Further division of generations would better represent the technological advancements between them.
Should the generations be split into smaller groups than they are today? If you use any sort of social media or barely browse the Internet, you have undoubtedly come across articles and posts stating, “Millennials are killing X industry,” or “Gen Z kids just don’t understand…” or even “You aren’t a true ‘90s kid if you don’t remember …”
Who are these posts aimed at? At first glance, they seem clearly targeted at one party. But when you look closely, the lines are blurred. For example, I was born in 1999, so technically I am a ‘90s kid, even if that isn’t a specific generation. However, half of the posts stating what makes a “true ‘90s kid” are using things from before I was born that were either pulled from production (in the case of toys) or cancelled (in the case of shows) before I was old enough to use or watch them.
So am I a ‘90s kid? Technically, one could answer both yes and no to that question, especially when you bring in the actual parameters of the years that define the generations. Most people believe that the graduating high school class of 2018 was the last of millennials in high school, but the actual data says otherwise. According to MentalFloss.com, millennials are the people born from 1981 to 1996, making them 22–36 years old. This means that half of the seniors of this year are the last year of millennials going to college, at least by the traditional educational route. From 1997 on, all children born are of Generation Z, including the children born this year.
This cut-off of 1996 is important to the Pew Research Center because it “points to a generation that is old enough to have experienced and comprehend 9/11, while also finding their way through the 2008 recession as young adults,” according to MentalFloss.com.
But how does this actually affect us? I know for a fact that my brother, who was born in 1998, would not consider himself in the same generation as the second-graders in the elementary schools around Tulsa. So this then begs the question, do generational divides actually matter, and are they even correct?
While I can’t argue with the Pew Research Center, I can discuss how it matters. When talking to my brother, he said that the reason he doesn’t consider himself within the same generation as the younger children today is due to great technological advances that have happened between when he was born to when the elementary kids of today were born.
Even a teacher from my high school, who is technically a millennial, doesn’t consider herself one due to the technological advances of her time. She is only 32, but she said that herself and others near her age consider themselves the “Oregon Trail” generation; they are old enough to remember a time without Internet, but young enough to be the demographic audience the Internet was aimed at and have the ability to pick it up quickly when it came out.
Should generations be split further? Should there be another split between the “Oregon Trail” generation and the millennials, and between the older and younger Gen Z kids? Many older Gen Z kids have claimed the term “centennials” as the title to their generation, because they were born around the turn of the century.
If they were split further, the generations would be treated differently. The “Oregon Trail” millennials wouldn’t feel blamed for allegedly killing industries while also feeling validation for their accomplishments in technology. Younger millennials would be able to use their own accomplishments to protect themselves as well. With how the business industry has been evolving, the “Oregon Trail” generation want every accomplishment they can get, while the younger millennials are constantly coming up with various new businesses that they want recognition for.
The older Gen Z, the “Centennials,” would be able to definitively say what was theirs as children growing up while also separating themselves from the elementary kids of today, as they are so different. Technology is advancing so rapidly that some of the technology that centennials had as children, the Gen Z kids don’t even know about it. The separation would allow for the Centennials, like my brother, to be respected for their age, as they so often aren’t. It would also allow the Gen Z kids to claim what was theirs in their childhoods as they get older.
Technology is advancing at a rapid rate — so rapid that it is amazing to think that it has only been a little over a decade since the first iPhone came out, yet they have come so far with it. Due to this rapid advancement, most people do not realize that this affects the generational divides as strongly as it does. These aforementioned reasons are why I believe that the generations should be split further into these groups. With how technology is advancing, people will be more and more separated with the groups born after them and should be treated as such.