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Cloe Shasha

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What are the defining qualities of today's youth?

Every generation seems to think that the next generation is vastly different from their own.

The characteristics that a generation identifies with, however, may not be the characteristics that others believe that generation identifies with.

Are there any defining qualities of today's youth that you have observed that you believe are relevant to the youth of the world?

Is it even possible to attribute qualities to an entire generation around the world?

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    Oct 14 2011: Today's youth is more open-minded and accepting. Thanks in large part to the internet.
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    Oct 12 2011: I think that the youth of today have a strong practical bent of cynicism. It is as though they were all born in Missouri and their perspective is: show me (that your assertions are true). They are not as credulous as other generations (mine) were. After all they have Google. Anyone can check out just about anything in seconds- and they do.
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      Oct 12 2011: Hi Debra, very true that Google and the rest of the Internet gives youth today the opportunity to question anything and find their own answers. Do you think that's a good thing?
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        Oct 12 2011: Its actually a truly great thing, in my estimation Chloe.
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          Oct 12 2011: Debra Google is a great thing but the use or abuse of this unique resource is not great yet.
          The -so called youth- sometimes believe that their lives are well just because google exist and avoid any effort to being awake to feel or think , or use their imagi
          nation, intellect or creativity. Of course google is awsome and we all have to learn how to use. Question....answers? is just a tiny part of the real power of the net.
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        Oct 13 2011: HI Jaime, what I actually was referring to was the approach that young people are taking toward challenging what they are given. Other generations had more faith in the status quo or in the foundations that their lives were built upon. I see this generation choosing to think for themselves and question everything. I think this is what will make them not only progressive but also great.
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      Oct 13 2011: Debra, I agree with you on everything you have stated. Today's youth (I'm one of them) is a generation that asks others to prove their assertions are true.

      However, I took your comment in a broader view. Today's youth seems to be challenging the current methods of science and mathematics. They believe there is a better, faster way to do things and everyone should be doing things their new way.
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        Oct 13 2011: Faster .... better? ...New way....old way....how old, how new...How do you know the difference between?

        Prove our assertions as a true...which ones... why...to who? How do you know the difference between true or lie?

        Qualyties.......do you know the real meaning of this word?
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    Oct 16 2011: As a middle school teacher for the last nine years, I believe that the youth of today have basically the same hopes and fears as past generations. Playing fields have changed with this continuing recession, but I know that all my students want a peaceful world in which they all hold some meaningful part. Is that any different than any other generation? No. Even with all the technology available to them, today's youth are more concerned with making meaningful relationships with people around them and they all seek attention, approval, friendship, and love. These are universal truths that I believe are shared with all generations throughout the world. What seperates us tends to be the trappings of the culture that we are raised within, but the truths remain.
  • Oct 16 2011: Youth's primary characteristic today is a "Good Will Hunting" attitude, as thr character in this movie they have unlimited access to information but have not developed the tools and maturity that only experience brings, thus making them unnecesarily reckless and dismisive of taking advice.

    This kind of attitude has allowed youth to grow a sense of power over any hipotetic situation they are faced with but a terrible sense of powerlessness once they actually are placed face to face with a real situation in which they need to use their so called "knowledge"

    We have an amazing opportunity to generate as has been suggested on several of the comments the most inteligent and prepared generation ever, but we are also on the brink of having the most pulled back, lazy and uncommited generation ever as this has been shown in a lot of countries where youth has exercised their option to neither study or work, but just navigate through life in the virtual realm while others take responsability for leading their countries while they sit on the sidelines and don't even take the time to contemplate.
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      Oct 16 2011: I feel as though my generation (being this generation) has potential, but the majority of us aren't mature enough yet.
      • Oct 16 2011: Nathan, I believe that maturity will come with time, but in order for that maturity to translate into real experience that allows an individual to make use of all the tools and benefits that this times have provided young individuals need to allow for patience and understanding of the natural process of growing up.
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    Oct 13 2011: Ignoring the obvious mistake of attributing traits to millions upon millions of youths, not being able to observe all of the teenagers in the world and overlooking how one adjective may mean different things to different people, I'd venture that teenagers have the same traits they always have.

