Wednesday 6 June 2012


I'm afraid for the next generation.

I know I'm not the first one to say this and I'm sure I won't be the last, but... kids these days. This will obviously sound quite funny coming from somebody as young as myself, as if I could have a concept of what our generational pitfalls are. Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about, and am just spewing some completely uninformed bullcrap... I'll let you be the judge of that.

This next generation of kids worries me a little bit. Actually, it worries me a lot. Obviously there are more exceptions to the rule than I can reasonably count, but it feels like a great deal of knowledge is being lost in this transition.

Lifted straight from Wikipedia (case in point), these guys are known by a few different names:
  • Generation Z
  • Generation M (for multitasking)
  • Generation C (for Connected Generation)
  • Net Generation
  • iGeneration
  • Millennials
While the actual birth year range is not properly set (much like every other generation before them, simply because the idea of labelled generations was a concept dreamt up by marketing companies for ease of marketing demographic segmentation), it is mostly agreed that these terms refer to the kids born in the latter half of the 1990s, or just after the new millennium. While this argument can be made for pretty much every generation, these guys are growing up in a very different world to their predecessors'.

Home technology has grown at an exponential rate to the point that we are carrying computers around in our pockets more powerful than super-computers in the 1980s. They have grown up in an age that having a smart phone and high-speed internet is a basic human right. This has seen the rise of the what I like to think as one of the "future" corporations, Google. Google has its googol of fingers in every imaginable pie, and it's only a matter of time before they break into the financial and real estate sectors, in my opinion.

Anyway, sorry, I'm getting off point. Due to these advances, people now have near-instantaneous access to information that wouldn't have even been dreamed of a short 15 years ago. This is causing two counter-shifts in the human experience.

On one hand, we're seeing a great deal of people exposed to more facts and therefore becoming more intelligent and worldly than their prior-generational counterparts... and that's very exciting.

On the other hand, we're seeing an even greater number of people embracing the technology in the wrong way; As a replacement for knowledge itself... and with this lost knowledge, is lost wisdom. Yeah, that's what I said: We're getting stupider in general, people. People no longer have to study for hours upon hours to pass their school exams; They can just do a night of cramming in conjunction with internet access. They'll hold the knowledge long enough to pass their exam, but not for much further beyond.

As the technology ramps up, so too does the interests of the people. This next batch of humans don't want to grow up to be carpenters and plumbers, they want to work with computers and technology. We'll still see the custodians and the council workers as we always will, but there seems to be an ever-emerging gap between the lowest and highest echelon. My fear is that in 2 or 3 generations from now, we will possibly lose most of the expertise and know-how of the elite blue-collar worker.

Another concerning aspect is our personal debt levels being at an all time high. Generation X seemed to have kicked off the debt spiral in fine form, however Generation Y has just compounded the issue. It's an interesting concept; All of these ridiculous seemingly made-up numbers, apparently representing debt and deficit. A fictional land of money, existing entirely in a pseudo existence. If all of those 1's and 0's were to be erased and reset... Nobody would have lost anything. We'll still have all of our material possessions; Our houses, our cars and our clothes. These are the things that we trade all of our imaginary credits for.

Tell me, have you ever even seen the amount of money that represents how much you owe? That movie briefcase doesn't count. The answer for most people is a resounding no.


  1. As I don't own a house, the amount of money I owe wouldn't need a very large briefcase. But it's a bigger sum than I would like.

    When it comes to blue-collar jobs, I don't think we'll lose those things as they pay well and the "trades" are a great way to learn while earning for those who just don't enjoy the educational system. Also, given the computer-driven factories, traditional carpentry could well be replaced by IKEA-esque flatpacks which, although sad, won't mean we're left sitting on the boxes our iTech came in. And although money is seen as the bane of humanity, money will be in the offing and people go where the money is. Plumbers could turn out to be the Yuppies of the late 2020's as every Gen-Z and their Pokemon aim for jobs in the technology industries.

    The largest concern I have for the latest generation is where they get their morals from. As soon as a toddler can speak a few words now, they're given an iPad with wifi internet and many parents (not all, but I know enough) leave them to their own devices then.

    I don't believe the old debate about games/tv/movies/music affecting behaviour was ever blatantly wrong. If you leave a child with only these things and take away the actual logical, steady guidance of a morally-driven adult, it's all they have to go on. This is what I am seeing now and disliking about the current generation. Their ideas on life, love, morals are coming from blogs, opinionated "friends" and wherever else they get information via their technology. The influence of parents, adults and levelled peers is waning and this can only be a bad thing.

    1. Well put :)

      The age old adage is true: "You are a product of your environment."

      I believe this to be truer than most people realise. You take the two of the same kid; Put one in a nurturing environment, and one in a violent, broken home situation and you will end up with two different people.

      That's not to automatically imply that the child with the loving environment will be better off, as it is the series of choices made for a million different invisible crossroad decisions that will ultimately shape them as a human being.

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