16 Random Things You Should Probably Know About Today’s Teens

Sexting happens, but “full-on nudes are rare.”

We recently asked teenagers from the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about the current trends, who and what’s popular, and what it’s like to be a teen growing up in a tech-savvy world. Here is what we learned:

1. Passing notes is now a lost art.

We asked: “Do you pass notes or is it all digital now?”

The overwhelming response for this was that it doesn’t really happen. Thanks to texting and mobile apps like Snapchat and Kik, sending messages to one another has turned digital and become much quicker. While a few responded that passing notes still happens, others suggested that it’s only when somebody wants “to be cute” or when their phone isn’t close by.

2. Technology is a distraction, until it isn’t.

We asked: “How do you actually function in school with all your technological devices?”

What we found is that if phones ARE allowed (many schools seemingly have a ban on them), they are definitely distracting, but it’s all in how you use them.

Some pull out their phone to pass time during class or after a test, while others use it to access their homework or class assignments, since everything is quickly becoming more digital. One response, though, made the advantages of having technology at your fingertips more clear:

“When the teacher writes a slide of instructions and gives you 15 seconds to look at it, rather than scribble it down, you can snap a picture of it.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is note-taking (and copying homework) in 2015.

3. If there’s a fad happening, teenagers are not aware of it.

Nensuria / Getty Images

We asked: “What’s the most popular current fad?”

For the most part, there was no definitive answer for this. Or really any answer at all. The majority of responses were either “IDK” or “It changes.” Some suggested “Starbucks,” but most had no clue how to answer this question.

While frustrating (we want answers, teens!), it’s possible that when you’re younger, it’s easier to identify a fad, and as you get older, it becomes much more difficult to determine whether something is specific to your friend group, school, or generation. Or maybe you don’t realize a fad is a fad until it’s over. Either way, if there’s a fad happening, teenagers are not aware of it.

4. Hippie attire is (seemingly) making a comeback.

Fun discovery: The current fashion trend among teens actually came from two separate questions: “What’s considered a new fashion trend?” and “What ‘retro’ things are cool now?”

Even though there were no definitive answers to these questions — which is not that surprising considering fashion trends tend to shift regionally — here are some of the top responses:

Hippie attire
Tattoo chokers/choker necklaces
High-waisted shorts
Silver/lilac/ombre hair
Crop tops

5. Text lingo is SO not cool, guys.

Leon Neal / Getty Images

We asked: “What is something we think is cool that is definitely NOT cool?”

This was an easy one. Simply put, speaking in hashtags or text lingo is terribly uncool and only used ironically by teens. So saying things like “bae” or “on fleek” is basically the equivalent of saying “it’s hip to be a square.”

6. MTV is dying.

We asked: “What do you think of MTV?”

There used to be a time when nearly every teen in America would come home from school and watch MTV. That time is over. In short, today’s teenagers could not care less about the former phenomenally powerful network. Below are some of their responses:

“No feelings.”

“Kinda trashy.”

“I don’t even bother tbh.”

“They keep trying to bring new shows to attract an audience, but no one really cares anymore.”

“Out of fashion.”

“Not interested. Overrated.”

So there you have it. The MTV generation is officially old.

7. Netflix is king.

We asked: “What TV shows do you watch? Do you even watch TV?”

This should come as no surprise, but teenagers primarily watch shows online. The vast majority said they watch “TV” on Netflix (a few said Hulu), and even though we asked about specific programs, the results were too scattered to come to any kind of a conclusion about what the most popular shows are among teens.

Fun discovery: Even owning a television is becoming obsolete, as several readers admitted that they don’t even have/use one.

8. Kim Kardashian is queen.

We asked: “Who’s the most popular celebrity?”

While several commenters said it varies from group to group — which makes perfect sense — the runaway winner was Kim Kardashian, followed by Taylor Swift and Beyoncé.

9. Everybody hates Justin Bieber.

We asked: “Which celebrities get made fun of the most?”

The amount of people who nominated Justin Bieber for this was staggering. Iggy Azalea was mentioned a couple times, but it really wasn’t even close.

