This Generation

This is part of a series of blog posts about technology and its role in society: First Aid and Computers; IBM and Watson

I recently came across these words. I found them to have much insight.

This generation should be the most productive ever. They don’t need secretaries, for their keyboarding skills have them typing faster than they can talk. They know their way around the internet and have been raised in a era in which multitasking is the way of the land. They can throw together a slick PowerPoint presentation in minutes. They stay connected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whether they are emailing, texting, or doing research on the internet without leaving their bedroom, they are leaps and bounds ahead of prior generations in terms of their efficiency and productivity potential.

In theory, they should also be happier. They enjoy innovative technologies and new found luxuries to make life easier, quicker, and better. They have multiple TV channels, cell phones, BlackBerry phones, video games, iPods, iPhones, and iPads. Their houses are larger, their families are smaller and the average family owns more cars than at any other time in history. Life seems to easier all around. There are pass/fail classes and sporting events in which everyone is a winner. At some schools, students who fail to turn in an assignment still get a fifty on a scale of zero to one hundred.

Here is the conundrum: all these kids should be revolutionizing the workforce and producing results never before seen, but this is not happening. All these kids, with the unprecedented economic and technological progress they enjoy, should be happier and should be living easier lives. But studies indicate that depression is actually on the rise, especially among young people.

What’s going on with this generation? Could it be their terrifically easy lives – or, put another way, their lack of adversity – is exactly the problem?

Perhaps we are being too hard. It is little to do with them, and more to do with society’s expectations of this generation. Because of this access and use of technology, we expect them to be doing these things as soon as they walk through the doors of their college/university. We forget what it was like being a student and young adult – the friends, drugs, alcohol, sex, exploration, fun, late nights, movies.

The truth, no one knows how the current generation will turn up in 10, 20, 30+ years. This is one of the magics of life: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift, that is why it is called the present.”

This is part of a series of blog posts about technology and its role in society: First Aid and Computers; IBM and Watson

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I welcome and strive to get your feedback and own thoughts. Feel free to comment below or connect with me via social media.

Adam Goodwin is a Canadian working in the United Kingdom. His parents currently work in Cairo, Egypt. He has siblings and distant family in Canada. Follow his year+ overseas on Twitter (@adam13goodwin)!

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