Habbo research shows teens no longer join one tribe

Teenagers today do not ally themselves with one youth movement, like punks or ravers, but slide between different sub-cultures, according to new research from Habbo.co.uk.

Habbo, the online teenage community, has coined the phrase “tribal tourism” to describe the new approach of teenagers in its latest study.

Apparently now teens pledge allegiance to a number of different groups simultaneously and 61% don’t feel bound to the same tribes online as they do in real-life while half of teens believe that you can belong to more than one tribe online and offline.

The Internet is the springboard for this Tribal freedom. 72% think it’s easier to express themselves online and 57% think it’s easier to be creative online. This suggests digital tools – as well as making it easier to share photos, music and opinions – are giving teenagers the confidence to explore different groups and interests, pushing boundaries to express themselves.

This concept of Tribal Tourism means a generation will no longer be signified by a one leading iconic movement, but instead sub-cultures have become more nuanced and fluid.

More than 3,500 teens took part in the global survey that also revealed teens (63%) think each generation does not create new tribes, but rather tribes from the past are reborn with new names, for instance, hippies are now called “eco-warriors.”

The notion of teenage rebellion is also disproved, with only 5% of teens globally saying they would join a tribe purely because their parents disapproved.

The biggest draws to joining a tribe are still fashion and music and the most popular tribes for UK teens are Hip Hop (17%), Indie (10%) and Emo (7%), but these terms are no longer clearly defined for young people.

Habbo.co.uk’s research says that the amount of music available on the internet has fragmented social groups. Half of teens globally think that the internet has made it more difficult for counter cultures to form around musical movements.

However, social media has made it easier for young people to interact with likeminded people and encourages more concentrated niche groups to form with 75% of teens globally believing the Internet has made it easier to find people with the same interests and tastes.

Teenagers do foresee a curtailing of their tribal activities with 56% of young people expecting they will spend less time online once they turn 18. Those asked predicted that university education, social activities and full-time employment will take precedence over social-networking and other online activities as they get older.

Oisin Lunny, Habbo UK country manager commented “Today’s teenagers are an incredibly creative generation – who celebrate individuality. It’s not longer important to align with one tribe; instead young people use a host of digital tools to illustrate different aspects of their life across different social groups, networks and online profiles


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