I couldn’t help but notice when looking at my syllabi that there was a recurring rule for each class. In big, bold letters, I saw the words: “No cell phones or electronics.” I was surprised to see this, since laptops are a necessity in college. In fact, I was recommended to buy a MacBook and Echo Pen this semester. I noticed the tension in the air when one of my professors read the technology phrase aloud. It soon fell by the wayside once she turned around.
Millennials, anyone now reaching adulthood in the early 21st century, are known as the “first digital natives” and are heavily impacted by technology. This specifically bothers older generations who feel as though millennials lack basic communication skills. The specific demographic of the older generation is Generation X, those born from 1965-1979. The reason behind this is a lot deeper than it seems.
Based on statistics, Generation X is almost the polar opposite to millennials in every aspect. For instance, studies conducted by DMW Direct show that those within Generation X are typically more conservative and have traditional values. This is a direct contrast to the liberal views of most millennials.
According to Goldman Sachs, millennials get married later than those of Generation X; the average millennial gets married at 30 years old and the average Generation X person at 23. Those differences pave a divide between the two generations and are one of many reasons why building a connection is difficult. This doesn’t help when mixed with the differences in communication between millennials and Generation X people.
When observing my surroundings, I see many young adults on their phones, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I can’t look directly at everyone’s phone to see if they’re being productive, just as an older person cannot. What people of Generation X do not understand is how resourceful technology can be. It’s not always negative if someone uses technology a lot because, in our changing world, it has its advantages.
There is a reason why generation researchers call millennials “technologically wise.” Everything about our world is digital, which is why there is an increase in social media-oriented jobs. I understand the reasoning behind the criticism, but the older generations have to understand that hand-held technology is a blessing in disguise for a fast-paced climate. Millennials outnumber Generation X by 30 million people, so it is understandable for any group of people to feel outdated or unprepared for the next batch of Americans.
Although their intentions may be pure, it might be a bad idea to anger the new majority. Generation X has to accept the way communication is evolving, even if it means learning from younger generations.
Freshman journalism major
Published in the 9/20/17 issue.