So if the teens don’t like Bieber…does anyone?

10. Britney Spears is old and so are you.

We asked: “What do you think of Britney Spears?”

Britney Spears was the biggest teen pop star to emerge in the late 1990s, meaning she was THE celebrity for my generation. Nowadays? Not so much. Here are some of the responses:

“Just another promising celebrity corrupted by fame.”

“Most people just know her as the girl who shaved her head and took drugs…”

“Still somewhat relevant, but only for her older songs.”

“I know some of her songs, like the super popular ones… but I’m no huge fan.”

“She’s not that current, but is the judge for America’s Got Talent? Or The X Factor? Has she stopped making music? Can she still sing?”

“Overrated and she stopped being queen after a while tbh.”

And thankfully…

“I personally love her. Long live the princess of pop.”

11. Music is widespread.

We asked: “What music do you listen to? And where?”

Much like they do with television, teenagers primarily listen to music online, mostly though Spotify, iTunes, or iHeartRadio. If you’re surprised by this, you’re an idiot, because this is the world we live in.

We also asked about what KIND of music they like to listen to, but much like their TV-watching habits, there was no definitive answer. With access to all kinds of different music through online streams, it makes sense that teenagers’ taste in music is more varied than the previous generations.

12. Instagram has completely replaced Facebook…sort of.

Logan Rhoades / BuzzFeed

We asked: “What are your feelings on Facebook?” and “What social media app do you use the most?”

It seems as though nearly every teenager uses Facebook, yet nobody really likes it. In general, most readers said the main reason they have Facebook is to connect with their parents, but they rarely post on the site themselves. It’s something they check occasionally, nearly every day, but it’s “not important enough to spend hours” on.

For posting and browsing “all day long,” it’s Instagram. A few said Snapchat, Twitter, or even Tumblr, but Instagram is seemingly the most popular social media app for teens.

13. Vaping is probably not as popular as you think.

We asked: “How popular is vaping?”

In certain areas, smoking e-cigarettes is becoming popular, but many teenagers feel that vaping is for twentysomethings. This came as a surprise, considering the New York Times just published an article saying that “E-cigarettes have arrived in the life of the American teenager.” Turns out, that’s a little misleading. It’s more like e-cigarettes are arriving, rather than arrived, as one reader points out:

“I find vaping is more popular in people in their twenties because it’s sill easier for teens to get a pack of smokes than it is for them to get a vape.”

14. Selfies have replaced sexting.

We asked: “Honestly, how often do you guys sext each other?”

While many indicated that it’s “not that much,” it seems that sending sexual text messages has been replaced with sexy Snapchats. And there’s an emphasis on sexy, as one reader claims that “full-on nudes are rare.”

So in the least-surprising news, teenagers are still horny.

15. They don’t remember anything about Sept. 11, 2001.

Robert Giroux / Getty Images

We asked: “What, if anything, do you remember about Sept. 11, 2001?”

The quick answer to this is “not much.” Now this shouldn’t be a startling revelation, considering the oldest teenagers would have been about 4 years old at the time, but it’s weird to think about. This historical event, which was arguably the biggest national tragedy experienced by American millennials, is now very much that: a part of history.

16. They’re just like us.

We asked: “What teen stereotype would you like to debunk?”

Even though there were a variety of responses, there was one common theme: They want to be taken seriously.

Many of the issues involving teenagers seem to get blown up because of social media. Dumb mistakes are now instantly shared worldwide on Twitter and Instagram, reinforcing the thought that today’s teens are ignorant, irresponsible, and immature. Sure, some definitely fall into this category, but many feel it’s unfair to judge them for this, considering this kind of extreme access into people’s lives wasn’t available before.

Another component of this was the perceived notion of their dependence on technology, as one teenager points out: “A lot of people think that we have taken the internet and social media as replacements for people” — when, in reality, technology helps them keep in touch with not only their friends, but their family, as well. *cough* Facebook *cough*

As a final note, here is a stereotype one teenager would like to debunk:

“That we hate adults and that we don’t want to talk to you!”

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