From the Left

By Brendan LeRoy

few weeks ago I decided I had become too reliant on my smartphone. Here at UNH the dependency on these devices is extreme as I watch people walk and text at the same time or, at the very least, walk holding the phones. At each vibration I became compelled to check regardless of whether or not I was in class or walking around campus. I decided to return to the glory of the QWERTY texting phone, now called a basic phone or colloquially a ‘dumb phone.’ Most people I encountered thought it was a great idea to rescind my useless Internet usage with the exception of my 10-year-old brother, Aiden.

Aiden’s jaw dropped as the idea of giving up this vital piece of technology was incomprehensible. For much of his day he is situated in front of a computer playing Minecraft and listening to YouTube videos on his iPad. I have found that this behavior among the young is detrimental; their lack of social interaction outside of the virtual world frightens me as the youth of today do not appreciate the same activities and games I enjoyed as a child.

A few days ago I sat down with Aiden, a truly brilliant child, and discussed what children appreciate in his age group. He and his fourth grade peers are already fully engaged in all that the Internet has to offer from virtual interaction to unlimited consumption of information. At the same age I was entirely satisfied playing Putt-Putt and Freddie the Fish. When Aiden saw my phone he looked at it in awe as I rapidly typed messages using the numeric keypad. He told me that I had just decided to return to the technology of the dinosaurs. In fact, he said that he would rather die than lose connection to the virtual world. My first thought was shock.

My second thought was a reconsideration of my judgmental attitude and attempted to view the world through his lens. Aside from the disputed date, children born around the year 2000 and onwards are considered to be members of a separate generation from the average college student. Those born between 1980 and 2000 are members of Generation Y or the Millennial Generation. Despite our relationship as siblings, our 12-year age gap places us in separate generations. Aiden is placed in Generation Z, or the Homeland Generation, which is named for children born in the United States post-September 11.

By only a few years difference the last few decades have brought about radical change, especially since the year 2000. Millennials were the first generation to have been introduced to technology from birth but Generation Z is the first generation to have technology as the cornerstone of their lives. Our judgment of this change is far from unusual. Franklin Roosevelt criticized the Silent Generation of their complacency to the ills of society, John F. Kennedy criticized the Baby Boomers for their obsession with individualism instead of connectivity toward communal bonds. The Millennials are criticized for our apparent obsession of self. Naturally we are compelled to criticize the new generation.

However, the change which has taken place between the Millennial Generation and the Homeland Generation is extreme. The introduction of uninterrupted and endless access to information has created a radical change in the popular culture, mode of communication, access to information and leisure. Among the college-aged, this transition period is remarkably evident.

Preconceived prejudice aside, the Homeland Generation may very well be the first to experience the greatest change in society since the invention of electricity. Taking away the internet from Aiden could be akin to taking lighting away from us. It is their world and the introduction of a lifetime within interconnectivity will shape every corner of society.

The reality is that this generation shows signs of being more tolerant of others’ differences, more connected to their parents, have the capability to form relationships with people around the world, self-educate based on their own interests and are not influenced by the same propaganda that influences us. The new generation is composed of the first true individuals, the individuals that the Baby Boomers wanted to be.

Technology provides the children of today a world shaped directly to their own identity. The world does not understand the Homeland Generation due to their intrinsic uniqueness and this uniqueness will be the antagonist for the necessary and drastic change we all desperately desire but fail to execute. The revolution by Generation Z will be unhalted by their elders who will never understand them. The ills that face society from the growing economic inequality to the lack of voice in politics, international hostility and gender and race inequality could be changed by these children. They are unique with a mindset unlike all others before them. Generation Z is the reset button the world has needed for a long time. The Homeland Generation will save us all.

Brendan LeRoy is a junior majoring in linguistics.

few weeks ago I decided I had become too reliant on my smartphone. Here at UNH the dependency on these devices is extreme as I watch people walk and text at the same time or, at the very least, walk holding the phones. At each vibration I became compelled to check regardless of whether or not I was in class or walking around campus. I decided to return to the glory of the QWERTY texting phone, now called a basic phone or colloquially a ‘dumb phone.’ Most people I encountered thought it was a great idea to rescind my useless Internet usage with the exception of my 10-year-old brother, Aiden.

Aiden’s jaw dropped as the idea of giving up this vital piece of technology was incomprehensible. For much of his day he is situated in front of a computer playing Minecraft and listening to YouTube videos on his iPad. I have found that this behavior among the young is detrimental; their lack of social interaction outside of the virtual world frightens me as the youth of today do not appreciate the same activities and games I enjoyed as a child.

A few days ago I sat down with Aiden, a truly brilliant child, and discussed what children appreciate in his age group. He and his fourth grade peers are already fully engaged in all that the Internet has to offer from virtual interaction to unlimited consumption of information. At the same age I was entirely satisfied playing Putt-Putt and Freddie the Fish. When Aiden saw my phone he looked at it in awe as I rapidly typed messages using the numeric keypad. He told me that I had just decided to return to the technology of the dinosaurs. In fact, he said that he would rather die than lose connection to the virtual world. My first thought was shock.

My second thought was a reconsideration of my judgmental attitude and attempted to view the world through his lens. Aside from the disputed date, children born around the year 2000 and onwards are considered to be members of a separate generation from the average college student. Those born between 1980 and 2000 are members of Generation Y or the Millennial Generation. Despite our relationship as siblings, our 12-year age gap places us in separate generations. Aiden is placed in Generation Z, or the Homeland Generation, which is named for children born in the United States post-September 11.

By only a few years difference the last few decades have brought about radical change, especially since the year 2000. Millennials were the first generation to have been introduced to technology from birth but Generation Z is the first generation to have technology as the cornerstone of their lives. Our judgment of this change is far from unusual. Franklin Roosevelt criticized the Silent Generation of their complacency to the ills of society, John F. Kennedy criticized the Baby Boomers for their obsession with individualism instead of connectivity toward communal bonds. The Millennials are criticized for our apparent obsession of self. Naturally we are compelled to criticize the new generation.

However, the change which has taken place between the Millennial Generation and the Homeland Generation is extreme. The introduction of uninterrupted and endless access to information has created a radical change in the popular culture, mode of communication, access to information and leisure. Among the college-aged, this transition period is remarkably evident.

Preconceived prejudice aside, the Homeland Generation may very well be the first to experience the greatest change in society since the invention of electricity. Taking away the internet from Aiden could be akin to taking lighting away from us. It is their world and the introduction of a lifetime within interconnectivity will shape every corner of society.

The reality is that this generation shows signs of being more tolerant of others’ differences, more connected to their parents, have the capability to form relationships with people around the world, self-educate based on their own interests and are not influenced by the same propaganda that influences us. The new generation is composed of the first true individuals, the individuals that the Baby Boomers wanted to be.

Technology provides the children of today a world shaped directly to their own identity. The world does not understand the Homeland Generation due to their intrinsic uniqueness and this uniqueness will be the antagonist for the necessary and drastic change we all desperately desire but fail to execute. The revolution by Generation Z will be unhalted by their elders who will never understand them. The ills that face society from the growing economic inequality to the lack of voice in politics, international hostility and gender and race inequality could be changed by these children. They are unique with a mindset unlike all others before them. Generation Z is the reset button the world has needed for a long time. The Homeland Generation will save us all.

Brendan LeRoy is a junior majoring in linguistics.

Executive Editor