2. Learning English through Popular Culture
You are the host of “Teen Chat”, a YouTube Channel that explores a wide range of topics from a teenage perspective. Write an article for Teen Magazine about why you started this channel and what you have learned in the process.
Teen Chat — A Teenage Channel
Teen Chat is now a very popular YouTube Channel among young people. It aims to give a voice to the youth in a society where the voices of teenagers are usually unheard and subdued. In recent years, the suicide rate among teens has been unprecedentedly high. A recent survey reveals that many teenagers feel hopeless about the future and that they feel helpless about many problems facing them such as social expectations, intergenerational difference among family members, school performance, peer pressure, bullying at school, to name a few. It is alarming that the pillars of the future are so desperate that they have no choice but to resort to suicide. In view of the depressing situation, I have started the channel to explore various topics and issues from the youth perspective so that it resonates with teenagers who will then feel empowered.
As a host of “Teen Chat”, I have learnt that most of the teenagers need so much to be listened to and to be understood by the adults, especially their parents. Having an intensive interview with teenagers from various secondary schools in Hong Kong, I realize that teenagers seldom have quality conversation with their parents over topics that are intimate to them, plus they usually find themselves being ignored and misunderstood by their parents. For example, when it comes to what to study at the university or what career to choose after graduation, it often leads to heated argument and even violent conflict between parents and their children. An interviewee named Joyce revealed that her parents would not have an open conversation or discussion with her over her decision to study fine art at the university. Even Joyce tried to convince them that she had shown artistic talents and abilities in various art competitions, her parents would not listen but insisted that she was chasing some unrealistic and nonsensical dream. They not only rejected her decision but also threatened her to study business and finance; otherwise, they would not pay for the school tuition fees. Joyce felt disregarded and helpless. When I retold the story in Teen Chat, many viewers commented that they were facing similar problem and feeling upset about their parents being nonchalant towards their dreams.
Moreover, I have found that almost all teenagers are weak and fragile psychologically and in need of acceptance and encouragement, especially their parents and teachers and classmates. Most teenagers revealed that under the result-oriented learning atmosphere which put so much emphasis on correctness, they were very afraid to make mistakes because they would be scolded and rejected by their elders and would be laughed and mocked by their peers. For example, an interviewee named Jess from a famous secondary school revealed that as she was not quite good at science subjects compared to her peers, she was very afraid of being asked to answer questions by science teachers during class and felt very ashamed each time after learning that her answer was wrong in front of all her smart classmates. Because of the many mistakes she had made and her poor results in science subjects, she felt that she was not worthy as she was looked down upon by her teachers and classmates. She had lost confidence almost in everything she did. When I retold the story in Teen Chat, many viewers commented that they were quite upset about the fact that instead of giving guidance and encouragement to them, how few chances the adults would give them and how easily the adults would give them up when they had made mistakes or had not performed or behaved well as expected .
The Youtube Channel Teen Chat has not only attracted the society’s attention to teenage voices but also raised the awareness of the society of the difficult situations faced by teenagers and their concerns. Consequently, the Government has initiated and rolled out various plans and measures in support of teenagers in terms of education, social welfare and health. Teen Chat has finally achieved its ultimate aim.