mall or the creek or downtown anymore, their worlds are more phone-based.. but I'm not sure how true this is?

Andy the Grasshopper, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 01:17 (one month ago) link

Much like I was back then, obsessed with music, books, movies, comics etc. at least 2-3 decades old, and acting like I somehow "discovered" them. Would doubtless have a "punk" phase. Would probably have more friends because easier to find people with same interests on the Web, which would also probably lead to more relationship melodrama and potential to be exploited. Would likely pine for VHS tapes, vinyl records, zines, physical media, feel like I missed out on something. Hopefully would not start a podcast.

In other words, would be a completely unbearable teenage nerd. Some things never change.

gjoon1, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 01:18 (one month ago) link

Dead

from a prominent family of bassoon players (Boring, Maryland), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 03:20 (one month ago) link

(not that these threads are the same thing, but)

mookieproof, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 03:26 (one month ago) link

great thread topic

grateful to have had those years before the internet became "this"

envy the queer kids who have a marginally easier time of it

A street taco cart named Des'ree (Deflatormouse), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 03:39 (one month ago) link

My 18 year old son is gay and he definitely copped homophobic abuse at school, refused to go to school for weeks on end because of it and ended up in therapy. And this is not in some rural backwater but in a big cosmopolitan city of 5 million people. It may be easier to be a queer teenager now than it was in the 80s or 90s, but it is still a struggle.

Zelda Zonk, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 03:52 (one month ago) link

oof. awful.

Swen, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 03:59 (one month ago) link

this question is so far beyond my ability to answer that I couldn't even begin to address it

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 04:26 (one month ago) link

yeah i have no idea. the kids are online in a way that i cannot even fathom

mookieproof, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 04:33 (one month ago) link

Same. I turned 16 in 1977, and it just seemed like such a different world from this vantage point. The biggest difference would be the internet, social media in particular, and I just don't know how well I would have navigated that--I have a hard enough time as is with my vast reserves of wisdom and experience.

clemenza, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 04:34 (one month ago) link

I love the kids for their tech savvy, it makes my heart pitter patter

more screen time I say

Swen, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 04:35 (one month ago) link

Having said that, and being in middle schools many days (not high schools, but close), some things never change--Bruce Hornsby said that. (You can be in my dream if I can be in yours--I said that.)

clemenza, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 04:38 (one month ago) link

the certainty that climate change is not just here but guaranteed to grow much worse as I navigated the rest of my life would be bound to affect my personality in ways that never existed in the contexts I grew up in. the prospect of nuclear annihilation was bad enough, but it at least allowed alternative futures.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 04:41 (one month ago) link

when i was a kid it kinda seemed like nuclear armageddon *might* happen, but i was at least soothed by the fact that given my location i'd likely be straight-up vaporized in a first strike

now the planet is fucked for different and perhaps unavoidable reasons, with the added bonus of fascism

(i do kinda wonder what happens when bangladesh or whomever unilaterally tries to seed the atmosphere with particulates and/or blows up a volcano? but i wish them the best)

mookieproof, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 04:43 (one month ago) link

i don't think i could have navigated social media as a kid. i'm thankful all we had was BBSes, USEnet, etc.

being middle-aged now at least comes with the benefit of not being alive as long for the continued descent into dystopia.

CEO Greedwagon (Neanderthal), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 15:02 (one month ago) link

it seems strange to me how much i _wasn't_ scared of nuclear apocalypse as a kid. looking back it seems like maybe things changed around '83 with "the next day"? gorbachev and glasnost, that was what i remember. it didn't feel likely or imminent.

the world is so different obv, but also there's SO much anxiety/mental health issues with young people these days; I guess I also had it as well in a typical 80's teenage way (especially after I saw Quadrophenia, but it wasn't really considered a pathology back then like it is today. I've heard that kids are also more stay-at-homers now, like they don't care about the mall or the creek or downtown anymore, their worlds are more phone-based.. but I'm not sure how true this is?

― Andy the Grasshopper

if i'd had anything resembling a normal childhood growing up, growing up today would be clearly a billion times worse. not sure being diagnosed with autism would help - they'd probably want to put me through that awful ABA bullshit. knowing my mom, she'd probably really be into Autism Speaks, ugh. people say bullying in school isn't as bad these days, but i can't imagine not being bullied as a trans kid. all the bullying is on the internet, that's what it is. that's all the internet is these days, fucking bullies. i mean i was a bully on the internet when i was 18. so it's not like i can say i'm any better. just because i was "punching up" or whatever that shit they say is.

i'm assuming i'd be growing up in suburban north jersey like i did back then so i wouldn't have it as bad as if i was 16 in indiana or some shit. the certain knowledge that things would only get worse... idk when i was 16 i was weird but i genuinely believed my life would be normal. computers were the future and i liked computers, i was good at computers. i'd go to college and get a good job and have lots of money and then people would like me and women would want me and i mean i wasn't a _bad_ kid i was just kind of ignorant, in a lot of ways. and they'd, what, prescribe me adderall for school? i don't know that _that_ would help.

i was basically a hikikomori or w/e when i was a kid. i didn't get out, didn't have a car (couldn't drive, still _can't_ drive, but i have a license now), never went to the mall or the creek or downtown. stayed indoors and played super mario and read books and talked on the phone for hours with the kid down the street. i mean i could have _walked_ two houses down and hung out with him but we talked on the phone. definitely covid would have isolated me more, made me even less social than i already was. i'd spend all my time on the internet and it would fuck me up pretty badly.

