Our next blog series will discuss the book Generation iY: Secrets to Connecting with Today’s Teens and Young Adults in the Digital Age by Tim Elmore. Elmore’s book describes who generation iY is and how parents, coaches, teachers, and mentors can both connect and lead this generation most effectively. Our first blog will take a closer look at four generalizations about generation iY.
Generation iY, also known as Millenials, were born between 1984 and 2002. This generation was the first to be born into a digital world, where the internet was a part of their childhood and information is accessible at their fingertips. Elmore discusses four generalizations that describe how the digital age has affected this generation, at no fault of their own. Parents have wanted to give their children more than they had growing up, and technology is on a one-way path of growth no matter what we think is most healthy.
Generation iY’ers are an overwhelmed generation, meaning they feel a lot of pressure to live up to parental and societal expectations. The stress of living up to what might be unrealistic expectations in a tough economy and job market, has prevented many members of this generation from fulfilling those expectations. According to a study conducted in 2013, “30 percent of Generation iY struggles to support themselves. 79 percent have college degrees, yet 40 percent are unemployed.”
Generation iY’ers are also an overconnected generation. They spend most of their time online and connect with others through social media, yet they fail to develop real interpersonal face to face relationships. iY’ers are further an overprotected generation. They have been overly sheltered from failure, risk, and harm, which in turn has made it more difficult for this generation to fulfill commitments, cope with adversity, and make confident decisions. Finally, generation iY is overserved, meaning they have been told their whole lives that they are perfect and important. While they have built a strong sense of self, for many it’s over the top and results in being me-centered and entitled.
Despite these challenges though, generation iY is also filled with incredible promise. They are more educated, less violent, abuse drugs less, have one of the lowest percentages of teen pregnancy in history, and overall are optimistic about their opportunity to change the world. They value education and also are more informed to make responsible decisions because of the volume of unfiltered information at their fingertips. While many are critical of Millenials, the positives they bring really could change the world! It is our job to help them bring out their promising qualities and not fall into the generalizations.
The impact generation iY will have on society is great – especially as they enter the workforce. Generation iY’ers typically struggle with authority, commitment, vision, and feedback. Teachers, coaches, and bosses have a particularly tough time communicating and enforcing performance standards to generation iY’ers. The remaining blogs in this series will focus on strategies to more effectively connect to this generation – to in turn help bring out their greatness!
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