As a child of the 90’s, along with Hanson and a never-ending recall of bad fashion trends, I have grown up with, and become accustomed to using the internet and technology frequently. I wouldn’t say I’m ‘tech-savvy’, however, I do understand the basic fundamentals of technology – that being – when in doubt press a whole heap of different buttons until you find the solution. People of the baby boomer generation, and even a high portion of generation X have absolutely no idea when it comes to technology and it drives me bonkers.
In this post I will be delving into the minds of people I know of the three generations and the ways in which they use, or struggle to use technology.
As much as my father would like to think of himself as ‘tech-savvy’ or ‘down with the hip trends’, to be realistic, he isn’t. My father, born in the early 1960’s, is surprisingly up to date with the latest technology advancements, he just doesn’t know how to use them. My father was one of the first people I knew to switch from dial-up to wireless broadband, even though every month he would have to exchange his plan for one with extra data, as I, a young teenager, spent a large portion of my teenage years online. It seems as though he is not alone, according to Lepi, a whopping 79% of baby boomers are users of the internet (2013).
I find it extremely frustrating, however, that my father always comes to me for advice about how to use technology, and so forth.
It’s as though the baby boomer generation believe we, as generation Y, have a secret guide on how to use technology and hide in from them so they can ask us ridiculous questions, including that of:
- How do I put songs on my iPad?
- What is a twitter?
- How do I zoom on this picture on Instagram?
- What’s the next piece of technology that is going to make me seem technologically illiterate?
And so forth…
A prime example of this would be when my father spent $2.49 on an application called the ‘iTorch Pro Flashlight’, so that he could see when he puts the key in the door, and found it the most miraculous thing he had ever fallen upon. Unknowingly, his iPhone 5s has a free flashlight without having to download a thing.
Next up, my boyfriend. As part of generation X you would think a 20-something-year-old would have basic technology skills to say the least, however, this man must be in the slow start to the group as the only apple’s he associates himself with are pink ladies.
As stated by Lepi, only 50% of generation X use a social networking site, with only 29% stating they visit social networking sites once a day (2013). My boyfriend would fall into this category, as even though he has two social networking sites, Facebook and Instagram, in the past year he has only updated his Facebook status once, which sadly read, ‘just bought a house yewwww :)’, that got a total of about 6 likes.
As you probably guessed, generation Y are the highest users and lovers of technology and the internet, as stated by Lepi, 90% of us use the internet, as well as, 75% of us use social networking sites (2013). Due to this overwhelming statistic, and the reliability our generation has on technology and the internet in general, the term ‘clicktivist’ has been frequently thrown around to describe our generation. According to White (2010), Clicktivism is when people use social media to ‘like’ or ‘share’ matters of politics, poverty or general social issues. In doing so, these minute ‘feel-good’ measures allow us to feel as though we have contributed to matters of society.
Generation Y have also become adapted to the concept of “being alone together” (Turkle 2012). Through deep analysis of this concept, it has come to my attention that this concept, in fact, has become the norm to someone of my generation, whereas the concept is completely foreign and barbaric to those of generation X and the baby boomers. I can now understand why parents scold at their children for using their mobile phones at the dinner table, however, it is ironic that the parent’s iPad can be Googling something next to their dinner plate, and the television can be blaring in the background.
As a child of generation Y, the thought of having no internet, or technology makes my heart start to race. It is absurd that we can become so connected to our devices and as Sherry Turkle and her daughter do, as well as myself and probably most of generation Y, “sleep with our cellphones” (2012). I can’t begin to fathom what the next generation can’t bear to sleep without.
Lepi, K 2013, How 3 Different Generations Use The Internet, Edudemic, viewed 23 August 2014, <http://www.edudemic.com/kids-of-the-past-vs-today-infographic/>.
White, M 2010, ‘Clicktivism is ruining leftist activism’, Guardian, 12 August, viewed 23 August 2014, <http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/aug/12/clicktivism-ruining-leftist-activism>.
Turkle, S 2012, Connected, but alone?, online video, Ted, viewed 23 August 2014, <http://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together/transcript>.