I suppose this has been an anecdotal trend in the US for a while, but I hadn’t ever really noticed it in the UK before, although I’m sure like the US this isn’t anything new.
But more than that I noticed ever vigilant security guards patrolling the shopping centres and young people clearly trying to evade them.
So it dawned on me that shopping centres had become the new parks. When I was younger (not that long ago) we met in the park and played/mucked around there. We had to watch out for the park attendents though – much in the same way that kids today have to watch out the for the security guards.
I raise these thoughts for two reasons:
- Today I saw a sales assistant in John Lewis shout at two young people to "Get out!" because his furniture department wasn’t "a play centre.". Nice tables though…
- In a prescient fashion, last week Danah Boyd publish some field-notes from the Digital Youth Project about technology and young people’s consumption. She has this insightful observation which dovetails nicely with the thoughts outlined above:
"When it comes to teen culture, consumerism is still rampant, although
shopping is primarily about socialization. Aside from how the mobile
phone allows groups to coordinate, technology is not really altering
the tradition of hanging out in consumer places. What it is altering is
the ways in which teens research and purchase things that they know