There’s a good chance that you’ve encountered “kids react” videos on YouTube, where children are recorded while they listen for the first time to music from past decades. There’s even other kinds of things they react to, for example obsolete technology like rotary phones. These videos are a lot of fun, and are a reminder to older generations of how far away we are in time from the culture of our own childhood.
Here’s a great example, suggesting the timeless appeal of certain pop culture icons-
Another example involving icons from a couple decades later, who perhaps are a little harder to connect to-
I like to think of “kids react” videos as an artifact of the Homeland Generation, even though, given the ages of the children, many of them are late-wave Millennials (I guess you can safely say they are all from “Generation Z.”) I think of this as a Homeland generation phenomenom because, as I’ve blogged before, they are the generation that has had its entire life documented on the Internet – older generations, who cherish them and, through viral videos, want to see the world through their eyes. In other words, being doted on in this way is part of the whole Homelander experience.
Of course, the react format can be flipped around, to see the generation gap from the other side. For example, here’s some Boomers encountering the music of kids these days-
The media company that makes these videos, FBE, was founded by two brothers on the GenX-Millennial cusp. They have a great YouTube channel filled with all kinds of content, including different kinds of react videos and other participatory format videos featuring a diverse set of people of all generations. It’s actually quite a fun, wholesome place on the Internet.
The react video is such an engaging format that other YouTubers have picked up on it. Check out this channel – it’s basically two Gen-Zers who took it upon themselves to make their own version of this kind of video. Who says pop culture can’t unify us?
To close out this post, here is one of my favorite examples of a cross-generational video. It’s from yet another channel and features three Homelanders meeting a G.I. (Greatest Generation). That’s quite a gap! Check it out to see what surprising things these kids learn about life way back in the early 1900s. And to feel the heartwarming connection that any two people can have, no matter how far apart in age they are.