The ‘Millennial’ Generation (those born between 1982 - 2002) have been called a lot of things – lazy, spoilt, narcissistic, self-absorbed, over cuddled, entitled, infantile; and we’ve now been tagged ‘Generation Me’ aka The “Look at Me!” Generation. When you consider the indices for this assumption, you can’t really fault the conclusion; after all, this is a generation that spends a huge amount of its time on the web communicating about themselves.
Every generation think they have figured it all out, like the previous generation before them, they usually dole out advices like sages to the up-coming generation; and when the next generation ages – 50 years and above – they too continue the cycle by giving advices (because, like their predecessors, they too think they have figured it all out!) This is a trend that has been consistent in society since the “Hard Timers Generation” (1890 – 1908) through four generations to “Generation X” (1965 – 1982). Presently, Generation X’s now doling out advice to the Millennial and most of these advices are centred on effects of Social Media on society in relations to the current generation and possibly the next. But you should know this - “I am a millennial.”
This generation has its greatest achievements in the field of technology, and a huge fraction of the advances made in the field has been channeled towards re-shaping how we interact with one another – hence the term, Social Media. While this is a huge achievement for mankind (check, Arab Spring Movement) it has also led to the rise of texting/chatting/pinging/tweeting (or whatever you want to call it); and this singular act has led to the dumbing down of a generation aka The Shorthand.
Words like the popular ‘lol’ (laugh-out-loud) to the mind boggling ‘AWGTHTGTTA’ (meaning “are we going to have to go through this again”) can be seen all over chat rooms and social media, especially among the teen-millennials – a mini generation within the millennial; and such use of words have slowly began to replace the need for writing in longhand. While research has shown that brain development doesn’t stop till ages 30s through 40s, it’s necessary to note that the repetitive use of short hand and slangs in society (that is outside the classroom or lecture hall) would slowly replace the need for long hand; and this would in place put a clog in the wheel of professional development.
It is necessary to note that social media is not the culprit here, rather it’s the user; already studies have shown that the constant usage of social media has hampered real communication; after all why seek out a friend when one is just a click/ping/follow/like away.
Neuroscientists (brain doctors) have discovered that adolescence (ages 13 to 18) is a very critical time in human life as it has a lot to do with cognitive development and according to Neuroscientist, Jay Giedd, (Chief of the Unit on Brain Imaging in the Child Psychiatry Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health, Maryland, U.S.A.) during adolescence skills that are developed or learnt but not put into much practice practically fade away – hence, what is learnt in the classroom (like proper grammar) but not put into practice at home/online; will soon be forgotten.
Right now, members of ‘Generation X’ would be basking in the euphoria of being right about this generation; except they are not, technically speaking of course – because if we follow the principle of cause and effect, then they (Gen. X) are to share some of the responsibility, (or blame) because they raised us!
So fellow millennials, young and not so young, why not ease on the acronyms and excessive use of hashtags (like those silly #oflife tags), ease up on the selfies too and stop sharing every single moment of your life, truth be told – no one is that interested. If we are the most educated generation (according to Dr. Susan Elwood, Associate Professor at Texas A&M University, Texas, U.S.) then why are we acting so dumb?
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