Stop stereotyping millennials

Guy Birchall

Topics Politics

Research carried out by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest claims that young people are so addicted to their smartphones, that being separated from them causes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

There is no need to get bogged down in whether the 87 people tested were in fact addicted to their smartphones, or whether they indeed displayed symptoms of a condition more commonly experienced by those who have suffered the horrors of war. It’s clear, they did not. But what does deserve some attention is the blithe dismissal of an entire generation as mindless oafs tapping away at tiny screens.

Older generations like to boast that they spent their youth out in fields, smoking better drugs than are available today, and reading Kerouac, pretending that driving from Chelmsford to Swansea one weekend is basically the same thing as On the Road. The fact is that their experience is incomparable to today – the technology we have was simply not available back then.

It is undoubtedly fashionable to dismiss millennials as selfie-obsessed sadcases whose main source of excitement is sending around pictures of their genitals. But this is not an accurate reflection of this generation. There are many young people who welcome the blissful internet silence when they are without signal, or the joy of a holiday where they can’t be contacted.

Most people get on with their lives outside of the digital world. They have jobs, real relationships and real friendships to occupy their time. They don’t howl at the moon when Brexit or Trump happens and tweet pictures of themselves at a march, they get on with life. Indeed – whisper it – some of them were actually in favour of those things. Of course, you never hear about these people because they don’t want to be pestered by annoying surveys or academic studies.

We need to end this boring fashion for stereotyping an entire generation because of a few unstable crybabies who can’t go 20 minutes without tweeting. The truly shocking thing is that most young people are pretty normal.

Guy Birchall is a writer based in London.

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Topics Politics


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