Generation gap, which is defined as differences of opinions, tastes, beliefs, and other social and cultural norms that exist between older and younger age groups 1, has occurred among grandparents, parents and their children so far.
As a teacher I have had some training in how to deal with this situation in the classroom. However, the range of the gap is getting larger and larger. In the past we were talking about the gap between parents and their children but today these gaps are widened in such a way that you can feel the difference even between brothers and sisters. There are many reasons for this change but rapid changes in technology play the major role.
I want to thank Bill Porter for this lucid and clear cartoon he created. It summarizes everything. As a tech guy, I have been different from my parents but I have never behaved like that girl. Take a look at that cartoon again and try to empathize with him; you are a father or mother, you are a role model for your kids and you have always guided them since their birth. Whenever a new situation comes up in their lives, you are always there to help them but in terms of technology you may feel that you lack technological competencies. You notice that your kids have discovered the digital world and their tech skills and things they are capable of in the virtual world make you feel as if you are an alien or outdated. Yes, according to your kids you are so old school.
I love this meme. Although, the “girlfriend” responds to the request, the same dialogue can take part between parents and kids.
Two major changes have created a catalytic effect on generation gap; social media and implementing technology into education. Your kids are attached to their smart phones or tablets or laptops because they use social media tools. Internet offers them a new world, literally. They can be anything and do anything in the virtual world. Also they consume everything rapidly since this new world always brings new stuff into their lives. Whenever you begin to understand what is going on in your kids’ lives, everything changes in a blink of an eye.
To make things worse, the educational system is changing in a way you can’t follow. Your kids’ school informs you that they have decided to use iPads, laptops, etc. This means everything; your kids’ learning style, type of assignments, evaluation systems are all changing. For instance, suppose your daughter has this homework; she has to log in to her Gmail account and open the e-mail that the teacher has sent. She needs to click on the Google Doc link and solve the questions online. Let’s say she comes and tells you that she has a problem and needs some help. The problem is that she can log in to her Google account but can’t open the file. My questions: Can you help her? Do you have the necessary tech skills? Or do you understand why her teacher assigns homework online instead of giving a hard copy of it? This is the part where the gap gets larger.
When you say you can’t help them, you make them think that they know this stuff better than you. They think they are superior when it comes to the use of these devices. So, when you go into your 12-year-old daughter’s room and see that she is chatting with a stranger in the Facebook, you warn her but you might hear her saying “You don’t even know how to open a Google Doc. You don’t understand this stuff.”
Well, I believe that’s an important problem. In this article, I tried to clarify it and I will try to mention possible solutions in another article.