Web Culture

7 Things My Kids Do Online That I Just Don’t Get

Ryan Dube 03-09-2015

I admit, I was a child of the 80’s – the era of Rubik’s Cube, Atari (Pac Man!) and DOS-based adventure games. Back in the day, I was about as much of a nerd as you could get, so watching the behaviors of kids today – now that we’re in a world where digital’s gone mainstream – is a bit surreal.

I have two teenage daughters, so I get a front-row seat to how kids behave both on and offline using technology 4 Ways To Teach Computing To A New Generation Of Kids Teachers and programmers are now working together and sharing their relative expertise because they care deeply about teaching computing to young people. Here are some of the most innovative ways to do just that. Read More . I also count myself lucky that my girls don’t partake in some of the more obscene or obnoxious behaviors many teens these days take part in.

Through these observations, both of my own kids and the behaviors of their friends, I’ve collected a list of the most unusual (and sometimes the most disturbing) things that my kids do online, that – try as I might – I just can’t wrap my head around.

1. Taking Selfies

You know what, I get it. I mean, as Harry rightfully pointed out in his article on selfies Stop Hating On Selfies: 3 Reasons You Should Love Them Selfies are all too often written off as the egotistical masturbation of brainless teenagers, but that's a superficial take on them. Here's why. Read More , since the dawn of time people have been taking self-portraits – even on cave walls.

This is absolutely true, however the quality of those self-portraits is clearly taking a nasty nose-dive in recent years. What teens have done is brought in the duck-lips factor. This started out as a phenomenon, and now it’s just an epidemic.


It’s honestly getting to be like some kind of Pavlov’s Dog syndrome where, if you simply take out a phone and point it at a teen, they instantly make duck-lips – it’s almost like an involuntary reaction.

And the most vain, disturbing selfies that are hitting Facebook and Twitter streams these days is the belly-in-the-mirror show off (usually combined with the duck-face).


Hey, listen, it’s great that you have a tummy that looks like you never eat food – that’s fantastic – but I have to tell you that there will come a day, probably after having two or three kids, that you’ll look at those old selfie photos in a whole different light. That tummy will never look the same – and if your self-worth extends only to the trimness of your stomach or the firmness of your backside, what’s left after those are gone?

Listen, I have nothing against selfies, but the way most kids take them these days are just obnoxiously vain. Instead, why not get some inspiration from this video below. .

Now these people know how to take an original selfie! But seriously, what point does the selfie serve other than blatant self-obsession and vanity?

2. Watching live video game streams.

One day, I returned home from work to find my younger teen daughter sitting on the couch wearing a headset, and playing a video game. It looked like she was chatting with some older guy whose image was displayed in the upper corner of the screen. It was actually a game that I recognized, and I know we had never bought for her, so I became somewhat suspicious.


“Um….who are you chatting with?” I asked her.  She started laughing.

“It’s PewDiePie!” she answered, struggling to contain herself.

“Pewdy-who?” I asked. I looked at the screen and realized that she wasn’t actually talking to anyone. She was watching someone else playing a video game.

When I was a kid, the only time I found myself watching someone else playing a video game was when I was anxiously waiting for my brother to finish his turn on the Atari so that I could play.


Why on Earth would anyone sit there for hours watching someone else play a video game? It doesn’t make any sense.

It may not make sense, but teens are doing in en masse. Just looking at the list of Top 500 YouTube Games channels, the list of subscribers is in the millions across a large majority of those channels. Monthly views are in the tens to hundreds of millions.

3. Snapchat

Okay, so I get that it’s common for teens to want to do things and hide it from their parents. And I get that Snapchat – a service where you can capture and send an image to someone and then have that photo disappear in 1 to 10 seconds. And I’m sure most teens realize that the picture technically isn’t going to disappear if the recipient doesn’t want it to, because they can capture a screenshot of it if they like.

Here’s the thing. Personally if I want to send someone a message, I’ll pick up my phone and send them a text. If I want to send them a picture, I’ll text the picture. If I want to share that picture with just friends I know, I’ll send a Facebook message. Why would anyone ever need the image to disappear, unless they were up to no good How to Avoid the Dangers of Online Advertisements Targeted at Kids You might think you're smart enough to dodge manipulative advertisements -- and maybe you are smart enough -- but what about children? Online ads are increasingly targeting younger and younger folks. What can we do? Read More ?

