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Down with the kids

If you want to understand teens today, you need to know about these 12 things

The kids are alright.

TEEN CULTURE OFTEN seems impenetrable and mystifying to those not part of it.

That is to say, parents and aunts and uncles and anyone else who has the occasionally dubious pleasure of being around teenagers.

So, if you’re one of those baffled old wans standing around saying “Look, for the love of God, what are they talking about?” while younglings yammer on endlessly about swag and YOLO, then this guide is for you.

Learn about the following subjects, dear reader, and you can bluff your way into the heart of any 2k14 teen.

1. The Fault In Our Stars

And, actually, pretty much any John Green book. Liberally sprinkle your chat about the books with words like “nerdfighter” and sob along to the movie version, and you’ll be the cool aunt in no time.

20th Century Fox / YouTube

2. Loom bands

A veritable playground phenomenon. At their most basic level, loom bands are little elastic bands that can be woven into bracelets and charms. At their best, though, they are cultural and social currency amongst tweens. Wield great power by bestowing your chosen padawan with a packet of them and ensure lifelong devotion.

Nina Matthews Photography Nina Matthews Photography

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3. 5SOS

Forget 1D. Any old fool knows about them at this stage – you’re not going to up your teen cred warbling along to What Makes You Beautiful these days, my friend. Try their lesser-known but still mega teen-famous friends, 5 Seconds of Summer. They trend on Twitter like no body’s business, and the music is terrible. See? Just like One Direction.

Also: a “fangirl” is now a term of endearment as opposed to an insult. Take note.

4. Snapchat

Teens are fleeing Facebook in droves. It’s seen as a lame place where parents hang out, and hey, they’re probably right. Snapchat’s self-destructing seconds of joy are where the kids are at.

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5. Tumblr

Forget full-length blogs. High-tail it back to LiveJournal, Grandpa. These days it’s about micro-blogging – endlessly reposting pithy one-liners, GIFs from TV and movies, galaxy print and photos of pretty hair.

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6. Pretty Little Liars

A drama-mystery-thriller based on books by Sara Shepard. Its plot has more turns than your granny after a few sherries, but just blindly hypothesise about who “A” might be to fit in with the teen audience.

7. Stuff you wore the first time around

Yep. Sorry to break it to you. Docs and tartan shirts around the waist are back because the youth of today are embracing 90s grunge with an absolute vengeance. Swallow your pride and offer them your ORIGINAL Nirvana t-shirt. If you can bear to part with it.

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I used to be with it, but then they changed what “it” was.

8. Kardashians

OK, you might know about Kim. But there are more in the Klan – Kylie being most on-trend for teens, followed by Kendall. Then there’s also Khloe and Kourtney. And their mother, Kris. Are you writing this down?

9. Vine

“Do it for the Vine!” is now a phrase, based off teenagers doing stupid pranks, faces, voices or whatever you’re having yourself for 6 seconds of Vine hilarity. Big Vine stars are lauded and lusted after, and the platform is dominated by burgeoning teen comedians.

Kevon Harris / YouTube

10. Frozen

It’s not going away. IT’S JUST NOT GOING AWAY.

QuickMeme QuickMeme

Altogether now: “Let it go, let it goooo…”

11. Selfies

Almost goes without saying. Pay close to attention to shriek “selfie!” while you take the aforementioned selfie, or else it doesn’t truly count. Also bear in mind that discussing and analysing and agonising over what filter gets added to selfies is VERY serious business for the youth of today.

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Their anthem (EDM, of course):

The Chainsmokers / YouTube

12. Grooming

Thanks to the likes of teen idols such as Cara Delevigne, eyebrows are most definitely IN. The bigger the better. Embrace them or be left behind.

Read: 9 things you definitely had in your teenage bedroom>

Read: 19 things you did as a teenager to seem “cool” >

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