A Center for Youth Culture Studies?
Youth culture is very dynamic. We often hear of the terms Baby Boomers, Generation X, and other labels being used among the youth. Such labels work two ways. They both describe and prescribe the kinds of behavior that the youth have. Corporations are always monitoring trends in youth culture so that they can use these in developing new products or modifying existing ones. These trends will also help them how to market their products and effectively advertise them to young people.
In this regard, the Philippine Bible Society and other Christian groups should establish a think tank body or agency that focuses in monitoring and even conducting research studies on youth culture. The message of the Bible remains the same yet the manner of presenting it might have to be modified.
According to Lanuza (2003), there are three reasons why we should engage in youth studies. The first reason relates to the social and political implications of youth studies. Youth are the future leaders of the country. Hence, the issues affecting them should be identified so that important insights could be gained as to the beliefs, values, and behaviors that these young people will have by the time that they take the reins of power from their elders. Through youth studies, the country can also invest in the development of the young people so that in the future, they will be able to contribute well to national development.
Youth studies also help in dispelling myths and misconceptions regarding young people. It helps establish empirical and verifiable statistics and data, which can help churches and the society at large in regards to the behaviors and values of the Filipino youth of today. With such knowledge, the elders will not be able to simply say that the youth are doing nothing to help their society.
The second reason for conducting youth studies is to help young people deal with the crises and difficulties that they face. Young people are generally idealistic, they are raw, untested, but very willing to experiment and do what their elders would not. Hence, by analyzing their situations and the way they respond to these issues, the church can provide assistance to them. Such assistance, however, is not the kind that shoves beliefs and ideas down the throats of young people. Rather, it is always done in conjunction with the youth’s own dynamics and creativity in addressing their issues.
Lastly, the impact of the Information Age on young people needs to be looked at. There are already a number of institutions that conduct research on trends related to and affecting young people such as the National Child and Youth Research Center, the UST Social Research Center, Asian Social Institute, and the Catholic Bishops Conference among others. According to Lanuza (2003), there are no major studies yet addressing the relation of mass media studies and youth culture studies.
The think tank body being proposed in this paper may not necessarily engage in completing original research on youth culture, at least not during its infancy. Rather, it may simply collect existing literature and trends of youth culture. Research articles completed by the abovementioned institutions may be collected and cross-checked. If there are seminaries and universities conducting research on youth culture, then such studies may also be collected and shared among the groups and institutions connected to the network. Or perhaps, such studies may be published in a scholarly journal or presented in forums such as the Bible Forum on a regular basis.