Echo Boomers - the Digital Difference

By: Allison Merlino

The event of persons being born within certain geographical bounds during a period of accelerated birthrate (where the rate exceeds 2%) is referred to as a baby boom. America experienced a very dramatic baby boom immediately following World War II (1940s - 1960s). America experienced another baby boom logically when the baby boomers had their children (1970s - 1990s).These generations are referred to the Baby Boomers and the Echo Boomers or Generation Y, respectively.

The Echo Boomers are the first generation to have always had computers and the internet. Their first social activity was Instant Messaging. If they need information they simple get it online. They spend a majority of their time in this environment where their information comes from their friends and trusted internet sources. This generation is said to be curious, focused, intelligent, self reliant and confident. They are most importantly noted for being able to adapt to change. They are also noted for their expectation of immediate gratification.

Digital Technology is a major difference that separates these generations. The Baby Boomers were digital immigrants who reached adulthood without digital technology. Some were reluctant but most welcomed new technology. Those of Generation X (around 1965 - 1982) are referred to as being digital residents as digital technologies flooded their existence during their developmental and teenage years. They welcome the products they saw introduced becoming fundamental. And those of Generation Y have enjoyed the luxury of digital technology their whole lives. They had educational computer software in grammar school. They came home from grammar school to their video games!

Computers, cell phones, ipods, instant messaging, facebook, my space are all an integral part of their lives. They have always had fast results and have enjoyed the instant gratification of technology. Although technology has made many things easier it has also had negative net effects on this generation.

We have seen an increased focus on individual success enabled by technological advancements. This focus is also beginning at an earlier age than witnessed in other generations. There is also evidence of increased educational competition in all grades. Therefore, it stands to reason that their childhoods have been shortened not only by the change in focus but by the constant flood of information that they are exposed to. A loss of identity do to technological streamlining could very well be the cause of the increased educational competition and focus on individual success. It is very sad to think that something so precious as childhood innocence was the price to pay for these amazing and beneficial advancements.

Echo Boomers are the first generation to have always enjoyed the luxury of digital technology. This has afforded them many benefits such as instant access to information however, there have also been a number of costs which include a loss of innocence at a much younger age than earlier generations.

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