Well, to be honest I was finally able to find a video that helped me to get a slightly better handle on why teens use Snapchat.

The bottom line is it’s basically about being stupid. It’s about goofing off and trying to make your friends laugh or whatever. It’s a selfie-taker’s dream come true (as you can see from the video). Why teenage friends care to see each other’s stupid selfies is completely beyond me. Maybe, if you’re a teen, you can explain it to me in the comments after this article?

The good news is that, while surely there are some teens doing plenty of sexting using the service, even that would get old after a while. It isn’t enough to make such a service as wildly popular as this one is. I think Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel was telling the truth when he told the Verge that, “it’s not a great way to send inappropriate content.”

4. The Slender Man Phenomenon

When my youngest daughter was very little, she had a habit of believing the claims of every commercial on television. I would often return home to her begging me to buy our family some cooking gadget, because it would let us cook supper in half the time. This naivete was innocent enough at the time, but a lingering naivete exists well into teenage years. The Internet can be a dangerous place for kids who are quick to believe unusual claims.

The truth of this really came to a head in June of 2014, when two 12-year old girls in Waukesha, Wisconsin –  Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier – attacked a female classmate during a sleepover. After luring the victim,  Payton Leutner, into the woods, the two girls attacked her with a knife and stabbed her 19 times. The reason they gave for the attack? They had planned the attack for over five months in order to impress “Slender Man”.


Thankfully, the victim survived, but the legend of Slender Man lives on.

Slender Man was born as part of a fictional story on a forum called Creepypasta in 2009. It’s the story told of a tall, dark-suited and faceless boogeyman-like creature who kidnaps someone. Multiple Slender Man stories started to spread – sometimes written as first-person stories, creating the more convincing feeling that there could be some truth to the reality of the creature.

What is difficult to believe is that so many teenagers actually did believe in Slender Man. Then again, it’s hardly unique to this generation – consider the popularity of so many other urban legends passed down from teen to teen through the generations (Bloody Mary, the Vanishing Hitchhiker and so on).

Mikel J. Koven, a folklorist from the University of Wales told Live Science that much of what drives believe in these stories – however false they are – are social fears.

“By looking at what’s implied in a story, we get an insight into the fears of a group in society. [Urban legends] need to make cultural sense.”

Teens are overflowing with plenty of fears that are left wide open and exposed, ready to be exploited by the next urban legend they hear on or off the Internet.

5. Watching Really Annoying People on YouTube

Another time when I walked in from work and saw my daughter on her laptop, she was watching and listening to one of the loudest, weirdest individuals I’ve ever seen.

Yeah, yeah, I know. My teenage daughter informed me that his name is jacksepticeye, and that he’s actually quite popular on YouTube (and I’m sure makes lots of money doing it Top 3 Ways for Kids To Make Money Online Read More ). The over 1.5 million views of the video above is proof enough of that. But why?

Why do teenagers enjoy sitting through hours upon hours of people over-acting as they talk about one inane subject or another. What is entertaining or enlightening about it? I don’t get it.

Speaking of inane and boring…

6. Watching Boring Unboxing Videos

Another really, really, really weird phenomenon popular among teens (and lately, my wife as well) is that of unboxing videos.

If you don’t know what it is, trust me – you don’t want to know. It’s literally as simple and utterly boring as it sounds. It’s a personality (like Graveyard Girl….sorry, grav3yardgirl), opening up boxes that they’ve received from fans.

Obviously, it’s probably great fun for the YouTube personality to get mountains of fan mail and packages from viewers, but why on Earth is it interesting to sit there and watch someone open boxes like they’re opening presents on Christmas morning. I mean seriously, isn’t half the fun on Christmas morning being the one to open the boxes? What fun is it watching someone else open them?? Makes no sense at all.

