The Quickening Generation Gaps – Can You Keep Up?

on Sep 12, 2011

“Kids these days, with their this and their that and the way they’re always doing that and this.” It’s a common mantra stated by the elders of the time – a fact of life for hundreds if not thousands of years. Who can blame them, though? It is often the case that the older folks making these remarks grew up in a world different than the one of the kids. Humans continue to advance – the kids will grow to adults and soon face a world vastly different than the one they’ve grown up in.

But something has changed in the last generation. The people that make these remarks now include individuals that are as young as 25 years. It’s outrageous how so many young adults are left totally perplexed about the behavior of people just 10 or 15 years younger than them. Again, who can blame them? We are in the midst of an incredible technological revolution – a consequence is that generation gaps are taking far less time.

Let this sink in – it’s a rather scary implication for anyone over the age of 20. It means that you’re already falling behind on technology. This is a bold claim and you can choose to accept it or deny it.

Most people fall into the latter, conforming to the pattern of dismissing what the youngins are doing. They’ll say that it’s stupid; that the kids addicted to some technology or another and not using it correctly; that things were better before all this complexity. In many respects,these claims may be right, but that isn’t the point. The kids foreshadow the future. They indadvertedly dictate how technologies evolve and be used.

If you’re in the former category and understand that what the young generations are doing is significant, you stand a chance at not becoming a dinosaur. There’s no guarantee though. Keeping up is no easy task considering the speed at which technology is advancing. Still, I offer a few hints:

Be open minded to the way you see people use technology – especially so if it’s in a manner that you find surprising. That goes double if it’s something that affects a large percentage of a generation. Try to understand the dynamics across the population. Be aware of how young people are not using technology – what have they found as inessential? Understand the viewpoint that the generation has. When a fourteen year old says that the iPad is better than a laptop because it does more, you get a world of insight.

But wait, isn’t there a risk in following the thoughts of people less experienced in life? Yes, there is much to wary of. The young folks will make many mistakes due to their naivety. But there’s still a lot of value in their world view if for one reason: they are not colored by the past; they have no allegiance for what existed before them – they only see the future based on the technology of the present.

This doesn’t mean that the teenagers are off the hook though – because it’s now not uncommon to see a two-year old legitimately interacting with devices like iPhones. Can you imagine the technological savviness such individuals will have when they’re older? Can you imagine what the world will look like through their eyes? We’ve all got our work cut out for us if we wish to keep up with this. The next few years and decades will be either more interesting or massively confusing – and it hinges on whether you’ve kept up.