Teachers are revealing how middle school and high school cliques have evolved for the current generation of students — and while there are still jocks and band geeks, Gen Z’s friend groups also include K-pop superfans, influencer wannabes, and even the stock market-obsessed.
The educators shared their knowledge on Reddit this week, responding to the question: ‘What are the new student groups replacing the ones (emo, goth, drama, etc.) that used to be a thing when you were attending school?’
Thousands have chimed in, with several observing a noticeable number of students who are dying to be internet famous, and others saying that kids in their school divide themselves up by their love of anime, vaping, and even therapy.
Gen-Z: Teachers are revealing how middle school and high school cliques have evolved for the current generation of students (stock image)
MIDDLE SCHOOL ‘STONKS’
Certainly one of the most shocking and bizarre revelations was that some American middle schoolers are playing the stock market — and they mean business.
Teachers who have seen these youngsters in action claim that they are doing far more than simply discussing stocks and investments, they are actually putting their allowances where their mouths are.
‘While a lot of those groups [goth, drama, etc.] still exist in some form or another, the most unexpected group I’ve seen this year is a growing number of middle schoolers who everyone calls “the stonks.” They legit discuss the stock market at lunch,’ one woman wrote.
Other commenters confirmed that this isn’t just in one school.
One added: ‘One of my friends legit pulled out his phone and showed his 17 hundred dollars in amazon stock. He’s 13 by the way.’
‘I’m a teacher and one of my students made a decent chunk off the GameStop stuff. There are a number of Stonks clubs and they understand investing more than I do,’ said another.
Stonks: Certainly one of the most shocking and bizarre revelations was that some American middle schoolers are playing the stock market — and they mean business (stock image)
Meanwhile, quite a few said that there are groups of anime-obsessed teens, even more so than when millennials were in school.
The teacher who called attention to this group noted their fondness for actually dressing up like their most-loved characters – with some going as far as to dye their hair in order to achieve a closer resemblance.
‘Anime kids are more prevalent,’ the person commented.
‘Kids who wear clothing from their favorite anime, or dress like anime characters. Kids even dye and style their hair to look like anime characters,’ said another.
Another clique that has become increasingly prevalent in schools is that of the K-pop superfans, who are devoted to Korean music groups like BTS and Blackpink, which have seen a surge in popularity in the US over the past two years.
According to one teacher, these youngsters tend to come together to play K-pop music on their phones, with some even showing off their best dance moves while listening along to their favorite songs.
‘K-Pop fanatics — noticeable whenever these kids play all sorts of K-pop music on portable speakers or on their phones. Sometimes they like to dance while listening to their music too,’ wrote one.
Famous! One of the most prevalent trends seems to be wannabe influencers and YouTubers, who are always on their phones taking pictures or doing TikTok dances (stock image)
WANNABE INFLUENCERS AND VSCO GIRLS
One of the most prevalent trends seems to be wannabe influencers and YouTubers, who are always on their phones taking pictures or doing TikTok dances.
‘There’s the group who want to grow up to be influencers,’ one commented. ‘They’re already very active online and are obsessive about getting more views and followers.’
‘I feel like we used to call them ‘Valley girls’ when i was a kid. Now, we have VSCO girls,’ said another.
New groups: Other cliques include vegans, anime lovers, and K-pop fans
Other cliques of past generations are still around in some form — though some have shifted a bit with the times.
For example, smoking among teens is down — but vaping is way up.
‘Mostly, it’s just the vapers (who try to get away with their habit in the bathroom) and the non-vapors (who sometimes rat them out),’ one commenter observed.
THE THERAPY GROUP
Another commenters said that kids who might have identified as goth in previous generations are now getting help with their emotions and sharing things that have worked for them with their friends.
‘I think the goth group in my school is essentially replaced with “The Therapy Group” that’s basically a whole bunch of suicidal and depressed kids sharing things they’ve learned from their own experiences in therapy,’ wrote one.
‘Mostly, it’s just the vapers (who try to get away with their habit in the bathroom) and the non-vapors (who sometimes rat them out),’ one commenter observed
Acceptance: Some commenters said cliques just aren’t what they used to be, and kids are able to like a lot of different things — and associate with a lot of different people
Other notable mentions in the tribe line-up included vegans, with one teacher explaining that plant-based kids tend to stick together, while another said that the AV Club has been replaced by Computer Science kids.
Quite a few commenters, though, offered up a hopeful note: That cliques just aren’t what they used to be, and kids are able to like a lot of different things — and associate with a lot of different people.
‘Honestly, I just notice that there aren’t as many of those types of groups compared to when I was in school during the 90s,’ said one.
‘The students seem more accepting and the barriers to entry into groups don’t seem as fixed or harsh. The basketball star is into anime. The emo kids now listen to hip hop. Country club kids are organizing social justice protests. It’s just all over the place now.’
Another agreed, writing: ‘The groups aren’t as linear or as defining as they used to be.
‘The nerd group will always be there, but they’re more sociable now than when I was growing up. The memelords will stick together. Partygoers too. The kpop and the anime kids will have their own groups.
‘But put these kids together they’re actually pretty open in getting to know each other despite their different dispositions. Gen Z kids are quite something.’