Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Slang Words: 10 Things Teenagers Are Saying These Days

The Huffington Post Canada      First Posted: 12/2/11 07:34 AM ET   Updated: 12/5/11 04:25 PM ET
For many, the holidays mean family gatherings and talking to people of all ages. If you're usually the parent trying to decode words like "noob," "pwned" and "flop" during conversations with teenagers -- we're here to help.
We talked to tech expert Marc Saltzman about why parents should attempt to learn teenage lingo.
"Parents may want to use the same language as their kids so they're not old or outdated. But, it has to feel right. If they're not using the right context it can have a negative effect on kids," he says.
In a recent survey sponsored by Orville Redenbacher, Canadian parents were asked if they felt comfortable in the world of gaming. Some parents said, "I don't play games very often and die within minute," while others said "the controls are too confusing." This is what Saltzman calls the digital divide.
"The digital divide is the disparity of those who are comfortable with technology and those who are not. It isn't good or bad. It's just a basic common finding that kids who grow up with these tools are used to these things," Saltzman says.
To help you out, the Huffington Post Canada Living team has come up with 10 words teens are saying these days, along with their definitions:
A flop is when a planned event doesn't end up happening. A flopper is someone who often cancels last minute.
A photobomb is when a person or object is in a picture accidentally or intentionally and as a result, ruins the photo.
A fail is a fail in life. It can be anything from falling off your bike, walking into a glass door or overcooking your holiday dinner. Fails can also happen online if you write on someone's Facebook wall by accident, for example.
Now if a fail is a fail in life, then an epic fail is a fail of giant proportions. An epic fail can also refer to a task that is meant to be easy, but still wasn't carried out properly.
A lipdub may not be as common among all teens, but a lot of libdubs have been popping up on the Internet. For example in this one, students at the University of British Columbia sing their way through campus with Pink's "Raise Your Glass." Essentially, a lipdub is a music video done in one take with a variety of people singing along.
A noob refers to someone who doesn't have the basic knowledge when it comes to pop culture, tech terms or just generally what seems to be "in" that week. (And don't worry, after you read our guide, you will no longer be a noob when it comes to popular words among teens).
No, this is not a typo, pwned is spelled with a "p" and is pronounced 'owned.' History suggests it originated in an online game called "Warcraft," where a map designer misspelled "owned." (Just look how close "p" and "o" are on your keyboard). When the computer beat a player, it was supposed to say, "has been owned." Being owned means someone just proved you wrong, but it could also be positive. If you did well on a test, guess what? You pwned that test.
Now kids aren't going around saying "POS" out loud -- nor would they say LOL (laugh out loud), WTF (what the f--k), BRB (be right back) or SMH (shaking my head) --but this one is just for texting and chatting. If you ever happen to look over your son or daughter's shoulder while they are on instant message sites or Facebook and you see "POS," it refers to: parents over shoulder.
Sick doesn't refer to being ill or literally sick. It usually refers to something that was awesome, cool or surprising.
A hater is usually someone who feels anger or jealously towards another person because of their success. However, when most teens use it, they just assume they other person is ruining their life on purpose.

Two Kinds of Fanaticism

Two Kinds of Fanaticism
An editorial by Dennis Prager, January 31, 2012 NationalReview.com 

