Yesterday I attended my very first "What Teens Want"
conference, and while I could only leave work to attend a few sessions,
I managed to catch several really great speakers. Starting off the day
yesterday The N's "Millennial
Girl: What A Girl Wants," a fascinating study of more than 1,200
millennial girls, 600 millennial boys, and 400 post-millennial girls
about topics as varied as media, money, sex, and religion. Here are
some of the highlights:
Teens are impossibly self-confident
Millennial girls are overall satisfied with their appearances and
personalities, and when asked to describe themselves, most mentioned
"fun," "intelligent," and "attractive." Fifty nine percent believe they
are smarter than guys their age. Instead of naming celebrities or
famous athletes as role models (just 6% did), 34% look up to themselves
or no one in particular -- oh and despite how close to their parents
this generation may be, only 25% said mom was their role model.
Perceptions of success have changed
Girls pride themselves on independence, and hope for careers that allow
them to be "creative and expressive." Although most hope to get
married, they believe children will be the loves of their lives --
instead of spouses. On that note, just 40% consider themselves
feminists and 43% believe they will earn more money than their spouse.
Still, why they may not call themselves feminists, only 34% say they
have achieved equality with men, 85% think a double standard exists,
and 84% believe women are still discriminated against at work.
Girls are more stressed
Forty three percent of girls describe themselves as "stressed out"
(compared to only 19 percent of boys). Seventy two percent are stressed
about "the future," 72% are also stressed about school, 71% are
stressed over money and 61% over appearance.
(bummer). In fact, 86% of girls believe they had to grow up much faster
than previous generations; interestingly enough, the number jumped to
91% in the south.
*Additional stats taken from Cynopsis Kids reporting on The N's research.
At the very end of conference, I caught a Mr. Youth's
teen panel about brands and media. After chatting about how they never
really watch commercials because they're always doing other things, Mr.
Youth asked the teens if they had ADD. I was expecting all eight of
them to raise their hands, because it seems everyone on my
college campus insists they have ADD in order to get certain
prescription drugs. But not one claimed to have ADD - just that they
like to multitask for convenience.
Other observations from the Mr. Youth teen panel included:
Creativity is the most valued trait
When asked to describe their generation, a majority of the teen panel
mentioned the word "creative." Teens love to express themselves through
art, fashion, and technology - girls prefer blogging, while boys like
self-produced videos (echoes Pew's earlier findings)
Millennials love Victoria's Secret Not only was it ranked by
millennial girls as the number one brand, but it was mentioned numerous
times by teen panelists on the topic of brands that "get" the youth
Teens really aren't interested in virtual worlds No one
played Second Life, nor did any of their friends (one girl's
ex-boyfriend liked the game, but he was "kind of a dork" -- her words,
Apple was easily the most-mentioned brand on the teen panel Teens couldn't stop praising them for their sleek products, cool campaigns, and catchy commercials.