It’s Possible For There To Be Too Much Technology In Our Lives, Even For Millennials

Marketers need to be careful how they present technology to tweens, teens, and 20-somethings.

Teens distracted by their cell phones.There’s no question that Millennials are tech-savvy — they’re even occasionally called “Digital Natives” because technology and digital media have been a part of their lives since birth. But we’re seeing a little backlash despite all the benefits because technology is becoming something of a creepy stalker.

We noticed this recently in two commercials, one for cable company Optimum in which young parents talk about how their baby was on Facebook before she was even born and how her first steps will be broadcast on YouTube. In a separate commercial for a Samsung smart TV, a family hangs out in their living room using voice and gesture controls to operate their TV — at the end, the proud mother is wowed when her toddler learns to say “Hi TV,” speaking to the set to turn it on.

Both commercials cross the creepy line when technology is no longer about enabling our lives but begins to feel like a living, breathing member of the family. Millennials are noticing their own interactions are often filtered through a screen, even when they’re in the same room with their friends. The panelists at the Millennial Mega Mashup described a love/hate relationship with technology for that very reason. They even call their friends out when they see them staring at a screen instead of paying attention to the people they’re with, but the behavior persists.

We’re even seeing that technology is sometimes getting a bad rap in youth-focused media. In “The Hunger Games,” the Capitol uses technology to control the population as they’re forced to view the games, and the game designers use it to torment the tributes. We’ve noticed several forthcoming YA novels in which technology has taken over the world and characters are struggling to get back to nature. It’s even evident in TV shows — in “Pretty Little…

 
 

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“I love reality TV shows. It's always fun to watch average people make themselves look foolish just for a shot at fame.”

—Female, 17, CA

“Bored kids” and “desperate parents” are the most likely to love their smart speakers. Nine out of ten children who own one say they enjoy their device, and 57% of all smart speaker owners with children admit entertaining their children was one of the reasons they opted for the purchase. Ypulse found 13-34-year-olds consider Amazon Alexa one of the “coolest tech products” so it’s no surprise smart speaker owners love their devices: 65% “would not want to go back to their lives before getting one,” 42% consider it an everyday “essential,” and over half of parents plan to purchase another. (Fast Company)

Plastic surgery is reportedly having a moment with Millennial men. According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, of the over one-third of men who are “extremely likely” to consider cosmetic procedures, 58% are 25-34-years-old and 34% are 18-24-years-old. Some reasons they’re willing to go under the knife (or needle)? To boost their self-confidence, to appear less tired or stressed, and to stay competitive in their careers. Experts say social media and the self-care trend is making men more appearance-conscious. (Bloomberg)

Reading Rainbow is back and it’s all grown-up, just like its fans. The well-loved show's host, LeVar Burton, is picking up a book and laying down a podcast for his Millennial fans. He’ll be reading selected works of fiction and breaking down the themes just like in the old days, but he’s also adding a little something extra: his personal take on the tale. The only thing missing from the original PBS Kid’s show? The coveted chance to get on screen and read a review from your favorite story.

(Huffington Post)

Gen Z is thinking finances-first when making college decisions. Almost 80% consider the cost of an institution in their decision of where to attend, which makes sense considering over one in three are planning to pay for part or all their expenses. Avoiding the student loan debt that most Millennials know all too well is a key component of their finance-savvy thinking: 69% of teens are concerned about taking on loans, and the number of teens who plan to borrow has dropped 10% since 2016. (CSF)

Leisure and hospitality are the “hottest” jobs for teens this summer. A full 41% of teens went into leisure and hospitality last year, nearly double those that landed a wholesale and retail gig. Education and health services rounded out the top three, with all other industries claiming 5% or less of the summer teen workforce. When Ypulse asked teens where they’re planning to work this summer, restaurants and fast food jobs combined would land the top spot on the list. (Markets Insider)

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