My first introduction to the Internet was when I was in 7th grade. My family signed up for the old school, AOL dial up. I remember being totally enthralled with it as soon as my father taught me how to set up a user name, profile, and email account.
I honestly do not know what I did before the Internet. I mean, I played with Barbies and was involved with intermediate soccer. But ever since then, and more so now, the Internet has been my hub for social events, career stepping stones, and immediate access to anything I ever wanted to know about.
Gen Z will be the first generation to not know what people did before the Internet. Talking to kids and tweens born between 1998 and 2011 about life before the Internet is kind of like our grandparents telling us about life before the television. Their eyes will go wide and they’ll inquire of us, “But how did you survive?”
The Huffington Post recently published an article called ” You’re Out: 20 Things That Became Obsolete This Decade.” The article discusses the windfall of new technology that we’ve seen appear over the last decade. It also discusses some items that will follow in the path of the dodo bird.
Gen Zers and especially kids born within the last couple of years will never know some of the essential items that the members of Gen Y grew up with. And I’m not talking about Thunder Cats or Popples.
Things like VCR’s, landlines, and even retirement plans will not exist in the lives of adult Gen Zers. They’ll be the most linked in, multi-tasking generation the world has ever come across.
My seven year-old nephew already knows the in’s and out’s of using an iPad. When I was his age, I was still serving plastic donuts and water to my dolls during our tea parties.
Gen Z will also have to carry the burdens of a technologically advanced world. They may see some of the huge effects of global warming in their lifetime as well as a number of different species going extinct.
As Dickens said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” I think Gen Z has their work cut out for them. I also think that they’ll change the universe if need be, as well.