7.  Taking Social Bullying so Seriously

That last odd teenage behavior online that I wanted to cover is also probably the most important: Taking online bullying Cyber Bullying Unmasked - The Tragic Case Of Cassidy Kids can be cruel. Almost as cruel as so-called grown-ups. That cruelty has found its way on to the web and into the lives of countless young people who thought they might be able to... Read More too seriously.

Bullying – as horrible and as tragic as it can feel at the time that you’re going through it – has been a rite of passage for teenagers, long before the Internet was even a thing. Except now, the bullying doesn’t end once you get on the bus after school and go home, it can continue online, on places like Twitter and Facebook Abused, Bullied & Harassed On Facebook: 6 Ways To Get Back Your Dignity [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook isn't a safe haven. A recent study by GMI revealed that one in ten Facebook users have experienced some form of abuse. Among 18 - 24 year olds, one in four were affected. Offenders... Read More .


The reality, as I explained way back in 2012 right here at MakeUseOf, is that nothing lasts forever 5 Reasons You Really Don't Have To Worry If You're Cyberbullied [Opinion] A lot of cyberbully "gurus" tell kids about making online posts - that what you post online you can never take back. The thing is, that's not entirely true. I'm here to give you a... Read More . Not even on the Internet. Websites go down all the time. Heck, everyone thought MySpace was going to be around forever, and now it’s hardly a shadow of what it once was.

And then there’s the matter of putting it in perspective.

In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series of novels by Douglas Adams, there is a technology called the “Total Perspective Vortex”, which is considered one of the worst torture devices that anyone could ever be subjected to. What it does is shows you a quick glimpse of the entire cosmos – all of creation into infinity, and then you’re shown an infinitesimal little speck with the words, “You are here” next to it.


Honestly, I think anyone who has ever worried about something written about them on the Internet needs to be subjected to such a device, but with the enormity of the Internet rather than the cosmos.

Gaining a perspective of the Internet is a huge help toward relieving any stress you may feel about whether or not those comments, or that picture or video someone posted about you really matters at all, given the sheer (growing) size of the Internet.

To get some sense of this, just have a look at the website Internet Live Stats, which shows you how much activity takes place on the Internet at any given second.


At any given second, there are almost 10,000 Tweets, 2,500 Instagram photos, and 2,100 Tumblr posts. There are millions of blog posts, and billions of YouTube videos viewed. Inside of this ever-expanding sea that we call the Internet, there is a itty, bitty speck of sand – something someone posted about you. Given time and distractions (and there are plenty of other distractions online), everyone will completely forget whatever was said about you – and hardly any probably even paid much attention to it in the first place.

I May Never Understand Today’s Teen

I admit that when it comes to online behaviors of a modern teen, there’s a lot that I still don’t really understand. These are things that I don’t think I ever would have been very interested when I was a kid, but then again, it’s hard to say how today’s society would change the kind of kid that I was.

With so much to do online today, and so many ways that teens are able to communicate and interact with each other, there has never been a time in human history when a single technology has had such an impact on what it means to be a teenager – other than, maybe, music.

Are you a teen, and have some insight as to why one or more of these things are so popular? Are you a parent who sometimes worries about why any of these things are so popular? Share your own thoughts in the comments section below, and let’s talk about it!

Image Credits: Smiling pupils by wavebreakmedia via Shutterstock, Syda Productions via Shutterstock, Stefano Tinti / Shutterstock.com, Chris Harvey via Shutterstock, O Driscoll Imaging via Shutterstock, dalmingo via Shutterstock

Related topics: Meme, Snapchat, YouTube.

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  1. Jayy Sorath LaVey
    December 17, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Enjoying this so far.

  2. Squalle
    November 29, 2015 at 11:32 am

    I would understand watching someone play a video game if you were stuck at some point and needed some pointers. But my kids have watched these live streams for hours on end. I don't get that at ALL. When I played video games, I hated when it was someone else's turn and I couldn't play. lol

    And my kids also watch the idiots on YouTube. PewDiePie and whatnot. He just really annoys me.

    Now selfies... my wife's big on that one as well as the kids. My wife is very photogenic so she takes a LOT of selfies. lol Myself, I can't stand the look of my own face, so I try not to be photographed for any reason whatsoever. Of course, if I looked like the girl in the "workout" selfie toward the top of the page, I'd take lots of selfies too.

