Millennials do not possess the crucial life skills needed to survive in today’s society. Several surveys taken in the UK reveal that today’s adults under 35 still turn to their parents for help when it comes to doing basic household tasks. Changing a lightbulb or repairing a fence are as bizarre to them as ‘qwerty’ keyboards are to the elderly. Similar surveys in the US found that nearly a quarter of young adults cannot boil an egg. Consider these figures:
A vast majority of millennials admit to not knowing how to hang a picture, decorate a room, iron a shirt or blouse, or place a new washer in a dripping faucet.
It seems almost comical, but there are now “adulting” schools that teach people from Gen Y how to be proper adults. Some courses include basic life skills such as learning how to sew, learning how to check tire pressure, and the ever-popular, learning how to change a lightbulb. Other courses focus more on how to resolve conflicts, how to navigate social gatherings, and even how to be and feel heard. This isn’t to say that millennials are not achievers in classroom knowledge. Latest statistics show that 33 percent of adults aged 25 to 29 years old possess degrees from four-year colleges. That is a record number unseen by previous generations. Additionally, around 90 percent of millennials have finished high school. Those who pass the AP exams annually has quintupled in just the last decade alone. Analysts estimate this trend to continue, with more adults excelling on exams.
So why the discrepancy? There are several reasons for this but perhaps the most important one is that millennials themselves say they do not see the need to learn these skills. Already there are studies that show that technology has changed the way the brain develops. An average millennial spends around 18 hours a day on some form of digital media, with a whopping 90 percent of young adults using social media. Neurologists have found that while the areas for problem solving and concentration are developed, the areas of the brain used for communication have been stunted in many millennials.
The effects are not limited to social interaction. GPS, for example, shuts down parts of the brain meant for higher levels of thinking. Young adults rely heavily on the technology that they blindly follow the instructions without stopping to consider whether the data they are being fed is correct at all. Those who still take the time to plan their own routes or check a map show more positive brain activity.
Cooking is also a life skill that millennials no longer feel the need to learn. Recent marketing reports say that Gen Y adults are more likely to order food for delivery or carry out. This has led to the creation of “grocerants,” which are groceries that provide ready-made meals. Almost 80 percent of millennials have purchased prepared foods in the last month, compared to 68 percent of Generation Xers, 60 percent of Baby Boomers, and 57 percent of the Silent Generation.
The effects of technology manifest themselves in generational traits. Millennials are more likely to “trust the system” and rely on digital infrastructure to fix everything. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are more pessimistic by nature and normally have a backup plan. This includes creating disaster preparedness plans. In fact, other studies point to the assumption that should something drastically go wrong, millennials will run around like headless chickens, unable to move or think because for once, they cannot rely on their mobile phones.
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