In this extract from the CHILDWISE Playground Buzz Autumn 2016, Helena talks about some of the trends and brand favourites amongst children that are hovering just below the radar...
“[My favourite is] doing Livestreams video because they are fun things to do and I can just be myself when I am doing them” (Teen Girl)
Launched at online video convention VidCon in June, Live.ly is the fast-rising, livestreaming sister site to Musical.ly. Fuelled almost entirely by word of mouth and Musical.ly’s 120 million young users worldwide, Live.ly shot to the top spot on the App Store despite zero promotion. While the lip-synching platform is mostly focused on music, Live.ly has potentially broader appeal with a mix of travel vloggers, musicians, magicians, fashionistas, and even a weekly show, “Cuppa with a Copper,” hosted by a London-based policeman. The two apps are fully integrated, so when popular Musical.ly stars, or ‘musers’, such as Baby Ariel and Jacob Sartorious, begin a Live.ly broadcast, their followers on Musical.ly are push-notified.
Since its initial release on iPhone, Live.ly has arrived on Android with features rolling out over time. Other updates to the app, which already promotes real-time fan engagement, include a virtual gift system which enables fans to compensate artists directly by purchasing and sending small gifts. Returning the love, artists/broadcasters can bestow their most dedicated viewers with real-time rewards such as awarding them the title of BFF, Best Fan Forever.
For many tech companies, livestreaming is the next big frontier in social media so Live.ly is already up against strong competition from the likes of Facebook Live, Twitter’s Periscope, and teen-girl favourite, YouNow. The Chinese app company isn’t only vying for teens’ eyeballs though, it’s on a quest to become a fully-fledged social network.
"Bottle flipping—it’s fun and it’s also healthy for my body” (Tween Boy)
Water bottle flipping became the craze of the summer after a video of 18-year old Michael Senatore performing the trick at a high school talent show went viral in May. In the YouTube video, which has now been viewed more than 6 million times, the contestant walks up to a table, pauses dramatically, and then flips a water bottle in the air to land standing perfectly upright. The tricky trend, which has proved especially popular among tween and teen boys, has now inspired a slew of mobile games such as Bottle Flip and Bottle Flip 2k16, both of which have achieved high rankings in the App Store charts.
“iPhone 7 revolutionary” (Teen Boy)
“The new IOS 10 on the iPhones […] with weird emojis” (Tween Boy)
WWDC, Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, traditionally held in San Francisco, takes place in June each year. This year, teenagers were still buzzing about it in September, fuelled by the mid-month release of iOS 10, Apple’s latest mobile operating system. iOS 10 marks some of the most dramatic changes to the interface and functionality of the iPhone in years. One of the new features creating buzz in the playground was the triple-sized emojis on iMessage. The chat app, which now strongly rivals Facebook Messenger, also includes predictive emojis—offering recommendations on how to turn all your words into emojis—and it supports animations, rich links, and live camera view. Apple was also a popular topic of conversation this term due to the much-anticipated release of iPhone 7 in early September.
“Aphmau she's my fave like overlord I fangirl all the time when I see her vid” (Tween Girl)
YouTuber and Minecraft roleplay artist, Aphmau, has cultivated quite a devoted fan following. Her YouTube channel, Aphmau, is home to a collection of series, most of which are set in the world of Minecraft. Launching in 2014, her most popular series, Minecraft Diaries, now consists of three seasons of up to a hundred 15-30 minute episodes. Featuring a range of mods and mini-games, Minecraft Diaries and other collections focus on the adventures and relationships of a gang of characters, including protagonist Aphmau, and utilise the voice work of other YouTubers. The woman behind Aphmau, 27 year old Jess, has also created a slew of mashups, such as a long-running series using the Pixelmon mod, a fan-created mod that adds Pokémon elements into the world of Minecraft. More recently, Aphmau has added several crossover episodes with other fictional universes such as games, Five Nights at Freddies and Undertale, and animated TV series, Steven Universe.
“[My favourite game is] Skyrim still, because dragons and swords and spells” (Teen Boy)
Action role-playing game, Skyrim, was first released in 2011 with tremendous success and continues to generate buzz among teen boys today. In October 2016, the much-hyped remastered edition, Skyrim: Special Edition, the fifth title in the Elder Scrolls series of fantasy open world games, will be released. The new edition includes all DLCs from the original release, mod support on Xbox and PS4 consoles (previously only available on PC), as well as revamped art and effects.
This is an extract from the CHILDWISE Playground Buzz Autumn Term 2016, now available