    • Rainbow Cat
      January 30, 2016 at 1:37 pm

      Twitch livestreams are fun to watch. Screw YouTube. Most of the community is into speedrunning games and interacting with viewers.

  3. Anonymous
    October 6, 2015 at 2:26 am

    It's the same reason anything is popular, really. I mean, as a kid, what would you rather watch: a cartoon or show directed at your age group, or the news?

    I'm 28. As a gamer, I enjoy watching Let's Plays because I wish popular media would acknowledge that my hobby is fun and interesting, as opposed to just a gateway into thinking I should shoot up a school or whatever. Much like anyone that spends a lot of time doing something, I enjoy seeing content related to that something. It's not any different than mechanics subscribing to magazines related to the practice, or how people that just love movies (and actors/actresses) watch celebrity gossip shows and leaked trailers.

    If you're interested in history, you watch and read things related to that. If you're into local politics, chances are you watch your local news and actually read your newspaper every morning. It's no different than anything else.

    Unboxing videos? It's enjoyable to see the excitement someone gets from opening a new thing. It's easy to relate to. You've been there! Remember last Christmas when mom and dad got you that new whatever you wanted? The excitement from opening the present and seeing what was inside? It's just like that!

    On top of all that, the vast majority of content that young people consume (and I'd like to consider myself a part of that group) is online. It's easier to access the specific content you wish to see when you want to see it, as opposed to just waiting for whatever show you want to watch to pop up on TV. Instead of scheduling your day around the TV, the TV (or video, in this case) can be tossed in the middle of everything else.

    What's more is that there's other content besides video on the internet. Facebook and other social media websites are a big deal with kids, because they can share all their stuff (videos, pictures, stories, thoughts, feelings) with all their friends at once. As a result, some people might choose to bully others over stuff like that. Imagine for a moment that you sat down to watch the news at night, but each commercial break was replaced by a recording of someone you know cussing and yelling at you for everything they perceive as stupid. That's what it's like to be bullied online. Sure, it's easy to just turn the TV off or change the channel, but sometimes you really wanna watch that specific show. Would you be willing to endure the hatred just to do so?

    Selfies are... well, I don't get them either, but I've never been the type to take a lot of pictures. I suppose it's not really any different than the girl that always says she's fat just to get attention, only in a more readily-accessible form.

  4. Anonymous
    September 14, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Very interesting text. I also don't understand many of those things, but I guess that is normal generation gap.

  5. Anonymous
    September 8, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    I'm an avid gamer, but before Lets Players became mainstream around 2011 I would watch them before buying a game since it was one of the best ways to learn about a game.

    But now Let's Play and other types of curators have become something all their own. I think that this increase in popularity is a side affect of the modern era. Many people who watch them are very lonely and watching someone else play a game is like hanging out with someone to them. A Lets Player is like a friend you can pause when you have to go do something. Most people leave it on in the background not really paying attention to what the Player is even doing even and it's more like they just want the background noise to feel like someone else is their. Technology is amazing but the new generations growing up in this age need more things to do outside of technology.

    Opinions anyone?

  6. Anonymous
    September 5, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    I do not get the watching live video game streams. This is from a girl who grew up watching her brother and sister play video games because she was no good at it. It's one thing when I'm sitting in the same room watching someone play a video game where I can interact with them and perhaps help them (whether they like it or not) but to just randomly watch a stranger play a video game on the computer like a video of anything else sounds weird and boring.

    I do get why others use Snapchat. It's goofy and allows them to just be goofy in a way that just doesn't work on Instagram or Twitter.

    I've seen a few of grav3yardgirl's videos and she's not boring (I actually found her because I was curious to see if some curling gadget sold on TV actually worked)! She makes videos of actually using the products and they are informative and entertaining. I haven't delved into others who just want to show you what they bought at that store. That sounds pointless.

    • Anonymous
      September 5, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      I think the point in watching video games is since it was my brother or sister playing it kind of felt like my accomplishment when they won something, but when it's just a stranger it feels like I'm being spoiled seeing what happens after beating such and such a level.

