Welcome the Millennials. The Millennials is the new term for the current generation of children whom are growing up wired – you know the ones – the teenagers who know more about the Internet than do their parents, or hey, than even their older siblings. The generally accepted definition of “Millennials” is “children and teenagers who came of age at the dawn of the millennium,” or “the teens and twenty-somethings born after 1981,” (which is when Gen Y is generally thought to have ended).
There has already been a fair amount written about the Millennials, but what is most interesting for our purposes is their use of the Internet, and their netcentric view of the world.
For example, according to one study, Millennials spend more time on the Internet than they do watching television. Is that a good thing? A bad thing? Or is it just swapping one fix for another?
What is decidedly a bad thing, at least to my mind, is that they spend orders of magnitude more time online than reading any print media, including magazines and newspapers.
Observe Drs. Dziuban, Hartman and Moskal of the Research Initiative for Teaching Effectiveness (RITE) at the University of Central Florida (UCF), “Millennials have access to technology that is personal, portable, powerful, multifunction, multimedia, and affordable. Millennials’ attitudes and behaviors have been shaped by technology to an extent far greater than previous generations.”
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What this all means is that we don’t just have a new generation of young people whose communications, reading and research methods have taken a new turn, and who are comfortable using the Internet. What we have is a generation of people for whom there has been a massive paradigm shift. The focus through which many of them look out at life and the world is not ethnocentric, or hey, even just biocentric – it’s netcentric.
Just as hundreds of years ago the focal point of life and identity was one’s village, for Millennials it’s the Internet. Not being able to read and write was once a barrier to entry and to be able to fully participate in society, now not being able to not only connect to – but to navigate and feel comfortable on – the Internet is a similar barrier for those in industrialized nations.
The big question is, while this is true of Millennials, is it also becoming true of the generations before them? Are Gen X and Gen Y feeling the pinch? And are Baby Boomers truly missing out on some aspect of life by not being able to walk the walk and talk the talk?
What about you? How many of you have had to either translate the Internet for your parents, or ask your children to translate the Internet for you?
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No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free? Thank you!
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