i missed out on, like, 25 years of my life, but i'm not sure i'd trade them for the next 25 years. i don't know if that would be a trade in my favor. no hope at all. the climate. hell, i'm half convinced that the fascists are going to kill all the trans people and i'm in a relatively good position... if i was 16, i'm not sure i'd think of myself as having a very long lifespan. my second puberty didn't really go _that_ much better than my first.

that's the thing is that i _have_ recently gone through puberty. and i've got friends but they're all just as fucked up and traumatized as i am. and it helps to have friends but only so much.

it's a weird thing to say. my life was so fucked up, i went through so much shit, i grew up trans in an exceptionally transphobic era, and i still think... it'd be worse if i was 16 today. i don't expect to live to see the worst of it. in a way it'd be nice if i was. i'd like to have some reason to believe things will get better in my lifetime. i think they will get better. just not in my lifetime.

Kate (rushomancy), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 16:23 (one month ago) link

I'd stand a fair chance of being a happier 16-year-old now. None of the stuff that was making me so wretchedly miserable in 1978 was detectable and/or admittable and/or treatable then, whereas I've observed young people with similar issues getting all of them dealt with today.

mike t-diva, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 16:47 (one month ago) link

my 9 year old son is pretty much exactly like me so I'll bump this thread in 7 years and let y'all know

frogbs, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 16:59 (one month ago) link

can't wait for frogbs, jr to start posting here

CEO Greedwagon (Neanderthal), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 17:00 (one month ago) link

I wouldn't be watching the "When It's Love" video by Van Halen on TV

Halfway there but for you, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 17:02 (one month ago) link

generally a good idea not to watch that video

CEO Greedwagon (Neanderthal), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 17:04 (one month ago) link

I do genuinely wonder what kind of music I'd be into though. when I was 16 I think my favorite band was Cake so if I was 16 now it would probably be...Future Islands or something?

frogbs, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 17:05 (one month ago) link

In 1977, I was discovering all the great American films of the early '70s. Today I'd be discovering...Wes Anderson.

clemenza, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 17:11 (one month ago) link

see that's the fun think to think about. at 16 I couldn't listen to the music that I wanted to. I liked metal and gangsta rap, but I didn't have a job, had little money, and any time I borrowed money from the folks to acquire new music, they would refuse once I told them what it was.

once I got a job, they couldn't tell me shit, so then I started acquiring whatever I wanted. but at 16, I had to uh kinda find good-enough alternatives to what I really wanted to listen to. because mp3s weren't really a mainstream thing yet, well at least not until I was close to graduating high school.

CEO Greedwagon (Neanderthal), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 17:18 (one month ago) link

still remember my mom yelling "how DARE you ask me to pick up this album for you! really? effing Hostile? is that the kind of filth you want to bring into this house?"

(this is hilarious of course because my mom has become shockingly way more liberal over the last several decades, the word 'fuck' doesn't send her into an apoplectic rage any more. same w/ violence - she loved Breaking Bad, whereas in the 90s woulda been like WHAT IS THIS GARBAGE)

CEO Greedwagon (Neanderthal), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 17:20 (one month ago) link

sorry ZZ, nobody should go through that ever, but it's extremely upsetting to hear about it happening to kids.

it wasn't really an issue for me in high school. but was bullied a lot in elementary school and middle school for different reasons, most aggressively in the 6th grade for looking too much like a girl. the lasting impact was that i used arrogance as a refuge and kicked that can down the road quite a ways before i reckoned with it.

self-acceptance was the biggest struggle, as it seems to have been for most of my classmates, going on the number of them who came out well into adulthood.

and i think it's tempting for us queers to fantasize about what our lives might have been if these things were spoken about, and if we'd been encouraged to explore by someone. it's part of a grieving process, maybe

so yeah, balancing what Mike T said (and neurodivergence is a bigger consideration than queerness) with what clemenza said about navigating social media.

i don't take it as a given that i'd still be more than a casual music fan. when i think of what piqued my interest to begin with, it was men with beautiful hair, it was album cover art, i was drawn more to rock history and the visual culture. in much the same way that i got into wrestling at a younger age because of the ultimate warrior's colorful costumes. tumblr might appeal to me more as a means to persue those visual associations, divorced from whatever media.

i did become quite invested in a lot of artists and records before i got to hear them at all, through reading about them, looking at pictures... wonder if that still could happen when the songs are a click away (leaning toward yes)

A street taco cart named Des'ree (Deflatormouse), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 19:06 (one month ago) link

other big thing is where would i be born in 2008, and where would my parents have grown up- because that changes everything, the culture clash was huge

A street taco cart named Des'ree (Deflatormouse), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 19:09 (one month ago) link

In this regard, the biggest advance since I was 16 has been acceptance of diversity; I was totally unable to mask and integrate back then, so suffered accordingly.

With music, I have no idea what I’d be into as a 16 year old today, but I’m certain that it would include a lot of music from before I was born, as I see that over and over again with teenagers that I know now, and I am regularly staggered by the old music that’s familiar to them. My generation wouldn’t have dreamed of listening to pop music that was over 30 years old.

mike t-diva, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 19:15 (one month ago) link

I have a 16-year-old nonbinary child. Pretty much every teenager I know is LBGTQ+ and has changed their name to something like Ash, Jinx, Sphinx, or Lynx. They are all so sweet and smart and kind.