  7. Anonymous
    September 4, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    I don't usually post to articles like this, since they tend to be needlessly polarizing, but this one is, I think, an exception to the rule. I'm over 40, and I've never understood the concept of taking selfies with one's smartphone 'just because'. Granted, I have a smartphone, and, theoretically, could take one if I wanted to; also, I get the concept of people taking self-portraits over the history of mankind. I just never got what made people want to immortalize the stupid stuff they do as a teenager. With technology making these portraits immortal, I wouldn't want to have it come up when I was 30 and getting serious about my career (hypothetical situation).

    As for Snapchat, recently there was a situation in which a highly inappropriate picture was sent just because someone thought it was funny. It was sick, and the recipient took some time to try and figure out the sender. There's not really a point to this, IMO; I agree with Ryan in that if I wanted to send a picture, I'd use other methods, and have enough common sense to send a picture that will not come back to bite me later.

    I read about the incident mentioned as part of the 'Slender Man' section, and thought it was indicative of the gullibility of this generation, but in a more general sense, of the tendency to follow urban legends because they personalize our fears, much like the vaunted 'boogie man'.

    I read some of these comments, and one particularly struck me as poignant; the ability of games to consume vast amounts of one's time. I remember when Quake came out in 1996, and 3Dfx (remember them?) came out with their Voodoo Graphics card. I was so excited about the possibility of being able to play that game with 3D hardware acceleration that I didn't mind dropping $250+ for the card, even though it was a pass-through card (these kids will never have to deal with a 2D + 3D situation, as they have been combined for awhile). I remember asking some of these kids if they had ever heard of Quake, and most said they hadn't. I'm like, WTF? This is the granddaddy of all 3D FPS, and they don't know it? To be fair, these kids probably were born right around that time, and so can't be blamed for not knowing of its existence. I still love playing that game with the Darkplaces engine and the Epsilon high texture and special effects add-on.

    Anyway, this was a great article. Well done, Ryan!

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 5, 2015 at 5:55 am

      Oh my god, I don't think I've heard anyone even mention Voodoo in ages. Those were the days, right?

      • Anonymous
        September 5, 2015 at 1:15 pm

        You know it!! The Voodoo Graphics and the Voodoo 2 were the bomb back in the day. Never could afford SLI, though. Too expensive, and I was a poor boy.

        • Mihir Patkar
          September 5, 2015 at 4:06 pm

          Yeah, same here. But I never got the point of SLI, honestly. So much more money for so little performance boost? It just didn't make sense. And as long as I could see Shub Niggurath in all her glory, it didn't really matter.

        • Anonymous
          September 5, 2015 at 5:28 pm

          Well, for those who had the money, it made its own kind of sense. ;) My main thing was that I could run a better-looking Quake faster for a reasonable amount. Sacrificing a few frames per second was not an issue then, and still isn't. My Radeon R9 270 suffices for my infrequent need to game. Otherwise my rig, an AMD FX-8230 w/ 24GB RAM does just fine for anything else I might want to throw at it. It'll serve me well for a number of years yet, I should think.

  8. Anonymous
    September 4, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    I didn't know until now that this was unboxing. I have watched many unboxing videos. But in all of those, the person in video unboxes a gadget, a product! It does make sense to watch those videos because, first of all, you get to know what to expect in the box. Secondly, it's feels good to watch new gadgets. Who doesn't love that feeling!

  9. Anonymous
    September 4, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    I'm of an age where I agree with you on 1-6. Point 7, however, I think you should have left that one alone. To imply that it's not that big a deal and it will get better so get over it makes me think that you personally have not been bullied so you only have an intellectual and academic knowledge of what it's like. And bullying doesn't stop at the end of high school. It goes on in college, it happens in the workplace, it's out in the everyday grown up world. I'm no SJW but I have zero tolerance for bullies. For you to be dismissive of kids taking bullying so seriously demonstrates that you don't really understand the repercussions of bullying and abuse.

