Day 273: Generation Z: Cultural Darkness

Generation Z, as they may be coined, are being viewed as a generation of lazy and apathetic citizens who care more about Lindsey Lohan’s arrest record than they do about the Presidential debate.  They can give you information, real statistical analysis, about their fantasy football players and the Kardashain’s prenuptials and divorce records, but when it comes to understanding the world in which we live, they are usually incongnizant.  They are so caught up in consumerism, like the newest and latest iPhone 5, which let me tell you, every sixteen year old feels they must have; coupled with holding the values of the privileged era, these adolescents do not really see that they are a member of a community, that the community is a member of a society, and that the society is the member of the world.

It is partially our fault.  Many of these children are the children of Generation X, the generation that grew up with a silver spoon in their mouths.  As much as Generation X feigned dissidents and bucking the system, many of them knew in their heads that eventually, they would search out high paying corporate jobs and live in houses bigger than their parent’s homes, drive cars better than their cars, and vacation more frequently and more ostentatiously.

Personally, growing up as a Generation Xer, my parents worked hard for their money; as a young child, I never felt that what I received was an entitlement.  I saw how hard me parents labored, I was given chores and taught that to receive a luxury one had to work for it.  Nonetheless, we had nice things.  Economically, the United States flourished in the 1980s, my teen years, and my parents flourished with it.  They bought a second home, a boat, and sent me to private schools.  As much as I understood that I was lucky, I still got used to the advantages I was receiving, and I vowed to offer my own children as many advantages as possible.  I do provide, but I do not think my children, or this generation, understnad that our abilityy to provide is because of generational improvement.  My grandparents lived through the Great Depression.  Their grandparents owned boats.  I, like many others of my generation, inadvertently helped create Generation Z.

Concatenate a positive guilt-free advantage with a technological explosion in the marketplace, and Generation Z’s myopic attitude is formed.  Gen Z’s proclivity toward cosumerism comes from the extensive mass production of products sold in society that actually make items seemingly less expensive than they were twenty years ago, and thus, offers the consumer with an attitude that everything is disposable.  Phone’s broken?  A newer, sleeker, and better model is available at the AT&T store.  Shoes are worn out?  Every major department store is running a sale on the finest leather shoes.  No more need to repair that phone or get those shoes resoled.  We are gluttonously supporting a market place that not only encourages consumption, we are beguiled into believing we have to have the newest and latest products, that the three-year old iPhone is, frankly, garbage in comparison.

Taking all of this into consideration, the general movement of Generation Z is not to excel anytime soon.  They are so self-absorbed with Tweets, Instagram messages, and Facebook, they are less mindful of their own place in the world than the generation before them. Moreover, they are told that there will be no jobs available, that the economy will continue to falter, and that they do not have to grow up anytime soon.  It does not help that their parents are overly involved in their lives, hovering over every activity and every decision.  These parents are quick to react and protest if their child experiences any type of setback or failure; thus, causing an entire Generation of adolescents who will someday be incapable of problem-solving and finding solutions for overcoming obstacles in their own lives.  Generation Z will stay adolescents longer than they should,  probably living with their parents well into their twenties, and probably receiving financial support as well.  X-Box takes the place of books; iPods and apps take the place of newspapers and magazines. Generation Z will more than likely prolong their transition into independence and autonomy.

The privilged generation.  The generation of advantage.  Indifferent to the world, Generation Z is the first generation who has had complete access to the Internet since birth, but with the advancement of technological growth, they may also be the first generation to lose sight of the importance of the humanities– the arts, history, and literature– forcing us into a modern age of cultural darkness.


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