Western Civilisation and its internet-savvy inhabitants have been divided up now into four distinct groups. We have Teens, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and Millennials, the last of which takes a lot of flack. In recent studies people aged 18-34 have been billed as the least fun, the most irritating and poorest.
Well in a cheery new study by Microsoft on digital civility it seems that in comparison to the other generations they’re also the most likely to experience detrimental effects to one’s life from the pains of being on the internet.
The score was taken from a group of 11,157 people of varying age groups and nationalities and 73% of Millennials agreed that they were at risk of encountering hostility online. The research collected proved that Baby Boomers and Teens were the least likely to be affected, interestingly.
Perhaps this is due to baby Boomers being less involved in the internet as during their youth it simply wasn’t around and the fact that teenagers, for the exact opposite reason, are safer online because they grew up with it and know exactly how to navigate it.
Millennials are named as such because they grew up at the turn of the Millennium, meaning these 18-34 year olds are often clued up on the risks of online behaviour but remember a time when the digital age wasn’t in full swing. Just as involved in the web as their younger friends but less than enthralled by what it has to offer.
46% of the problems they encounter are summarised as ‘unwanted contact’, with ‘unwanted sexual advances’ comprising another 28% of their problems. It seems that the internet was designed to bring us all closer together but young adults would very much prefer to be left alone.
It raises the question of whether the internet has evolved too rapidly for some Millennials to cope with and if they need a re-education on the dangers of the online world. Courses are available for children and modules are currently in place in ICT classes around the UK in various schools.
Larger questions involving censorship have been but a whisper, yet the general consensus remains: freedom of speech is a right worth protecting for everyone. Unwanted ‘sexts’ can now be reported to the police as sexual harassment and social media does allow for tighter control of your privacy.
If there’s anything to take away from this it is – don’t be afraid of the block button. Being inundated with opinions and facts can be overwhelming and there’s no shame in saying it’s too much. For the sake of your mental health try a social media detox.