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    17 Random Things You Should Probably Know About Today's Teens

    Teens aren't skipping the awkward phase, they just go through it in private!

    We recently asked our teenage BuzzFeed readers to tell us all about what it's like growing up in today's world. Here's what we found out!

    1. VSCO rule the fashion world.

    2. And '90s looks still reign supreme.

    3. You already knew this, but analogue TV is a thing of the past.

    Cartoon Network / Hulu

    We asked: Do you watch traditional TV?

    It's all about watching stuff on-demand, with many teens saying that the content shown on terrestrial TV doesn't really appeal to them, and almost anything broadcast can be easily accessed online. Lots of the teens also pointed out that they'd rather watch things on Youtube, Netflix, or illegally stream than have to sit through commercials and a prearranged schedule. To put it bluntly – "traditional TV is for hotel rooms and my grandpa's house."


    4. Most teen dramas completely misrepresent what it's actually like to be a teen in today's world.

    The CW / Warner Bros.

    We asked: what shows do a crap job at representation?

    While some responders said that programs like 13 Reasons Why cover topics related to what today's teens experience, like mental health issues, most think that these shows aren't an accurate depiction of teenhood. Why? Mainly due to all the absent parents, the sexually active characters, and the fact that almost all of the cast members are quite obviously way older than the teens they're playing.

    5. But the few shows that don't sensationalise teen life do it really well.


    We asked: What TV programs show teen life in the most realistic way?

    Programs that highlight the non-glamourous ups and downs of being a teen, such as One Day At A Time and Big Mouth were nominated as accurate representations – "I think Big Mouth shows teenage-hood pretty well (except things like the Hormone Monsters and Shame Wizard lol). It’s just an overall accurate portrayal of puberty and the surrounding time."


    6. Billie Eilish is queen.

    7. But teens really don't care about the Kardashians as much as we think they do.

    8. And they really don't like Tana Mongeau and Jake Paul.

    9. Speaking of which – influencers just aren't cool anymore.

    10. Teens aren't skipping the awkward phase, they just go through it in private because they feel the pressure to look flawless on social media.

    11. Celebs that we thought were cool back in the day are having a bit of a renaissance.


    We asked: What '90s and '00s stars do you still consider celeb royalty?

    It's not just fashion throwbacks that are going strong – Keanu Reeves, Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, and Jennifer Aniston are still super cool. Quite a few responders mentioned The Fresh Prince and Friends, so I'm guessing this has quite a bit to do with streaming services. It's good to see that some celebs have stood the test of time, and I'm sure Leo will be pleased to hear he's popular with the next generation...

    12. TikTok is basically the Gen Z's version of Vine.

    We asked: What’s the deal with Tik Tok?

    "It first gained popularity as a cringy lip-syncing app called and then it basically became funny seconds 15-second videos to weird audios. I think the Millenials had an app like that called Vine."


    There doesn't seem to be that much more to it, and while most teens described it's as a fun app, the ones that are old enough to remember the iconic 6-second wonder made it clear that TikTok "kind of fills the Vine shaped hole our hearts, but could never come close to the original."


    13. Black and LGBTQ+ Twitter make up most of the slang.

    Jasmine Masters

    We asked: Who makes up the slang?

    Based on the answers to this question, the life cycle of slang goes something like this: black and queer people make it up, it finds its way to Twitter, then everyone starts using it and the origin is long forgotten. Oh, and once older Millenials start picking up the slang, it's pretty much dead (think "lit" and "yeet.")

    14. Dating still happens IRL, but a lot of relationships really develop over picture messages and DMs.

    Warner Bros. / Netflix

    We asked: Does anyone date in real life, or is it all about the apps?

    The responses to this one made it pretty clear that most teenagers have nothing to do with dating apps, and they view them as a Millennial phenomenon. They mostly date people they go to school with, so the world of teen romance hasn't really changed much, apart from the addition of apps like Snapchat and Instagram, that let you send ~disappearing~ messages.

    15. Teens seem to be drinking less because they're more aware of the consequences of their actions than ever before.

    Warner Bros. / Netflix

    We asked: I hear you guys are drinking less. What's up with that?

    It seems that in the age of constant connection, underage drinkers are easily caught, and most people just don't want the hassle. Basically, teens generally have less freedom than they did in the past – "when you guys were younger, things were so much more relaxed. You could just go and drink somewhere. My parents know exactly where I'm going, when, why, and who I'm going with. They would never allow me to drink underage and I would probably be caught by law enforcement."


    And although some teens obviously do drink, judging by the responses, they're all about being responsible for their actions. One commenter wisely put it: "We understand that we are making crucial life decisions as soon as the age of about 12, and know that alcohol will fuck us up big time if we drink it too often."

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    16. And vaping isn't as popular as we think it is.

    Jose Luis Magana / Getty Images

    We asked: Is it all about vaping now?

    If the responses are anything to go by, vaping is a trend that has been blown waaaay out of proportion – sure, some teens are doing it, but they're not as into it as we've been led to believe. Almost every single response said that vaping isn't cool and is mispresented by the media.

    "Vaping is purely internet and celeb culture. I’ve noticed that those who do vape at my age are the ones who tend to only be focused on their popularity and are doing it to seem cooler"


    17. And finally: being a teen today isn't all that different from being a teen in any other era.

    Eric Lalmand / AFP / Getty Images

    We asked: What defines your teenage era?

    This was met with a variety of different responses, but there was one overarching theme: teens of today aren't purely obsessed with their phones and addicted to social media – just like many before them, they want to make a difference.

    They might be the generation responsible for eating Tide pods and dabbing, but they're a multifaceted bunch who can't be defined by a single trend. As one teen put it – "our era is summed up by internet culture, VSCO girls, cheerful nihilism, caring about our dying planet, and most importantly a previously unheard of amount of openmindedness, awareness, and activism that can hopefully change the world."


    Some submissions have been edited for length/clarity.

    Did we miss anything major? Tell us in the comments!

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