Lesson of the Day: ‘What Does Having a Boyfriend Have to Do With Sleep?’

Lesson of the Day: ‘What Does Having a Boyfriend Have to Do With Sleep?’

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Featured Article: “What Does Having a Boyfriend Have to Do With Sleep?

Owen Dennis Riley, 17, has never had a girlfriend. But he plays a boyfriend to his more than half a million subscribers on YouTube. His YouTube channel, DennisASMR, is one in a growing genre known as “A.S.M.R. boyfriend role-play.” Students will explore the appeal of his videos, consider whether they have a positive or negative impact on youthful viewers and finally, develop and pitch an idea for their own YouTube channel.

Do you know what A.S.M.R. is? Have you ever watched an A.S.M.R. video? What do you like (or dislike) about them?

Before you read, watch the first two minutes of the video below and scroll through some of the other videos and images in today’s featured article. Take note of the different sensations you have as you look at them.

  • How do the videos make you think and feel?

  • What do you notice? What do you wonder?

  • What do you think are the qualities that make Owen’s YouTube channel so popular?

  • Which aspect do you find most appealing and why?

Read the article, then answer the following questions:

1. What exactly is the growing genre known as “A.S.M.R. boyfriend role-play”? How does Owen exemplify the characteristics of this genre?

2. How did Owen come to make A.S.M.R. role-play videos? How did his style and approach evolve?

3. How much money does he make for his YouTube videos? Are you surprised by the amount?

4. Why are viewers and subscribers, mostly between the ages of 18 and 24, connecting to Owen and his videos, according to the article? Can you understand their connection? The author marvels at how a teenager was able to “develop such deep emotional intelligence.” What evidence from the article or videos illustrate that claim?

5. How does Owen draw from his own family and life experiences to create his videos?

6. Why are some people, including clinical psychologists, concerned about the impact of these videos on young people? Do you think the concerns are valid?

7. Do you think these videos seem appealing? Do you find them troubling in any way? What is your reaction to the genre of A.S.M.R. role-play videos, like the ones that Owen creates?

If you were to create a YouTube channel, what kind of videos would you make?

Product reviews? Unboxing? Hair care? Video game walk-throughs?

Consider that Owen took some time before he found the right genre. So take some time to consider what kind of genre or video is best suited for your unique experiences, strengths and talents. For Owen, the content needed to reflect the values of his upbringing, and not “do anything that will affect my integrity.” How would your videos reflect your values?

Create a 60-second pitch to attract people to your YouTube channel. For your elevator pitch, invent a name for your channel and a slogan or catchphrase. Make sure your pitch is succinct, vivid and persuasive: Why should people subscribe to your channel?

If you are really inspired, record the opening 60-seconds of an episode.