Teen Culture/Uncategorized

Teen Culture Update: December 2018

Welcome to the first of the monthly Teen Culture Updates which have been curated by Life Teen’s resident experts and streamlined by the Coordinator of Digital Evangelization and Outreach, Leah Murphy. Please note as you proceed to links that Life Teen does, in no way, vet the entirety of content in these links but rather they are provided for more insight into what is happening in culture – any links containing any form of explicit content are marked with a (*).




There is a variety of new albums out right now from Mumford and Sons, Mike WiLL Made-It*, and Jaden Smith*. Also if you were a fan of The Greatest Showman there is a new album featuring covers of all the songs by various artists titled… The Greatest Showman Reimagined. Keep an eye out this Christmas season too for the new soundtrack to The Grinch which features favorites with a new spin from artists like the popular rapper Tyler, the Creator, who then moved on to create a whole EP of Christmas music inspired by the movie.

Spotify also recently released two Spotify Singles* by Mac Miller that were recorded before he died of an overdose on September 7, 2018.

Video Games

In the land of newly released video games, we have the world after a devastating nuclear war of Fallout 76, the western-themed action adventure game of Red Dead Redemption 2, as well as the various eras of the Star War’s cinematic universe found in Battlefront II.

Some more light-hearted releases currently out or upcoming are Super Mario Party, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, and Pokemon: Let’s Go.

While it may not actually be on the top of the list for teens, it is good to be aware of the Catholic Church’s newest ventures into evangelization and technology with the creation of a Catholic spin on Pokemon Go called Follow JC Go which got a big thumbs up from Pope Francis himself.


‘Tis the season for holiday movies! The latest releases to Netflix include The Princess Switch and Holiday Calendar and Illumination just released their own version of The Grinch. There is also a lot of hype over the movies coming out next year — Dumbo, Lion King, Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, Toy Story 4, and The Lego Movie 2, to name a few.

Social Media

A new social music app called Playlist is now available. It allows users to listen in real time to music with their friends and chat with them while listening. It’s still quite new and not ubiquitous quite yet but, based on the way teens use Spotify and share music, this has potential to take off if it is supported by other social media and/or music platforms.



Musicians and Mental Health

Kid Cudi performed for the first time at a festival hosted by Tyler, the Creator and it was his first time performing after taking a hiatus to treat his depression.

A song on Lil Peep’s (rapper who died of an overdose) posthumous album which came out on November 7 features XXXTentatcion, a rapper who was shot and killed earlier this year. This is of interest because it is a song that reflects on depression, sung by two kids who died too young.

The 1975’s (new album released November 30) frontman, Matty Healy, was featured in a Rolling Stone profile, where he talked openly about his addiction to opiates and the intense rehab he had to go through*. He is healthy and no longer uses anything stronger than marijuana, but provides a strong word of caution to young people struggling with addiction or self-diagnosing/treating depression with drug use.


Amanda Bynes was featured in Paper Magazine, where she opened up about her sobriety, body issues, and the negative effects that drug use has had on her life.

Ariana Grande a notable figure right now because of the attention she’s generated over the past few months; she had a very public relationship (which fans swooned over), engagement, and break up with SNL star, Pete Davidson. She’s very active on social media, and she’s making new music that audiences are loving. Most recently she released her “thank u, next” music video*. The song is the first off the album and the video reimagines Bring it on, Mean Girls, 13 Going on 30, and Legally Blonde in a somewhat snarky, tongue-in-cheek way.

Various female artists (Iggy Azalea, Bhad Bhabie, Niki Minaj, Cardi B) are the getting attention for their very public feuds and fights*.

The Good Place star, Jameela Jamil, has been shaming celebrities who promote detox tea*, by speaking from her own experience with an eating disorder, describing how these teas work purely as unhealthy laxatives, and suggesting that the celebrities promoting them are creating unrealistic and unhealthy body standards for women.

Lila Rose, the founder of the pro-life organization Live Action, was featured on Leah Darrow’s podcast and shared what it was like starting her company as a 13-year-old girl. She was also recently featured on The Atlantic.

Fashion Trends

The 2000s are back and that’s all you need to know. OK… we’ll elaborate. Teens are nostalgic for all things 2000s — things like scrunchies, Britney Spears, tracksuits, “dad” shoes, and wearing crocs ironically. We don’t totally get it, but there you go.




In the world of TV and streaming, teens are still watching Riverdale and Shadowhunters — both serial shows which include some interesting (and some problematic — read “sin-glamorizing”) elements. Also, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is still on Netflix, greenlit for a second season, and will have a December special in celebration of the winter solstice – be vigilant about this one.

IGN posted an article detailing why parents are blaming the popular video game, Fortnite, on increasing video game addiction in their children.



Teens are still using social media and, according to the Pew Research Center, their experiences on social media are far more positive than generations past. You can read the full study here, but some highlights include:

  • Positive: 81% feel more connected to friends, 69% thinks it helps them interact with a more diverse group, 68% feel they have a support system.
  • Negative: 45% overwhelmed by drama, 43% pressure to only post content that makes them look good, 37% pressure to post for likes and comments.
  • One in ten teens surveyed share things related to personal problems or religious or political views.
  • Boys love gaming groups and communities.

The goal of this blog is to give parents information and insight into what is trending in teen culture so as to provide entry points and conversation starters as they guide their teens through modern culture. The purpose of this blog is not to condone, or approve of all aspects of teen culture but rather to inform.

About the Author

Leah Murphy

Leah serves as Life Teen's Director of Digital Evangelization. As a graduate of John Paul the Great Catholic University, with a background in video and a passion for that wild place where faith and culture meet, she lives to tell God's love story to the world in the digital space. Dwelling in San Diego, CA, she spends all her free time doing all the things with her friends, enjoying the best music out there, and going on every adventure that comes her way.