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The Generational Tech Disconnect

by | Aug 18, 2022

                The internet has evolved so quickly over the turn of the millennium that the generational gap, in terms of tech-savviness, has expanded wider than ever before. In this article, we will focus on 5 generational groups: Boomers (born between 1945 and 1965), Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980), Millennials (born between 1980 and 1995), Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2010), and Generation Alpha (born from 2010 to the present).

Boomers and Generation X are considered “Digital Immigrants”. Digital Immigrants get their name from having to adapt to so many kinds of technology over their lifespan. Boomers witnessed TVs entering their homes for the first time, phones entering people’s pockets for the first time, and the birth of the internet and social media. Both Boomers and Gen Xers witnessed the world slowly transition into a “tech-first society”. Because of this, many Digital Immigrants are understandably overwhelmed and skeptical of new technology trends.

Millennials, Generation Z, and Generation Alpha, on the other hand, are considered “Digital Natives”. Digital Natives were integrated into the internet at a very young age. Millennials are considered the first Digital Natives since the oldest of them were born during the beginning of the internet, which was technically in the 80s. Generation Z and Alpha either partially or fully grew up in the era of social media. Many of Generation Z and Generation Alpha have had their parents posting pictures of them on social media for their entire lives.

Here are some more fascinating comparisons and statistics to consider. 92% of millennials own cell phones. 85% of Gen Xers own them. And only 67% of Boomers own cells. For older generations, phones are used mostly just for making calls whereas younger generations use them as an integral part of socialization via texting, social media, emails, games, and music. Millennials text a lot and tend to communicate by text while generation Z tends to communicate more by sending visual communication such as giphy’s and memes. Perhaps surprisingly to some, younger generations prefer smaller screen sizes.

One of the greatest generational differences is between the Digital Immigrants and the Digital Natives. 80% of Digital Natives say that they prefer to work at a job with high technology use so that their tech literacy will be valuable there. While perfectly understandable, this creates a rift between them and Digital Immigrants. Digital Immigrants, as mentioned above, have lived through so many technological breakthroughs that new breakthroughs, which often change the very fabric of the social landscape, are understandably overwhelming to them. It also breeds resentment. Digital Immigrants tend to view Digital Natives as being entitled and lazy because of how convenient and easy high technology use makes their lives. And this breeds resentment right back at them. Digital Natives often view Digital Immigrants as technologically behind, too traditionalist, and too demanding.

Our transition into a technology-first world has presented many challenges. Cybercriminals have more opportunities than ever to steal sensitive data from companies that are ramping up their technology reliance. While the more technologically savvy Generation Z is still coming into maturity, many business owners in the Millennial, Gen X, and the Boomer generation may still need some technological help. If this is you, please reach out to us at Iler Networking Computing!  Our IT experts are here to help you overcome the technological hurdles that your generation faces!

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