    By traits, I guess you mean personality traits, behavioral traits.

    They resist control. They are confident with little wisdom. They possess 'fresh eyes' that can make them invaluable and subject to underestimation. They are preoccupied with sex and pleasurable activities. They are given enough respect and freedom by their parents/superiors to act independently and unobserved. They break rules, get into trouble and are more concerned with how others view them than when they were 7 years old.

    They are probably more house-bound. They have access to more drugs. They may act with greater regard for the health of their environment (recycling, green technology-advocacy), but are exposed to a larger selection of products than any other generation. They may carry out actions with the express purpose of having the entire planet see them. They will use with ease technologies that the older generations gradually lose ability with/lack familiarity with.

    I'd love to be a teenager in this day and age. Manned missions to Mars, wireless energy, printable organs, connection to more people than ever before. Good luck, you little rascals.
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    Oct 11 2011: The qualities are inside, and the youth always have hope, it doesn't matter if is today or in the past. They have hope and strenght. Allways....the outside things are just circumstances.
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      Oct 14 2011: Jaime, I'm not sure they really feel much hope. That is a price that has been paid for too much information at a young age. I hope I am wrong.
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    Oct 10 2011: I'm not quite sure which attributes are the best to describe this, but the defining hallmark of today's youth is the fact that they never knew a world without the internet.
    Where does this inter-conectedness lead to? Not sure...
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      Oct 11 2011: Although today's youth is more connected through the Internet, I think that they are also more disconnected socially, as they spend more time on the Internet rather than making real contact with people. For example, people have many "friends" these days on Facebook, but the connection between these friends are probably not as strong.
    • Oct 11 2011: Anonymity on the internet breaks down the old barriers of race, nationality, religion, and whatever else you could think of that has been used to divide humanity. It is because of this that the youth of today, like myself, are more connected with others. The emotions we feel for the person on the other side of the screen forms an unprejudiced relationship with a fellow human being, nothing more, nothing less.

      These relationships may be judged by some to be superficial and not as 'deep' as those we could form with the people around us, but they are forgetting that most of us have friends offline in addition to the ones we make online. So if anything, we are more social than we would have been without the internet.

      For me, personally, the friends I make online strengthen the sense of solidarity I have with the rest of humanity. It puts a human face on what I read in the news. I believe that the social worth of most of these online relations should not be compared to those we experience offline. They are different, but neither is inferior to the other.
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        Oct 11 2011: Hi Chris, I think this is a really good point. I also believe that our relationships online through social media are unrelated to our face to face relationships, and that we require both and view both differently. I believe in the value of both.
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        Oct 12 2011: It's good that people are making online relationships in addition to offline ones, but do you think their attention gets divided when that happens? Or is the online network truly just an extension of the friends that people already have.
        • Oct 12 2011: I wouldn't say it divides my attention. I feel that's viewing it too simplistically. I speak for myself of course when I say this, but the only time I interact with my online friends is when I'm at home, in front of the computer, or when I'm on public transport on my phone, or while waiting for someone, or when I'm bored. I think you get the general idea. I don't have to multitask the relationships; my online relations take up the otherwise non-social stretches of time in my life.

          That being said, I also talk to my offline friends on social media. I interact with them on a more frequent basis (practically everyday) than I would if they were just strictly offline friends (weekends). The internet really helps bring me closer to people; those I know personally, and those I don't. So yes, I think it truly is an extension, maybe more.
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    Oct 17 2011: either too much self-esteem or no self esteem....the most obvious thing, and surprisingly excessive personal liberty.
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    Oct 16 2011: Nathan, there is definitely potential! :)
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    Oct 16 2011: Hi Greg, thank you for sharing this perspective. It is nice to get input from a teacher!
  • Oct 13 2011: The defining quality of today's youth -

    The Longing.