    • Ryan Dube
      September 4, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      Well....I think it's safe to say that "reading people" is definitely not your strong point. http://www.topsecretwriters.com/2013/10/i-could-have-been-a-school-shooter-why-i-wasnt/

      • Anonymous
        September 4, 2015 at 3:07 pm

        I sit corrected on your background. However, without an awareness of your writings on other websites, I only had what was before me to make a judgement. So, having only the words you wrote for this article and having no knowledge of your background, is it really fair to remark on my ability to "read people"?

        • Ryan Dube
          September 4, 2015 at 6:21 pm

          I guess what I meant to say is that you shouldn't be so quick to cast judgement upon someone you'very never met, and know nothing about...as it turns out I am a very active activist for anti-bullying and it'seems one of the reasons I included that section - to help teens understand that although the experience is terribly painful, in the big scheme of things, the power these online bullies ACTUALLY have is significantly smaller than people think.

  10. Anonymous
    September 4, 2015 at 11:16 am

    As to why would you watch someone else play a video game...my teenage son put it in perspective with one question. Why does everyone else think it's cool to sit for 3 hours and watch someone else play a football game? The only acceptable response...touché

    • Ryan Dube
      September 4, 2015 at 11:19 am

      Hey Michael! The thing is, I'very never thought that behavior makes a whole lot of sense either! :-)

      • Anonymous
        September 4, 2015 at 4:56 pm

        When I was in high school and played football I watched it every chance I could. After I graduated and quit playing I felt like it was a colossal waste of time. But his question drove the point home to me that watching others play video games is not weird as much as it is just something I don't enjoy.

        As to your other points...ya...I don't get it either.

        • Mihir Patkar
          September 5, 2015 at 6:11 am

          I'm a recent convert to the kids' side on this one. I honestly did not understand the logic of watching people play video games, it just didn't make sense to me when I could be playing games. But recently, for a couple of articles, I had to watch an online stream as well as go to a gaming event. And it's incredible! If you know and love the game, it starts being fun. And that's key. You have to *know* that game well.

          For example, let's say there's a competition of Super Mario Bros 3. The quest is to get every single secret, finish every single level, and do it all as fast as possible. As someone who grew up on SMB3, I'd love to watch "the best SMB3 players in the world" attempt that. I'd love to discover new secrets as they play, learn about any tricks I missed, and so on.

          I ended up watching a Counter Strike event live. And I've played CS for years. So I understand the skill involved in doing certain things, and it was astonishing to watch these guys pull of moves I would never have thought of.

    • Anonymous
      September 11, 2015 at 3:12 am

      I gotta throw my hat in the ring as a "watcher". I'm pretty immersed in World of Tanks, and if you've ever glanced at the game, you'll see that you have the opportunity to "own" and enter into deadly combat with over 200 different tanks, each with different play styles. To that end, I watch far better players than I to pick up on subtleties that might save my butt in battle lol.
      There are myriad other games out there with similar conditions, and sometimes watching one person play one game can make a marked improvement in your own performance...once you know the tricks. ;)

  11. Anonymous
    September 4, 2015 at 9:05 am

    I wish I had a cheap reusable camera when I was young to take photos all the time. I don't begrudge anyone documenting their lives, fake or not. I've been online since 1990 and am just concerned that some of things kids write in public places are going to stay with them forever. Luckily I used a nickname until facebook!

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 4, 2015 at 10:04 am

      You know, now that I think about it, I didn't use my real name anywhere on the internet till Gmail and FB came along.

      • Anonymous
        September 5, 2015 at 11:25 pm

        Out Of Topic, But Why Give Them Your Real Name ?

        All GOOGLE Needs Is A 4+4 Name.

        First Name: ABCD,

        Last Name: WXYZ.

        That Is It, At Least 4 Letters Each Name Is Just What They Check.


        • Mihir Patkar
          September 11, 2015 at 7:16 am

          I dunno, man. I never really gave it much thought, tbh. It's not that I trust Google explicitly, it's that I'm resigned to the fact that being online = no privacy.

        • Anonymous
          September 11, 2015 at 1:24 pm

          Regarding Your Last Words - That Makes 2 Of Us.


