I am steadily growing more worried about the future of the Generation Y (Millennials) and Generation Z (Boomlets) – specifically that their future might really look like the world presented in the movie “Her”*
Have you watched a member of these generations recently? First, let me define these generations so we’re on common ground and then we’ll go through a few cases.
Generation Y a/k/a “Millennials” are born between 1981 and 2000. They grew up in a world with computers and don’t readily understand those who are not digitally literate. Their access to information 24/7 and therefore expect and demand immediate and fast processing and delivery of information. Most management studies show that they prefer a relaxed work environment with lots of hand holding, guidance, and accolades. They are, as ‘Puter would say, Precious Q. Snowflake.
Generation Z are those born in 2001 and later. Four million of them have their own cellphones and have never known a world without mobile phones. Due to computer- and web-based learning, they are leaving traditional toys behind at an earlier age. By the age of 5, they are more focused and interested in electronic devices than toys.
As far as these groups are concerned, we should really drop the “phone” designation. Watch them and you’ll see. They rarely use it in a phone capacity – they’ll text, Facetime, iMessage, Instagram, tweet, etc. In fact, the only time they really use it to make a call (or receive one) is when it involves their parents (Generation X or late Boomers).
Have you seen these kids when there is no Wifi or cellular coverage? It’s like watching a drug addict in rehab. They don’t know what to do. Not only do they have an expectation of connectivity they have a expectation of the quality of that connection.
Many of the parents of this group have large screen TVs – the average size of TVs in American homes in 2012 was about 37″. Many have multiple TVs. 61% of kids 8-17 have a TV in their bedrooms. Even with all of this, members of these generations will still sit and watch streaming shows on a laptop (maybe a 15″ screen) or an iPhone (4-5″ screen). It is baffling.
Kids these days at a school dance? Or talked to one of them who claims to be dating another? With few exceptions, most of their interactions are via digital media not in person. They are awkward with any personal interaction particularly between the opposite sexes. Plans for any event are so tenuous they hinge on the interpretation of text messages and frequently change and fall through. I would wager that there is an increase in kids going to their junior/senior proms without a date.
Together this doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the future. And I’m not sure what a parent can do to address this.
* – Yuk. I think I just threw up in my mouth….or at least that’s what the hyper-titanium viper sensors indicate. And no, I’m not a fan of “Her”.
GorT is an eight-foot-tall robot from the 51ˢᵗ Century who routinely time-travels to steal expensive technology from the future and return it to the past for retroinvention. The profits from this pay all the Gormogons’ bills, including subsidizing this website. Some of the products he has introduced from the future include oven mitts, the Guinness widget, Oxy-Clean, and Dr. Pepper. Due to his immense cybernetic brain, GorT is able to produce a post in 0.023 seconds and research it in even less time. Only ’Puter spends less time on research. GorT speaks entirely in zeros and ones, but occasionally throws in a ڭ to annoy the Volgi. He is a massive proponent of science, technology, and energy development, and enjoys nothing more than taking the Czar’s more interesting scientific theories, going into the past, publishing them as his own, and then returning to take credit for them. He is the only Gormogon who is capable of doing math. Possessed of incredible strength, he understands the awesome responsibility that follows and only uses it to hurt people.