Perhaps it's just our area or just our cultural milieu, but anime/manga appear popular, plus show tunes. Insta and Discord appear to be preferred over most platforms; TikTok is still in the mix but not as prevalent.

I am sure there are still some straights and jocks and bullies and incels and budding MAGA types; we just don't encounter them.

alpaca lips now (Ye Mad Puffin), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 19:23 (one month ago) link

xp i was already like that pre-internet tho. once music became a primary focus, i tended toward the 'futurephobe, twee' end of the spectrum for a while.

but like idk if that's because the grunge and gangsta rap stuff was bleak and heavy and drab, and i would gravitate more toward little richard abd cyndi lauper. like if i grew up in an era of cyndi laupers maybe i'd stick to current music

A street taco cart named Des'ree (Deflatormouse), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 19:28 (one month ago) link

omg YMP, i love that soooo much

A street taco cart named Des'ree (Deflatormouse), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 19:30 (one month ago) link

mookieproof: kids were already pretty online in 2019, but starting in 2020 you may remember there was this whole thing where no one was allowed to go anywhere.

Today's teenagers missed a whole hell of a lot: middle school, dating, prom, homecoming, first kisses, hanging out at the mall, miniature golf, pools, beaches, learning to drive, etc. The stuff I did as a teenager was just... gone. I can see why they replaced it with a largely online life.

alpaca lips now (Ye Mad Puffin), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 19:36 (one month ago) link

how do you miss a first kiss

close encounters of the third knid (darraghmac), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 19:41 (one month ago) link

trip in the middle of it

CEO Greedwagon (Neanderthal), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 19:49 (one month ago) link

My experience as a 16 yo was online forums / MSN messenger at a time when I was socially stuck at the end of my secondary school and still really shy. It was towards the end of a phase with childhood hobbies (video games etc) and the start of a new phase of exploration (music etc). By the time I was in high school, I was growing confident and finding my personality. And then uni years is another strange intermediary period before real adulthood / independence. My first real relationship was at age 23. I do realize I've typed "real" about 5 times.

And my extremely lazy and deflective response to the thread is that I don't imagine it would play out very differently. Granted, it's only half a generation shift for me. National populism, neo-imperialism, sustainability, gender equality, climate change etc were already rising topics of interest from the early 2000s. Covid, internet bullying, Trumpism, new Cold War... they're new but not that new.

I suppose kids nowadays will have a similar nostalgia looking back on their childhood as a sheltered period of pleasure and discovery, and also similar bittersweet moments of struggle.

I would say the generation of my grandparents are now truly and completely out of touch. And it goes both ways, their childhood is quite unfathomable even for me. But they're dying. In comparison, kids speaking funny and having other references and tools feels like a far littler distance.

Nabozo, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 19:57 (one month ago) link

Maybe it's also because I'm now part of the generation that is in charge of the discourse. The kids may joke with "OK boomer" but we don't even bother to qualify their opinions - they don't count yet :D

Nabozo, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 20:00 (one month ago) link

Perhaps it's just our area or just our cultural milieu, but anime/manga appear popular, plus show tunes. Insta and Discord appear to be preferred over most platforms; TikTok is still in the mix but not as prevalent.

I am sure there are still some straights and jocks and bullies and incels and budding MAGA types; we just don't encounter them.

― alpaca lips now (Ye Mad Puffin)

yeah that's kinda my experience, everybody i know is queer... much as i'd like to believe all the kids are gay communists (press X to doubt)

that's the thing, half the time i post here i just want to throw in one of those standard memes, all this time on discord has changed my communication style

Today's teenagers missed a whole hell of a lot: middle school, dating, prom, homecoming, first kisses, hanging out at the mall, miniature golf, pools, beaches, learning to drive, etc. The stuff I did as a teenager was just... gone. I can see why they replaced it with a largely online life.

― alpaca lips now (Ye Mad Puffin)

idk i didn't have any of that shit growing up and i don't really feel bad for missing it. i don't know what the fuck i would do with any of that stuff. the shit i'd miss is, like. paper card catalogs. being _bored_. lying around and reading the newspaper because there wasn't anything else to do. _newspaper columns_. fuckin'... lewis grizzard. why do i miss, like, lewis grizzard and erma bombeck? they weren't actually _good_.

Maybe it's also because I'm now part of the generation that is in charge of the discourse. The kids may joke with "OK boomer" but we don't even bother to qualify their opinions - they don't count yet :D

― Nabozo

i don't feel like i'm part of a generation. i don't even know what it means, "generation x". i look around at other people my age and so many of us are just like shittier versions of the boomers. i'll just flat out tell people, yeah, sure, i'm a boomer, in about the same tone of voice that i'll flat out tell people yeah, sure, i'm a man. i mean i sure as shit got boomer problems. i'm an unreconstructed zep fan. not only do i have a favorite beatle, it's _john_.

i don't respect my peers. most of my peers - including myself - got some pretty important shit pretty consistently wrong for a long time, and getting things right isn't a matter of me being morally superior... i just had more reason than most to challenge the shit i was taught. most of what i know i learned from people a lot younger than me. that's what i get most from 16 year olds. there's so much they just _get_. being isolated from personal contact, being on the internet, being _touch-starved_, all that stuff, it's bad, it's fucked up, but fuckin... _erma bombeck_? _paper card catalogs_? that's the best argument i can make for my youth? that's some fuckin' sad shit, right there.

