I never realized how lucky I was to be blessed with having shelter, food and clothes to wear. I always took things for granted and always expected things to go my way and to receive everything that I wanted, instead of working hard towards my goal myself. Looking back, I was only doing what every typical child in our generation was doing. Our generation is considered the Generation Y, The Millennial, Generation Next, or Generation me. We are the generation of people born during the 1980s and early 1990s.
Our generation is growing and increasing in size every single day. Our generation’s population size has reached the point where we’re the largest part of the entire human population. Unlike other generations before us like our parents the Baby Boomers, we the Millennial Generation have extremely outstanding qualities and a great environment filled with excess amount of opportunities but we take it for granted without realizing it.
We as the future generation are extremely lucky to be living in this era despite the many hard obstacles that we are currently struggling through.
We are capable of making the world a better place through community service or even starting movements to end a cause. But even with these given opportunities within our grasp, our generation can’t fully benefit or even acknowledge them to the greatest of our abilities because of our egotistic nature, materialism and social media addiction. Our generation is filled with many egotistic youth who only care about themselves. It’s hard for our generation to not have this sense that we are special and should have the center of attention at all times.
In Larry Gordon and Louis Sahagun’s essay “Gen Y’s Ego Trip Takes a Bad Turn”, Jean Twenge a San Diego State associated professor and lead author states “Some of the increase in narcissistic attitudes was probably caused by the self-esteem programs that many elementary schools adopted 20 years ago, the study suggests. It notes that nursery school programs began to have children sing songs that proclaim: “I am special, I am special. Look at me” (167). We basically have had this mindset of being the center of attention through what we learned in elementary whether it was through music and singing or just hearing it from our peers.
In Jonah Goldberg’s essay “Isn’t That Special”, Twenge made a report with her team of psychologist on the self-esteem issue which led to their conclusion that “Today’s American youth are the most self-absorbed since we’ve studied the subject. We need to stop endlessly repeating, you’re special, and having children repeat that back, Twenge told the Associated Press. Kids are self-centered enough already” (174). In other words, our society needs to stop constantly reciting the phrase “you’re special” to us the Millennial Generation because it will only cause our egos to sky rocket.
I can recall throughout my childhood that my parents, aunts, uncles and even grandparents would always tell my cousins and me that we were all very special individuals who will succeed in life. Even until this day, they continue to say that we’re special and that they’re proud of the type of children we’re becoming. This doesn’t entirely help me or my cousins at all. Instead, it just causes us to become more conceited than before. Nowadays, everywhere I go, I always see our generation talking back to parents, making a fuss when things don’t go according to plan or their way, or even when they don’t get something that they want.
We expect to receive everything freely because that’s how it was when we were younger instead of actually making an effort and working hard toward our goal. Our parents would get us anything we would because they wanted to provide us with everything that they didn’t get when they were our age. This growing mindset of being self-centered and egotistic is continuing to be a huge issue among our generation today which will only maintain that way unless we make a change. Materialism among us the Millennial is manifesting into a greater issue every single day.
According to Sophia Yan, writer for The Oberlin Review, “Generation Y has grown up in a world with diverse Internet resources, iPods, MySpace, and intense multitasking — simultaneously chatting on AIM, finishing a problem set, watching television and listening to music. ” Our generation has grown up with all these inventions of cell phones, computers, iPods and the internet; we have basically become the masters of technology. We’re completely compelled by always having to get the newly made popular gadget. For instance, we are obsessed with Apple products.
No matter where I’m at, whether it is at the mall, grocery store, park, school, etc… I always see people of my generation with some type of Apple product. Once a new apple product comes out, it is like our generation simply receives a signal in our mind making us inclined to go get the new product. A great example of an apple product we’re obsessed with would be the iPhones. When the iPhone 5 came out about 2 months ago in September, all I heard my friends talk about was planning out when they were going to get it although they already had an iPhone 4 or 4s in working condition.
The only new feature that I simply noticed about the 5 which differed from the 4 or 4s was that the screen was larger, the phone was thinner and that the internet on the phone was slightly faster. When I asked them why they wanted to get it, they didn’t really have any reasonable reason as to why they were getting it. They were simply getting it because it was a new apple product. This led me to wonder about how our generation came to become as spoiled and engulfed in materialistic items as we are now.
But in truth, we are just a generation that is very concerned with how people see us and what they think of us. According to the Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, “Young consumers, especially, have a need to bolster their self-images through having “cool” looks. Generation Y consumers generally prefer brands with an identity based on values with which they can identify and through which they can express their individuality. ” We basically prefer having brand name items to wear or use because that’s all we see people around us having which causes us to also want to get them in order to fit in.
We can’t help but love our name brand clothes, shoes, accessories, purses, computers/ laptops, internet, iPods, cars, and of course money. So, we need to actually take a moment and tell ourselves that in order for us to fix this materialistic problem that we’re struggling with, we have to realize that we don’t always have to give into temptation of getting something because it just came out or because our friends or peers got it. Our generation is completely and utterly obsessed with the use of Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Twitter and other social media sites.
Nowadays, every teenager or youth is seen to be online quite often interacting with their friends or peers. In “[email protected]: Generation Next Is Living Out Loud and Online” Melissa Ludwig states “In these kids, a combination of self-confidence and technological savvy has led to the explosion of Web sites such as YouTube, which allows users to upload homemade videos, and social networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook, where anyone can create a personalized Web site to message friends and post pictures, blogs, videos and music” (170). Ludwig implies that within our generation the ombining of having self-esteem and being extremely knowledgeable with the usage of technology has led to the massive increase in usage of social media websites. Our generation has grown way too fond of the social media sites and is enthralled in its features. Ludwig states “Facebook, Myspace and YouTube provide an outlet to a generation of voices competing to be heard, she said. The sites have gone beyond touching base with friends to an arena where people vie for the most digital friends, the best videos, the coolest sites, and biggest audience” (171).
She also states “Now it all becomes a competition, seeking attention and seeking status rather than a true connection between people, or a meaningful connection” (171). These sites have grown from just being a social media site; rather they are growing into a competition of status. For example, Tumblr is a free blogging site where users can freely share anything like text, images, links, videos, quotes, etc. onto their own personal blog site.
There is also this feature called “Followers”, where a lot of Tumblr users like to refer to as the more followers you have, the more “Tumblr Famous” you are. So people like to promote themselves to get followers. I personally have a Tumblr, but I could care less about how many followers I have. I just use the site to express my emotions and thoughts freely when I’m unable to do it in reality. Several of my friends on the other hand are constantly bragging about how many followers they have and continue to want to gain more.
With us being focused on something as silly as how many followers we have on a blog site, we really need to rethink about how we can change our ways and use our new technological resources to make the world a better place. We are generation that is capable of making a positive and great impact on the world but instead we decide to let these negative aspects in our life dominate our lives. We have the opportunity to make the world a better place for our future children but first we have to change our egotism, materialistic desires and our usage/addiction to social networking and media.
We have become lazy and dependent on our parents to provide everything for us or for things to be easily given to us because of the way we grew up and how we were raised as a child. Our generation really needs to take steps into making a change of our negative habits and turning them into positive ones that will allow us to embrace the great opportunities out there for us to create a better world for our future kids.