The International Writers Magazine: Modern Times
Generation Y - The MTV Generation - The Peter Pan Generation. Live fast - die young.
My Generation – Mobile Phones, Sex and Facebook
In 1964 a study of British youth by Jane Deverson revealed that teens of that time ‘sleep together before they are married, were not taught to believe in God as much, dislike the queen and don’t respect their parents.’ So it’s no surprise that these characteristics have developed in the last 46 years into today’s disruptive and disappointing youth.
The ‘offspring’ of these 60’s teens have become in turn the parents of the same youth that are splashed on the front cover of every local newspaper in every middle-class town that has nothing better to write about.
Today’s teens have grown up with the rising of communication technology. Email, text, instant messaging and the ability of the mobile phone have developed significantly through our key teen development years. Obviously they are going to play a key part in our growth.
The constant presence of sites such as ‘MySpace’ and ‘Facebook’ made it impossible to avoid gaining a reputation of being peer orientated. What began as a means of communication became an inevitable form of vanity, expression, and self discovery. The ‘MySpace pose’ whereby you hold the camera above you wearing your best clothes and looking forlorn became the latest craze necessary for every teen to partake in. The impression that you exude became a devastatingly important past-time. However, this need to express your individuality, I believe, does actually contribute to the process of finding yourself and therefore the person that you are now.
However, this openness has made us, as a generation, a lot more accepting of cultures and lifestyle choices that were previously frowned upon. For example, civil partnerships, sex before marriage and being single at 30. We have grown up in a completely different society to our forefathers. Instead of working in a factory from the age of 6 and experiencing the cane if we were lucky enough to go to school, we grew up in a society where mummy and daddy dressed us until the age of 10 and a teacher daring to touch us came with the threat of an assault charge. We live in much cushier times.
We, The Peter Pan Generation, stay young for as long as possible by living at home for longer, going to university and taking gap years; anything to prolong entering ‘adulthood’ and getting a career. But this need to stay dependant is simply because it’s easier. We have heard about our relative’s hard up-bringing “back in my day…” and realised that we can get away with a lot more and depend on our parents for a lot longer. Plus, with the rise in divorces and house prices what is attractive about getting married and having a mortgage? With this change is bound to come a rise in sex before marriage because we are generally getting married later and more accepting of one-night-stands and casual sex.
As a generation we cringe at the thought of getting old and tend to view ‘old’ as anything over the age of 35. We would much rather risk everything to live fast than spend a life protected and end up unable to look after ourselves – but knowing that we didn’t achieve everything that we wanted to. The ability to do this is easily accessible with the rise of extreme sports. If we want to risk our lives or live on the edge then there are countless opportunities at the ends of our fingertips for us to choose from.
I was intrigued as to what someone else from my generation thought about the labels given to us by other generations so asked a 19 year old forensic biology student.
“The term ‘MTV Generation’ doesn’t define us; few people actually live like they do in ‘The Hills’. I would much rather live fast and die young. It would be horrible to live forever and although I’m not scared of dying I’m scared of what it would do to my parents. It’s not necessarily a choice to stay young, it’s more whether you can afford to move out! The teens are the best years of your life; it’s all downhill from 25! At university casual sex is a lot more acceptable (although now I’m moving out of halls I wish I had done it more whilst it was so convenient!). University isn’t a way of avoiding adulthood – you need a degree to do anything now. Even if you do go to university to avoid adulthood you still end up with essential life experience. ‘Facebook’ is the new way of making friends! Without it I wouldn’t be in touch with anybody from primary school. I have more friends now than I think my parent’s ever had because phones and Facebook make it so much easier to keep in touch. However, I can see how it could cause problems in relationships but everything has pros and cons.”
To conclude the interview she asked whether I thought we would still have Facebook when we were OAPs. I personally think that it will have evolved by then, just as Facebook followed MySpace. With the technology changing so rapidly I can’t even imagine how advanced it will be in forty years!
To wrap all of this together leaves me feeling like Facebook is generally a good thing. The ability to catch up with long-lost friends at the click of a button must be good, and Facebook even reminds you that you haven’t spoken to some of your friends in a while.
My generation seems to be in the middle of a massive whirlwind of hormones, lust, love, sex and alcohol. We live on the edge and push our physicality’s harder than any generation has. We risk everything and often fall, but we have a bloody good time – and to me, this is all that matters.
© Naomi Spicer May 2010
Naomi is studying Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth
Morales, J. (n.d.). Generation X. Retrived April 14, 2010, from http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=33881638103.