The Muslim world is threatened by religious fanaticism. The Western world is threatened by secular fanaticism.
Both seek to dominate society and to use state power to do so. Both seek to eliminate the Other — for Islamic fanatics that means non-Muslim religions and secularism; for secular fanatics it means Christianity and virtually any public invocation of God. The Islamists impose sharia law; the ACLU, and the Left generally, impose secular law. The Taliban wiped out public vestiges of Buddhism in Afghanistan; the ACLU and its allies seek to wipe out public vestiges of Christianity in America — as it did, for example, in Los Angeles County when it successfully pressured the County Board of Supervisors to remove the tiny cross from the county seal. A city and county founded by Catholics — hence the name “The Angels” — was forced to stop commemorating its founders because they were religious.
This fanaticism has been on display most recently in the state of Rhode Island. This past Christmas, Governor Lincoln Chafee renamed the state Christmas tree a “holiday tree.” Though Christmas is a national holiday, for the secular fanatic, anything Christian — or, as we shall see, anything that relates to religion or God — must be banned from public life.
The latest expression of the secular equivalent of Islamism is the lawsuit brought against a Rhode Island high school, Cranston High School West, for allowing a banner, written by a seventh grader in 1963, to remain hanging on one of the school walls. An atheist student along with the ACLU brought the lawsuit and a judge ruled that it is unconstitutional for it to hang in a public school.
To appreciate how fanatical the student, the ACLU, and the ruling are, you have to know the words on the banner. So, here they are:
Our Heavenly Father
Grant us each day the desire to do our best, to grow mentally and morally as well as physically, to be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers, to be honest with ourselves as well as with others. Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win. Teach us the value of true friendship. Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.
The idea that this prayer violates the Constitution of the United States is as much a mockery of the Constitution as it is of common sense. Only a fanatic can welcome the removal of such a non-denominational, sweet, moral exhortation from a high-school wall. America is indeed as endangered by the ACLU as the Muslim world is by Islamists.
Defenders of the judge’s decision point to the U.S. Supreme Court decision of 1962 banning state-mandated prayer in public schools. The parallel is invalid. No student is asked, let alone compelled, to state what is on the Rhode Island high-school banner. But arguments citing the Supreme Court ruling serve only to confirm my argument that secular fanaticism has been taking over America. The New York State prayer that the Warren Court outlawed 50 years ago was as non-sectarian, morally uplifting, and inoffensive as the Rhode Island prayer.
Here is it is in its entirety:
Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.
After reading that one sentence, it is intellectually dishonest to maintain that the Warren Court’s decision was not an expression of fanaticism. One would have to deny that there could even be any such thing as secular fanaticism. Indeed, if it could have, the Warren Court would have declared the Declaration of Independence unconstitutional for its citing the Creator.
It is no wonder, then, that Alaska Airlines announced last week that it would no longer dispense along with meals its famous little cards with a verse from Psalms.
There are Americans who think that we are a better society without a state Christmas tree, and without high-school students’ seeing a prayer to be kind human beings, and without the Alaska Airlines attempt to elevate American life in a small — again, non-denominational — way.
But of course the Islamist thinks he is improving Muslim life, too.
— Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. He may be contacted through his website, dennisprager.com.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Young, in Love and Sharing Everything, Including a Password

