Why Todays Super Connected Kids are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood.
Thoughts from the book iGen by Dr. Jean Twenge, 2017
iGeners are the safest generation ever. They are less likely to drink before college, have sex, date, drive and take risks. And the word safe has taken on a larger meaning. It now commonly includes safe from ideas different than their own and that might hurt their feelings. They want and expect emotionally safety.
In Higher Education
On multiple college campuses they have demanded the administration keep them emotionally safe from ideas with which they do not agree by providing “safe places”. In some cases, they have forced administrations to dis-invite those whose ideas they find offensive.
Because the iGen is far more inclusive of sexual orientation, minorities and religions than previous generations, this tends to be a liberal stance and they do not want to hear from the alt-right and the “too” conservative.
They are frightened, in some cases, terrified, of confrontation. Rather than speak up they go to faculty and insist the administration take action against someone who said something that they felt was offensive, insensitive or voiced an opinion different than theirs.
On one campus, they felt emotionally threatened and accused the administration of failing to make the campus a safe place because overnight someone had written on the sidewalk, in chalk, “Trump 2016”.
This opposition to opposing ideas has happened often enough that as I write president Trump is contemplating action that threatens federal funding for colleges that do not enforce “free speech”.
In the Workplace
In the work place their expectation are more realistic than were Millennials. They expect to work hard, put in the hours and expectations of pay are not inflated. In short, they are more pragmatic and realistic in their career expectations. Most just want a job they don’t hate.
They don’t feel in control, are more anxious and worry more about their future, especially their financial future than previous generations. They see the growing gap in income equality and fear being on the wrong side of it. They are more focused on extrinsic values than intrinsic. Many feel success is out of reach because while college education is often a requirement, the cost of that education is leaving them with staggering debt. They’re feeling behind before they even start.
For nearly all the 20th century men in their 20’s made up 85% of the work force. In 2016 one in four didn’t work. What are they doing with that time not spent working? Playing video games.
Research is conclusive, more than two hours a day for adolescence and early teens delays development. Too much time overall leads to loneliness, sadness and depression. Suicide rates have doubled in the last decade which coincides with the advent of smart phones. Even iGeners know that they spend too much time on their devices and that spending time with their friends feels better. But they are hooked and need a parents help.
Here are some things you can do to help your child manage the allure of their devices.
First: Put off buying a smart phone as long as possible. A dumb phone will work just find for communication till then.
Second: There are apps that limit the time your child can spend on a site or even on the phone. Find one that works for you and install it.
Third: Do not let them take the phone into the bed with them. Make sure it is at least ten feet from their bed and off during the night. Even better make sure it is out of their room entirely. (I have a niece that takes it to bed with her and reports she is often, under the covers, on it with her friends till 1 or 2 in the morning.)
Fourth: Be a good example and create time when all the phones in the home are turned off and make conversations priority.
Fifth: Take steps to ensure they spend face time with their friends. This was not something parents of my generation had to worry about, but the internet and smart phones have changed that.
For a safe and quiet place to talk about those things that are bothering you reach out to me for a compassionate ear.