  12. Anonymous
    September 4, 2015 at 4:37 am

    I'd like to think I'm still plenty young (let's just say I'm past my teens, but not by too many years). And I don't get any of these things either.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 4, 2015 at 8:18 am

      Weirdo. ;)

      • Anonymous
        September 7, 2015 at 3:51 am

        And proud of it!

  13. Anonymous
    September 4, 2015 at 3:10 am

    I'm nearly 40, but I'll admit that I watch people play games on Youtube. I originally started as a time-strapped City of Heroes player who wanted to see content that I wasn't able to experience because my schedule didn't lend itself for the opportunity to experience some of of the game. I've sort of kept in the habit since because...

    1. There are games that, if I started actively playing, I'd neglect other aspects of my life. I remember my junior year of college not even remotely because of the classes I theoretically took, but because it was my all-consuming goal to beat Nethack with a Tourist. I don't want to go down that hole again.

    2. There are games that I'm just not good at actually playing but still enjoy. I'd rather watch someone with better twitch reactions than me make progress in a game like that than get frustrated and never see that game at all. "The Binding of Isaac" is that sort of game for me.

    3. Gaming sessions make decent background chatter when I'm working out of my home. I don't feel compelled to listen actively, as I might for news content or music.

    Other people watch gaming sessions to get better at a game (the original version of Doom allowed for that, by the way; I remember watching game playthroughs in the mid-90s, kids) or because they can't afford to play it, either because they don't have the right machine or don't have the income to actually purchase it. Those things all make a lot of sense to me.

    Team sports don't do a thing for me, but I could listen to a good player narrate their runs through a Roguelike game all day long. I'm not sure what metric makes either amusement objectively better than the other.

    • Ryan Dube
      September 4, 2015 at 3:53 am

      My path followed yours - I was an avid gamer all through high-school and college. I lost a small part of my life to late-night online Medal of Honor gaming sessions.

      I'm intrigued by your comment though, because recently I was doing some research for studies that show how violent games influence the brain and the psychology of people from young kids up through the elderly.

      What's interesting is many studies find that games (particularly violent or action ones) actually help people gain the mental skills to better manage stress and anxiety.

      What I'm wondering after reading your comment is if the same effects would be seen just from watching someone playing the game, and not actually playing it yourself...

      It would certainly explain the benefit people gain from watching these videos!

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 4, 2015 at 8:16 am

      That's really interesting! You're probably the first one I've seen to prefer single-player campaigns over team sports.

      • Anonymous
        September 11, 2015 at 3:16 am

        I'm not a team player either heh heh. Nobody ever wants to do things my way! :) I've worn grooves in my Halo and Call of Duty and Medal of Honor and and and...CD's single player campaign areas.

        • Mihir Patkar
          September 11, 2015 at 7:17 am

          I think we've established how away-from-the-norm you are, Kelsey :D (And which is why we love having you here)

        • Anonymous
          September 11, 2015 at 11:12 am

          And THAT, folks, is what you call sideloading a compliment (pointing at Mihir). This maneuver is one of the very few that applies to both the Apple AND Android fanbase. Notable point here...you have to have extremes just to calculate what the norm IS. Thank you veddy much. :)

  14. Anonymous
    September 3, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    "Why on Earth would anyone sit there for hours watching someone else play a video game? It doesn’t make any sense."

    Same reason people watch sports (fishing, bowling, golf.. ) or "reality" TV. It's entertaining. Shrug.

    • Anonymous
      September 3, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      I can understand watching two people or teams compete against each other in a computer game or other contest. I cannot understand watching a person compete against a UI (or, for that matter, a fish). As far as reality TV, I'm content to watch it in little bites overlaid with snark on The Soup.

      • Anonymous
        September 3, 2015 at 9:27 pm

        That's apparently PewDiePie's shtick. He's snarky and yelly.

        I actually have watched some of Nerd Cubed, his Euro Truck Simulator 2 video is hilarious.

      • Anonymous
        September 3, 2015 at 9:28 pm

        To be fair, just watching any old boring person play is just that. Need someone that has personality and is funny.

