When I was a kid, being "cool" meant hugging an air conditioning vent.
Times have changed.
From what I can gather, being cool today requires a teenager to own smartphone, a tablet, dozens of social media apps and at least a passing interest in tattoos, body piercings, hard drugs and bad music.
That seems like a lot of work.
And what's the payoff for being cool anyway? According to a new study, the payoff may be a prison sentence.
A scientific study in the journal Child Development concludes popular kids are more likely to become criminals, alcoholics, drug abusers and have difficulty maintaining intimate relationships as adults.
The study was based on interviews of about 200 children followed from age 13 to 23.
Kids who showed a focus on "physical appearance when choosing friends" and engaged in minor delinquent behavior and were romantically involved at a young age were more likely to engage in criminal behavior later in life, reports Wired UK.
By age 22, the cool group had a 45 percent higher rate of problems related to alcohol and substance use, reports NPR.
The kids who put the most emphasis on being popular were the most likely to engage in behavior commonly associated with adults, such as drinking and having sex.
As children aged the delinquent behavior became less cool, researchers said.
“We suspect [kids] may have then engaged in more and more extreme behaviors trying to gain peer approval,” said the leader of the study, Joseph Allen, in Medical Daily. In other words, “those who got approval for drinking at 13 had to get wasted multiple times and engage in more extreme acts to try, unsuccessfully, to gain approval in later years.”
Researchers suggest popularity may stunt emotional development, but that never affected me or my comic book collection, which now numbers well over 1,000 issues.
Allen said teens see social standing as the pinnacle of achievement.
"The constant struggle [for teens is to appear] older, to seem wiser, to be taken more seriously — these factors all compel a select group ... to seek out [delinquent] behaviors that, to their minds, are ... 'mature,'" writes Medical Daily.
Parents reading this may think it's time to crack down on their kids, but another study suggests overbearing parents put their kids at greater risk of drug abuse.
Being a parent is a lot more work now too, it seems.
Thursday afternoon news plucked from the Internet:
- State of emergency declared in Colorado due to tumbleweeds
- Company made workers pray, say 'I love you' to managers
- Tesla releases all electric car patents to public domain
- Federal court rules police need search warrant to track smartphone location
- CEO pay up 937 percent since 1978, worker pay up about 10 percent
- City councilwoman blames 'blacks on the school board' for 'school system gone to hell'
- Russian nuclear sub rescues 5 sailors at sea
- Iraqi militants steal $425 million, become 'richest terror group'
- Amazon Prime members can no listen to music for free