Kate (rushomancy), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 21:23 (one month ago) link

Kate, you say that, but I am reasonably certain you went to middle school or junior high. You almost certainly visited a shopping mall or a department store at some point.

alpaca lips now (Ye Mad Puffin), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 21:33 (one month ago) link

The version of me born in 2008 would be intolerable to the version of me born in 1971. He would be much more stridently left-wing than teenaged me was (I wasn't an edgelord, but I was definitely an asshole; still am from time to time), and probably be assumed to be some variety of queer by his small circle of friends. I hope he wouldn't listen to shit like 100 gecs, but he probably would. I would find it a great struggle to resist slapping him when he wouldn't shut up about whatever it was he wouldn't shut up about at any given moment. I would be praying for him to hurry up and become a surly, glowering hermit.

Tahuti Watches L&O:SVU Reruns Without His Ape (unperson), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 21:36 (one month ago) link

I think growing up in today’s world would be … mostly terrible for me.

Marten Broadcloak, mild-mannered GOP congressman (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 21:42 (one month ago) link

There times I wish I’d been a bit earlier, but am glad I wasn’t born any later. For context, I didn’t experience the internet until arriving in college… in fall 1995, and that wasn’t at all “the internet” as we know it today.

Marten Broadcloak, mild-mannered GOP congressman (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 21:45 (one month ago) link

Been “born”, obv

Marten Broadcloak, mild-mannered GOP congressman (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 21:46 (one month ago) link

Pretty much every teenager I know is LBGTQ+ and has changed their name to something like Ash, Jinx, Sphinx, or Lynx. They are all so sweet and smart and kind.

this is the great part of today's youth culture.. I remember in high school how my buddies (including myself) absolutely peppered our sentences with homophobic slurs. Not proud of it, but that's how we talked, not even realizing that a certain percentage of my fellow students were struggling with their identities.. we sure weren't helping them

Andy the Grasshopper, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 21:52 (one month ago) link

I knew no 'out' people in high school, but a ton of people that we pretty much knew that had to wait until college to come out, because my school wasn't particularly open to gay people. the culture was very dudebro.

CEO Greedwagon (Neanderthal), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 21:59 (one month ago) link

suspect i'd be about the same tbh. though i'd likely be on RYM instead of here, sad to think about

ciderpress, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 22:03 (one month ago) link

i guess i wasn't even on here yet at 16 actually. i was on video game music boards. it'd be discords now

ciderpress, Tuesday, 5 March 2024 22:07 (one month ago) link

I got a lot of my musical interests from my dad, who had a voluminous record collection. I saw the Stones not long after my 16th birthday in 1981. I can't think of what the equivalent would be today, but that would probably be my main interest.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Tuesday, 5 March 2024 22:22 (one month ago) link

My assumption is that you're supposed to imagine you live in the same circumstances you did then, just [x] years in the future. Which means that the first suspension of disbelief I have to overcome is picturing people who are somehow "my parents", but born in 1964 and 1967 instead of 1928 and 1931.

Halfway there but for you, Wednesday, 6 March 2024 12:16 (one month ago) link

for starters

and then everything else

close encounters of the third knid (darraghmac), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 12:28 (one month ago) link

I guess the real question is, does this make you fundamentally a different person? as I mentioned my son is very much like me but he is growing up in a world where basically all the information in the universe is at your fingertips. he can look up sports stuff, find videos of anything he wants, listen to any music that's ever existed, find the answers to anything he's curious about, all in an instant. I think having that ability does change your brain chemistry somewhat.

frogbs, Wednesday, 6 March 2024 20:54 (one month ago) link

I agree, I've seen it in all of my kids as they've grown into adulthood. The way they navigate the world is radically different than the way I did at their ages. That has to have an effect on cognition.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 20:57 (one month ago) link

I mean things seem so different now. I take them roller skating and all the teens there who aren't in the rink are on their phones. even while talking to each other. when I was that age I was fairly online but it felt like the internet world and the real world were two separate places. the idea of meeting someone who I only knew online seemed like such a radical idea; nowadays that's how most couples meet. hell the idea of using your real name online was weird. even in my son's 3rd grade class it seems like half the kids are talking in memes. my 1st grader wanted to film a video of her doing gymnastics and at the end she said "don't forget to give me a thumbs up!" and I was like "hey where'd you learn that?"...I mean it's not like we just let them watch YouTube all day. of course she wouldn't tell me. but yeah social media engagement being some sort of currency now I think really rewires the way they think. there was an article I read about Mr. Beast which really drove this home - the gist of it is this guy is just really really good at playing the game, he knows the algorithm, he knows what gets clicks, and his entire persona becomes whatever is championed by the algorithm. to a smaller degree this sort of thing seems to be happening with a lot of kids these days.

frogbs, Wednesday, 6 March 2024 21:20 (one month ago) link

It feels so hopelessly arbitrary: I could be like anything at 16 now, depending on what was influencing me. I was 16 in 1980, having just got interested in music in the 77 - 79 punk and post-punk wave. And my perception of it was - filtered through John Peel and music papers - that this music revolution was the most exciting thing in the world at the time. Not just the music, but the fashions, the attitudes and the lifestyles etc... It's quite possible I might not even be that interested in music at 16 now.

Dr Drudge (Bob Six), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 21:38 (one month ago) link

Jim and frog, to current teens the phone IS real life and IS other people. What are they looking at when they look at their phones? Texts from people, chats with people, stuff created by... people.

