The world has a way of lumping those born in certain time
frames together and then labeling them as
such. There was the Baby Boomer Generation 1940’s-1950’s, Generation X 1960’s-1970’s, Millen- nials 1980’s-1990’s and Generation Z from 2000
to present. Each of these generations has faced criticism but none more so than the post-Millenni- als and Generation Z. These two generations have something in common, the internet.
The internet came about in the mid 1980’s though those owning a computer and accessing it were few and far between. By the late 1990’s most homes had a home computer with internet access. Some may remember the term, “you’ve got mail”
a prompt issued by AOL when one received email. We’ve come a long way since those days. Now multiple email providers and seemingly unlimit- ed “web sur ng” capabilities o er endless search choices.
As we make our way speedily up the tech- nology ladder we now have generations being born who have never not known the internet or phone/tablet interaction. Some believe that con- stant technology stimulation has dire consequenc- es. These Gen-Xer’s are “tech savvy but practically inept,” said Chris Hunter, local inventor. Hunter references his observations on this new genera- tion after having his 16-year-old nephew stay with him for the summer.
“You give these kids tech and they are amazing
at it but hand them a rake or a sponge and they have no idea what to do with it,” said Hunter. Hunter worries about this especially when words like nuclear bomb are being tossed around. “What would happen if we suddenly lost all Internet,” asks Hunter.
“These kids wouldn’t know the rst thing about getting food, collecting water or basic so- cialization.”
Hunters adventure in Generation Z began when his 16-year-old nephew was caught stealing.
He was given a choice of juvenile hall or working for his uncle for the summer. Hunter is a homesteader living o -grid in the community of Haystack, just outside of Fox. There is much to be done at the homestead, from land clearing, stump pulling, gardening and special projects. Hunter was excited to have help but unfortunately that union became nothing short of a nightmare.
It began with his nephew’s phone, “his lifeline,” for he could never be far from it and compulsively checked it every few seconds or so. Hunter placed a call and had his nephew’s phone shut o for the summer. That is when the fun began. His nephew spent 10 days with withdrawal like symptoms. He would “stare sadly at the blank inoperable phone, became irritable, had a bad at- titude when speaking and constantly stormed o .” He was unsure on how to properly use a shovel and commented that the “dirt was too hard,” when asked to dig up roots. Doing dishes was some- thing his nephew knew nothing about.
“It was like he didn’t even notice the dishes in the sink, even though he had made them.” As with many things throughout the summer his nephew would quit, step back and wait for someone else to do it.
Hunter worries his nephew and those like him are not prepared for life. Hunter see’s these same “zombie-like” trances as people become so enraptured with their phones they forget there is a world happening around them. This is especially true in terms of socialization.
“This generation is so sheltered, they have no idea what is going on in the world,” said Hunter. “We try to give these kids no hardships,” but reality is full of hardships and each hardship enables one to develop coping skills. As a child, Hunter was disciplined when necessary. This taught him rami- cations for his actions, such as soap in his mouth for telling a lie but now discipline in all forms is frowned upon. So, what is to be done? “There needs to be a fundamental change,” said Hunter. We need playing outside, riding bikes, digging in the dirt and the like made popular again.”