Consider this somewhat of a sequel to the mall thread.
Where do you guys hang out with friends? Is the concept of a "hangout" (at least prior to drinking age) a thing anymore?
The media always depicts teens and young adults having some fun meeting place. Starting in the 50's with it always being a drive-in theater, up to the 90's where it was a mall or a coffee shop. Sometimes it was just a setting, other times it was representative of the formation of a culture. Between watching some old documentaries and various programs, and listening to people's stories, it does appear that there was some truth to that teen lifestyle. But has social media replaced this?
Personally, I've only ever known of a few instances of my peers hanging out in a public space. I remember a couple groups saying they'd go to the mall, and there was this one clique that would always go to this park. Mostly I recall people going to each other's houses. Other than to go out to eat, I don't really know where there was available to go. Maybe the beach, a few nature spots, but those are weather permitting. Even at the college I went to, it was hard to find somewhere to just chill if you didn't live in a dorm. Until I quit facebook, that was my social "hangout". However, I'm pretty introverted, I guess I've liked being able to interact with people while alone on my couch.
I think growing up this day in age, safety has been a big concern. Parents want to know where their kids are and frankly, the kids are plenty wary of seedy places, too. Whether we've been overprotected or simply realists probably depends on the situation. Regardless, I think there's been a trend towards wanting to stay in a protected environment (for both adults and kids), particularly when behavior has the potential to get rowdy (like when drinking). I believe that the notion of safety has been keeping people at home, or at bars/restaurants. Awareness of problems may not be new, but the ability to keep up with what's going on the outside without ever leaving is. It seems like technology is allowing people to have their cake and eat it too, keeping them filled in without truly exposing themselves.
Playing off the culture of safety, loitering seems to be heavily discouraged most places nowdays. Malls have limited seating, even city benches seem to be disappearing. It's hard to go downtown beyond just taking a walk or spending money. Restaurants like Panera and Starbucks that seem okay with people lingering are geared more towards those seeking wi-fi (almost becoming a physical embodiment of the "internet hangout"). Perhaps bars, clubs, live music venues, etc. are more accomodating to people staying a while, however they're not the most accessible environment.
I also think the young generation is experiencing world weariness at a younger age. Have places changed, or have we? Maybe it's both. We have high expectations for cool experiences. Things just aren't as exciting around town when you can witness greater spectacles online. While nice that we get to see more, it is a little sad that we miss out on enjoying smaller things. It is the life we interject into things that makes them exciting, but if nothing is exciting enough to draw us in to begin with, what happens? Perhaps it is up to us to take inspiration from everything we see in order to create next level experiences.
So back to my original question: How/where do you spend time with friends? Did internet kill the "hangout"?