Generational gap defines the value of technology

No generation has failed at growing up and doing some good for the world, and yet the older generation always seems to find a way that the new generation will fail.

Most of us millennials, in college now, have parents in the baby boomer generation and know all too well that feeling of being judged and put down because of the generation they were born into. We are regarded as selfish, narcissistic and impatient. We’re too absorbed in technology for our own good. This may be true for some people, but as with all stereotypes, it begins with some morsel of fact but is never entirely the truth. Our determination and education is often overlooked by our parents’ generation, who like every generation before them like to point out the decay of the human race. Their negativity is partially to blame for the way we act and interact with technology today, whether they like it or not.

Most of us would agree that the baby boomers are less tech-savvy and generally less open minded about the benefits of new technology. An article on Business Insider, “The Strengths And Weaknesses Of Millennials, Gen X, And Boomers,” supports these observations. Baby Boomers were raised more conservatively, and therefore tend to exude closed-mindedness toward differences in people and changes in the way things are traditionally done. Baby boomers are known to be less impulsive and more frugal than millennials as a whole, but with such a large increase in the use of technology in the job market, baby boomers are becoming less fit for high-paying careers.

Millennials have more pressure and stress related to school than ever before. We are expected to excel in school and go to college as our only means of “success.” With this also comes the added stress of student loans, which have grown 50 percent since 2001, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. So while it may seem that we have it easier than previous generations, simplifying one thing with technology seems to complicate a number of other factors that baby boomers didn’t have to think about.

As a whole, millennials have been raised on technology and sometimes expect instant gratification. As new iPhones get faster, we expect the world around us to follow suit. Although it can be true, not all millennials are selfish and impatient. It is important not to stereotype younger generations, for they quite literally are the future. Baby boomers must begin to see us as open-minded, and knowledgeable rather than just seeing our downfalls. We were raised in a world of technology; have information at our fingertips and are fit for more careers than generations before us. We grew up in a country of people of all different races, religions and sexualities and are therefore more accepting of the differences in people.

It is crucial to our growth that the generations above us improve upon valuing the skills and positive attributes in the millennial generation. The same goes for us, as a new generation, commonly referred to as generation-tech or generation-z, is growing. We commonly refer to them as even more self-absorbed than millennials and too invested in social media. We can look at this in a more positive light; they will probably grow up to be even more open-minded than us, and more able to use technology to better themselves and society.

The reality is that there are positives and negatives to each generation, but the problem is that older generations have a bad habit of stereotyping and looking down on younger generations. No generation is any better than the other. It’s time for the millennials to gain more respect so that the last of us can enter into the adult world with the confidence that we can somehow make a difference.

The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch. Contact Quinn Stearns at torchopinions@valpo.edu.

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