General Question

wundayatta's avatar

What's your sense of the generation gap these days?

Asked by wundayatta (58349 points ) November 6th, 2008

It’s interesting being on a site with so many people who are 30 years younger than I am. I rarely feel like I’m older. I generally feel like everyone here is a peer. Sometimes I forget there are younger people who might not have the experience I have. I am reminded occasionally on relationship questions when someone points out that someone else is only 18, and without experience, may not be qualified to answer.

But it seems like the world thinks we’re so different. Youth knows how to use computers and the internet and MySpace. They are willing to put their lives in public view, and have no qualms doing it.

Age has trouble with new technology, and certainly doesn’t know what “MyFace” is (I swear, that’s what an elderly friend of mine called it). Even if we do, we are more cautious.

I want to ask a couple of perspectives. First, from your personal perspective, what is your experience of differences between the various ages in our country and in virtual space. Second, more globally, what kind of generalizations do you think are true about the generation gap these days?

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13 Answers

mea05key's avatar

Younger generations are pretty occupied nowadays with much more entertainment available especially from the internet. Take for example in a family, i think most kids now prefer to spend their time browsing social utilities like Facebook , listening to their musics, playing online computers games and so forth. Compare to the older days where there’s no internet available family spend more time together. The gap is big when comparison is made now and 30 years ago that i feel mainly due to the frentic lifestyle, the desire to accumulate wealth and the exposure to wider aspect of life with the advent of technology.

marinelife's avatar

I have noticed a few things, but of course not all of them are true for all people in any given group:

1. The young are generally much more accepting of differences in race, ethnicity, and religion than older people.

2. I have seen a much broader interest in green living and conserving the Earth among the young.

3. Young people appear as a group to be much more addicted to tech toys. Suggest a week without laptops and cell phones, and you will see what I mean.

4. Older folk are in general more cognizant of the chance for death and injury and tend to take fewer physical risks in sport and fun.

5. Older people in general do not get as wrapped up in dramas as adolescents. During those years, minor events seem like life-changing social crises.

I love the chance to interact with Flutherers of all ages, because the automatic barriers imposed by our culture are not so high in this arena. I am filled with hope for the future and happiness at the depth of thinking and care I see from many young people on this site.

Sloane2024's avatar

Being one of the “young” Flutherites, I can definitely see a great difference in the wisdom of those more life-experienced users as opposed to the knowledge of Fluther’s youth, but this is exclusive to certain subjects. Like Marina stated, we tend to be more open to varying ethnicities and cultures than those older than us, as well as technological innovations and environmental preservation, simply because the society we were born into is composed of these aspects. We really don’t have a choice but to be inclined and educated in these areas, for, in our modern world, the occupations with opportunities for advancement and decent income require a certain quota of these skills. Unfortunately, however, our generation in general has become so dependent on convenience rather than rigorous, back-breaking labor like our grandparents and great-grandparents performed that most of us will never possess a true appreciation for the ease of life we’ve been provided. Yeah, work was much more challenging back then, but the simplicity of everything else made it bearable, and to some extent, quite enjoyable. The older generations know the true meaning of sacrifice, and with this sacrifice came their invaluable wisdom, which they so graciously bestow upon us.

I guess what I’m trying to express here is that a generation gap is inevitable, and not necessarily a bad thing, for this allows each generation to learn a lesson specific to its time period, which can, in turn, be passed on to the children and used as a tool in braving their lives’ challenges, which seem to increase with every passing day.

augustlan's avatar

One thing I’ve noticed is that the gap was much wider between my mother (an older baby boomer) and myself (an older gen Xer) than it appears to be between myself (41 years old) and my children (14, 13, and almost 11 years old). The differences between my mother and I were primarily idealogical, whereas the differences between my children and I are much less so. Partly I think that’s because people in my age group are much more flexible than our parents were. I think we just adapt to change better in general, and our children will be even more open-minded than we are. Perhaps the gap between our children and their children will be miniscule.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@daloon WHAT! You mean I’m not still 23, and just woke up smarter this morning? That old woman in the mirror is really me?!? HOLY COW!!!!

wundayatta's avatar

@Alfreda, as far as I know, you’re 23. The woman in the mirror is from a past life, or something! ;-)

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Thanks, daloon. Are you sure you’re not from Louisiana or Mississippi? All that charm ;-p

wundayatta's avatar

Never let it be said that Yankees can’t learn from our compadres in the nether regions of the country (assuming North is up). Though, if you prefer, we can turn the map over, and make South up. I digress, as per usual. Anyway, you’re welcome!

fireside's avatar

Compadres in the nether region?
You should really have a doctor look at that, daloon.

wundayatta's avatar

Thanks for the advice, Fire. I’ll make an appointment in the morning.

susanc's avatar

I think the people 40 years younger than me on fluther are a lot smarter than me, across-the-board smarter.
Also generally less guarded, less hard-bitten. It freshens up my attitude to read what you guys write – and that goes for you too, as a matter of fact, daloon, because your curiosity and goodwill are strong.

wundayatta's avatar

@susanc, thanks for your kind words.

I am also curious as to what you mean by “freshens up my attitude.” I understand the metaphor. It’s just that I’m not sure what this means in terms of actual feelings or how it changes your behavior.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

People under 30 seem to be from another planet to me. A lot of the things I take for granted they have either never heard of or aren’t important to them.

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