I work a lot of shows…it’s my life, my hobby, without it I’m not really sure what I would do. I take a lot of what I get to see and do for granted, and its easy to get jaded when the extraordinary becomes the norm. However, there is something that will never change for me: how vicious and cruel kids can be to one another.
We’ve all been there, we’ve all been picked on, yelled at, called names. But even though we’ve all joked of how we’d never relive high school or look back on our most cringe-worthy moments with a grimace, kid’s today have it worse. To be honest, from what I see at shows…I don’t know how kid’s do it.
Pop concerts are the worse. Pushing, name calling, shoving, and even out right punching and hitting. These are just some of what I witness kids as young as 12 doing to each other. I try my best to break it up, but for each instance I witness I know there are at least 10 more going unnoticed in the crowd. Let’s not even mention the vicious online attacks kids launch on each other. Every pop show, we get at least one panic attack. Have some of you ever had a panic attack? They fucking suck. And to have one at a show where you’re suppose to be having fun and have the night of your life seeing your favorite band - well it ruins the memory.
It breaks my heart hearing the kids tell me stories of how people acted in the pit. "She told me to go to hell and then slapped me because I wouldn’t let her in front of my friend", "People started pushing and a girl fell down and there was just a lot of yelling telling her to suck it up and get up" "The shoving, it hurt so bad, people wouldn’t stop" "I was just so scared". It’s that last one that gets me every time.
You should never be scared at a concert. You should be having the time of your life. But for kids these days, its not about the show anymore. It’s about how close you can get to the stage, can you meet the band, can you be better than the girl standing next to you.
Maybe I was just naive growing up, but I think kids are more vicious and angry than ever before. It worries me that a skill I have as a concert supervisor is calming kids with panic attacks. That should never be a skill and it shouldn’t have to be used as often as I need to.
My trick to calming the kids down is kindness. It’s simple really - a smile and a question of how are you doing can go such a long a way. Smiling at someone automatically puts them at ease and makes them want to smile back. Knowing this, I encourage everyone to smile at a stranger today. I can guarantee if everyone did that simple gesture each day, maybe the world go back to being a happier place.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that the state of being a teenager is so different than when I grew up. Which is scary because it wasn’t that long ago. It’s meaner, angrier, and more timid than ever. My only solutions is to preach kindness. Go out there and be nice to a stranger today - you never know the difference it will make in their life.