Young, in Love and Sharing Everything, Including a Password

Young couples have long signaled their devotion to each other by various means — the gift of a letterman jacket, or an exchange of class rings or ID bracelets. Best friends share locker combinations.
The digital era has given rise to a more intimate custom. It has become fashionable for young people to express their affection for each other by sharing their passwords to e-mail, Facebook and other accounts. Boyfriends and girlfriends sometimes even create identical passwords, and let each other read their private e-mails and texts.
They say they know such digital entanglements are risky, because a souring relationship can lead to people using online secrets against each other. But that, they say, is part of what makes the symbolism of the shared password so powerful.
“It’s a sign of trust,” Tiffany Carandang, a high school senior in San Francisco, said of the decision she and her boyfriend made several months ago to share passwords for e-mail and Facebook. “I have nothing to hide from him, and he has nothing to hide from me.”
“That is so cute,” said Cherry Ng, 16, listening in to her friend’s comments to a reporter outside school. “They really trust each other.”
We do, said Ms. Carandang, 17. “I know he’d never do anything to hurt my reputation,” she added.
It doesn’t always end so well, of course. Changing a password is simple, but students, counselors and parents say that damage is often done before a password is changed, or that the sharing of online lives can be the reason a relationship falters.
The stories of fallout include a spurned boyfriend in junior high who tries to humiliate his ex-girlfriend by spreading her e-mail secrets; tensions between significant others over scouring each other’s private messages for clues of disloyalty or infidelity; or grabbing a cellphone from a former best friend, unlocking it with a password and sending threatening texts to someone else.
Rosalind Wiseman, who studies how teenagers use technology and is author of “Queen Bees and Wannabes,” a book for parents about helping girls survive adolescence, said the sharing of passwords, and the pressure to do so, was somewhat similar to sex.
Sharing passwords, she noted, feels forbidden because it is generally discouraged by adults and involves vulnerability. And there is pressure in many teenage relationships to share passwords, just as there is to have sex.
“The response is the same: if we’re in a relationship, you have to give me anything,” Ms. Wiseman said.
In a 2011 telephone survey, the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 30 percent of teenagers who were regularly online had shared a password with a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend. The survey, of 770 teenagers aged 12 to 17, found that girls were almost twice as likely as boys to share. And in more than two dozen interviews, parents, students and counselors said that the practice had become widespread.
In a recent column on the tech-news Web site Gizmodo, Sam Biddle called password sharing a linchpin of intimacy in the 21st century, and offered advice to couples and friends on how to avoid missteps.
“I’ve known plenty of couples who have shared passwords, and not a single one has not regretted it,” said Mr. Biddle in an interview, adding that the practice includes the unspoken notion of mutually assured destruction if somebody misbehaves. “It’s the kind of symbolism that always goes awry.”
Students say there are reasons, beyond a show of trust, to swap online keys. For instance, several college students said they regularly shared Facebook passwords — not to snoop on or monitor each other, but to force themselves to study for finals. A student would give her password to a friend to change it — and not disclose the new password — thereby temporarily locking out the Facebook account holder and taking away a big distraction to studying.
Alexandra Radford, 20, a junior at San Francisco State University, said she had done this for friends several times during exams. One friend wanted to know the new password before finals ended, but Ms. Radford held firm.
“Once finals were over, I gave it to her,” she said. “She was, like, ‘Oh, my gosh, thank you.’ She knew I was good about not giving her the password back.”
But Ms. Radford is more sheepish about the passwords she shared a few years ago in high school with her boyfriend. They even changed their passwords to reflect their relationship. Hers: ILoveKevin. His: ILoveAly.
“We did it so I could check his messages because I didn’t trust him, which is not healthy,” she conceded.
Counselors typically advise against the practice, and parents often preach the wisdom of password privacy. Winifred Lender, a child psychologist in Santa Barbara, had her three sons sign “digital contracts” that outline terms for how much media they will consume, how they will behave online and that they will not share passwords. Still, Ms. Lender said, her 14-year-old was recently asked by a friend for his password.
“He said: ‘You give me yours and I’ll give you mine.’ ”
Her son was taken aback but then relied on a tried-and-true excuse for saying no. “He blamed it on his parents,” Ms. Lender said of her son. “He said, ‘If I give you my password, my mom will have a cow.’ ”
Emily Cole, 16, a high school junior in Glastonbury, Conn., felt the sting of password betrayal in seventh grade, when she gave her e-mail password to her first boyfriend.
Then she started to develop feelings for another student, she said, and sent an e-mail to her. Her boyfriend read the e-mail and started spreading it around the school, calling Ms. Cole a “pervert.”
Ms. Cole said it was deeply hurtful. And yet, despite what happened, she said she would not have reservations about sharing her password with her new boyfriend.
“I know this sounds kind of weird, but we have a different relationship,” she said. “We’re not in seventh grade. I trust him in a different way, I suppose.”
Ms. Cole’s mother, Patti, 48, a child psychologist, said she believed her daughter would be more judicious now about sharing a password. But, more broadly, she thinks young people are sometimes drawn to such behavior as they might be toward sex, in part because parents and others warn them against doing so.
“What worries me is we haven’t done a very good job at stopping kids from having sex,” she said. “So I’m not real confident about how much we can change this behavior.”

