“Was the Internet black and white in the olden days?” Miss X from Gen Y
Time being infinite each generation can be defined by a figurative snapshot of history.
My generation, roughly lumped between the mid-1960’s and early 1980’s, were seen as a lost generation, the children of the post war baby boom. Were defined as having no motivation as economies struggled and countries battled for nuclear supremacy, we drank in the plastic worlds of New Romantics, big hair and glamorous soap operas diverting us from the famines in other parts of the world.
But what we did witness was the birth of domestic technology age. Television stations began to multiply, VCR’s, Microwaves and computer games made their way into our homes. We certainly were easily distracted.
But we survived.
People born from the early 1980’s to the mid 1990’s. The Cold war was long gone and replaced with an outpouring of economic greed. Mobile communication burst on the scene and this generation was born into a home with TVs, and DVD players in almost every room. In developed countries even the not so well off had such gadgets.
Parents had two jobs two cars and a four mobile phones. As children they had Teletubbies and Playstations kept them occupied. There seemed no end to the wealth pouring into the worlds economies.
Generation Y’s made millionaires from young men and women just out of college, the internet was still in it’s tweens and it grew with them and then the bubble finally burst but Generation Y survived.
So what of the next generation born in the last ten or fifteen years?
I’d hate to label anyone with a zed, so instead I’ll call them,
Children born between the mid 1990’s to present 2011. The flying carpet of economic stability has dropped away. Countries find themselves indebted to others for foreseeable generations. The Gen.Soc.net’s who are politically aware despise and blame current politicians for the mess we are in.
Emails are old fashioned. Secondary school students have 1,000 plus ‘friends’ on Facebook, hurricanes and fictitious people have twitter accunts. The online world is infinitely crowded with fake people and real threats. There are more ways for them to keep in touch than ever before. If they run out of credit, they can facebook or send free texts online.
The parents of Gen.Soc.net fret over the control they seem to be losing once any new piece of technology or software is introduced. While their own parents thought the same about comic-books and cartoons.
Gen.Soc.net seem to have a transparent social life with many people growing up online and off line simultaneously. They have their own web pages and Second Lives. They play games online that make ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ look like cave drawings in a flickering light.
All teenagers hide their lives from their parents. They revolve around each other. This generation are born into an online life where all their friends hang out. Their real friends will remain and the casual ones will peel away faster than we ever could imagine. Relationships start and end online.
They won’t have the fears we had when facebook and social media first appeared as our old acquaintances crawled out of the woodwork. They are growing up with the ability to create their own connections from an infinitely wide pool of resource. In this process they will discard the people who do not matter along the way to building a tighter and more refined network which they will carry with them throughout their lives.
Even though there are threats, we forget that they are still people like us. We have to do our best to teach them how to fight their corner in a world shaped by us and eventually re-molded by them.
I don’t worry too much about them though it is sad that most of them will never have the pleasure of experiencing that rush of nostalgia on finding an old packet of photographs in the bottom of a card board box.
They will survive.
Each generation has it’s own unique voice.