        • Ryan Dube
          September 4, 2015 at 3:50 am

          I have to admit the first time I saw PewDiePie I chuckled. I mean, say what you will, the guy has a good comedy shtick going. The problem I have is that after 5 minutes I'm just exhausted from all the high-pitched screaming. I mean, I have two daughters. If I need high pitched screaming, I know where to go.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 3, 2015 at 9:26 pm
  15. Anonymous
    September 3, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    someone should make a list of this except for boys, I am curious at how much it would vary

    • Ryan Dube
      September 3, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      That would be interesting!

  16. Anonymous
    September 3, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    You are looking at these activities as a reasoning, logical male adult, not as an emotional, hormone-fueled female teenager. Having raised two daughters, I learned to just go with the flow. If I questioned anything, I just got that "What rock have you been living under for the past century" look.

    Have you ever talked to your parents about the things you did that they "just didn't get"? Each generation does things that previous generations don't understand.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 3, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      That's kind of Ryan's point. Each generation does things differently, and he's highlighting the generational gap that he faces with his own girls. I know he is being acerbic at times in the post, but it's just a Dad ranting--he loves those kids to bits and sees the generational gap as something fun. To put it differently, this is Ryan channeling his inner Seinfeld.

      • Anonymous
        September 3, 2015 at 8:49 pm

        I am 19 and don't have kids. In my opinion, I think it's a not a "generational gap" but rather .. stupidity.

        • Ryan Dube
          September 3, 2015 at 9:00 pm

          You really didn't have to tell us your age, it would have been obvious enough by your comment.

        • Anonymous
          September 3, 2015 at 9:22 pm

          Did I say something wrong ?
          Don't tell me you like people being more and more obsessed about their smartphones and more and more self-centredness ?

        • Ryan Dube
          September 4, 2015 at 3:47 am

          Oh gosh - my bad! I thought you were calling me (the author) stupid, when you were actually calling my kids stupid. :-)

          I get what you're saying about tech-obsession. So, now I'm intrigued! You're 19 and you're saying that you don't really like how smartphone obsessed others your age are acting these days?

        • Anonymous
          September 4, 2015 at 3:00 pm

          Excuse-me if I wasn't clear ! Yes, I was talking about these bad habits.

          Also got a smartphone, but never take a selfie of myself. I think it's like they want to constantly exhibit their life, being too much narcissistic. The bad part it's when you post it online, where nothing can be erased. I'm working in an IT company and I know the real danger of it. I may look paranoid, but nobody want a picture/video of yourself or someone-else in a compromising position which follow you for the rest of your life. Just look at Facebook's EULA, you'll be afraid of what they can *legally* do.

          Also, too much social-media obsession isn't great : you'll identify your profile as an extension of yourself and have you life open for judgement. Then you'll become more and more obsessed/worried about what you post and what your friends post. It create isolation, anxiety, concentration problem, and can ironically lead to an anti-social comportment.

          Now there is even application indicating if there is a signpost in front of you when you walk looking down on your phone. It's like you're on a bubble which can't be pierced, like you're afraid of the outside world. I don't want the technology to disappear because I actually enjoy it, but not in this way.

      • Ryan Dube
        September 4, 2015 at 3:48 am

        Ha! Thanks Mihir...I never realized that I actually have an inner Seinfeld...but I guess it did come across that way didn't it!

  17. Anonymous
    September 3, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    I've always blamed Apple for the un-boxing thing. It seemed that the tech sites were always excited to see the new ways that Apple was packaging their products. Especially the oddly shaped iMac box.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 3, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      You might be on to something here. Seriously, I don't recall a big unboxing craze before Apple.

  18. Anonymous
    September 3, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    And don't be surprised your daughter is joining the ISIS. Seriously, she just wants some extraordinary experience, while you are psychologically trapped by too many social norms, restrictions, moral stuff and whatnots.

    • Ryan Dube
      September 4, 2015 at 3:48 am

      Hey Lap - I can't really tell if you're just being facetious, or serious. :-)

      • Anonymous
        September 4, 2015 at 5:45 am

        May be facetious to you, but it's my theory. ;)

        You can always teach kids (and actually, anyone) what things (you think) are right to do. But finally, they define how they should live their lives.