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cee-lo and Imagine

Cee Lo Green Outrages John Lennon Fans By Changing Lyrics to 'Imagine'

Performed on New Year's Evebroadcast from Times Square
JANUARY 2, 2012 rolling Stone online

Cee Lo Green performs during New Year's Eve in Times Square in New York City
Cee Lo Green upset John Lennon fans on Saturday night by performing a soulful version of the songwriter's classic "Imagine" with the lyrics changed from "nothing to kill or die for / and no religion too" to "nothing to kill or die for / and all religion's true." According to some fans, Green changed the meaning of the song by switching out the line. "The whole point of that lyric is that religion causes harm," tweeted someone with the handle@geekysteven. "If 'all religion's true' it would be a pretty bleak place."

Green, who sang the song on NBC's New Year's Eve broadcast from Times Square, responded to criticism about the alteration by tweeting "Yo I meant no disrespect by changing the lyric guys! I was trying to say a world were u could believe what u wanted that's all." He responded directly to other angry Lennon fans on Twitter, but has since deleted all of the tweets.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Top Teen Insights & Trends Of 2011

Top Teen Insights & Trends Of 2011
by Nick Fuller, Dec 15, 2011,  MediaPost.com 
A lot has happened this year and teens have taken notice. World events, economic pressures, personal milestones, friends, education and brands all play big roles in influencing the lives of teens. Teens are evolving and maturing as fast as the technologies and platforms we build around them. We caught up with 300, 13-19-year-old teens in an online discussion to talk to them about the technologies, platforms and brands they used over the course of the year, with their responses offering fresh insights into who they are. Below are highlights from our complete findings.
The following narrative represents insights gleaned from more than 4,500 individual responses:
2011: A Year Of Personal Sacrifice
No longer insulated by parents doling out discretionary funds, teens are not only reacting to the pressures felt by their cashed-strapped parents, but are helping to take on the responsibility through part time jobs and making their own sacrifices on personal spending. Billed as "The Lost Generation," the unemployment rate of a teen is double that of an adult (20% by some measures; NPR, 2011), which leads to teens adopting many of the cost-saving measures they glean from their parents. 
Like Their Parents, Teens Are Savvy Mobile Users
Much of the coupon-redeeming, price-comparing and loyalty-point-aggregating activity marketers have witnessed among adults around Black Friday/Cyber Monday is actually taking place among teens, as well. The top shopping apps mentioned among teens in our discussion forum included Amazon mobile for scanning, Foursquare for check-in discounts, Old Navy's Snap Appy, Seventeen, Red Laser and ShopKick. A surprising number of teens expressed interest in using apps to learn about local deals at restaurants, as well as redeeming offers from Groupon and LivingSocial. 
The opportunity for a brand to step up as an ally of all things education is huge. Across dozens of posts, we found that teens are seeking a mobile solution for keeping track of their homework assignments, grades, high school sporting events and to-do lists. In 2012, there’s a viable opportunity for marketers to uncover what the next level of customization means for this generation, and find ways to add utility to their high school experiences.
Teens Are Native Users Of Virtual Currency
Gamification continues to grow among teens, as it provides them with a way of earning points and virtual currency in an entertaining format. 43% of teens have spent real dollars on in-game virtual items or virtual currency. Teens flock to games such as Cityville (Over 55 million active users, #1 game on Facebook in December; Games, 2011), Sorority Life and numerous others to earn points that can be redeemed for real items. Many teens in our forum described earning virtual points in order to save money on holiday gift purchases this year.
Top virtual points/currencies among our panel: MyYearBook's "Lunch Money," Facebook "Credits," Coca-Cola’s "MyCokeRewards," Sorority Life's "Brownie Points" and SwagBucks.
Watching Content Is A Social Experience
Social media turns watching content into a shared experience among teens, and with research citing improved ad recall when ads are published across multiple platforms (Up 150%, compared to just TV; Mashable, 2011), the circumstances are ripe for brands to create an integrated approach to content. When tuning-in to their favorite TV shows (“Glee,” by a two-to-one margin; our Nationwide Poll, 2011) 53% are posting comments about the show to their Facebook pages, 45% are texting their friends show-related updates, a staggering 39% will visit the show's Facebook page, and 18% will Tweet directly at the show. By contrast, only 11% report using a show's specific mobile app (our Nationwide Poll, 2011). 
Teens Yearn For More Customization On Facebook
Among 250 responses from our online discussion, teens expressed their overwhelming desire to keep things simple and unchanged. Negative sentiment (among our responses) to Facebook's ticker remains persistently highly, as teens think it provides too much information about their social activities. On the other hand, Facebook mobile (and “places” in particular) is very well received. Teens look forward to the day when they can customize their pages further, choosing their own color schemes, much like the old MySpace.
Teens Use Google+ To Meet Up Online
Teens are using Google+ to have more intimate conversations among subsets of friends, carving out circles, which fit their own definitions of social groups. Teens have fun defining these: "cool kids, weird people, fat people, hot girls (and guys) and Moustache Mafia," are among the more interesting circles. Teens also create circles for high school classes and after-school clubs/hobbies to facilitate study sessions. Hangouts are another way in which teens can connect with their classmates online to socialize their late-night cramming. Brands should support this activity, helping to bring together teens around unique circles and interests.
Spotify And TurnTable Turn Teens On To Music
With the ability for teens to follow what their friends are listening to on Facebook, teens now have Spotify and Turntable to thank for expanding their own musical tastes. In a recent poll among teens, we found that 70% of teens are "highly likely" to listen-in to music tracks that they notice their friends listening to in the activity feed on Facebook (our Nationwide Poll, 2011). Undoubtedly, this social integration has led to the successful rise of Spotify, Turntable and other services keen on taking advantage of Facebook apps, as a way to grow awareness of their services. Top music services with teens in 2011 included Pandora, YouTube and Spotify, as well as lesser-known sources Grooveshark, iheartradio.com, Playlist.com, SoundCloud, last.fm and Tumblr.
Now it's time to close the door on 2011, and enjoy the holiday season. Keep these insights in your back pocket for 2012, and consider how the events, technologies and social platforms teens are using today will impact their decision making in the New Year.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Teens Hear 34 Liquor Brands a Day in Rap, Hip-Hop Music

