Recently I completed iGen, by JeanM. Twenge, PhD. It is a fascinating book that gives great insight into this next generation. By definition, “iGen” covers those born from the mid-1990’s to the mid-2000’s. This is the first generation that will spend every day of their adolescent life in the age of the smartphone. Three of my five grandchildren are iGeners! What does that mean for them and what does that mean for us?

Dr. Twenge describes iGeners as “super-connected kids that are growing up less rebellious, more tolerant, less happy, and completely unprepared  for adulthood.” Their relationships are more online than in person and they have higher levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. They want different things from their lives and careers than their millennial predecessors. They are obsessed with safety and are big on tolerance, but they have no tolerance for inequality. The first of iGen is now graduating from college and out number both Baby Boomers and Millennials. 

Dr. Twenge lists these characteristics of iGeners gleaned from her research.

  • Much more tolerant of others – different races, cultures, sexual orientations

  • More cautious and risk-averse

  • Growing up more slowly, don’t want to stay home alone, manage their own money, etc.

  • Aware and concerned about an economy shaped by income inequality

  • Less likely to drink alcohol or take drugs in high school

  • Less likely to attend church

  • More likely to think for themselves and not believe authority figures in church or government

  • Delay serious romantic relationships

  • Experience fewer teen pregnancies

  • Spend less time in shopping malls

  • Less likely to go see a movie

  • Not as inclined to run away

  • Not all that interested in getting a driver’s license right away (1 in 4 iGen’ers do not have a license by the time they graduate from high school)

  • Less interested in face-to-face contact with others; prefer instead to connect via smartphones

  • Less interested in reading books, magazines or newspapers

  • Spend more time playing computer games

  • Less experienced in having after-school or summer jobs and earning money while in high school

  • Feel more depressed than those in prior generations;

  • Feel lonely and not needed

  • Susceptible to higher suicide rates

  • More supervised and protected while growing up

  • Spend enormous amounts of time using social media and smartphones; sometimes well into the early hours of the morning

  • More conservative politically and less interested in identifying with a political party. (18- to 29-year-old voters are now a larger percentage of all voters than those over 65.)

This is a fascinating generation. Personally, I don’t think our culture has done a great job of embracing and trying to understand millennials and their differences. We have another chance with iGeners.  

Maybe I am prejudiced, but I like what I see in my 17-year-old grandson, my 13-year-old grandson, and my 10-year-old granddaughter. I love their passion, their creativity and their love for all people. From an Awesome Marriage perspective, I am seeking to learn how to connect with this generation on a global scale. I want them to value faith in a God that loves them unconditionally. I want them to see the value in marriage and being faithful to one person for a lifetime. I also know that what reached other generations probably will not work with iGeners.  They are unique in amazing ways. If you have iGeners in your life or want to join me in learning more about them and how to connect them, I think you would love this book. The investment in this generation is crucial. They are the future.

I would love your feedback on this blog. Thanks!

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