For girls, YouTube is an addictive sinkhole. Trust me, I know …
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- Dezembro 11º, 2015
My dad tries to keep this a secret, but it’s me, Eva, aged 13, who writes this column most weeks – he makes me do it for pocket money and trousers the fee. However, he’s gone away somewhere, so I’m going to use the opportunity to come out of the closet and write my own column.
This is about why, when an adult ever tries to talk to me, I pretend I have some other place to be. The cause of this strange fear of human interaction that I (and many teenagers) seem to suffer from is, in my opinion, our reliance on screens – specifically, in my case, an addiction to videos posted on YouTube.
If you are over 20, it is likely that you will be clueless about this new form of entertainment and the huge community within it. My mum, for example, seems baffled by the whole concept and I find myself repeatedly explaining the new internet crazes to her. She likes to argue that I shouldn’t make fun of her when I’m teaching her about the internet because she taught me how to use a spoon, but usually I ignore this and go off somewhere to listen to music.
To the average teenager, YouTube is not just about cat videos (although they are the most fun to watch), it is also about YouTubers. Usually, the life of every teenager involves one YouTuber or another. They are a new form of celebrity. They include figures such as Tyler Oakley, a huge personality on the site and an LGBT phenomenon, PewDiePie, a dedicated gamer (with 40 million followers), or, possibly my favourite, Dan and Phil, a duo who play video games, bake and share their most embarrassing experiences with the world.
We are drawn in by the avalanche of content they create, but also by the lives of the YouTubers themselves. For phangirls like me, the problem is that watching these YouTubers tricks our minds into thinking that we are interacting with other people.
It’s hard not to give in to poring over the comments made about videos by other users, or the excitement that starts to build when you see your favourite YouTubers collab (collab = collaborate, as when two YouTube stars work together).
But there is more to this than pure entertainment. YouTubers reveal the most intimate things in a way that sometimes makes me feel a little obsessive and creepy. I was watching a video the other day, but felt like I was intruding too far in the lives of the YouTubers and immediately closed my laptop.
This sinkhole of YouTube-ing seems to be something that girls get sucked into, whereas, from my inexperienced perspective as a girl, boys seem to be drawn in more by video games such as Black Ops 3 or Fifa 16.
I’m not generalising gender stereotypes, I love Fifa 16 and I watch football from time to time (although I wouldn’t call it watching so much as being in the room, and I wouldn’t call it being in the room so much as not being in the room). And many boys watch YouTube and are phanboys, but based on statistics and the boys at my school shouting, “Arsenal are rubbish mate,” or, “Nah, man, I’m bangin’ at Fifa 16, I will crush you,” I would say that the enthusiasm for video games is greater for the majority of guys.
There’s not only a gender gap here, but a generation gap. My little sister, the troublemaker of the family, is only nine and she watches the Disney Channel on Netflix or binges on apps day and night. Forget TV, or even social media, a whole new stage of antisocial is emerging with the technological revolution and the kids of the next generation are going to need serious social-skills lessons in order to stay – well, human. Because whether it’s YouTubing, Fifa 16 or the Disney Channel, the screens are taking over and sucking us in.
Sometimes I wonder if soon there will be anything of us left.
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