5 things our kids are watching that we know absolutely nothing about

1. The Dolan Twins

Who/what are they?

The Dolan Twins are handsome, 16-year-old American fraternal twins, Ethan and Grayson Dolan. They post videos every Tuesday on their You Tube channel,  which has over 2.5 million subscribers.  They rose to prominence three years ago on the video-sharing app, Vine, gathering 6.4 million followers. This year they won the Teen Choice Awards for the Best Male Star and Best You Tuber.  Recently they’ve been on a sell-out tour of Britain, playing to audiences of tween girls and charging over £100 per VIP ticket (on top of the ticket to the show) to give girls the once-in-a-life-time opportunity to meet their idols.

So what are kids actually watching?

Mainly pranks and challenges on their You Tube channel.  In the last week they’ve posted a video of their Crazy Ice Bath Challenge, which received over 1,350,000 views.  This involved the putting 50 bags of ice into the back of a truck, eating ice-pops and having to spell words while their brains were too cold to think. The twin who was slowest to achieve the challenge had to strip down to shorts, goggles and flippers and go under the ice to find a coin. The video involved a lot of swearing and screaming and writhing around semi-naked.  ‘I can do it, I’m a man!’ yells Ethan as he shoves his face under the water.  Just before Hallowe’en they posted a more gruesome Killer Clown Video (nearly 1.5 million views) in which Grayson was supposedly wreaking revenge on Ethan for scaring him previously.  Pretending they had to do a night shoot, Ethan was tricked, caught in a big net and hung up in a tree then scared by Grayson who re-emerged dressed as a killer clown with a chainsaw.

Their most popular ever video was of Grayson having his wisdom teeth removed which received nearly 5.5 million views. The camera was in the car on the way to the clinic and on the way back when Grayson, with swollen, numb mouth, mumbled about not having a girlfriend.  ‘I’m not good enough,’ he said, promising to buy anyone who wanted to be his girlfriend flowers and pizza.

2. SNAP CHAT

What is it?

So at least we’ve heard of Snapchat but what we don’t know is that it reaches 41% of all 18-34 year-olds in the US every day and by May 2016 the app had achieved nearly 10 million daily active users in the UK.  10 billion videos a day are watched worldwide.

Snapchat is a free mobile app, hugely popular with children and teenagers, that allows people to send videos, pictures and messages – called snaps – which self-destruct after 10 seconds of opening, allowing privacy and making it very hard for parents to snoop.  You can always take a screenshot but Snapchat’s charm for many is the fact it disappears so fast.  Or kids can create a video ‘story’ that lasts for 24 hours and can be viewed multiple times by all their followers and broadcast to the world – they can choose to disseminate it beyond their followers.

So what are kids actually exchanging?

Snapchat offers assorted filters that allow kids to distort images of themselves.  You can swap your face with someone else’s or use the ‘doggy’ filter that involves your face turning into a gruesome cartoon dog with a big floppy tongue that whips in and out like a hungry frog’s. This is particularly popular with tweens, as is the ‘flower crown’ filter that not only gives you a floral coronet but makes your face look very made up with pale skin and rouged cheeks – ‘used by sluts a lot’ we are informed by a 12-year-old user.

You need to know the lingo:

Snapchatters = users

Snaps = photos or videos taken via Snapchat

Snapback = a reply to a snap

Story =  a snap you can broadcast to followers

Scores = total umber of snaps you have sent and received

Chat = a feature that lets you privately message friends

Here = a feature that lets you start a live video chat within a direct message

This video explains why snapchat is so popular among teenagers.

3. MEMES

What are they?

Internet memes are everywhere on the web these days and intended to amuse and provoke.  A meme can be a photo, a video, a person, an animal, a fictional character, an event, a song, a philosophical idea, an action, a symbol or just a word that you can post anywhere on social media from Facebook and Instagram to Snapchat.  You can make your own meme on the memes.com website.   If it is ‘relatable’ and thought to be funny it gets shared through social media or email and thus gains status. Meme’s Facebook page has almost 7 million followers.  Very simply, a meme can be just something that goes insanely viral.

What are kids actually posting?

A common meme is an image of an animal with a short caption over it expressing its reaction to something.

memes animal Puma

4. UNBOXING VIDEOS

What are they?

Very simply, short videos of people unwrapping plastic toys on You Tube that have become a craze amongst young children.  It’s not for our generation to ask why, only to marvel at a baffling phenomenon that has made millionaires out of the people doing the unwrapping.   This video of a female in blue varnish opening plastic eggs had 105,542,837 views and apparently earned its creator nearly $5 million in 2014.

This one  of a squeaky-voiced female – again in lurid nail-varnish – opening a mound of chocolate Kinder eggs had a mind-numbing 259,915,179 views – yes, you read that right.

There is of course the equivalent for adults – blokes unwrapping gadgets and that sort of thing – but they’re not drawing anything like the amount of viewers

What are our tiny darlings actually watching?

On the whole, a pair of hands unwrapping things – literally. Forget Beatrix Potter, welcome to the world of today’s toddlers.

5. MUSICAL.LY

What is it?

It’s an app that kids from as young as 8 or 9 and up to about 20, are using to make mini pop videos of themselves.  The app allows them to download a song of their choice and then lipsync to it to make a 15 second clip – it can’t be any longer. Sometimes the effect can be funny – if an 8-year-old lip syncs to a Barry White song or a bloke lip syncs to Cyndi Lauper.  If you’ve seen a kid behaving weirdly around the house, doing odd dance moves and apparently talking to themselves, it’s likely they’re making a musical.ly video.

Where do they post and watch their clips?

They post their clips on the Musical.ly app. If they have a private account, only their followers on Musical.ly can watch their videos but many people post publicly. But if they tap onto My City they can see any number of 15 second clips of people in their town lip syncing to songs.

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