Sunday, April 02, 2006

Millenials In The New Millenium

The ADHD Generation
By Lindsey Dow

As a product of the Echo generation, I rarely ever watch a television program at the actual time it was shown. I just record it on TiVo, which I, in fact, prefer over watching the TV show live because TiVo allows me to fast forward through the commercials, which have become to unbearably long for me to sit through. My cell phone is no longer just convenient, but absolutely necessary because I see no reason to have a land line, and I feel a sense of panic at the thought of leaving my apartment without bringing my cell phone with me.

Others do not appear to find it strange, for if one does not pick up their phone for a few hours at a time, worried callers often later demand to know where one was that they were unable to immediately get in touch with. For even if we are not able to pick up our cell phones, there is always text messaging and even mobile IM that can be conveniently used at any time if one needs to be reached.

Another interesting side effect that has produced in the Echo generation, however, is the dramatic increase in technology and consumerism. Nothing is ever enough, society tells them. You always need to buy something more to make things better. Things can always be improved. According to the recent CBS 60 Minutes report, “You can never be too cautious and you need everything,” seems to be their motto. “You need your cell phone on you at all times and must keep it on, so people are able to reach you at all times…. You must check your e-mail every day in order to get the latest updates…go online to check the weather…. If you miss your TV show then just watch it later on TiVo….”

Present society has programmed the Echo Boomers in such a way that they should never feel satisfied with things because there is always something more that they need, but should never have to be bored or have to wait for anything.

We are the generation of ADHD with an insatiable appetite to spend, move forward, update and consume and buy. Everything and everyone screams, “What you have now is not good enough! You need more! Buy me, buy me, and you will instantly be good enough again…” Until tomorrow, that is, when you will need to buy something else to improve. The Echo generation has been conditioned not to wait, making us very impatient and, at times, easily frustrated if we are not granted immediate gratification.

“Echo” Boomers are the among youngest generation around, with ages ranging from grade school to early twenties. We are also the largest generation since the 1940’s, the children of the the baby boomers who were born from 1946 to 1965, and the oldest memebrs come of age in the 1960s, which are best known for the hippie era, women’s and civil rights movement, and substance abuse. The women’s movement included burning of bras and not staying home in the kitchen. The civil rights movement ended the segregation laws of black and white people and challenged racism. The hippie era introduced casual sex and regular usage and access to drugs, which was scarce before.

The drugs most commonly used were marijuana, LSD and other hallucinogens and heroin. There was no such thing as Ecstasy or Adderall and cocaine would not become popular until the late 1970’s. Then came the 1980’s, at which time violent crime rose higher than ever before when the crack-cocaine epidemic swept over poor, urban America until the early 1990’s. The 1980’s also put casual sex to an abrupt halt when a new virus, now widely known as AIDS, started infecting and killing people. It was during the 1980s and early 1990s when most of the Echo generation was born. Look how much had already happened.

The Echo Boomers were born at a time much less sexist, much less racist and much more knowledgeable than every other generation. They were also born, however, with a much greater reason to learn and understand, and a greater reason to fear the world around them. Their parents knew this, as they were born at one of the most informed times, but also at one of the scariest, most violent times.

Not wanting their kids to end up addicted to crack, every teenager has taken a DARE course and watches anti-drug commercials by the time they are ten, which would explain why the drug-abuse, alcohol and even tobacco (as their generation is informed of the risks of smoking cigarettes as well) rate has decreased to an all-time low. Theories have come up left and right about the cause of teen drug abuse, and the ever-popular theory seems to be that they get bored and need a hobby, a sport or some sort of structure to keep them occupied to prevent them from having time to get into trouble.

Right around the time of the crack-cocaine epidemic was a violence outbreak, which many say went hand in hand, as crack-cocaine is known to have violent, dangerous side effects. Much of the violence included street gangs, where young lives are treated as casualties, which is very scary for a parent. Wanting to prevent that as well, having a positive community support system is stressed, so that they will not look to a negative support system, like a gang as an option.

Among the good things that have been passed down and inspired from previous generations are the women’s and civil rights movements, allowing the Echo Boomers to grow up in a much more tolerant, equal-opportunity society than ever before. The Echo Boomers are said to be the most diverse generation ever, as 35% of the Echo generation is of minority status.

In my opinion, the Echo generation being so micro-managed, controlled, pressured, over-achieving and less violent and drug-rampant is a result of the parent generation reacting out of fear from what was going on at the time of their birth, and what had gone on in the past.

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