Oct. 20, 2011

For every hour that American teens listen to music, they hear more than three references to brand-name alcohol -- about 34 in the course of day.

This heavy exposure could contribute to youth addiction, according to a University of Pittsburgh and Dartmouth University study published online today in the international journal, Addiction.

Researchers point the finger clearly at rap, R&B and hip-hop artists, who they say promote a "luxury lifestyle characterized by degrading sexual activity, wealth, partying, violence and the use of drugs."

Although the alcohol trade industries publicly say they do not market to underage drinkers, researchers said the line is "difficult to distinguish" because liquor companies "retroactively reward" the recording artists with product sponsorships and endorsements when songs climb the charts.

This music is so popular among high school students that the study concludes the relationship between the two industries could encourage young people to begin alcohol use early and to continue drink throughout their teenage years.

Many of the brands that are cited in lyrics -- Patron Tequila, Grey Goose Vodka and Hennessey Cognac -- are those named as favorites by underage drinkers, especially girls, according to the study, authored by Brian A. Primack, Erin Nuzzo and Kristin R. Rice of University of Pittsburgh Medical School and James D. Sargent of Dartmouth University School of Medicine.

Most of the alcohol references in those songs were positive rather than negative ones, they said. The brand names were associated with wealth 63.4 percent of the time; sex, 58.5 percent; luxury objects, 51.2 percent; partying, 48.8 percent; other drugs, 43.9 percent and vehicles, 39 percent, according to the study.

"Much of the alcohol advertising is "unsolicited," said Frank Coleman, spokesman for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). "As part of the entertainment industry, we encourage artistic freedom and we encourage all great artists, if they use alcohol as their muse, to do so responsibly. That's a given."

He also cited 2010 government statistics in a University of Michigan study, Monitoring the Future, that showed underage drinking and binge drinking were at "an all-time low" -- even, according to Coleman, as the popularity of rap music soared.