Personally I am tired of the trope of phones vs. life or phones vs. people. Phones are a means of accessing people and life.

alpaca lips now (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 21:50 (one month ago) link

tend to agree and would ask anyone who feels this very strongly to honestly ask themselves how theyd have been talking about video nasties or grunge or cable tv or whatever if the question was thrown back to being your current age now when you were 16

close encounters of the third knid (darraghmac), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 21:55 (one month ago) link

the phone IS real life

ehh, read a depressing article about kids in China that lock themselves in the bathroom with chatbots

Andy the Grasshopper, Wednesday, 6 March 2024 21:58 (one month ago) link

nothing new about depressing articles about what kids are doing somewhere with this new technology

close encounters of the third knid (darraghmac), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 21:59 (one month ago) link

I remember v much treating electronic communication as 'not real life' at that age, even when it involved people I knew IRL, until the one day two formerly good friends began tearing into each other on an mIRC channel over one having taken the other's g/f, and the lasting real world fallout from that, including leading one of the friends to walk to the restaurant the other worked at and say simply "you won", then walk away with nobody able to find him for hours, and....yeah, then I no longer felt that way.

(friend turned out to be ok, and in fact, I just msged him an hour ago - the other friend is my oldest friend).

CEO Greedwagon (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 21:59 (one month ago) link

there was also the time this Norwegian poster on a message board was complaining about his college and one of his professors showed up and threatened to get him expelled for the 'disparaging things he said'.

and Calum.

CEO Greedwagon (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 22:00 (one month ago) link

Oh I recognize the duplicity of 'darn kids these days' while I played hours of Pitfall on my Intellivision console

Andy the Grasshopper, Wednesday, 6 March 2024 22:03 (one month ago) link

it's a very different form of social interaction - you're interacting with a bunch of people at once, many of whom you don't know, you're watching stuff that pretends to be spontaneous but obviously is not, you do things with the goal of going viral or getting a lot of likes which you do primarily not through "being yourself" but rather figuring out the shit that worked for other people. why do young people pull out their phones at every show or big event? because it's not about being there, it's about other people knowing you were there, curating their view of the person you try to present yourself as. then you add in all the filters and effects and camera tricks which make a person's social media persona completely unlike what a person actually looks like, plus the total context collapse which goes with online content from people you barely know...to me it's just a very different way of interacting with the world than what we're all used to. like I remember going to parties at 17 as opposed to going to parties at 27, when everyone was filming stuff and posting pictures and tagging everyone - it changes your mindset I guess. it's not all negative but idk it does seem stressful

frogbs, Wednesday, 6 March 2024 22:05 (one month ago) link

“when I was that age I was fairly online but it felt like the internet world and the real world were two separate places.”

This is the thing

Marten Broadcloak, mild-mannered GOP congressman (Raymond Cummings), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 22:07 (one month ago) link

Apologies if am repeating myself, gang, but in 2020/2021 my daughter had a serious girlfriend that she never actually met or touched. This has been a strange time, so it is really hard for me to think about this topic without considering the weirdness of the last several years.

alpaca lips now (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 22:10 (one month ago) link

I do fucking think the omnipresence of social media is deleterious to mental health, only simply because pretty much everybody's online profile/persona is heavily sanitized and stage managed, and anybody outside of that mold who presents themselves a little more honestly and is more self-aware than others often feel that they don't measure up when comparing themselves. not realizing that they're comparing themselves to the people's 'airbrushed' personalities.

i've often said I have distrust for anybody who I've never seen stepping in it either publicly or electronically, because that person undoubtedly HAS fucked up, but went to great lengths to hide negative perceptions of them or influence other people to support their side of things. much like the actions of a very small, cult-like theatre collective in town that is essentially trying to tell people "don't work at these theatres we don't approve of...or else".

CEO Greedwagon (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 22:11 (one month ago) link

a serious girlfriend that she never actually met or touched

me on pornhub

Andy the Grasshopper, Wednesday, 6 March 2024 22:12 (one month ago) link

I'd probably be too online (and on a lot of Discords instead of bulletin boards and forums?). I'd surely have learned to make beats/computer music earlier, and probably would have learned Ableton. I think I either wouldn't play drums, or I would be much better sooner because of all the resources and examples out there.

I really wonder if I would have learned to love reading if I would have had devices to haul around with me for solitary entertainment instead of books (probably not).

Jordan s/t (Jordan), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 22:16 (one month ago) link

It's quite possible I might not even be that interested in music at 16 now.

I feel this one. The place music has in kids' lives I do think is pretty different. Kids still use music as a way to signal identity, to signal a difference from their younger selves, but they wear it more lightly somehow. It's hard to remember how hard it was to hear and track down certain music. That whole experience is gone. There's no secret knowledge. There's just no need to get wrapped up in it. Easy come, easy go.

It's also kind of strange to realise that the entire concept of rock bands is ancient history, a heritage act now. A curio from other times!

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 22:32 (one month ago) link

yeah, a rock band playing the Super Bowl will almost definitely never happen again

Andy the Grasshopper, Wednesday, 6 March 2024 22:37 (one month ago) link

My 16-year-old isn't very interested in music unless it's in Japanese, Korean, or Chinese. Not my thing but I am happy that they are happy.

alpaca lips now (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 22:48 (one month ago) link

the entire concept of rock bands is ancient history

I actually know a bunch of friends' kids who are really into punk, Green Day, rock camps, etc... and the last time I saw the Linda Linda's, they had a pretty strong teen & preteen following. A buddy's 11 year old has a little denim punk vest with spikes and patches (including Korn)

Andy the Grasshopper, Wednesday, 6 March 2024 22:52 (one month ago) link

Well I rest my case..

