This weeks Veja magazine has devoted a large segment to a report on today’s Brazilian youth. Whilst the report contains some interesting background and insight on young people – much of which relates to trends observable in young middle class people (not just limited to teenagers) across the globe the general tone of the piece is in some ways as confusing as the young people it identifies. Confusing in that whilst the net is seen as creating a generation more informed than their parents, less tribal and less prejudiced, it is simultaneously seen as central to a number of ‘problems’ affecting young Brazilians.
The report is somewhat akin to a soft ‘moral panic’ stating that young people who are kings of the digital age are costly to keep, pragmatic, lacking idealism and generally lost or confused in a world of endless choice, much of which is bought on by their being endlessly online. The internet and social media is in part blamed for young people’s lack of reflexivity and a ‘look at me’ culture, meanwhile the growth of social contacts via Orkut has fuelled increased party attendance and this is blmed for increased drinking and drug taking amongst Brazilians.The article however also seeks to criticise teens for having lost the sense of revolution that their parents exhibited, worrying only about getting into stable employment and receiving a good salary. The shift in power relations due to adoption of technologies is also seen as a factor behind how young people now increasingly control household spending behaviour and the fact that young people are now 5 times more expensive than 30 years ago. The article which starts by drawing comparison to Holden Caulfield’s crisis of 2 generations ago ends with a list of recommendations to parents on how to raise their children with reference to such issues as – how to get them to answer the phone, or stop exposing too much of their lives online!