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The term "Generation Y" is generally used to refer to a group of people born sometime in the period from 1976 to 2000. As with Generation X, there is some disagreement as to which birth years should be included in this "generation."
The main characteristic that can be applied to all members of this generation is that they are the generation that grew up in the age of computers and the internet. (This is one reason why many observers do not agree with the 1976 start date for this generation.) This is a generation that is completely comfortable with the sorts of electronic communications devices (first email, then texting, cell phones, etc) that keep them in touch with their friends at all times.
Because of this, this generation is sometimes believed to be more social and more concerned with its peer group than other generations have been. It has also been accused of being the generation of childhood obesity and other ills that come from sitting in front of a computer or a video game console all the time.
Generation Y is also sometimes referred to as the Peter Pan Generation because they have delayed traditional ‘adult’ rites of passage such as marriage and buying a house. But this only applies in areas and countries where this has been the tradition and it has more to do with a shrinking economy and growing mass of debt (including student loans and credit) than it does with a shift in attitudes about such ritual rites of passage. While there has been a surge in neoliberalism and a surge in global/electronic/blogging communication overall, and in terms of activism, the age (not just the generation) is also marked with a fair or unfair label of short attention spans and short-lived sustained activism. This is a product of becoming accustomed to 24 hour news, fascination with disaster and the immediacy of information (internet). So, with the growth of communication, in and beyond activism, there is a tendency to not sustain that fervor as is the spirit of immediate and always changing news and communication. The claim “if there was a draft, activism would reach the heights it did in the 60’s” has some merit, but the speed of information has something to do with it.
Gen. Y is also called the Echo Boomers (sons and daughters of Baby Boomers). Some of the negative depictions of this generation have to do with an increased sedentary lifestyle and that Y followed the so-called and unfairly labeled ‘apathetic’ Generation X. But it also may have something to do with competition. Again, this may be based solely or initially on socioeconomics: with Baby Boomers retiring later than 65, because of the housing bubble, debt and so on, the up and coming Gen, Y’ers are actually competing for some jobs with their parental generation; the Boomers. And since the Y’s are more attuned to computer technology, that skill could bring them up to the par of the Baby Boomers’ experience.
These, and those from the first poster, are just some traits of this generation, but Gen. Y is still defining itself. Artistic movements and notable qualities of a generation can’t be completely formulated until after that generation has at least reached middle age.
I am a member of Generation Y! I can say that my generation does not have the advantages that others had in some ways, but has some advantages. Our economic opportunities are not as good as our parents' generation. Our parents and their parents graduated from school, went to work or married, bought a house and lived their life. We have no such restrictions, but we also have no such guarantees. We have to make our own way.
I was born in 1976 and I consider myself more of a Generation Xer, though I realize there is no true consensus on who falls into what category. I do believe the old saying that each generation gets "Weaker but wiser." Wiser in the sense that child development phases take place much faster, babies become active earlier, and children are much more intuitive, less inhibited, more demanding, more sociable, and definitely challenge and question the adults and the world around them more.
Those are my observations from observing the infants in my family born after 2000 and comparing them to those born previously. Women who raised babies in the 70's and 80's say that babies were "slower" and easier to manage back then. I do not know if any studies have been done on such, but babies and children are really a different breed than in previous days in my opinion. I do not mean they get wiser as in higher IQ's or anything like that.
When I say each generation gets weaker, I mean that each subsequent generation seems to be able to handle stress and hardships less efficiently. There are many reasons for this. But I do think about the previous generations dealing with the wars, the Civil Rights Movements, protests, many uprisings, and many personal struggles and they just really seemed to keep it together somewhat better than what we do today.
Thus, generation Y would be weaker emotionally, wiser and advanced with worldly affairs, and the most assertive.
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