    I know that you feel it, too.

    SEP
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    Oct 13 2011: Hi Jake, thank you for bringing up this issue of globalization. It is sometimes hard to imagine how future generations will keep their cultural traits while becoming more unified around our interconnected world.
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      Oct 13 2011: Cloe certainly there some youg people with a very high level of compromise end quality, for them and in them is my hope.. Thank you.
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    Oct 13 2011: Yes, and maybe it is those experiences that will create the qualities unique to those who are currently young.
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    Oct 13 2011: Hi David, I really enjoyed your response! In so many ways it is so true that the nature of teenagers is the same as it was when our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents were teenagers.
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    Oct 13 2011: Hi Shiyong, in some ways I agree with you, but in other ways, I also find that we are in a risk-averse period in time, meaning that people don't necessarily challenge the status quo as much. Have you found that at all?
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    Oct 13 2011: If we see the TED Profile, we can see a lot of young people thet describes as a "job seeker"...an elegant way to said unemployed.
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    Oct 13 2011: The most defining quality of today's youth is their religious believes without being adamant. They are open to new logics and ideas,rather than following anything blindly.
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      Oct 13 2011: To be "open to new logics and ideas" we have to know the old ones. And if the are "following blindly" ...who are the guide? The Hammelin pied piper?
  • Oct 13 2011: I would have to say inquisitive, for the present youth have the mentality of challenging anything and everything. I know i do. Compare it to the previous generation, parents say, children follow or acknowledge (more often than not anyway).
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    Oct 13 2011: same as they have always been
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    Oct 13 2011: Kids are the same as when I was a kid (I'm 45). There are the same jocks, nerds, misfits, achievers, slackers, and leaders. What is different are the forces that shape their lives. These outside pressures are processed the same way as when we were kids, leading to different outcomes. The next generation, those that are in high school right now will face an environment completely alien to us oldies and have been shaped by experiences radically different.
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    Oct 13 2011: This new generation is going to be burdened with the many problems that plague our current world. Pollution, debt, wars, disease, etc. They will forced to be inovative and intelligent to solve these problems.

    And yes, I believe it is possible to attribute qualities to an entire generation around the world because the world today is so dependent and globalized. If there is a civil war in Libya, Europe and America will feel it. And since the world is so interconnected, the people are becoming more alike in the way they think, talk, and learn.
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    Oct 12 2011: Cloe still I,m looking for heroism in todays youth. I hope to find it.
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    Oct 12 2011: Hi Katarína, do you really think we are unable to be as interpersonally social? Just because we interact over social media more, have we lost our ability to interact face to face in a wholesome way?
    • Oct 17 2011: Hey Cloe! :)
      Well, of course, I hyperbolized ... we sure can be interpersonally social even if we have opportunities to communicate in different ways. However, I have a strong feeling that our abilities of face-to-face communication were transformed into our abilities to communicate through the Internet. We can see it in the developing devices- back from writing letters to telegraphs and phones, and later e-mail, social networks and Skype. I am not saying this kind of evolution is wrong; honestly, I do not know how would I live without the Internet and without having the opportunity to connect with people far away from me, but it is a proof of how much we invest into the "digital communication", whereas not as much energy goes to the "primary" communication way- which is personal and face-to-face.
      People are naturally born as social beings, and our need to stay in touch is growing bigger, what results into the development of impersonal communication, but this type of communication lacks the "spirit". I talk to people because I want to be with them and because I want to hear their voice, see how they move, watch if they blush or chuckle, and that is something that "digital communication" cant provide; something that people tend to forget is as important as the actual words... if not even more.
      Hope I answered your question :)
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    Oct 12 2011: Perhaps very curious. But too self-conscious to act on their curiosity.
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      Oct 12 2011: Hi Eun, interesting that you say too self-conscious. Why do you think that is?
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        Oct 12 2011: Hi Cloe
        I think there are various reasons. Living in a meritocratic society today exerts higher expectations on teenagers, and the inter-connectedness that was discussed earlier in the conversation can also put greater pressure on them to act a certain way in order not to be estranged.
        I think many would feel freer to act on their curiosity if they felt sufficiently secured against such readily exposure as we have today..
  • Oct 12 2011: This generation is very flexible. We got used to the quick lifestyle with a lot of pressure from all the sides possible -- we must be polite and nice, to represent our family well; we must be bright and have general knowledge to acquire good marks and be great students, so that the school can proudly point a finger at us; we must be cool and have the "whatever attitude" to fit into the teenage communities...

