Please Stop Degrading Our Generation

Siena Zarrell, Staff Writer

  We live in a time when everyone expects quick entertainment. We choose something to obsess over until it’s lost its appeal. A recent trend has been the shaming of Generation Y and Generation Z.

  For a while, I too was buying into the lie that my generation is horrible. It became a trending topic on social media, in conversations, and of many news segments. Hundreds of memes on Twitter and Instagram are dedicated to praising past generations for not growing up with the attitudes of today’s young adults. One even went so far as to say they are grateful for growing up smoking weed when compared to the obsession teenagers have with iPhones. I quickly became desensitized to the shaming of myself, all of my friends, and everyone I go to school with. I finally took a step back when I started to see other teenagers ranting on Twitter of the stupidity and uselessness of our generation; most tweets would blatantly declare, “I hate our generation.”

  I was shocked. I was guilty too.

  Both Generation Y and Generation Z, also referred to as the millennium and post-millennial generations, have been accused of being pretentious, lazy, disrespectful, and overly invested in social media and our appearances. I cannot refute that these claims are valid; however, they do not define us a whole. Similar claims have been made about every generation while they were still young and lacking real world experience. Baby boomers were criticized by their parents’ generations for being too entitled with protesting. The only new thing that attracted criticism is the new platform social media provides, allowing us to communicate in ways that exceed what previous generations had. Not only can we reach out to people we do know, we can meet people who live halfway around the world in a matter of a few minutes. We should not be forced to apologize for this. Every generation has had similar experiences with the development of new technology. Generation X was the first generation to have cell phones, and for it, they received a lot of criticism. To use it in public was considered rude and inappropriate by older generations. Now, their generation among others claim that social media has consumed our lives. Despite popular belief, we don’t spend every moment thinking about Instagram feeds. Most of the time we’re working harder than any previous generation had to in order to get into college and get a job. The obsession with social media is only one of the many overdramatized and false notions about us.

  In fact, there is an abundance of positives that can be associated with our generations. We are the most educated generations yet. Pew Research Center reported a 3 percent increase in bachelor’s degrees for men and a 7 percent increase for women between Gen X and Generation Y.

  Along with an increase in education, our generation is very aware of technology and social and political issues. The evolution of smartphones took place during our childhood, which made the use of technology a second nature to us, even when applied to new devices and machines. The increasing importance of technology and television in our culture also promoted global news. This ensured an interest and knowledge of social and political issues within our generations. When our parents were growing up, it was likely that they only had a few local news stations. They had far less exposure to global events. So while some argue that technology has disconnected us from the outside world, this simply isn’t true. It has expanded our knowledge and provided us with a new viewpoint from which to see the world.

  These insults directed at the millennium and post-millennial generations are not only invalid but damaging. How are we supposed to respect ourselves and most importantly those who are pointing fingers at us? What kind of example does it present? Instead of spending time shaming our generations, you should take the time to understand our cause.