One of the most perplexing things for parents is the fascination adolescents have with things like the current hot series, the Twilight Saga. Younger parents may have enjoyed the TV series, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, and might have a little more understanding. For the current generation of adolescents, the vampires are now the heroes of the series, instead of the enemy. The fascination and adulation of the books, movies, actors and actresses of this series by adolescents is just the latest of crazes around this phenomenon. Not too long ago, adults loved and followed the Ann Rice series on vampires, while younger kids were all about Harry Potter and his adventures. While marketer’s have certainly exploited the interest in the Twilight Saga, the current vampire craze is not so much a created phenomena by marketers and movie makers, as much as their tapping into an interest that has long existed in people of all ages.
Those that “live” by the blood of others have held the macabre interest of people for centuries. The Twilight series is the latest incarnation of that interest. It appeals to adolescents because the setting is adolescence and the relationships play out the intense needs and feelings of adolescents. It also appeals to their sense of invincibility and being eternally young and alive. The movies make the lifestyle and setting seem glamorous and sensuous, and the characters have a supernatural way to solve problems. Another strong attraction is that it does not appeal to adults and in some ways, offers adolescents a parallel universe. This fantasy universe offers power, mystery, and solutions to problems that might seem insurmountable in real life.
Blood signifies life and connection to life and others who are alive. This aspect of the vampire fantasy means that life can go on forever and the physical connection is eternal. The physical connection appeals to adolescents who may not be able to grasp the ethereal, spiritual concept of eternal life that is present in many religions and who may want a more concrete eternal connection. By providing models of physical connection to eternal life, the vampire movies provide escape through entertainment and through ritual. The internet provides a way that other followers can meet and interact and thus strengthen the connection to this fantasy world and its appealing characters.
Should parents worry if their adolescent is obsessed with vampires? Any obsession can interfere with functioning and that should be the marker of danger for this and any other extreme interest. As long as they are doing well at their primary job, which is getting an education and being part of a family, it can be treated as any other adolescent craze, soon to be replaced with another. Zombies were in for a few years, but now, as one teen put it, "zombies are so out". Patience is the best practice here, with tolerance not far behind.