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The idea of the teenager started in the 1920s; in 1910, only a tiny percentage of kids went to high school, so most people's social interactions were with adults in their family or in the workplace. It is anti-eloquence," says Mark Bauerlein, an English professor at Emory, who wrote The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30).Now that cell phones allow kids to socialize at every hour--they send and receive an average of 88 texts a day, according to Pew--they're living under the constant influence of their friends. "Never before in history have people been able to grow up and reach age 23 so dominated by peers.English teacher David Mc Cullough Jr.'s address last year to Wellesley High School's graduating class, a 12-minute reality check titled "You Are Not Special," has nearly 2 million hits on You Tube."Climb the mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you," Mc Cullough told the graduates.Not only do millennials lack the kind of empathy that allows them to feel concerned for others, but they also have trouble even intellectually understanding others' points of view.What they do understand is how to turn themselves into brands, with "friend" and "follower" tallies that serve as sales figures.
Seventy percent of them check their phones every hour, and many experience phantom pocket-vibration syndrome.
Unlike my parents, my grandparents and my great-grandparents, I have proof.
They are fame-obsessed: three times as many middle school girls want to grow up to be a personal assistant to a famous person as want to be a Senator, according to a 2007 survey; four times as many would pick the assistant job over CEO of a major corporation.
As with most sales, positivity and confidence work best.
"People are inflating themselves like balloons on Facebook," says W.
Even in China, where family history is more important than any individual, the Internet, urbanization and the one-child policy have created a generation as overconfident and self-involved as the Western one. They have less civic engagement and lower political participation than any previous group.