Don Tapscott addresses how youth will change our future, reporting similarities between almost 6,000 youth in the 12 countries surveyed because of the Internet, but without more explanation. Although the youth bulge is in Asia, he believes western pop culture is the main influence on the Net Generation. He doesn’t agree with critics that youth are selfish and troubled. In Grown Up Digital, 2009, he lists the impact of what he calls the Net Generation (1977 to 1997) who value collaboration, open communication and freedom:
In the workplace and in education they like to collaborate with their peers rather than work in a rigid hierarchy where they’re expected to passively follow instructions, in a “communication revolution.” They’re the relationship generation. The Industrial model doesn’t work for them. They value integrity, openness, speed, and fun. Raised on playing video games and other electronic communication, it increased the speed of their visual reflexes and ability to multitask. Tapscott points to the Middle College high Schools in Memphis as an example of a school that works for the Net Gen mind.
They were raised with this same democratic spirit in their families, amplified by the fact that they’re the Internet experts, not their parents. When asked if they would rather spent time with family or friends, they chose family with the exception of Central Europe and Japan where it was more equal. This close connection leads to many “helicopter parents” who intervene for their offspring not only in school but also at work.
As consumers they have a “bs meter,” want truthfulness and fun in advertising and want dialogue to influence and customize companies and their products. Their friends influence their purchases more than advertising.
In government, they’re “bringing political action to life more than in any previous generation.” Their social activism is empowered by the global Internet, as seen in Obama’s presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012. They volunteer in record numbers but aren’t engaged by formal politics. Although they don’t trust government officials, they expect government to work for equality.