Tuesday 21st September 2021

The Generation ‘Y’ in the Digital Divide


Published on : 26 November, 2020 11:44 am

Rajan Sharma, Kathmandu, The Sage Journal on its March 16, 2017 issue mentions that “defining generations and exploring their differences is a subject of much current debate that involves both political and economic interests”. In the same way, a BBC report of 2017 August says ‘generation Y is the latest in a series of demographic cohorts which has been given slightly odd names in a bid to define them as a collective cultural group’. It is also called the ‘MILLENNIALS’.

Before we start for Y we should put some respect and have to introduce generation X and generation Z. As mentioned in many pieces of literature and in a writing in eleapsoftware.com about generation the writer Don Weobong mentions – first, there were the baby boomers, those born during a spike in the birth rate after the Second World War through to mid-1960s. This is the next demographic bump. They were born in the early to mid-60s through to the start of the 1980s. It is also called the “MTV generation”. They were raised up with a lot of hinders and bumps in life. So they still love a lot to the following generation. In the Nepali context, this generation takes the value as ‘it ought to be’.

Another generation, those born since back at the adult age of the millennium is the Generation Z or the “digital natives” who have no recollection of a world without smart devices and broadband internet. This may even be called cell phone generation. People popularly call it GNEXT. They themselves love to be called a smart generation.

We are in the Y, the millennial, generation, born in the early 80s through to the turn of the Millennium, this is a cohort which largely came of age at the outset of a global economic crisis. Particularly, it refers to people born between 1982 and 2005. Sometimes it varies and they are grouped in between 1985 to Y2K issue. This is the newest generation to enter the work. The Y is in the most productive generation being in its middle of life spanning. Generation Y knows the traditional value and put some ideas on the digital world. It is a mix-max and hybrid generation.

The early years of generation Y were marked by uncertainty, significant events included with the cultivating ground for terrorism, globalization, and a severe economic recession. They have a big hope for generation X and had a big role to Z. They saw possible hope from the digital break-in 1990 but that was a blur up to their adolescent. At that time that was too early to work on digital literacy. Radio, TV and the printing press were the sources of information. This generation saw the development of new technology, they heard about it but could not work up to the apex on it. On the whole, they were grown in the same environment as the generation X did. They were the spectator of school violence, an outbreak of different diseases and natural calamity. They might have witnessed the fight for democracy, the economic downfall, in the late 1990s they may get involved in different freedom fighting as they could heave the voice with young blood.

Though creative, this generation is blamed for a highly protected and overscheduled generation. This is least attached generation for parents. Some blame them as ‘in reality, they are still poor in the social roles, they take an ideal philosophical thought but have weak rational ground. So they generally seem “Only I” generation.’ It is up to the reader to calculate this blame.

Some anthropological and social research says the Generation Y does not highly value reading and listening and this is somehow true. This generation makes sense from the outer world and tries to set their own ideology. Though it differs from country to country, they want to learn to be creative, interactive, and fun. They enjoy thinking outside the box but sometimes forget what was the inside treasure. Some Y generation people of some countries just focus on WHAT THEY DO, not like South Asian – I KNOW EVERYTHING.

Generation Y believes on core workplace values including online social connectedness, teamwork, free expression, close relationships with authority figures. More than this they believe that they have creativity, work-life flexibility, and use of technology. This generation has seen the Fall of USSR, The rise of democratic values in different countries, the end of apartheid racial system in South Africa, the start of rising china. Even in Nepal, This generation was born in Panchayat system and witnessed and fought to uproot this one-party system bringing the new hope for democracy, and again they have fought for democracy, uprooting the monarchy system and witnessed a decade long insurgency in the blooming time of life.

If we see the job culture of the Y Generation, they prefer to work in groups with hands-on experiences. They enjoy trial and error. In Nepal when a man of this generation starts Poultry Farming almost all copy the same business and they get ruined in the business. When we talk about the job market, generation Y is heading into a random career marketplace. The employment rate is good, but many are in part-time work or self-employed, and they have faced the largest falls in real average earnings.

Generation Y is collectively a more diverse and socially laissez-faire grouping than those who were born earlier. Nepalese of this generation are going abroad to make money for their shelter, to manage bread and butter for their kids. If they are of a high and middle-class family, we have the issue of brain-drain, they go abroad for higher education and to join the international job market. We are in hardships in terms of life achievement. Happiness is the enemy of this generation. What so forth, we have to live.

We respect generation X. We feel affection for the generation Z though they just send us love from emoticons via the digital device.

(Mr. Sharma is a freelance writer and loves writing on technology, communication and social engineering)

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