Why can’t we be friends: Baby boomers and Gen Z teens can learn from each other

In today’s digital age of technology, it can be easy to become absorbed with the virtual world. Technology, specifically iPhones, offer some people a distraction, some an escape, and some an addiction.

Highly prevalent in the younger generations, technology serves as more than just a tool and has quickly become a way of life. While this is normal for these younger generations, it can be confusing and seemingly unnecessary in the eyes of older generations who did not grow up with a touch screen under their fingertips.

This creates a generational gap that can be hard to bridge from both sides. Older generations see the younger generations as lazy, phone-absorbed, and disconnected, whereas the younger generations perceive technology as a way to connect, learn, and find entertainment.

While excessive phone usage is an issue in our society, it doesn’t mean that it leads to laziness or a lack of potential and drive. It can be easy for assumptions to be made about teens and their observed overuse of phones causing them to lose touch with reality, or personal interactions, but this isn’t necessarily what’s happening.

What sometimes isn’t acknowledged is all of the progress these younger generations have made in today’s society. With school shootings and gun violence being a very debated and emotional topic in 2018, teens and young adults took a stand. Organizing walk-outs, marches, and more, they were able to surround the issue with a call and a demand for action, one that got many people talking and sparked a lot of change.

The potential of younger generations, specifically Generation Z, or “iGen” (born 1995-2012), is being overlooked and dismissed as accusations of laziness, mindless behavior, disconnectedness, and self-absorption cloud the positives.

While some people still reminisce about the times when there wasn’t so much technology, the reality is that our society and world is advancing. In some cases, what hasn’t advanced with the times are the mindsets of generations who came of age during a significantly less technological world. Having technology as a part of everyday life is now a norm, but it sometimes abused and overused. And while it is sad to see real-life interaction and connections decline due to the readily available convenience of the phone, it doesn’t mean that the “iGen” has lost the capability of bringing back the normalcy of interacting without a screen barrier.

There is a lot to be learned from both sides of the age/generation spectrum. For older generations, they can learn more about technology to gain an understanding of what it’s like to grow up in a society where technology plays such a big role. And for younger generations, they can learn how to take more breaks from the screen and technology to value real human connections and interactions that don’t form from behind a screen. This could help eliminate possibly damaging stereotypes about young people and teens that allow for more of their potential to be acknowledged and explored.

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Author: El Diablo

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