Are You a Victim of Millennial Madness?
“The millennial generation is perfecting the avoidance of face to face,” says Bruce Wickelgren, a professor of communications at Suffolk University, on the impact technology has on the demographic’s social skills.
A highly educated, self-confident and technology savvy generation, the Millennials have distinguished themselves for their use of technological devices and social media. iPhones, iPods, tablets, laptops – chances are not only do they own at least two of these ítems, but they rely heavily upon them in day to day life.
A study by the Pew Research Center shows that 74% of Millennials believe that technology makes their lives easier, and 54% feel that new technology helps them to be closer to their family and friends.
“I don’t think I need them but it makes things more convenient, like checking your email on the go,” says Olivia Statmore, a junior at Suffolk. “For example, I’ll text my mom and I’ll get a faster response than if I call her.”
Jesse Magnifico, a freshman at Suffolk says, “The biggest part is definitely staying in touch with everybody…with friends and family back home. It’s a nice way to catch up.”
Personal interactions may have become strained in more ways than realized, however. A survey conducted by The Career Network showed that from 6,000 Human Resources professionals interviewed, 86% thought that millennials are not people savvy, nor strong communicators.
Wickelgren says the effect of technology has pushed him away from his students. “It’s kind of sad that I can’t have a face to face conversation and see a look of ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.'” Although sending a quick text or email is effortless, he states while the message may be there the content of communication is limited.
“It is just a visual…we don’t get to hear voices, smell smells, we don’t get to touch,” says Wickelgren, “we lose out on the channels that help us to understand each other better.”
Magnifico agrees that technology has impacted his generation negatively. “I think it’s become way too extreme in all regards, and very consuming,” he states, “It’s upsetting because it’s very detrimental to human interaction.”
As a whole, it is unknown what the longterm effects of this technology influx will have on the millennial generation’s social skills. “I tend not to equate technology with impersonal, I equate it with different personal,” Wickelgren concludes, “Millennials are interacting interpersonally with different people in a different way, that’s all it is.”