With generations, the pendulum always swings but iGen is different
Generational conflicts have been fairly predictable and taking place for as far back as we can remember. The pendulum swings between the generation having children and their children as they became of age. While history may have been predictive in the past, brace yourselves--none of us shares the childhood experiences of iGen (those born between 1994 and 2012).
The nostalgic adage, "When I was kid...", has zero relevancy for those born after 1994. None of us has any experience with what it is like to be a kid in today's world. None of us.
Several events and cultural shifts have taken place which only iGen (also called Generation Z) can claim to be their experiences--the other five living generations can make no such claim.
Ways iGen is different. They are the first generation:
1. Who has been on social media and had internet access in the palm of their hand their entire adolescence
2. Who has always been able to broadcast their thoughts, feelings and emotions to the entire world with the touch of a button
3. That has never needed adults in order to access information (they have always had the Internet)
4. Has grown up with external stimulation at their fingertips 24/7
5. Where the United States created a Department of Homeland Security during their youth to protect us on our own soil in addition to actually view terrorists in action through media and technology
6. To never have entered a school building without knowing the procedure for a "lockdown" to keep them safe from school shooters and terrorists
According to the Pew Research Center, students today put technology in the same category as "air and water". In other words, they believe: I must have it to survive. Every single aspect of their lives has been infiltrated by and in most cases began with technology as the primary form of communication.
In their book, "Marching off the Map", Tim Elmore and Andrew McPeak share their research, chilling quotes from focus groups, and practical tips for working with this generation. While iGen is the most socially and globally connected of any generation, they also report feeling the most alone and hopeless about what adulthood will offer them.
Leading kids today
Now we may not know what it is like to "be a kid today", but regardless of technology's influence, there are some things we do know they need in order to be successful adults, employees, parents and citizens. Adults, now more than ever, need to be leaders and teachers of our children in our homes, schools, communities and workplaces. They need adults model use of technology as well as put parameters around it so it remains a helpful tool instead of a destructive babysitter. Like Emilie Durkheim said, "The movement is circular."
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