    Now this was a little overblown, of course, but we sure are lead to having more "faces" to show to different kinds of people in different situations, and we do not seem to have difficulties with it.

    We are good with technologies and our "IT IQ" seems to be growing every second ... but our EQ and the ability to be humanly social is decreasing rapidly. The opportunity to see the whole world and talk to anyone from anywhere without moving an inch strengthens our natural predispositions of egoism ... we are turning into an individualistic and fast-growing society of unfit and intelligent human beings.
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    Oct 12 2011: Hi Christian, interesting point about why twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings don't like to be committed.
  • Oct 12 2011: we,are the future of this world but with kind of influence we are getting from our predicessors i think there will be a lot of incompetent skills and lack of tutor because of the influence of money and how quick will it be to this generation and in the next five years things are going to be faster and more quicker than we are seeing now.
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    Oct 12 2011: By far the most intelligent generation to land on the planet.
    • Oct 13 2011: I generally agree with you. However; can they start a fire without a match, can they skip a rock across a pond, can they climb a tree? Ok now I know most of that was outdoor stuff; so lets try this: can they change a tire on their car, can they make change without a calculator type device, can they cook a meal for someone. Socially can they tell a good joke, can they listen intently, can the create a budget to live on and not ask the parents for help? All this to say: you aren't always the smartest one in the room an when you realize that just be quiet and go to that person and ask them the most profound intellectual question you can and then pay attention to what they say.
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      Oct 13 2011: Kathryn, how do you know this?.............Really?
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        Oct 13 2011: I know this because I see this in teens over and over again. They are the first generation to come of age knowing how to communicate worldwide with the use of computers, to research, to educate, to eradicate the old world for the new. This generation knows we are all one. It is a new day with these people. They have seen and experienced life as we can only imagine. The breadth of knowledge they have is inspiring. And yes, they can still skip rocks, change a tire, cook a meal, tell a good joke and they can read and listen. They learn anything they want and can do it because they know how to research and implement.
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          Oct 13 2011: Well I allways keep a strong sense of hope in youth. But....not all and not allways the youth are capable to being in succes (as allways)...why they have to "eradicate the old world for the new"....which are that reasons to do that, The allways youth people exist just in fashion magaines or in hollywood dramas but not in reality. That Peter pan syndrome is well enough to guide the actual youth?....maybe the times are different in some technological aspects but not in the human life. For better or worst we are the same from the beginning. I also see teens over and over again and I dont see how they "communicate"....with emoticons? with facebok?....really a lot of teens dont know how to read...or write...they dont like the school and the failures and deceptions from the college are wide spread. We can help...but just if they are humble and recognize their faults and their achievments.
        • Oct 16 2011: By your logic then every next generation is the smartest generation because they are the first generation to be born into a culture with all of the new technology. I would agree with you that today's teens have access to infinitely more information. However, having more information doesn't make you more intelligent. Being able to use the information to create something new now that is intelligent. Having taught for 27 years I am not sure I can claim that any generation is more intelligent than another.
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      Oct 16 2011: Perhaps at the time we are the most intelligent. But the next generation will be smarter because they have parents from the "smartest generation" hopefully teaching their children everything they know.