Beyond Millennials: One generation’s awkward rise to tech dominance

Every generation loses its beans over the state of the next generation. I thought I was one to never indulge in such inane concerns until last week, I heard a five-year-old kid bleat on about the speed of the internet.

Although her generation has some time to go before they turn into world disappointments, I am proud to say my millennial homies and I have set the bar pretty high.

However, this essay is not about us and how rad we, or the subsequent generations are.

This is a bit of a reverse rant; a vindication if you will. This is flinging the mortification back at the previous generations.

So, Salutations previous generation! You know who you are.

Firstly, thanks for getting us everything we needed. We now have someone to blame for our overall existential emptiness. Wanted to start off on a positive note there.

Secondly, and the reason for this essay: there’s this worrying trend about you and your coevals that I have just started to notice. After a series of empirical observations, I did a quick survey with my pals and they seemed pretty concerned for you as well.

Let me get straight to the point: You folks have become addicted to technology.

It’s cute that you want to catch up with the trends and send us a friend request and all that, but to see you bordering on Nigerian scammer territory is disconcerting.

Let’s talk about just one of your favorite preoccupations: Whatsapp groups.

I get that it brings us all together and that we celebrate birthdays on it and can interrupt each other in ways that would look crazy in the real world, but I felt a lot closer to you when we met you once in like three years.

When we meet now, you are noodling around on your phone and sound like a forwarded message when you speak. It’s funny and sad and pathetic at the same time.

It was poignant when my generation educated you on how to use a smartphone, set up your Facebook account and told you how to turn-off caps lock. We were all happy you were so open to change.

I didn’t notice anything was wrong until, over and over again, I found you all staring into your phones — every time we got together. You seem to prefer the abstractions of a group and liking each other inside a virtual haven than in the real world.

I know we may have been disappointments as kids, but clinging to your phone like it’s the kid you always wish you had is a harsh rejoinder.

But what the heck am I, a slave to technology myself, telling you all this for?

I tell you because I am trying to make an effort now. It makes me guilty that I am constantly on my phone, especially around you. While I try, you are poking at your phone, and all of a sudden, I am the one that looks like a total idiot.

As we grow older, we bank on real relationships, love, and laughter to keep us going. Take it from my generation’s experience so far: technology is a pretty shitty substitute for that.

Tech is great for learning something new or seeing your grandkids in some other part of the world or even starting a small business. But after a point, it’ll take over your life only to make you forget you have one.

I know you are well past the carrot-eating-take-care-of-your-eyes age and that you need some spice to your otherwise low-salt, sugar-free existence. Relying on social media for that is like eating stale food. It’s not just toxic, but it convinces you that you are living a rather pitiable existence the subsequent generation (us) can never empathize with.

They say you become children and us parents over time, but this is not what anyone had in mind.

None of this is me blaming you all over again. Your generation has passed on some very important lessons onto ours, but we seem to have passed on the worst possible lesson back. Feel free to blame us, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

I never thought I would ever have to tell you this: you need to sit in Timeout¹

Don’t allow yourself to be tickled by tech. Before you know, you will be throwing up. Don’t let a populace of semi-conscious, validation-craving half-wits run your lives. You will lose the inability to feel.

Forget us and our limitless needs. Do something for yourself. Read a book. Take a walk. Travel. Don’t let tech own you like it owns us. The world doesn’t need more hideous photos; it’s hungry for good stories. You have a good life; a deep life ahead of you. This life is the only analogy left on how, still, to live. Please don’t take that away from us.

Now, what are you waiting for? Flush your phone down the toilet. But before you do that, ensure you forward this essay to thirteen people.

Footnote:

[1] Timeout: a brief period of time during which a misbehaving child is put on their own so that they can regain control over their emotions.

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