In Praise of Online Teen Zines

Gone are the days where our fingertips have felt the smoothness of glossy paper. Our noses no longer recognize the scent of fresh print. Eyes no longer skim through horoscopes and anonymous confessions–on paper, at least. For generations, print magazines have been safe spaces for many, teens especially. With the with the advancements of technology and our dependence on it, unless you’re a technology-hating purist who complains about how the younger generations have it so easy, it’s the end of an era for the gloss.

No need to fear, however, for online for-teens-by-teens magazines have become accessible platforms for teens to freely express themselves and let their creative juices flow. In fact, they just may be better than the company-controlled print magazines we’ve grown up with. “Why?”, you ask.

Firstly, online teen zines have more relatable and relevant content. The content in teen-focused print magazines was always written by adults, which continues to be ironic because how can adults capture the teenage life of a new generation when they haven’t experienced being a teen in this generation? Because of this, the content of those magazines often revolved around shallow topics and was heavily influenced by gender-based stereotypes, therefore failing to give teens broader perspectives on the world and further contributing to the stereotype that teens are shallow and apathetic. Luckily, online teen zines are working hard to defy that stereotype. Because they’re (usually) independent and controlled by fellow teens, they have the freedom to write about the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between, helping teens learn new and relevant things without having to come off as condescending.

Aside from this, since virtually everyone’s dependent on the Internet, online teen zines are infinitely more accessible than print ones. A click is all it takes to be transported to a world with countless perspectives. And since these platforms are online, people with an Internet connection from anywhere on Earth can consume their content and contribute without leaving the comfort of their homes. Furthermore, social media makes it easier for these online zines to reach their demographics. In today’s world, it is crucial for information to be easily accessed and reached especially if platforms plan to pander to teens.

Probably the best part of online teen zines is the fact that a good majority of them are constantly looking for staff members and contributions. Working for an online teen zine, compensated for or not, is a great opportunity that will pique the interests of colleges and bigger companies. Aside from an addition to your résumé and bragging rights, probably, holding a position in an online teen zine will require and motivate you to hone your craft and constantly create. Lastly, you’ll meet like-minded and driven people who’ll help and inspire you throughout your creative endeavors.

Though there are many advantages that come with online teen zines, I can’t deny that there are still flaws in them. Due to their freedom from more seasoned control, online teen zines may contain inaccurate and grammatically incoherent content laced with fallacies and biases, which will hinder fellow teens from effectively learning. This shouldn’t discourage anyone from supporting online teen zines, though, because there is always time to improve the ways online teen zines work, and there are tons of teens that can contribute to OTZs continuing improvement–you included!

If you’re a teen with extra time on your hands, creative juices that seemingly can’t stop flowing, hunger for opportunities, or a vision you’d like the world to see, be an audible voice of your generation and contribute to an online teen magazine.

Featured image by Andrew Neel via Unsplash


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