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Teen Talk: Generation Next – The Good, The Bad and The Different


By Sara Birriel

As time progresses and society changes, so does each generation. Our views on life, religion, happiness, and morally acceptable behavior are what define us. Since, of course, I was not alive in the seventies, I can’t personally say what it was like to grow up then. Going based off of what I’ve read and seen documented, it was a boundary breaking generation of love, hope, and idealism. As for my own generation, I’m not sure that such kind words can be used to describe us as a whole.

We’re often referred to as “The Facebook Generation.” Of course, this encompasses more than our general obsession with the social networking site. It seems we have an endless desire to be seen and heard. This isn’t necessarily because we have an overflowing amount of insightful ideas to share– we just need acknowledgement. It seems our need to socially network online has come to define us. While I was tossing this idea around with a friend the other day, he said to me, “We’re the ‘I-don’t-know-how-to-have-a-face-to-face-conversation-can’t-we-just-talk-on-Facebook?’ generation…” which is certainly too much of a mouthful to catch on. He did make a valid point, though. The youth of today lacks a vital life skill: the ability communicate in person.


It’s outrageous to blame one website for our lack of communication skills, though. I think it’s a result of several habits (more like obsessions) that teens have today. We are constantly texting, instant messaging, “tweeting”, and just typing to each other in general. As a result of this, I think most of the kids my age have lost their people-skills, to a certain extent. Most of us barely even speak on the phone anymore, with texting being the preferred method of communication. I feel it’s affected our interaction with each to such an extreme that we’ve come to value our objects more than each other.


The mention of objects brings me to another observation that I’ve recently made regarding my generation. We simply idolize technology and material objects in general. I’m sure that previous generations were ambitious as well, but it seems to me that my generation’s obsession with money runs deep enough to go as far as corrupting our morals. It’s always talk of getting rich and famous, rather than a desire to work hard and achieve our individual dreams. Getting rich seems to be the goal, with disregard to everything in between. Even our “Top 40” music tends to reiterate a concept of partying, hooking up with boys/girls, and getting money. It seems we’re more concerned with the image of owning nice things, rather things than actually being successful.

Before I seem like I absolutely despise every person born in my generation, I will point out that we do have our positive traits. After conducting a bit of research, I discovered that we are the most politically liberal generation so far. While not all adults may view this as a positive aspect, I do. It shows that we are actually more open-minded than our elders. We also value family. Apparently eight-out-of-ten Generation Nexters -as we’ve been dubbed- speak with their families almost every day– even while away at college. We are also deeply concerned with conserving our planet’s natural resources and going green (although that may be more of a trend than an intrinsic motivation amongst us).

Although I do look upon these traits optimistically, I feel that our values are still slightly skewed. It seems we lack a value for intellectual strength. It’s cooler to keep up appearances rather than get caught reading Brontë in the school library during lunch. Maybe we’re no worse than any of the generations before us, though. Perhaps I’m thinking way too much about our habits. However, I’m afraid it may be much worse. Perhaps my generation simply is not thinking enough.