Why Adults Are Turning To Stories And Games Made For Teens In 2020
Rachael works by day with an adult title. But after hours, she started streaming PG rated movies to relax.
“I watched She’s The Man and Legally Blonde since coronavirus restrictions hit Australia, ”said the 30-year-old project manager at an advertising agency in Melbourne.
“It’s like all the movies when you were a teenager that you planned to watch with your girlfriends and it was your ‘big friday night’.
“Except now he’s trapping anyone you isolate yourself with to watch her with you.” “
Liza, a 27-year-old Sydney-based podcaster, also revisited a former favorite – but in her case, it’s a video game made for 16-24 year olds.
“I played the Sims all the time, ”she said.
“In the game, I can create my own happy world where I have endless funds and no viruses. I always turn to it when my life is uncertain.”
“A Renewal” for Young Adult Stories
Liza and Rachael aren’t alone, according to industry experts.
Since the start of the pandemic, masses of adult Australians have turned to shows, books and games aimed at younger audiences.
“Things like the Hunger Games definitely experienced a revival during the lockdown, ”said Angela Crocombe, director of Readings Kids, an independent bookseller in Melbourne.
“There is still a proportion of adults who read and enjoy Young Adult Fiction (YA).
“Right now they’re looking for something a little lighter, a little easier to read, and not as exhausting.”
Liza’s favorite game has attracted a record number of active players in the financial quarter since April, according to its editor – and over 1.2 million Australians have turned to digital games for entertainment and social connection over the past few months.
On our screens, YA stories are also booming.
The babysitters club, Never Have I Ever, The Letter for The King and Kissing Booth 2 are just a few of 11 titles that have appeared in Australia’s weekly top 10 most popular titles on Netflix since March, according to the streaming giant. .
“While we don’t ask subscribers for demographic information, it’s reasonable to assume based on those titles on these lists that adults are watching too,” a Netflix spokesperson said.
“Like seeing old friends again”
So what is behind this return to YA stories?
Part of that is the appeal of remembering simpler times, according to Rhonda Andrews, senior psychologist and executive director of Barrington Center, a national psychological organization based in Melbourne.
Being transported to easier times can feel calming – especially now, “when there are so many unknowns and so much bad news every day,” she says.
Ally, a 26-year-old YouTuber from Melbourne, has watched old shows like Glee and A tree hill during containment.
“It’s less of a mental investment when I already know what’s going on,” she says.
“It’s like seeing old friends again.”
Matthew, 32, has started reading YA fantasy novels and watching Buffy and Angel since Melbourne’s restrictions tightened again.
“I just want to know what I’m getting myself into and not be surprised,” he says.
“People are looking for happy endings”
As Liza hinted at earlier, it’s also interesting to immerse yourself in a pre-coronavirus world with a neat resolution at the end.
“Reading teenage stuff, playing nostalgic games – people look for happy endings,” adds Ms. Andrews.
Ms Crocombe intervenes: “Most YAs actually have a happy ending, although there is a lot of sadness in the middle. There is usually a happy resolution.”
Another plus: these stories have a clear beginning and end.
“It’s the anthesis of the pandemic right now, because it’s just plain unknown, and she has this absolute tail. Nobody knows what the future looks like,” Ms Andrews said.
Watching a movie or reading a book with a clear ending can give us back a sense of control, she suggests.
Nostalgic series pass the “frenzy test”
For adults revisiting shows they loved as teenagers, there’s more than nostalgia at stake. It’s worth investing in a show knowing that there are six or seven seasons left to enjoy.
“Your favorite shows these days are seven-episode, one-season deals that might not have a second season and definitely fail the binge test,” says Matthew.
“If you can gorge yourself on a show in one night, it’s not a frenzy.”
This is partly why he relaxes by hopping on an episode of Angel. – knowing there are five full seasons to go through as Melbourne’s stadium restrictions on coronaviruses drag on.
“I can hit an episode without having to trawl Netflix and be completely blown away,” he says.
“You can’t put a price on that kind of feeling.”
“A time out for the brain”
The confusion, stress, and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic have caused many of us to seek out entertainment options that are easy to consume and light.
“I think YA fiction is more plot-oriented and easier to read,” Ms. Crocombe says.
“And I think everyone is looking for things that are easy to read and not too stressful.”
Watching and reading YA stories “can be a kind of mindful activity” – because it allows us to be in the present and distracts us from real world strangers, according to Andrews.
“It’s all about the brain’s downtime, because the brain is bombarded with so much to make decisions about right now,” she says.
Getting lost in a good story can also boost the hormone oxytocin, which has long been associated with feelings of love, social connection and well-being, adds Ms Andrew.
“So it’s no wonder people are looking for these feelings right now.
“These are good strategies that people can have. I would really promote them. It’s about being able to relax, so to speak, and just enjoy it.”