Being someone who likes to spend time with older people (my parents’ friends or their colleagues) and now discussing with people from work, I hear a lot of things about the “new generation”.
From what I understand from this is that they are referring to what we call the “millennials” and mostly the fact that we grew up with the rise of the Internet, of other connected devices like the cable and other improved connected tools as well as social media and that it has changed us.
As per usual, the highlight is on what is “bad” about this generation and the issues that have risen from the changed we were born with and that they didn’t have beforehand.
“You guys are so tech-y because you learned to use a computer from a very young age but don’t know how to do real things” – define “real” please?
“You guys are always connected to something, you cannot live without a screen”
“You guys never switch off”
“You guys are shallow”
“You are not in the real world”
“I don’t understand how you can want to tell people about your life/share your life online/show yourself on social media and/or Youtube, it’s so weird”
And so on…
I guess it’s a normal reaction from someone who didn’t grow up with so many online resources as we have, millennials, to have a hard time understanding how we utilize our time and resources.
My parents are still processing what Youtubers really do and what we see in them and my mom enjoys Whatsapp, Twitter and Netflix but it took – not for Netflix though – a bit of time for her to comprehend the pros.
I can understand that it is weird for people who had to use a home phone or meet up to actually see people that we can text, snapchat, insta story, tweet, vlog or blog about our life. That we do not have to be in direct physical contact to communicate with someone (see, talk or write) to be connected with this person. But I don’t understand necessarily why it’s bad.
Of course, it has changed the way we communicate and exchange as human beings. We are aware of that. We don’t see people often enough, we don’t check up on friends because we see their social media posts, we have a hard time being offline or without our phone and laptops and so on. We do know that.
But has our generation changed for the worst though?
I personally don’t think so. We are more aware of the world, of people from all over the globe, jobs have changed, mentalities have evolved, our self-esteem and self-awareness have evolved around bodies, mental health and racism of all kinds. Evidently, it’s all still under construction. Of course our society still have big issues. But when you see that high school students can rally hundreds of thousands of people and celebrities to protest thanks to social media and using their voice online, I think all is not bad.
I am very proud of the fact that we are able to change society thanks to social media and evolve as people through the Internet. I wouldn’t be writing this right now if we didn’t have the Internet and I would not have this platform to express myself and exchange thoughts with you guys otherwise.
I do get that it can be complicated for people of a certain age not to focus on the bad side of Internet and social media because it is very different from the values and habits they grew up with. But for people not that older from us or our parents sometimes, I wish they would stop focusing on the negative and care more about the positives.
I don’t mean they should be or let their children, relatives or friends be total dickheads online, share nudes or be trolls online, but see that in any situation, at any turn point, there are pros and cons and that we need to learn about both and not just focus on the bad and declare that the generation is rotten.
Because it’s not. It just has evolved.