The Doogie Howser Segment: Accelerated Development

Kids these days just aren’t growing up at the pace they use to. The rapid speed of which our culture is moving and the tools that we’ve been given are no doubt affecting and shifting our human behavior. The best way to understand a culture and the direction it’s moving in is to look at the tools a society uses in their everyday life. For example, when traveling to a foreign country, something as simple as turning on the TV in your hotel room will give a foreigner great intel into a culture. Even with a language barrier, visuals are a powerful indicator of what a culture is a reflection of. 

We can’t overlook technology as the main tool, of course. The convergence of social trends, democratization of access via technology, boomers refusing to grow old, 40 is the new 30, and Millennials surpassing everyone as the most brand literate and style conscious generation on earth while at the same time struggling with adolescent adulthood...the boundaries between the generations have shifted and overlapped, rendering everyone the same age. But where does that leave the kids of the world? How are they maturing, and at what pace? While older Millennials are experiencing a prolonged adolescence, it seems as though the younger set (and the next generation) is getting older faster.

Back in 2009, Nielson reported that children aged 2-11 comprised of nearly 16 million, or 9.5 percent, of the active online universe. That means that the growth of children online outpaces the overall growth of children in the entire U.S. A scary realization, and in 2013, I’m sure that number has freakishly grown. Growing up wired, with an all-access pass is just one of many examples driving the fast rate of growing up. Studies have also shown the rapid drop in age when it comes to hitting puberty. A recent study

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “When I hear the phrase ‘The American Dream' I think…A loaded term that is meaningless these days. At this point, I'd be happy if I can manage to live a mostly comfortable, independent life. Is that The American Dream? I don't know.” –Male, 25, PA

When it comes to kids using tablets and smartphones, most of the attention is given to the dangers of it all: what will it do to their attention spans, their minds, or their health? But there are potential positives to their mobile use as well. One (Millennial) mom’s reasons for continuing to give her kids handheld devices include the importance of encouraging their technology and problem solving skills, expectations that they will know how to use them in school, and a hope that her girls will be involved in tech in their futures. (Hip Mombrarian)

This might be the year that vending machines became a full blown marketing trend, and Nike has put their own athletic spin on the tactic. Their recent “secret” vending machine in NYC, the Nike+ FuelBox, dispensed products like hats, shirts, and socks that visitors could only pay for with daily points from their Nike+ FuelBands, encouraging exercise in exchange for goods. (Engadget)

We’ve seen FoMo, the rise and fall of YOLO, and now social media has given us MoMo, the “Mystery of Missing Out.” Unlike FoMo, Fear of Missing Out when you see your friends posting a ton of fun pictures on social media, MoMo is the anxiety that results when friends stop posting. In the words of one Millennial, “’what can be so good that they aren't posting?’” It might seem silly to some, but for a generation used to being connected with friends nearly all the time, the feeling of exclusion that results from being left out and unaware of what’s happening is real. (Jezebel)

The value of higher education is already being questioned by Millennials, and evidence is continuing to mount that college systems and hierarchies need to be rethought. One former Yale professor is making headlines by telling parents not to send their kids to Ivy League schools, and that those who attend are not the “winners in the race we have made of childhood” but that instead elite education produces “anxious, timid, and lost” young people. (New Republic)

Oh, Barbie. She's had a rough year, and Mattel recently released an Entrepreneur Barbie in an attempt to tap into girl power marketing, and revive flagging sales. But is the reality that Barbie is just too perfect for today’s kids? The brand’s offbeat, weirdo Monster High dolls do far better than pristine, “clean cut” blond icon. Tapping into new trends in toy tech and giving Barbie a renewed sense of “imaginative play” might help, but at the same time post-Millennials, like the generation before them, could be turned off by anything that doesn’t show some flaws. (The StarPhoenix)

Quote of the Day: “When I hear the phrase ‘The American Dream’ I think of 1950s cliches, the economic downturn of 2008, and how college debt has pretty much made it impossible.” –Female, 17, RI

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