As a 22-year old "millennial," I find that a lot of assumptions are made about the way my generation relates to and feels about technology. People assume that because we're known for finding relationships on Tinder, taking selfies on Snapchat and filling social media roles across companies, we are technology's most staunch advocates. But if I've learned one thing in my years being raised in a world filled with brimming technological advancements, relying on my trusty MacBook (and let's be honest, Google) to succeed at a top university and working to develop a social media presence for various companies since graduation, it is that my generation is perhaps the most resentful of the technological boom for which we are often credited.
Unlike our parents, we are less likely to marvel at technology -- we are able to multitask, don't tune out others when we get a text message, and are less likely to post unfortunate intricacies of our lives on social media. And unlike our younger siblings, cousins and perhaps even children, we were not raised with these technologies being an integral part of our day-to-day routines.
We remember when Apple made purple translucent desktops and we spent our 30 minutes of daily computer time playing Backyard Soccer or Icy Tower. We remember when books were not on Kindles and when playtime meant tag and red rover. We remember when selfies were crayon portraits.
We are a generation caught in the middle. We fear teaching our children to read on iPads or buying them an cell phone at 5 years old, but we know the improbability (and even impossibility) of being able to maintain some sort of simplicity in a world that's moving quicker than we wish it was. We often debate whether there's a way to deny our children these indulgent technologies without simultaneously denying them participation in their own generation. How do we preserve the integrity of our own generation without holding our children back from theirs? It's the same debate we have to turning off our phones, shutting off our Internet, and stowing out laptops away -- it sounds appealing in thought, but feels impossible in practice.
Yes, there are those of us that break these stereotypes. But generally, people tend to get it wrong about the generation labeled self-centered, ruthlessly driven and, most of all, tech-obsessed. We are instead a generation caught in a technological limbo: endlessly resentful of the technology we are reliant on.
Where do we go from here? I'm not quite sure. What we now consider 'simple pleasures' are things that, compared to stories our grandparents tell, feel like they shouldn't have been considered simple at all. How do we reject a culture we are a part of and, more than that, a part of creating? Is it hypocritical to attempt to set ourselves apart from the very technology we are so entrenched in?
I think not. Instead, I think our generation plays a critical role in the direction that technology is going -- and I believe it is our responsibility to play up our natural position of mediator in the tension between old world and new world. It's crucial that we preserve -- and act on -- our longing for a less tech-obsessed world, that we balance our desire for convenience with that for simplicity, and that we remember how much we hate seeing kids taking Instagram selfies when we have kids of our own.
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