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 23:22 (one month ago) link

Actually it's not true there's no secret knowledge.. a glimpse at the DJ sets of our own residents or any others reveal zillions of songs and musicians I've never heard (and I Love Music!). Not quite sure how to put it into words..

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 23:25 (one month ago) link

I mean hasn't rock'n'roll always been ancient history? Creedence were doing rockabilly songs

Andy the Grasshopper, Wednesday, 6 March 2024 23:28 (one month ago) link

but that's an argument for another message board

Andy the Grasshopper, Wednesday, 6 March 2024 23:28 (one month ago) link

it doesn't matter what era I was born in, would still be a fool and make the same mistakes and live with the bad consequences. Halfway ready to fucking top myself, but still smiling.

vodkaitamin effrtvescent (calzino), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 23:30 (one month ago) link

if i was 16 and had the internet? i would never ever ever leave my room for one single minute and i would have to have reconstructive hand surgery at 17. on the other hand (lol), i would know more about music and movies by 18 than i know now at 50-something.

scott seward, Wednesday, 6 March 2024 23:39 (one month ago) link

haha scott said what I was going to say: i think the amount of easily accessible pornography would make me an invalid if I were 16 years old now.

I? not I! He! He! HIM! (akm), Wednesday, 6 March 2024 23:49 (one month ago) link

'why do I have hair down there?? none of these people do!!'

Andy the Grasshopper, Thursday, 7 March 2024 00:19 (one month ago) link

honestly i was a mess until basically yesterday and i don't think going back would make it any different now

Swen, Thursday, 7 March 2024 02:21 (one month ago) link

actually if i were 16yo today i'd no doubt be paralyzed by the decision whether to go into debt for the rest of my life or skip college

mookieproof, Thursday, 7 March 2024 02:32 (one month ago) link

i think the amount of easily accessible pornography would make me an invalid if I were 16 years old now.

back in the day we just found it in the woods iirc

mookieproof, Thursday, 7 March 2024 02:33 (one month ago) link

Oh yeah, a 1984 Hustler was a real find in the park

Andy the Grasshopper, Thursday, 7 March 2024 02:37 (one month ago) link

Penthouse pop-up book was a great discovery

CEO Greedwagon (Neanderthal), Thursday, 7 March 2024 04:52 (one month ago) link

I've never respected myself but I would slap around me from age 16 - 27

― CEO Greedwagon (Neanderthal)

This last year I've been to gigs, fan events and protests in London and have discovered that there are now thousands of young people who dress and act like me when I was that age and who I would have fitted in with fine (but not now I am a boring middle-aged chubby bald man obvs) - so that has been kind of a bittersweet discovery, a pyrrhic vindication with no use except to confirm that the late 90s in England were A Bad Time Actually.

― This is Dance Anthems, have some respect (Camaraderie at Arms Length)

it makes me sad to see all the self-negging in this thread, y'all there is nothing wrong with any of you and none of you deserve to be slapped, at any age

I guess the real question is, does this make you fundamentally a different person? as I mentioned my son is very much like me but he is growing up in a world where basically all the information in the universe is at your fingertips. he can look up sports stuff, find videos of anything he wants, listen to any music that's ever existed, find the answers to anything he's curious about, all in an instant. I think having that ability does change your brain chemistry somewhat.

― frogbs

philosophically it's very much a "the only way hitler could have won world war ii was to not be hitler" kind of question, and honestly, in general i'm not terribly fond of counterfactuals. i guess if i had to justify asking the question (i don't, for the record) i'd say it gets down to the question of regret. not for myself, not for what i've done with my life, but the circumstances i grew up in were... far more fucked than i recognized at the time. circumstances are very fucked now, but in different ways.

idk, it's kind of easy for me to transport my parents in time, envision a version of my mom born in the late '70s, a version of my dad born in the late '60s. my parents weren't really defined by the ages they lived through. all the problems they had, they could just as easily have had 30 years later.

i do feel that the internet world and the "real world" are two separate places, just as much as i did in the mid '90s... not so much in the sense of who we _are_, but in the sense of how we're shaped by our material circumstances. in the mid '90s for me, the internet was just so much better than "real life". all the time i felt like i had to put on a fake persona, pretend to be someone i wasn't, to try and conform to the social expectations of the people around me. had to mask. on the internet, i felt much more like i could be my authentic self. the weird thing is that in retrospect i absolutely was _not_ being my authentic self, since i consistently presented as male online. well. mostly consistently.

online-only relationships? not many. i had a brief irc correspondence with a girl (well, someone who presented as such, at the time - no clue about today) who liked boys in dresses. there have always been people out there like that, they've always been pretty important to a lot of transfemmes, but it was a rare thing. that particular online thing was a bad idea for a number of reasons. when i try to think about ways i could have figured shit out and transitioned back when i was younger, chance encounters like that come to mind.

i was definitely a bit of a hikikomori avant le lettre (yay Lehnworter), though i wouldn't say "ahead of my time". if only because i'm suspicious of teleology. i do think there were, in retrospect, practical reasons for it. autistic, gender dysphoric, heavily traumatized, i mean, it kind of makes sense that i didn't get out much. i'm also pretty good with words so it makes sense that i spent so much time behind a screen. as much as a lot of my behavior is a lot more common in these times, though, i don't really get a sense i would have "fit in" any more today than i did 30 years ago.

