Understanding the Tethered Generation: Net Gens Come to Law School
30 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2014 Last revised: 30 Jun 2015
Date Written: November 28, 2014
Prior generations are often seen as romanticized versions of what young people coming of age during that time period actually experienced. Through movies and literature, for instance, Americans have glamorized the Lost Generation of the 1920s, picturing Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald writing in Paris cafes and attending extravagant parties with flappers while listening to the new sounds of jazz. But the young people that shaped this generation had survived two world wars and the Depression, and their generation “reflected a variety of emotions and mannerisms: weary cynicism at a young age, risk-taking, binge-like behavior, [and] disdain for a pompous ‘older generation.’” As such, individuals coming of age in the 1920s became known as the Lost Generation.
Every generation has a peer personality that reflects the common events and occurrences of that generation, even though not every member of that generation possesses all of those generations’ attributes. The youngest generation in the United States, “Net Gens,” born at the earliest in 1994, are currently receiving a bad rap from the media, teachers, and employers for being constantly connected to their smartphone and being overprotected by their parents. They are a tethered generation: tethered to technology, to their friends through social media, and to their parents. Even though each member of that generation may not be deserving of some of the negative connotations given to them by the older generations, each member of the Net Gen generation has experienced the same cultural phenomena related to online media, educational reforms, and societal changes. Each one of them grew up as a digital native, never knowing what it means not to have easy, constant access to online resources; and, they are also all experiencing the effects of a terrible job market even though they are one of the most educated generations in history — with the student loans prove it. Every member of Net Gen shares a set of unique cultural events, and, though they are all unique individuals, they are collectively bound by the effects these events have had on their generation.
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