Saturday, November 17, 2007

"Generation Me" again...

"Generation Me" Author Visits Macon
November 15, 2007
By Eric Lee

Children born during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s are called "Generation Me."

Dr. Jean Twenge traveled Wesleyan College from San Diego to discuss her book. The topic is young people today who are more confident and ambitious - yet more anxious, depressed, and lonely. Twenge's findings are based on research from one point three million respondents over six decades. The Internet has changed young people's behavior tremendously.

We asked Twenge how networking sites, including Myspace and Facebook have that affected this generation? "That can be a problem, especially kids who are a little introverted and a little shy already," said Twenge. They'll also use the Internet as a replacement for a social life. And that's hard because humans thrive on face to face interaction. And if you just have the Internet interaction, it's just like eating french fries all the time instead of a good diet. You need the nutrition of the face to face interaction."

Twenge says that networking sites can promote narcissism. "Many young people seek attention on Internet sites like Youtube and Myspace for doing things that aren't really good like they'll take lots of pictures of themselves not wearing very much or they'll take pictures of themselves at a party drinking alcohol when they're underage. Or even worse, they'll beat up a kid at school, tape it, and put it on Youtube."

Twenge even suggests that parents praising their children excessively can be problematic. "I see some good signs and bad signs. The bad signs I see are the number of clothing for little girls that says "Little Princess" on it. Or I saw the other day in the grocery store a "bling" brand pacifier so you're a newborn and can't leave home without your bling."

While at Wesleyan, Twenge spoke to several classes, including a Freshman Seminary class that helps students transition from high school to college, and had a presentation tonight for the public. Next week Jami G. explores other aspects of the book with Twenge. Twenge says Internet friendships shouldn't be a substitute for real friendships. "Generation Me" is available in bookstores.