iGeneration Psychology

By Ofer Zur, Ph.D.


Some of you may be digital natives, wondering what “all the fuss is about” with regard to the digital divide among the Boomers and earlier generations. Others of you may be Baby Boomers, sighing with relief. . . Whew, finally, some help.

For those of you Boomers struggling to relate to young clients (children, tweens, teens, and young adults), your students, and young people in your family, we are here to shed some light on the issue and help you bridge the gap.

Similarly, digital natives who are well versed in the digital-cultural gap can help Boomers understand without making them feel like dinosaurs.




Baby Boomers versus Generation X and (increasingly) younger: What are the differences?

Baby Boomers are accustomed to staying in one career, working long hours, attending meetings, reading manuals, and working their way up one step at a time.

Digital Natives (Gen X and younger) hop about. They often change jobs and careers many times, and do not believe in putting in long hours in hopes of a promotion.

This group grew up in the digital era – online, the user is in charge of how many windows are open, what sites are visited, whether the user is available for contact or not, and of course whether the computer or other device is on at all. Natives take this philosophy into the workforce. The native philosophy of career is “If this isn’t working, do something else.” They believe in developing innate talents and doing what they enjoy, and grew up in an era where culture supports that sort of life.

Baby Boomers receive an annual evaluation (written) from their supervisor at their place of work.

Digital Natives are accustomed to constant, instant, “streaming” feedback from . . .everyone. Again, this comes from Internet culture, where power is relatively equalized and feedback flows freely on Facebook, Twitter, games, chats, and other mediums.

This group is accustomed to interaction, available at all times of the day or night, with friends, family, and colleagues around the globe.

Baby Boomers consider quality time to be technology-free and in-person.

Digital Natives have a wider view of quality time, and it often involves technology. A Facebook comment thread, IM (instant message), or discussion during a multiplayer game with a stranger in another part of the world can all constitute quality time. These interactions can be satisfying, stimulating, and bonding for all parties involved.

To Boomers who are horrified by the above,
we respectfully remind you that Digital Natives
grew up with technology, and they are not
long for making use of and enjoying it
tremendously and . . . constantly.



In his extensive canon of books and blogs, Dr. Larry Rosen discusses all this and more, such as how Internet culture has made digital natives more socially aware.

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To discuss iGeneration psychology, the digital divide, relationship to technology, and many other subjects of interest, please visit us on Facebook and Twitter. We look forward to seeing you there.


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