the weird thing is that today, i do feel a lot more comfortable in real-world settings than i do online. i think partly it's because online life has genuinely gotten hellish, mediated by corporations that push people to tear each other apart for their own profit. you know, back in the golden days of ilx, when we tore each other apart, we did it for the sheer love of it. and also because we were fucked up people who hated ourselves and each other. not so different from the youth of today, now, are we? hell, it even turns out that a lot more of us are queer than we could have imagined at the time. (queerness and self-loathing being pretty correlated and all.) a lot of the toxic bullshit that was just part of everyday life back then has migrated online and gotten more toxic and virulent as a result. at the same time i do think people are maybe less assholish in person. the internet provides a perfect outlet for all our worst tendencies. i feel like for a lot of people, our online depictions of ourselves are not dissimilar from dorian gray's picture. not intentionally so! i don't think people genuinely set out to be the horrible people we often are online. it's just... the medium. the "message" is hatred, cruelty, bigotry, all done for the profit of a few corporations who have genuinely been able to shape the internet in _their_ image.

idk that's a little bit ranty. the main thing i get from today's youth, and again this is something that i experienced a lot... is that so. many. people. are completely starved of loving touch. it's endemic among trans women in particular, but i think it's also something the youth experience a lot as well. like people genuinely need loving touch. i'm autistic as hell and i _absolutely_ need loving touch and i have a hard time getting it. particularly since the sorts of loving touch i need don't necessarily line up well with NT social norms.

hell if i know from the autism thing. if it was always there and we didn't notice it or if things have just changed. my neurodiverse queer physical therapist says that it's a common thing, that some people don't have much space in their cerebellum. i haven't had a brain MRI or CT or anything but i guess it's possible that my ability to have an encyclopedic knowledge of 1970s progressive rock came at the expense of the brain cells that allow other people to walk in a straight line. i do feel overwhelmed a lot at the pace and complexity of today's world. maybe it is just me being old. i'm not nostalgic. i don't things were better in the "old days". when i try to imagine someone from the 19th century transported to today, it involves them being overwhelmed by the noise and chaos that we mostly take for granted. probably that's just a reflection on me.

as far as not wanting to admit one has fucked up... i don't know that it _helps_ in a lot of cases to admit one's mistakes. one of the things i see a lot is that when someone makes a mistake, _particularly_ when they belong to a marginalized group, they're labelled and judged forever for that mistake, and everything else they've done suddenly stops counting. you can call that being "cancelled" or whatever but there is this expectation of _perfection_ that isn't realistic. but it's also understandable because of the way the profit-driven social internet structurally centralizes conflict. it's really, genuinely baked into the model at its core. people just "being better people" isn't going to change that. that belief, to me, serves to deflect responsibility from the structural factors at play.

would i listen to music if i was 16? hell, i don't listen to music _now_. i just have too much else going on. music was an autistic fixation for me, a special interest i could sink my skill points into. i don't think... i think if i'd had other options, if i could have sunk my skill points into Gay like i'm doing now, i would have done that instead. i'm a little embarrassed about how much i know about rock music. these shitty old white dudes who abused women, it makes sense that all the people who stan classic rock now are white male conservative shitheads. as much as PINK FLOYD RULES nowadays there are... better sounds, better ideas. more accessible ways of understanding the world. god, there was no way i could have watched _ways of seeing_ when i was 16. now? the only thing keeping me from doing it is time. never enough time. constantly being pulled in twelve directions at once. maybe it's my ADHD but god almighty i am surrounded by _endlessly_ fascinating things, of course i'm going to want to know more about them

fuck rock bands playing the super bowl, bring back brass bands doing duke ellington tributes like in 1975. i've _watched_ that. i can fucking _watch_ that, today, in 2024, and i've done that.

green day, yeah. weezer. i know this... she's in her 20s, but she's super into weezer. god help me if i can understand it.

if i was 16 and had the internet? i would never ever ever leave my room for one single minute and i would have to have reconstructive hand surgery at 17.

― scott seward

fwiw even though i didn't have the internet at 16, i had BBSes, which had pornography. didn't ruin my hands any more than TV ruined my eyes. (my eyes are trash-tier, but TV has nothing to do with it.) i know there are those fucked up 4chan trans girls who are filled with self-loathing because they don't look like their favorite anime waifu. i, on the other hand, am filled with self-loathing because of things like my favorite tv show as a child and the best picture oscar winner of 1991. there's a lot of toxic, awful porn - i mean i'm a _trans woman_, even today you don't find "trans porn" you find t-slur porn - and it does have negative effects, and it's not the root of all evil.

Kate (rushomancy), Thursday, 7 March 2024 06:30 (one month ago) link

the other thing is that i'm actually thinking of getting some LDR stuff going on... it seemed really stupid for a while given the surfeit of lampreys hot queer people around here, but it's always Complicated... physical distance kind of insulates one from a lot of Complications, and even without direct touch i find that just being able to talk with someone about, uh, shared intimate interests can be of tremendous benefit. i mean hell yeah i'll send lewds. now that i think about it _that_ would be the complicated thing about being 16 for sure. i've seen most of my friends' tits. that shit don't fly when someone's a minor.