But the study cited CDC data that alcohol use is the "leading root cause" of mortality in adolescence, and its use is associated with substance abuse, risky sexual behavior, academic failure and alcohol dependence.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42 percent of high schools students drank some amount of alcohol and 24 percent binge drank in 2009.

The study analyzed 793 of the most popular youth songs between 2005 and 2007, according to Billboard magazine. They found that 25 percent of those that mentioned alcohol called out a brand name, representing about 3.4 alcohol brand call-outs per song hour. The average teen listens to about 2.5 hours of music per day, according to the research.

Many singers have also increasingly promoted their own line of liquors in their songs and even launched their own unique brands -- including Lil' Jon (Little Jonathan Wineries, 2008), Ludacris (Conjure Vodka, 2009), Jay-Z (Armadale Vodka, 2002), Snoop Dogg (Landy Cognac, 2008), TI (Remy Martin Cognac, 2010) and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs (Ciroc Vodka, 2001).

Music Has Powerful Influence on Teens

In 2002, when Busta Rhymes released "Pass the Courvoisier," sales of that brand of cognac surged 18.9 percent, according to researchers. After that, Allied Domecq, its parent company, carved a "lucrative promotional deal" with both Rhymes and P. Diddy, who was also featured in the song.

A 2010 report in the Atlanta Post concluded that "up-and-comers" in the music industry were increasingly allowing their names and reputations to be used for product endorsements, not only in alcohol, but in clothing lines and television shows.

Jamie Foxx's "Blame It (On the Alcohol)" was a long-running No. 1 song on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart, as he sang about Patron tequila and Grey Goose vodka. There's even a ring tone for the 2009 song.

"Blame it on the goose

Got you feeling loose

Blame it on Patron

Got you in the zone"

"In short, everyone wants to be a mogul, wrote Caletha Crawford. "Liquor companies are happy to indulge the desire to diversify. Name an artist, and he probably has a deal."

The Post's in-depth report cited a 2005 study by the School of Public Heath at the University of California showing that 8 percent of rap songs had references to alcohol in 1979, but by 1997, 44 of them had alcohol references.

Brand name-drops rose from 46 percent to 71 percent in that same time period.

The ties between the music and alcohol industries are cozy because "there's a lot of money to be made, according to Jake Jamieson, editor of the blog Liquor Snob. "In fact, the liquor industry is getting almost free advertising."

But he argued that pop stars have been singing about alcohol for decades: "What about Jim Morrison and 'the next whisky bar' [from 'Alabama Song']? -- there have been drinking songs since the beginning of time. ... What's new is the association with brand names."

Young people see the good and bad consequences of alcohol use, according to Jamieson.

"Kids are also seeing what people like Amy Winehouse go through," he said. "And just because L'il Jon is rapping about doing shots ... the media is still representing both equally."

"I think the study overstates it a bit," he said. "Kids are not the only ones listening to rap. With beer commercials during football games, they are doing the same thing."

"People in their 20s are listening, as well," said Jamieson. "I don't get the sense that it is specifically aimed at underage kids. They are just singing and rapping about my life and what is important to me, and this is what I drink and drive. It's a token of my lifestyle."

But does that lifestyle send the wrong message to teens.

"The 'gangsta' mystique is really about aggressive self-indulgence," said Mark Crispin Miller, a professor of media, culture and communications at New York University.

"It's highly consumeristic and not in any way socially conscious or beneficial to anyone's health," Miller said. "It builds on an old mystique that's more infantile than that. It's really about going to the crib and buying really ostentatious goods and drinking yourself into a stupor and using drugs and stashing huge guns."

He compared the power of music lyrics to the lure of cigarettes in movies and television in an earlier generation.

"It's not that the billboards said go out and buy them," he said. "We are talking about a general atmosphere and tacit assurance that smoking is OK and it's cool to do this.

"To be perfectly honest, at this point, it's not possible to solve the problem through some stroke of policy or regulation," said Miller. "There's really not much to do except point it out and get parents and kids themselves and some musicians to notice and do something about it."