It’s hard for young people to lead normal lives. Climate change, war against human rights, an economic crisis – the list is infinite. It seems like there is an inevitable impending doom, threatening to change the world as we know it today. But stereotypes are in their own league. There are always the prejudice perpetuated by the older generations that seem to never end. Us, young adults, can never catch a break, it seems. Because we never do anything the right way. We’re never enough.
So let us address some of the stereotypes young people have been saddled with that are not only infuriatingly incorrect, but cause more harm than good.
The Sleepyhead Stereotype
How many times have you been told the phrase “Stop being so lazy!”. Either by your parents or your grandparents. It has become their catchphrase whenever you take a nap, or they catch you on your phone. If we aren’t actively doing something that older generations perceive as productive, we’re automatically lazy.
But how true is that? Let’s be honest, technology can be a huge distraction, especially our phones. There is no point denying this. However, technology is also our biggest feat. When we’re on our phones, that doesn’t mean we’re just mindlessly scrolling through TikTok. We might be in middle of reading a book or an article. We can be reading a scientific paper or doing research for university. The possibilities are endless. And just because we appear to be lying in bed and doing nothing, that doesn’t mean we aren’t being productive. Long gone are the days where you had to go to the library, search for an encyclopedia that was published a decade ago and reference to outdated information in our essays.
Social Media Addicts
Social medias aren’t what they used to be, now that they are globally used by billions of people. When they were first created, they were a space to share moments with friends. Now they are an industry.
Are there people addicted to social media, who dedicate every second of every day to taking photos and posting them online? Yes. Can social media be a waste of time? For sure. Can it become harmful? Absolutely. But does that mean that all social media platforms are inherently bad? Not in the slightest. Stereotypically they are perceived as harmful, but they can also be a very good thing.
It is true that today’s youth uses social media all the time. But we aren’t addicted to it by any means. At least not all of us. The whole world has become so accessible for us, that in a matter of couple of clicks you can find yourself living on a whole different continent. This is usually amazing and exciting, but how will you be able to keep in touch with family and old friends? Boom, social media.
You’re a creative person, but you’re struggling to build a platform through traditional methods? Boom, social media. It can help you find the right audience for your content. With it you are able create an online portfolio to reach publishers, or agents, or creative directors. It can easily land you a job. Social media’s practicality is limitless.
So, even if it seems we’re spending all of our spare time on social media, it doesn’t necessary mean that what we are doing there is pointless.
Teens Have It So Easy
For the most parts my parents are pretty understanding but even I have heard my fair share of “When I was your age, I had to climb nine mountains, swim 3 rivers and cross a jungle just to get to school. And you’re complaining about a five-hour lecture with no breaks? Teens these days have is so easy.”
It is indeed true, that compared to the past, we have it relatively easy. For once, we have access to all the information we need at the palm of our hands. But it doesn’t mean we live an easy life. Stereotypes of this kind are incredibly harmful. Climate change is something we all should be concerned about. For the youth that is entering the workforce and becoming financially independent, the current economic crises is more than terrifying. And let’s not forget about the literal war taking place right now. The world now is far from a paradise. And whether older generations want to admit it or not, all of these things affect us greatly.
Sure, we have access to better education, more information and we can connect with people from all over the world. We have technological advantages, previous generations didn’t. but we don’t have it any easier than they did. Depending on the perspective and the issue, we may even have it harder than them.
One of the many things I love about our generations is that we abide to the phrase “Give respect where it’s due”. Older people may consider it to be a sign of lack of manners and rude, but I consider it as honesty. If you respect me, I will respect you in return. I have never been a fan of the social construct that you should always regard older generations with upmost respect, just because they are older than us and allegedly know more than us. Because, more often than not, they treat us disrespectfully in return. Why should you respect someone who disrespects you?
Newer generations know their worth; know what they are capable of. And they won’t bow down to someone who disregards their struggles and efforts, just because they are older in age. Age doesn’t equal wisdom, nor does it equate to respect. If older generations want to be treated with respect, they should first learn to respect others.
So, lift your chin up, build confidence and never let people walk all over you. The key is in mirroring their behaviour – treat them the way they treat you. And don’t let stereotypes like this influence your behaviour.
Moral of The Story: Don’t Stereotype
Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. There is always a sliver of truth in them. Even if they appear positive, stereotypes remain a harmful way of generalizing people.
Putting different people from different backgrounds with different experiences in a box, just because they share similarities can be quite detrimental. Stereotyping the younger generations as lazy, technology addicts who are selfish and disrespectful won’t achieve anything but make them distaste older generations even more. We aren’t any of these things. And just because we don’t have the same struggles, it doesn’t mean we have it easy or refuse to put in the work to improve ourselves.
Older generations think what we are doing is slacking behind, getting distracted and procrastinating. But all we are doing is trying to survive in a damaged world and make the best of our lives.