Written by Craig Beddis

3 min read

Armed for the future: Millenials & Technology

  • Gaming

About a year ago News Corp Australia Network published an article dubbing the generation of millenials as nothing less than “hopeless”: We’ve raised Generation Hopeless: millennials who lack basic life and workplace skills. And it’s a big issue.

Educator Michaela Launerts was quoted in the article as saying, “There’s been a very steep decline in interpersonal skills and it means that regardless of their school results, young people are going to struggle to get a job.”  Now everyone’s entitled to their opinion and certainly we’ve got to take into consideration what educators and experts have to say. My issue is that it’s just one opinion - and quite frankly it’s a load of rubbish.  Digital natives and the last two or three generations may not communicate and interact with one another as we do, but who’s to say that that means they don’t have any basic life and work skills? Also who’s to say that we are doing it right? This article is a crazily misdirected rant about the next generation.

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As Mary Meehan says in her pieces for Forbes (which I highly recommend reading), “[Millennials are] the harbingers of change that will come for us all.” She also suggests that they are more socially skilled than the generations before when she talks about how they will fact check businesses before accepting a job, and will be connected to remote or diverse communities that we could never have dreamed of visiting during our adolescence. Generation Z, and the generation after that, which many are dubbing Generation Alpha, will not only have interpersonal skills that are tried and tested, finely honed across different mediums and platforms, but they’ll also understand their individual power and how to utilise it from themselves and their cohort.

My main issue, however, lies in the bashing of young people’s time online. The author Shannon Molloy writes, “But all that time glued to screens has raised a generation incapable of small talk, critical thinking and problem-solving”. This is just not accurate, and in my view stems from a group of people that are always looking at things from the outside in, and that just doesn’t work. If you actually sit with ten year olds nowadays many of them are socially aware, eloquent and smooth communicators and already have the necessary skills to get a job as a developer or project manager - and its their relationship with technology that has helped with this. I’m a huge fan of Gabe Zichermann’s work and often come back to his TED talks about how gaming can make children smarter, and using gaming to actually change, encourage and develop certain behaviours and skill sets.

Thanks to the social element of gaming, as a species we'll be a group of globally minded advanced communicators rather than a new generation of people that are unsure of how to talk to one another (as some people try to scaremonger us). We will use distributed computing to crowdsource science, solve the problems of climate change or the issues that climate change might leave us with - like drought, overcrowded cities and regional weather disturbances. Never before will a population so vast and complex be able to talk so easily and freely, transitioning borders, background and timezones. This is the last step in the metamorphosis of the world, and its one that my generation, and the one before are both incredibly anxious about, but something that certainly doesn’t phase Generation Z or Generation Alpha whatsoever.