Monday, November 12, 2007

Millennials In The New Millennium

Do You Hear An Echo?
The younger millennials are also being targeted by advertising
By Janette Lynott

Our access to information is unlimited today. Everything is quicker, faster and up to speed. This situation was given to us by the generation we know as the “Baby Boomers.” This great access to information and the constant growth of technology is mostly targeted to Generation Y, a.k.a Generation next, a.k.a Echo Boomers.

Because of this, Generation Y has become slightly if not completely self-centered. This brings up the very well known debate we refer to as nature vs. nurture. However, there is not much of an argument there. We grew up with video games and cell phones and the younger part of our generation are now growing up with computers, educational games and are suffering through TV parenting. The younger Generation Y is barely out of grade school but can already recognize the huge part that they play in the market. From personal experience, I can truly state that I see a change.

In a 60 Minutes report titled Echo Boomers, Dr. Mel Levine, a professor at the University of North Carolina stated that these young people have as busy schedules as their parents. They are constantly enrolled in different classes and lessons that strengthen their intellect and social skills. The report appears to state this is in fact about people in our generation.

As a child, I did not experience this type of structure. Mine was more loosely constructed. Also, growing up in a lower-middle class city, material goods were not appealing until high school. In contrast, however, I witness my 11 year-old sister, Kaelin, growing up in a much different suburban life style. The children her age are much more focused on these material things then they should. To be honest it is quite sickening.

One day, her mother went shopping and bought her an Abercrombie headband. Kaelin did not have this headband in her hair for more than a half-hour because one of the neighborhood girls got jealous and threw it in a tree. Not only this, but she has had her bike stolen and was scrutinized for not having a designer backpack. Unfortunately, she is not the only child that is bullied in the neighborhood and will not be the last. But it is the reason for the bullying that is sickening. The obsession with material possessions has left high school and moved downward.

After seeing the 60 Minutes report, I immediately went on the defensive. It was not only insulting but also completely circumstantial and focused primarily on suburbia. Unfortunately it was not completely inaccurate. This is where I will re-instate the pathetic application of the argument of nature vs. nurture. When children grow up with advertisements and other media-related displays directed solely at them, it is understandable that some egos become inflated. For instance, Sketchers has been promoting new sports gear and sneakers by hiring Ashlee Simpson, a popular entertainer, as their spokesperson. In one advertisement, she is photographed from her stomach up and shoes surround her head. Due to lack of adult content, the ad is obviously targeting the younger generation.

As understanding as I am of the perspective of those who force-feed these advertisements down the throat of young America, I am still critical. To do this and then turn around and point fingers at the self-obsessed is hypocritical to say the least.

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