- Curvy Wife Guy drops music video for rap song ‘Chubby Sexy’ Friday 7:33 PM
- A ‘Black Mirror’ spinoff mini-series is coming to YouTube via Netflix Latin America Friday 5:56 PM
- Kanye West appears on David Letterman’s Netflix show to talk Trump, TMZ, and Drake Friday 3:27 PM
- QAnon believers link small-town arrest to deep state conspiracy without evidence Friday 1:58 PM
- Instagram photos showing prison conditions spark massive protest Friday 1:33 PM
- ‘Gay rat wedding’ headline sparks amazing new meme Friday 1:03 PM
- ‘I read a gossip piece’ meme mocks Moby’s Instagram post Friday 12:39 PM
- Rotten Tomatoes wants to see your ticket stub to leave a verified review Friday 11:46 AM
- ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ movie delayed to 2020 to fix his look Friday 11:39 AM
- ‘Swamp Thing’ gets off to a promising start, but can it tell a convincing love story? Friday 11:34 AM
- ‘Falling on deaf ears’: ‘Queer Eye’ star sparks conversation about ableist idioms Friday 11:15 AM
- Parents are spending thousands on YouTube camps that teach kids how to be famous Friday 10:43 AM
- In season 2 of ‘She’s Gotta Have It,’ Spike Lee remains unapologetically himself Friday 10:36 AM
- Trump selling Pride shirts is a grotesque insult to the LGBTQ community Friday 10:27 AM
- Logan Paul is being mocked for pulling out of slapping competition Friday 9:57 AM
Won’t somebody please think of the children!?!
A hot new teen trend sweeping the nation is sure to shock absolutely no one: “vamping.”
The New York Times‘ Laura Holson has penned 1,200 words excruciatingly detailing how America’s teens are—would you believe it—staying up late, talking to their friends and browsing social media. “Sometimes I look up and it’s 3 a.m. and I’m watching a video of a giraffe eating a steak,” mulls one teenage interviewee. “And I wonder, ‘How did I get here?'”
“You want to seem as cool as possible so you will post something at 2 in the morning, to just be like, ‘Oh, I’m part of this cool-kid group,'” another teen says.
One mother, Holson writes, said that “her daughter has difficulty untethering from her social group after dark; she has often caught the girl chatting in the wee hours with at least four friends on Kik, a mobile messaging system.”
Through multiple examples, the fundamentals of “vamping” are the same: teens are putting up two middle fingers to parental authorities and are talking long into the night with their friends—whether voluntarily or as a result of peer-pressure.
The term vamping, in this context, refers to the vampire-like nature of this nighttime Internet activity, apparently. It definitely does not refer to various unconventional sexual activities that go by the same name.
Holson even brought sociologists on board to explain the strange new phenomenon. “Hanging out is where young people begin to understand social dynamics,” researcher Danah Boyd says. “Because of the restrictions placed on them, very few interactions are unstructured until their parents go to bed.”
There’s certainly a kernel of truth here: your teenage years are formative, in which you work out who you are and what you want to be. But to suggest that “vamping” is a new phenonenon seems a stretch, to say the least. To put it bluntly: teenagers stay up late. Teenagers like talking to their friends, and can also feel pressured into maintaining elaborate social networks. Ten years ago we were doing it on MSN and MySpace, another ten years ago and teens were holding whispered conversations on their parents’ landlines at 1am. And let’s not forget the time-honored tradition of simply sneaking out at night.
Teenagers naturally push boundries, with or without the influence of new technology and the boogeyman of social media. The “vamping” buzzword just helps to disguise the fundamental message of the story: Young people are staying up past their bedtimes. Stop-the-freaking-press! That the behavior now has a (contrived) name doesn’t make it a trend or a thing—because it’s been a thing for decades, if not forever.
As an afterthrought, suggests Holson, “maybe teenage behavior hasn’t changed, whether it has a new name like vamping or not.” You know what, Laura—you might just be on to something there.
Photo via Amy Clarke / Flickr (CC 2.0)
Rob Price is a technology and politics reporter who served as the U.K.-based morning editor for the Daily Dot until 2014. He now works as the news editor for Business Insider, and his work has appeared in Vice, Slate, the Washington Post, and the Independent.