Social media as population control? New research reveals fewer millennials interested in dating, love

TRACEY WATSON–Many Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers have strong views about Millennials. They appear to be socially disconnected (at least from real-life people), liberal in their views, and their “anything goes” philosophy seems to indicate that they would be promiscuous in their behavior. Now, a book by Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University, entitled iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us, gives surprising new insight into what Millennials – and particularly iGeners (those born after 1995) – are really like.

To start with, let’s get all the generations straight. The Daily Mail explains it as follows:

  • People born in or before 1946 are known as the Silent Generation;
  • If you were born between 1946 and 1964 you’re a Baby Boomer;
  • Generation X refers to people born between 1964 and 1980;
  • Millennials were born between 1980 and 2000; and
  • A Millennial sub-group called iGen refers to kids born in 1995 or later. This generation has been exposed to smartphones and social media their entire lives.

Professor Twenge’s research – which involved surveying 11 million young people, in addition to many personal interviews – indicates that iGen kids are so focused on connecting with others via social media that they are far less interested in physically spending time with their peers than previous generations.

“Teens are spending an enormous amount of time, primarily on their smart phones and communicating with their friends electronically,” Twenge told the Today program on BBC Radio 4. “What that’s meant is they are spending less time interacting with their friends in person, hanging out with their friends.”

This has extended to dating, as well, and even to sexual activity.

While about 85 percent of 14 to 18-year-old Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers actively dated, only 56 percent of iGeners of the same age do so.

There has been an almost 40 percent decline in sexual activity among 14 and 15-year-olds since 1991, and the average teenager now has sex for the first time at the age of 17.

Even more surprisingly, the iGeners surveyed were predominantly conservative in their views. On controversial issues like same-sex marriage, cannabis legislation and transgender rights, 59 percent of those surveyed self-identified as conservative.

The Mail adds:

The questioned were more prudent than Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers but not quite as cash-savvy as those born in 1945 or before.

In fact, Millennials as a whole are not particularly cash-savvy and seem to have a very different work ethic and priorities to previous generations.

A survey conducted by Mobilron found that about 60 percent of Millennials surveyed would simply quit their jobs if their bosses cracked down on social media use during working hours. This is likely because having grown up with technology at their fingertips, this generation simply has no idea how to survive without it. (Related: Keep up with the latest developments in technology at Glitch.news.)

Overall, it would seem iGeners might not be such a bunch after all, as long as they can get some help disconnecting from their mobile devices – at least while they’re at work.

Won’t it be interesting to see what their kids are like?


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