Kate (rushomancy), Thursday, 7 March 2024 07:05 (one month ago) link

I cannot really imagine how my parents would be without the Vietnam War, or my grandparents without WWII. The stuff they went through shaped who they were. My father was born in Los Alamos, because HIS father was tangentially involved in making a rather large bomb. Not stating this as a boast, just facts.

alpaca lips now (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 7 March 2024 07:33 (one month ago) link

Not sure how I was self-negging, Kate, I am at peace with being a boring middle-aged chubby bald man, no use pretending otherwise.

This is Dance Anthems, have some respect (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Thursday, 7 March 2024 13:15 (one month ago) link

i had really bad ocd and tics when i was 16. and my way of dealing with it was to self-medicate with lots and lots of drugs and alcohol. so who knows maybe the internet would have been better in the long run somehow? and i would have been able to google for medical help. i refused any and all psychiatric help. not that there was much. my parents halfheartedly tried to get me to go to a shrink. and they sent me away to a private school for fucked up kids like me for a year. that almost killed me. so, i shouldn't be too quick to think the internet would have been pure evil for me. you never know. my ocd would have loved the clicking soooooo much.

scott seward, Thursday, 7 March 2024 13:59 (one month ago) link

would i listen to music if i was 16? hell, i don't listen to music _now_

AMEN

A street taco cart named Des'ree (Deflatormouse), Thursday, 7 March 2024 21:44 (one month ago) link

just have too much else going on. music was an autistic fixation for me, a special interest i could sink my skill points into. i don't think... i think if i'd had other options, if i could have sunk my skill points into Gay like i'm doing now, i would have done that instead. i'm a little embarrassed about how much i know about rock music.

^^^

i have discovered that i actually really like natural history and earth science, who knew

A street taco cart named Des'ree (Deflatormouse), Thursday, 7 March 2024 21:47 (one month ago) link

I can't imagine I'd be any happier or well-adjusted than I was back then. I was quiet and awkward, social media and its intrusiveness would have been a nightmare (I don't much care for it now). I was often prone to vague misanthropy and a good deal of naivety, so it doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility that I'd get sucked into some of the darker online rabbit holes. I can easily imagine it happening, but maybe that's my brain's tendency towards bad scenarios and outcomes, idk.

Duane Barry, Thursday, 7 March 2024 23:12 (one month ago) link

having music on is essential to almost every waking moment of my life to the point that sometimes my mind starts whirring about the possibility of like - what if one day i just stop hearing

when there's no music on there's def some sort of brown noise or at least the AC and always the sound machine on waves - i struggle with silence, like why don't you just just drag me to hell right now

i think i also grew up in a modest and quiet household that didn't really participate in the joyful noise of community, so i prob overcompensate for that

Swen, Thursday, 7 March 2024 23:29 (one month ago) link

i had really bad ocd and tics when i was 16. and my way of dealing with it was to self-medicate with lots and lots of drugs and alcohol. so who knows maybe the internet would have been better in the long run somehow? and i would have been able to google for medical help. i refused any and all psychiatric help. not that there was much. my parents halfheartedly tried to get me to go to a shrink. and they sent me away to a private school for fucked up kids like me for a year. that almost killed me. so, i shouldn't be too quick to think the internet would have been pure evil for me. you never know. my ocd would have loved the clicking soooooo much.

― scott seward, Thursday, March 7, 2024 1:59 PM (nine hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

ocd p much derailed my whole life at 16 as well

Swen, Thursday, 7 March 2024 23:31 (one month ago) link

i don't really have any judgements about cell phones - outside of the madness that is looking at your phone while driving which makes me want to kill - and i could put "cell phones" on the *things you don't care about* thread but never having a cell phone is one of the smartest things i've ever done for myself. because i never would have seen a tree for the past however many years people have had them. "know thyself" is something i read in a book once. as if the zillion hours i'm online for work all day - and clicking on newspapers and social media and youtube - and the gazillion hours of streaming t.v. isn't enough stimuli in my clicking-fried brain. the idea of going EVERYWHERE with that stuff makes me shiver with fear.
and, it goes without saying, if i was 16? i wouldn't even know what my family looked like.

scott seward, Thursday, 7 March 2024 23:36 (one month ago) link

assuming everything about my family was the same, i think 16 to adulthood would be harder. once i hit adulthood though maybe easier. i think i would run away from my family and the mormons sooner than i did. but maybe economically supporting myself would be harder. but then i would be exposed to more and have more opportunities potentially. i don't know.

ꙮ (map), Thursday, 7 March 2024 23:37 (one month ago) link

much less likely i would go to byu for college. all the shit i went through would be the same, just earlier and more intensely maybe. i would maybe learn some sense sooner though and not make some of the huge financial mistakes i made in my 20s. i bet i would be an outdoors back to the land kind of guy in my 20s. i lived in moab for a year with people 10 years younger than me and met some folks like that. i don't like the world of smartphones now, i think as a young person today i would probably be militant about it.

ꙮ (map), Thursday, 7 March 2024 23:47 (one month ago) link

My son is in high school, I think he's a lot like me, so I'd probably be a lot like he is now? Which is -- not that different from how I actually was at 16? A lot of this thread is about how different life is now for kids, and I think that's true for some kids, especially queer kids, but by and large my son's high school life looks a lot like I remember mine looking. Yeah he's on his phone a lot but *I* was on the phone a lot -- just like he does, I spent a lot of time as a kid in my room talking to friends, just with a different device. He goes to school, he plays some sports, he does homework, he hangs out at his friends' houses and watches movies and gets pizza -- there's nothing about it that's alien to me, nothing I can see, at least.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 8 March 2024 02:14 (one month ago) link


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