Have you ever wondered why parents seem to always dislike current music trends or technology? Or have you ever heard the phrase “why are kids these days so…” Do you cringe at Fortnite? Well, these characteristics are what we can refer to as Juvenoia. David Finkelhor defines Juvenoia as “the fear or hostility directed by an older generation toward a younger one, or youth culture in general”. It is the expression of distrust towards new and upcoming trends and the love for everything that has happened in the past.
The History of Juvenoia
Juvenoia has been present in our society since the beginning of human civilization. Dating back to almost the 4th century BC, Socrates mentions that “children are tyrants”. In 1871, the Sunday Magazine wrote, “The art of letter-writing is fast dying out…. We fire off a multitude of rapid and short notes, instead of writing down to have a good talk over a real sheet of paper” – this eerily sounds like a rant about today texting trend. In the early 1900s, famous French writer, Romain Rolland, complained that youths today are “passionately in love with pleasure and violent games, easily duped.” Today, we always complain that children in a family gathering solely focus on their smartphones. Well, about a hundred years ago, they were busy with their books or magazines instead of today’s gadgets.
The truth is, things haven’t really changed. So if you ever feel that your parents always disagree with you, remember that their parents did the same to them; and that you will also grow up and do the same to your children.
What Causes Juvenoia?
If Juvenoia has been a part of all of human history, then is there any scientific cause to it? Warning, this is about to get a little bit scientific. Older generations or parents, by definition, are a reproductive success of the human species. They are the individuals that have lived long enough up to the point where they can continue their lineage. Therefore, in their minds, everything that has led them to that point (how they got brought up) must mean that it is the proper way to survive. Any deviation or new trends that do not line up with their past is seen as a problem. So yes, Juvenoia is part of natural selection. In simpler terms, Juvenoia is a knee-jerk reaction by older generations to protect the younger and newer generation, not hate them.
The causes of Juvenoia can also be much more personal. Maybe it is not the changing world that triggers Juvenoia, but instead the change in us. For example, some people say that drivers are getting more dangerous. Perhaps, this is because these people simply have more experience that makes them more aware of danger compared to when they were young. People always drive the same, but our perception of danger does not.
More Causes: The Teenager
Juvenoia is perhaps most used on children or teenagers these days. But that has not always been the case. Although Juvenoia has always been present throughout history, it does not stay the same. In the 1300s, the generation gap is not as small as it is today and there were no such terms as teenagers. Thus, perhaps, Juvenoia is pointed at much more mature audiences such as young adults.
In fact, the 1920’s was the first time the term teenager was coined. When children can work and have their own salary, they suddenly have the freedom to spend their money and show their identity; their parents’ decisions do not confine them anymore. Schools also become the focal point of many parents and so children, grouped together, solidified their own identity and culture. Thus, the term teenager was born. They were not any more children waiting to experience life; they are now teenagers who have their own separate culture and voice. Because of this, Juvenoia is able to turn into the full-blown panic attack that we see in the media today.
More causes: The reminiscence bump
When people mentioned “back then”, when are they really referring to? In other words, which part of our life do we remember as being “better” than what is happening today? Which chunk of our memory does Juvenoia relate back to?
This is where the reminiscence bump comes in. The reminiscence bump can be defined as “a tendency for middle-aged and elderly people to access more personal memories from approximately 10–30 years of age.” The phenomenon occurs because our capability to capture memories increases during times of change. Coincidentally, adolescence (10-30 years old), is a period where humans experience a substantial amount of change in their body, emotion, and personality. As a result, everything that occurs during these times is what eventually defines our identity. When we get old, we will most remember the songs that we hear, the music that we watch, the books that we read, and the jokes we talked about during adolescence. Adolescence is the “back then” that our parents always referred to; it is why Juvenoia was able to happen in the first place.
If you want to see a more in-depth take on Juvenoia, I heavily suggest checking out this video by Vsauce:
In conclusion, if you ever wonder why your parents have always hated the stuff you liked, just remember that it is Juvenoia. It has been present since the beginning of time and will continue to do so in the future. It is all part of a natural reaction that we sadly have no control over. Lastly, remember that all of us will eventually do it in the future, no matter if we like it or not.
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