It is commonly said that my generation, Generation Y, is so distracted by technology that we are dissipating our social skills, are inherently impatient and are often marked as lazy and delusional about career success.
I beg to differ, and here’s why…
It was the start of the New Year, 2015, when I read an article in the Huffington Post about my generation titled “11 Things You Should Know About Generation Y.” The article mentioned a startling statistic that made me grin from ear to ear…
61% of Generation Y feels personally responsible for making a difference in the world.
More than half of our generation wants to change the world in one way or another. Some older generations say that this is our delusion. We think we can change the world through our careers and somehow that’s a flaw?
Generation Y doesn’t receive nearly enough credit. Here is a list of accomplishments by my sparkling generation:
The topic of human rights and health has never been so relevant. Marriage equality is effective in 37 states, McDonalds has stopped using antibiotics in its chicken nuggets, Ringling Brothers Circus has stopped using and abusing elephants in its shows and Monsanto’s earnings are dropping rapidly- and if you think the youth had nothing to do with this, you are seriously mistaken.
Being immersed in technology shouldn’t be held against us. Heck, it should be praised about. We know how to find information on anything. Seriously, give us a computer and 15 minutes and we can have any statistics you need and then some. Apart of my job here at Tell Them is to do policy research and tracking. This task comes easy for me because navigating the internet is something I grew up on. They might as well call use Generation i for our iPhones, iPads, iPods and i-whatever-else-is-out-there.
Now, I do see the downside of technology and destroying social skills. I believe that this is possible and have seen it firsthand, but more than half the time we use technology, we are using it for social purposes.
We are the generation that was the first to use MySpace, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Snap Chat and LinkedIn. Whether using a mobile device or a desktop, when we’re browsing the internet, in some capacity, we are doing it socially and connecting with people on some levels.
More than half (59%) of President Obama’s voters were of Generation Y. Say what you will, but my generation is politically engaged. How do I know you ask? I work in policy, in the capitol of South Carolina, a state that is hostile to progression and where a university filled with Generation Y’s make up half the population. In our classrooms we discuss, we debate and we encourage civic and social engagement through policies. I have an obscene amount of friends who work in politics, policy work and campaigns. We make changes and the proof is in the policy. We advocate, we care and we want to change the world… well 61% or so.
Social media comes full circle with this concept. Social media is one of the most utilized outreach and engagement platforms in campaigning. Wondering who make up more than half of social media users? Surprise- the youth. Politicians and lawmakers are engaging us through the technology that we partake in- so why are we being shamed for being so engaged in technology when it’s aiding in our civic duty of being politically knowledgeable?
John Lennon wasn’t the only one. Generation Y has been constantly trashed for being rewarded for participation and not actual achievement, and so we believe we can accomplish anything. I am having a very hard time seeing this as a flaw. Personally, I find this is the greatest attribution we have as a generation. How dare anyone tell us that this is unrealistic and we can’t change the world when we have already? We are spearheading a revolution in this country where we no longer want to tolerate differences, we want to celebrate them. We understand that all policies affect us, our future, our children, our health, our safety and most importantly each other.
I work in the field of health policy and human rights and already have aided in changing the world. Every day I come to work and help the most influential people I have ever had the pleasure of working for pass bills that improve health and equality, and block bills that infringe on these things. Even if my job is a low level policy aid, if one bill I had advocated for passes, I have helped change the world. I am a Generation Y, tech savvy, politically engaged dreamer who is doing what the older generations seem to think we are delusional for.
As a generation, we should be judged on our merits and accomplishments, not on our misconceptions.