It Wasn’t Me Mum .. YouTube ate all the data!

Popular Culture is not something that ever really age. What was cool once, becomes cool again. One only have to look into the Pokemon Go trend, and see that 20+ years ago, another generation loved it just as much as today’s youngsters. Popular Culture is sometimes seen as a passing trend, and yes, in many instances it is but for Libraries, it is also a wonderful opportunity to engage with kids and teens.

The tribe that stole the data - creative commons
The tribe that stole the data - creative commons

In my house live two teenagers, and quite frequently, they are ‘bored’. Not that there isn’t anything for them to do around the house but the most popular activity they love to engage in, also involves using up most of the household data allowance halfway through the month! Yes, I’m talking about YouTube, or more specifically, them watching people playing games on YouTube. If you don’t have teens, or tweens, you’re probably arching an eyebrow now and thinking ‘what the??’. I know I did.

It is not all a complete waste of time though. Surprisingly they learn to improve their own gameplay through watching, and even find friends online with similar interests. Think pen pals from years gone by, another popular pastime in our culture of yesteryears. Of course nowadays us parents have to be very alert and tech-savvy to make sure our young stay as safe as possible, one cannot just burn the mail as apparently my Mum did with some of my pen pal letters back in the 80’s!  Never mind, I’m not completely scarred for life, and neither will our kids be by the rules we have to enforce where it comes to technology.

ACMA reports that since 2011, there have been a 69% increase in teens accessing the Internet online, and the most popular Internet destination for watching online content is YouTube. ACMA further reports that 64% access the Internet from educational institutions, but only a mere 26% use the library Internet. So, does this mean that libraries are not reaching teens? I am sad to say that my two definitely do not find our local library welcoming at all, as it mostly caters for the First Five Forever crowd.

However, more libraries are implementing programs to cater for teenagers, and are making an effort to engage with them through Popular Culture. By offering school holiday activities, after school clubs, coding workshops and writing groups, teens and tweens increasingly have the opportunity to rather go and use the free Internet at the library. And hopefully grab a book or two to read at home for when they have used up all their monthly data allowance halfway through the month!

5 thoughts on “It Wasn’t Me Mum .. YouTube ate all the data!

  1. Great post Maddy. You're right - the first five forever group do take up rather a lot of space (not that I blame them!). I've been studying at the Grange library the last couple of weeks and there is veritable pram rally. And not a very teen friendly space! But todays toddlers are tomorrows teens. It won't belong till this is the user group that this particular library needs to cater too as well.
    Here's to hoping your kids grab a book on their way out after using the free internet!

    1. Post author

      Hi Leela,
      Thanks fo commenting 🙂 Yes, the younger programs do take up a lot of space, and that is probably a sign of how much additional space our libraries actually need but rarely receives funding for 🙂

  2. It would be great if teens could have a space in the library to chill out and use up the all library's data :). Space does seem to be an issue for many suburban libraries.

  3. I think a lot of libraries just put the teens in the too hard basket. I love the new library out at Wynnum, but was really disappointed at the teens area (or lack of it!) - just a couple of tables and one book shelf shoved in the end of the children's area (as if the teens want to hang out in the children's area!) . It could have been so easily been made so much better if only teens had been seen as a priority! Such a wasted opportunity.


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