Who is the Internet generation?

January 30, 2014 —

A friend shared a fascinating infographic that characterizes “kids of the past vs. the Internet generation.” “Past kids” are baby boomers (born roughly 1946-1964) and Generation X (born early to mid-1960s to early 1980s), while the Internet kids include Generation Y, also called the millennials (born 1980 to the late 1990s) and Generation Z (born in the early 2000s and on). Some of the findings come as no surprise; for example, a greater percentage of millennials than boomers and Gen Xers use social networking sites, use the Internet as their main news source and are more likely to play video games on a typical day than ride a bike.Millenials

Other data in the infographic are – to this Gen Xer, anyway – disheartening. Average reading scores have decreased in adults of all education levels, for example; the average reading scores for 17-year-olds began a “slow downward trend in 1992.”

Another online article on the website Think Splendid, on wedding planning of all things, further elaborated on the differences between millennials and older generations. Millennials “are the first generation to grow up in a digital age,” states wedding planner Liene Stevens, which she claims has “changed the neural pathways in their brains.” Further, she states “53 percent of millennials would rather give up their sense of smell than their laptop or phone.” At the same time, Stevens notes that this young generation places high value on friends and family, their ability to connect with others, authenticity and peer feedback.

Finally, I came across Deloitte’s 2014 survey of nearly 7,800 millennials, defined in the survey as those born in 1983 and later, from 28 countries in Europe, the Americas and Asia on the topics of business, government and innovation. Key findings of the survey:

  • These future leaders might reject what businesses traditionally offer, “preferring to work independently through digital means.”
  • Businesses could do much more to address society’s challenges in “resource scarcity, climate change and income equality.”
  • Governments have “the greatest potential to address society’s biggest issues but are overwhelmingly failing to do so.”
  • Millennials “want to work for organizations that support innovation,” but they feel many organizations fail to encourage employees to think creatively.
  • Organizations must and could do more to nurture emerging leaders.
  • Millennials are “eager to make a difference” and “keen to participate in public life,” including through philanthropy, volunteerism and political engagement.

 

I wonder about these trends’ implications for health care. How will DMU students – most of whom are millennials – communicate with their patients and across their organizations? How will they interact with their colleagues and the people they serve?

Millennials, what do you say?


Endlessly curious and easily entertained, Barb Dietrich Boose loves being a member of the friendly, fascinating DMU community and its creative communications team. The University's publications director and DMU Magazine editor, Barb is always on the hunt for story ideas, good books and new recipes to try out on her family, such as her surprisingly tasty pork-and-bean bars.