The trouble with teens today

Ok, so exactly this time last year I was getting into the swing of working at Sugar Magazine. I had an absolutely amazing time on my work placement. I learnt loads, met two great friends and got to see what a brilliant job the team at Sugar do.  With it being my first taste of magazine work I knew almost immediately that a magazine career was for me. The work was challenging but fun and the team helpful and lovely.  So I have to admit to feeling more than a little sad about the news of the closure of the 17 year old magazine. The February issue will be the last with publishers Hachette Filipacchi releasing the following statement:

“The decision has been taken in response to the fundamental shift in the nature of the teen publishing marketplace. Over the past decade the teen magazine market has declined by 75% as teens spend their media time on mobile and web platforms and increasingly expect to receive content for free.”



To some extent I believe this to be true. The internet is much more instantly accessible especially with mobile access, and why pay when you can just log on? But it’s hardly the same as reading a magazine is it?

To get to the point of this post: When I was a teenager Sugar and magazines like it were my bible. I loved getting them every month to read the latest celeb interviews and informative features. And hell, I didn’t have anything more important to spend my money on.

The news of the closure of Sugar got me thinking about todays teens.While I except and agree with to some extent the explanation the publisher gave it made made me question the mentality of teens today.

Like I said, the internet and the availability of free content will of course have had a part to play in Sugar’s downfall and I’m certainly not going to tar all teens with the same brush but maybe, just maybe, the 75% drop in sales the magazine suffered could have something to do with the fact that a lot of teens just aint arsed with magazine appropriate content anymore.

Back in my teen days interests and teen magazine content surrounded school, friends and boys, rather than sex, drugs and alcohol. Today the vast majority of teens don’t spend money they are given from their parents on magazines and make-up instead their spends go on phone bills/credit, booze and partying with their mates.  When I was at school we used to pass around Sugar under the desk and have a good giggle, today teens swap fags under the desk. In essence, they spend their time, money and energy doing stuff they shouldn’t be or arent really old enough to be doing. They are too busy going around thinking they are grown up and this doesn’t leave any time for them to be teens.

What happened to kids being kids? I mean what is so wrong with being a teen? Apart from homework, parents, hormones and falling out with friends of course. But isn’t that what being a teenager is all about? Why are so many teens in such a rush to be an adult? As fas as I can see thanks to student debt, the responsibility of paying for things and lack of employment, adulthood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

If you were to ask me if I would go back to my teens if I had the chance I would bitchslap you. Because of course the answer would be no. But that’s just because I’ve been there and done it and have no desire to do it again. But I enjoyed it while it was happening. A lot of teens now can’t say they’ve been there and done it as most have gone straight from being a child to being an adult (or they like to think they have) and they have kinda missed the point of being a teen. I feel sorta sad for these misguided souls.

Again I will reiterate that I am not stereotyping all teens. To all the loyal readers of Sugar: I salute you! And send heartfelt condolences for your loss. To Sugar Mag: Thanks for all the teen entertainment and advice you gave over the years and thanks for all the awesome help you gave on my work experience.

Teens get on with being teens. Trust me it’s the only chance your going to get. Pretty soon you won’t be able to buy a magazine without thinking ‘can I really afford it?’ Get on with doing age appropriate things that all teenagers should do and put magazines like Sugar back in business, because trust me this really is your loss.

Jemm xoxo


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