I’ve been talking about the second-half of Generation Y for almost five years now. I call them Generation iY, because they were raised in the “i” world: iTunes, iPhones, iChat, iPads, iPods…you get the picture.
You may be aware that micro-generations (within this population of students) crop up as fast as new iPhones are introduced. These new “mindsets” are formed depending on whether you learned to type before Facebook, Twitter, iPads, or Snapchat. These new micro-generations are horrifying the ones right ahead of them who are their older siblings. For many of them…
- Instagram is replacing Facebook.
- Snapchat is replacing Twitter.
- Stickers are replacing the normal text message. (It’s only pictures)
This younger population will likely feel even more comfortable in front of a camera, and even more empowered than earlier members of Generation iY. Consider this: the average one-year-old in America has more images of himself/herself than a 17th century French king. Information is so readily available that attention spans continue to plummet in these kids. Herbert Simon concluded, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”
This micro-generation is a pocket of young people merging with the younger kids called, “The Homelanders.” (Homelanders received this name because their launch as a generation of kids began about the same time as the Department of Homeland Security). I am speaking of a sub-group made up of middle school or young high school students. They are continuing to evolve as a demographic, addicted to speed, convenience, and entertainment. But something else is true. They are being formed during a poor economy, unlike their older siblings. For five years now, they’ve seen a recession, and have become accustomed to getting what they want in a different way, and at times not getting what they want. So they learn to shift their desires. They learn the art of “sour grapes.” They change on a dime.
So What Do We Do?
Leading this micro-generation requires (more than anything) that we practice the fundamentals well. Because so much of their world is fast and superficial, we must:
1. Show them you believe in them, face to face.
They may not be adept at face to face conversations, but they need adults to express belief and help them recognize their strengths inside, not their “pics” or profiles on the outside, are what differentiates them. Identity is an enormous issue.
2. Help them to focus.
There is a higher population of them diagnosed with ADHD or some similar condition because they shift and change so quickly in their interests. Adults must enable them to go deep and sustain an interest in something worthwhile.
3. Give meaning to tasks they deem trivial.
They’ve been so exposed to our gigantic world that fame seems very appealing. Doing the small and unseen project isn’t appealing at all. Adults must connect the dots between the mundane task today and the big picture goal of tomorrow.
4. Demonstrate proper doses of love to them.
Every kid needs adults they admire to love them. By proper love I simply mean for you (as a healthy adult) to display love to them as a part of something bigger than they are. Show them they play a role, even though it’s not all about them. Enable them to become comfortable as a piece of the puzzle.
Do you know any of this micro-generation? What do you do to help them?
Help students successfully navigate life's transitions with Habitudes for the Journey: The Art of Navigating Transitions.