There are many taboos and stereotypes that have been built around the younger generations, both with positive and negative goals, but is it fair to put the blame for something that is happening right now on the younger generations?
by Alice Alcaras
"The future of our world is in the hands of the new generations." How many times have we heard this statement? It’s a common statement powerful people use for their speeches, making sure everyone knows that it is up to the younger generations to make our world a better place. This statement could be interpreted in two different ways: it can bring hope and faith into the new generations, or blame the younger generation for not taking enough action to change the current situation of the world.
This article’s purpose is to bring light into how the new generations are seen nowadays by the older generations and by society in general. There are many taboos and stereotypes that have been built around the younger generations, both with positive and negative goals, but is it fair to put the blame for something that is happening right now on the younger generations? Is it fair to depend on them to solve those problems? Why are the people who refer to the younger generations with positive regards end up being the minority?
Young generations are to blame!
Nowadays Millenials are seen in a negative light from a large part of the population, but it is nothing new. The Greek philosopher Aristotle once said that “Young people are high-minded because they have not yet been humbled by life, nor have they experienced the force of circumstances. They think they know everything and are always quite sure about it.” This demonstrates how the stigma of young people not being able to satisfy adult expectations is something that has always lived amongst us. This line of thought accompanied us throughout the whole century until now.
In 2001, the Time released an article talking about the young generations, saying that “they have trouble making decisions. They would rather hike in the Himalayas than climb a corporate ladder. They have few heroes, no anthems, no style to call their own. They crave entertainment, but their attention span is as short as one zap of a TV dial.” This statement is the result of the quick development and integration of technology in our world, and unfortunately, young people are those who seem to have suffered the most from it (at least this is what the majority of adults think).
According to numerous studies, youngsters today have a shorter attention span—they spend a large amount of their time playing video games, in front of a computer, or surfing social media. Rather than thinking about what would be best for society, they think about what is best for them. There is this conception of selfishness which is often attributed to young people, which reflects the new view of the world. And, this is what worries most of the older generation. If this reflects how our future is going to be, what will it become of us? Is the world still going to be a welcoming place for all?
Younger generations seem to only give their attention to unimportant and silly things when there are very serious problems in the world that need to be solved as soon as possible. It is the way youngsters face those problems that give society a reason to think they are to blame for what is going to happen in the future. It is up to the new generations to take charge and guide us to have more hope.
Unfortunately, in these types of occasions, younger people do not prove themselves and this gives society no faith in them. One recent example is the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic was an opportunity for young people to show the world that they can be trusted and follow the rules, showing that they know how to manage themselves. Instead, the young generations once again gave society an opportunity to critique them and prove to the world that they are irresponsible and untrusty.
It is not all the young generations’ fault.
Why do you think the future of the world is all up to the youngsters? You should also think about who raised them. To think that all the young generations are the same and should be blamed it is a huge mistake.
Not all younger people pay attention to silly things or do not bring something valuable to our world. There are adolescents that bring hope to our future by making new discoveries, studying hard and following their dreams to make the world a better place. A big part of this is very much influenced by their education, the opportunities they are given and the society they are brought up in.
And who is to “blame” now? Looking at the other side of the medal, it is what the parents teach their children about what is important in life, how to always have goals and to improve themselves every time. They should teach them to think about others, and be generous. If parents do not put a good base down for the children, we cannot expect them to have the values we want in the future.
Another relevant factor is society. This could be seen as a circle with no end or beginning: how can society expect young people to behave in certain ways if society is the first one to treat them with no respect and to take them for granted? Society is always ready to judge the new generation, putting the blame on them even when there is no reason to. Many times the younger generation is used as a scapegoat, and the real problem remains unsolved. So, how can we still blame the young generations?
To link back to the COVID-19 issue, young people have been seen going out, and blamed for going to parties and bars and meeting up with friends. Do we really think adults did not do the same things, if not worse? Why are only the younger generations shown on the news? Why, when there were new cases, were always the youngsters the first ones to refer to? This stigma around the young generations needs to change.
It is all about the stigma.
At this point, we need to think about what is best for the majority of us and for our future. To do this, we need to stop pointing fingers and be honest with ourselves, realising that blaming someone else for what is happening to our world is only going to make things worse.
If we really want to assure a better place for our future generations, we need to educate the new generations and show them how it is done, instead of constantly judging and attacking them. Once this is done, young people need to make an effort, pay attention and show dedication to make the world a better place.
The world is our home and everyone has to take care of it in their own way, but by always respecting others. The stigma around younger generations not being able to do anything or not dedicating their time to anything good needs to change. Giving hope and faith to the young generations, will make them feel responsible and support from society will make them grow to become the bright future of our world.