Generation Y: , The Present,
A generation has no defined time limit. There have been generations from as little as ten years time span all the way up to thirty years apart. “Every generation revolts against its fathers and makes friends with its grandfathers,” the American writer Lewis Mumford once said. Kids have always gathered up at the feet of their grandparents to hear stories about war and the old technology. Yet when it comes to the stories of these children’s’ parents, it’s like convincing them to eat broccoli they want nothing to do with it. There are always extreme differences between parents’ generations and their children’s. For example, the Greatest Generation were the loyal patriots that fought in WWII; however their offspring, the Baby Boomers, protested war (Vietnam) and had civil rights and feminist movements. These differences between one another are inevitable and people always point out the flaws of each. Although many people criticize Generation Y for being high-maintenance workers they fail to recognize the advances made in technology, their impact on popular culture, and the work from these young guns that has been done to improve the environment.
Generation Y includes everyone born from roughly 1980 until 1995 and are, for the most part, the offspring of the Baby Boomers. According to the Census Bureau, Generation Y members are outnumbering the Baby Boomers by about one and a half million. Gen Y has also been referred to as the Echo Generation, the .com Generation, the iGeneration, the MySpace Generation, and the Millennials. This group has the highest number of people attending college today and many of this generation are beginning to enter the workforce. Some typical things that this generation is associated with are going to the gym and being physically active, having tattoos and piercings, and being very fashion savvy. For example, more than half of clothing stores in shopping centers are directed towards these young adults. However, the biggest and most important connection made to Gen Y is their link to technology. Ninety-seven percent of college students own a computer and ninety-four percent own a cell phone. These two pieces of technology along with an iPod or mp3 are three major things that this generation can’t go without. There are many other connections that can be listed along with these major ones as well.
There are some negative perceptions that have been placed on the shoulders of this young generation. One of these “bad raps” is that “they're demanding, and they question everything, so if there isn't a good reason for that long commute or late night, don't expect them to do it. When it comes to loyalty, the companies they work for are last on their list--behind their families, their friends, their communities, their co-workers, and, of course, themselves” (Hira 38). Many believe that Generation Y has little care for their work and they are generally high maintenance employees because of their request for paid vacations, health care benefits, and flexible schedules. However, these new businessmen and women are some of the highest performing workers out there, which gives them some right to be so challenging. Also, this young group was raised with the strong teachings of family values and friendship. There is not a strong commitment to job work because they know that their family is secure, unlike their employment.
However, despite the negative perceptions there are about the echo boomers, they are some of the most talented people out there today. This generation has helped significantly improve technology. Today, kids can talk to friends online, play video games, download music, text one another, and watch TV all at the same time. These are some things that were unimaginable ten years ago. Cell phones are one piece of technology that has greatly changed. Now someone can use their cell phone to email, go on the internet, send texts, use GPS, set an alarm, and listen to music. This is a great advancement in technology because it affects more than just youth because many adults benefit from this as well. The internet alone has evolved from dial-up, to DSL, and now includes a new form, fiber optics. This allows for faster transfer of information. Television has also evolved to include HDTV and there are hundreds of times more channels than before. Many of these are improvements on pre-existing technology, but Generation Y has been at the foot of all these technological advancements. They were the creators of some of the most popular social networking sites out there like Facebook and MySpace. Gen Y is keen on improving technology more than other generations since they are the top users of all this equipment. This group also has the greatest opportunity to create newer or better technology throughout the coming years since this generation has the highest percentage of kids who are attending college, which provides even more hope for the future.
Another positive improvement that Gen Y has had on the world is through popular culture. Until this past generations emergence there was much less of an impact on music, television, and movies. Today, it is impossible to walk down the street and not see someone with ear buds in listening to their favorite artist. When a new movie with a popular actress comes out there are sold out lines at movie theaters. “The Millennials can be highly influential in the entertainment industry, creating buzz, defining popular culture and determining what moves from fad to trend” (Leyden and Barr 104). Writers create movies that fit what this generation wants to see in order to make more money. The entertainment industry uses all the feedback from Generation Y to market itself. Within the past decade came the greatest advancements in movies. Music videos and films use computer animation and special effects more so than ever before. This is due to Generation Y’s demand for this entertainment and also because of their ‘know how’ to be able to accomplish these tasks. Many of these generates are the ones who actually create these special effects on the computer. This then increases the corporate revenue and provides more job opportunities to Gen Y. These are the different ways that this generation has impacted popular culture.
Along with developments made in technology and enhancement in popular culture, Generation Y has also become an environmental savvy economy. There have been many jobs put into place that deal specifically with decreasing waste and preserving the environment. For example, Wal-Mart has some managers and higher ranked employees that are also on a board on ‘green’ specialists. These individuals come up with ideas to help better the environment like saving electricity by installing skylights on the roof so lights aren’t needed during the day and reusing the oil from the fried foods as fuel. These generates have been the major leaders in these environmentalist movements.Generation Y has improved technology, influenced popular culture, and changed the environment for the next generations to come. Being this young of a generation and having already accomplished so much, there is no reason to believe that this will not continue throughout the years. Generation Y has also been through a great deal of disasters and many these millennials are still not even eighteen years old. They have been plagued by the tragedies of Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Hurricane Katrina. They were brought closer together after September 11th and they make up a majority of soldiers that are fighting in Iraq and overseas. This generation has also seen political scandals eating away at the American government. These events can attribute to why there is less political motivation then before and are definitely a top reason as to why these young Americans are dedicated more so to their families than their jobs. Family devotion was always imposed upon American society and Generation Y grew up learning these ideals from TV shows like Boy Meets World, Full House, are The Brady Bunch. However, they are now being criticized for having such strong family commitment. Employers must learn that it is a new day in age and with this comes new employees with different needs. At such a young age there has been so much accomplished from this group that it has significantly set them apart from other generations and they should have more liberty at work.
