Millennials are making the world a better place

By Alyssa DiSabito

Collegian File Photo
Collegian File Photo

In recent years, members of Generation X, along with members of older generations, have been skeptical of Millennials – generally, those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s – and whether or not they have the potential to successfully transition into adulthood and lead productive lives. Many worry that the technological society younger generations have been immersed in has caused them to become lazy, dependent and to have poor work ethic. However, the technological age Millennials are living in, along with the ways they are utilizing its advances, is a big part of what is going to make this world a better place.

Before the Internet became popular, people had fewer ways of obtaining information. News could only be accessed through newspapers, radio and television – which, at the time, did not have very many channels to choose from. Television and newspapers would usually highlight traditional male-female relationships and domestic issues, and focus almost solely on the perspective of white males. With limited exposure to things like culture, politics, varying points of view and foreign affairs, it can be assumed that people living during this time had a relatively weak conception of what life was like outside the confines of their own culture.

Millennials, however, do not face this problem to the extent previous generations once did. Now anyone can access vast amounts of information whenever they want it. From a young age, Millennials have not had to depend solely on newspapers and TV for information. Unlike members of previous generations, today’s youth is being exposed to cultural differences, feminism, global issues, gay rights and more, all thanks to the Internet.

Until recently, topics such as feminism and gay rights were hardly ever viewed in a positive light; these topics were never discussed in schools, on children’s television shows or in most households for fear of what might happen if they were. Thankfully, the Internet has provided a way for young people to learn about such topics to which they would otherwise not have access. The technological age has exposed Millennials to things that, for a long time, were considered taboo, wrong or otherwise not worth discussing. Millennials possess knowledge of what the world is like beyond their own backyard and have therefore, as a whole, become a much more open-minded generation.

One of the primary factors contributing to this open-mindedness is social media. According to a 2010 Pew Research Center study, 73 percent of “wired American teens” and 72 percent of online young adults ages 18-29 utilize social media sites. Websites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have allowed people from all over the globe to connect with each other and to learn about ways of life that differ from their own. It has also provided a way for people to find others with whom they can relate and communicate. The ability of younger generations to connect with each other has given traction to topics like gay rights, cultural differences, feminism, mental illness and more  Relatedly, a 2013 Pew Research study showed that 92 percent of America’s LGBT adults surveyed feel that “society has become more accepting of them in the past decade.”

The world is a much different place now than it was when the Baby Boomers or even the members of Generation X were transitioning into adulthood. With the advent of the Internet and other various forms of technology, Millennials do not function in the same manner as previous generations did, but this is not a bad thing. Not only is the Millennial generation one of the most open-minded: it is also the most self-expressive, diverse and optimistic about the future, and is on track to becoming the most educated generation in American history.

Despite the fact that there are members of previous generations who believe that the Millennials do not have what it takes to make it in the world, it is becoming clearer each day that, thanks to the opportunistic technological age and Millennials’ open-mindedness, the world is that much closer to becoming a better place.

 

Alyssa DiSabito is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]