My observations were done from a mixture of ethnic and economic backgrounds. I observed from the North Lake Mall and a low economic area and my local church.
The behaviors of the teens ranged from fun loving, giddy to silly. They almost always were in a group ranging from two to six people in a group. The dynamics of the groups I thought were intriguing because the majority of them were split based on gender. The group was either all male or female.
I rarely saw a mixture of the two. The few occasions that they were mixed I was unable to determine if there were any “couples” so to speak. They all appear to equally interact with one another. Yes there was the usual female reaction and body language when engaged with a male and vice versa for males only they seems to be flat line in their outward emotions towards the girls. I really had to read the body language to see the natural reaction toward the opposite sex.
They did have gestures such as running fingers through their hair and rocking slightly back and forth when they talked to a girl. They did not make direct eye contact which I also noticed in general about the teens. There was direct eye contact when a conversation appeared to be unfriendly.
The style of dress for the youths varied and seems to have a statement of its own, as well as, independent and unique. Example, some of the girls would wear leggings with their short skirts.
Some wore leggings under their shorts. (Really short) Other girls wore short skirts with thigh-hi socks. The shoes for the girls were not like those of the young adults being stilettos but they were glammed up shimmering calf hi sneakers with laces and buckles. The majority of the girls I observed wore tight fitting and revealing tops or skirts. The contrast to that were the boys with their loose fitting to sagging pants and some wore skinny jeans. The boys also wore mainly tee shirts with sports memberbila on them, oversized sweaters and expensive sneakers.
I also observed at of tattoos on the girls more than the boys. (That’s a switch from past society norm) They all had cell phones and usually earphones in their ears yet they seem to still communicate verbally and non-verbally with each other. They all were texting I don’t believe I ever saw one of them actually talk on the cell phone. Facial expressions seem to be another way to signal or communicate.
When they communicated verbally it often were in short incomplete sentences. It sounded more like the terminology you would expect to hear at an IT Seminar. I did hear the standard youth culture language such as “My Bad-my mistake, OMG-oh my gosh or oh my god, Crunk-a cross between crazy or drunk, Sick-cool or awesome, Tight-close in relationship, Dope-cool or awesome, Hater-someone who hates everything or pessimistic, teens don’t want to be around them, Bounce-to leave, BFF-Best Friend Forever and Chilli’n-relaxing.” However there were three words I heard that I had no idea what they meant so I went to the internet for a definition. The words are as follows: Tool= stupid or geek, Tope= cross between tight and dope and Wanksta= a person trying to act tough but is not pulling it off.
In my observation a few things began to stand out to me, as well as, God’s corrections for me.
First how uniquely different they are and want to be from society norm, yet they still want to be accepted.
Second how much of a by-product their style of dress, behavior, sexual undertones and overtones are influenced by the adult media and their own culture.
Third and most important is how God is showing me teens as lost souls trying to find their way to a path that makes sense out of a chaotic world. God is also causing me to not just see them as teens and think; “oh they are just different” but to ask myself, what makes them act different? What’s on their minds or troubling them? Why are they trying to be so different? I must admit that this is causing me to examine my past thoughts and current ones to see what needs to be changed if I am to be an agent of change for Christ.