Hira, Nadira A. "You Raised Them, Now Manage Them." 155 (2007): 38-44. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 17 Nov. 2007 <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=4&hid=117&sid=c6c39d21-4256-435b-8d8a-c1a7fa7ccfb2%40sessionmgr108>.
"Lewis Mumford Quotes." ThinkExist. 2006. 17 Nov. 2007 <http://thinkexist.com/quotation/every_generation_revolts_against_its_
Leyden, Peter, and Kathleen Barr. "THE MILLENNIALS." Rolling Stone 1037 (2007): 104. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 17 Nov. 2007 <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdf?vid=2&hid=102&sid=38ad08da-da56-4bfe-a104-5186b8b267c8%40sessionmgr102>.
It is not a secret that every generation of people has its own values, behavioral patterns, and ways of thinking. Problems related to this fact—such as misunderstandings between people of different ages, “father-son” problems, and so on—have existed, perhaps, since the times of primeval people. These problems tend to go beyond family relationships, also spreading to such spheres as social hierarchy and work. Nowadays, American society mostly consists of the representatives of Generation X (people born in 1960s) and Y (born in 1980s-early 1990s); their behaviors and traits are already well-studied. However, recently yet another generation has climbed up on the stage: Generation Z, people born in late 1990s-early 2000s, and although sociologists and psychologists have not studied them completely yet, it is already known that Generation Z is completely different from their predecessors.
But what are these differences? This is the first generation that cannot imagine a life without having a mobile gadget with an access to the Internet. Z people never lived in times without Facebook, Twitter, and other popular social media services. Whatever they need, they can easily find on the Internet right at their fingertips (thanks to smartphones), and mostly for free.
This has its good and bad sides. From one point of view, Generation Z is native to the Internet: they are more savvy with it, and they navigate it with an ease that their Y predecessors, the millennials, could only dream of; in the age of digital technologies, it is a valuable trait. On the other hand, Generation Z no more have a need to use their long-term memory and to be perceptive: all knowledge they need is saved on the cloud or on distant servers. This has lead to a drastic result: the average attention span of a Generation Z teen is only 8.25 seconds! This means they are unable to focus on something for more than eight seconds. Even a goldfish has a larger attention span of nine seconds (The Telegraph).
Considering the enormous daily flow of information, Generation Z cannot afford paying attention to everything around them; they have to be picky, to fish out valuable information from the flow. Their attention span is shorter, but they can sort the information out easier and faster, so one cannot say Generation Z is less effective when working, or less capable than millennials. Besides, when they find something truly worth their attention, they demonstrate commitment and the ability to instantly focus on what they find interesting (Co.Exist).
The ability to quickly navigate through a large amounts of information allows the representatives of Generation Z to develop more diverse personalities. Generation Z representatives often have unusual hobbies and interests (sometimes not typical for teenagers and young people—astrophysics, for example), and obtain knowledge from a wider range of disciplines compared to their predecessors, although this knowledge may be superficial (IFR).
At the same time, there is a number of difficulties and drawbacks typical for this generation. One of them is having unrealistic expectations for themselves and for other people. This is often fueled by a rampant celebrity culture. Chloe Combi, a consultant on youth issues for the Mayor of London, and the author of research dedicated to Generation Z, explains it by the fact that, “Gen Z has grown up with reality TV stars, social media celebrities and world-famous twenty-something billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg.” What is more important and dangerous is that the accessibility of any Internet content—including porn—has negatively affected the way Generation Z representatives treat personal and sexual relationships. Generation Z is obsessed with sex, and sexual insults. Harassment is also becoming more common among its representatives (The Telegraph). Women are more objectified within this generation, and abnormal sexual behavior—like in porn movies—is often imitated and considered normal.
Generation Z is a new generation that sociologists are actively studying at the moment. Consisting of digital natives, Generation Z heavily relies on the Internet and other technologies in their daily lives. This makes its representatives more diverse personalities with knowledge in a wide range of disciplines, with unusual hobbies and interests, and with a superior ability to instantly sort out information and find something worth attention. At the same time, Generation Z representatives have alarmingly-short attention spans on average (less than a goldfish), and demonstrate unrealistic expectations towards themselves and surrounding people. They are also more sexually active, and because of an easy accessibility of pornography, they tend to misinterpret sexual relationships, and imitate abusing sexual behavior demonstrated in porn movies. Therefore, American society needs to find ways to make use of Generation Z’s positive traits, and at the same time somehow neutralize the negative ones.
“What is Generation Z, And What Does It Want?” Co.Exist. N.p., 04 May 2015. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.
“Look Out, Generation Z is about to Enter Your Workplace.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.
Doe, John. “Something You Didn’t Know about Gen Z.” IFR. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.
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