An earlier post looked at how Millennials get nostalgic for not having a life during childhood. Almost all their memories revolve around mass media and the virtual rather than the real world -- TV, movies, video games, and so on. Very little music, clothing, fads, or toys -- especially ones that required you to be playing outside.
Public environments for social interaction with peers, like the mall, the bowling alley, or the video game arcade from the '80s, are completely absent. They grew up when cocooning and helicopter parenting had really gotten going, so what else are they going to remember? Poor kids.
These themes continue into their memories about their adolescent years. Now that we're getting farther and farther away from the 2000s, it's possible for them to reflect on what it was like. What do they come up with?
Here is a recent BuzzFeed video with over a million views and over 3,000 comments, about "Memories from the early 2000s". Nearly every item is about technological devices and the internet.
You can find more focused lists on clothing from the 2000s, music of the 2000s, and so on, but when you leave their memories open-ended, all they ever recall is which form of technology they were using to socially isolate themselves at the time -- was it Instant Messenger, multi-tap texting, MySpace, etc.?
Even the two items about music are not about the music itself -- which bands they were into, or which genres were popular -- but about the technology used to store it (burning mp3s onto a disc, and long download times for filesharing).
Not only is there no mention of activities that you do in-person with other people, there is no awareness of the broader outside world -- 9/11, American flags everywhere, Islamic terrorists, etc.
We can dismiss blaming all this stuff on the internet, since Gen X was using the internet back then too -- more so, given that we were older and had our own computers -- yet our memories of the early 2000s don't all come back to the digital devices du jour.
We remember how terrible Nickelback & Co. all sounded, not how long it took to download their mp3s. We remember whale tails (thongs + low-rise jeans), not which reality TV stars made it their signature look. And of course we remember 9/11 and its aftermath.
Millennials' social isolation began long before they were on the internet and using cell phones anyway. Recall the earlier post about their childhoods. Back in the '90s, it was Nickelodeon TV shows, Disney movies on VHS, and N64 or PlayStation video games. But still using mass media to distract and anesthetize their brains while being cooped up inside the house all day, every day.
Another 10 to 15 years down the line, Millennials will have the same deprived memories about their digital-only lifestyles during young(ish) adulthood -- the buzz you felt from getting likes on Facebook status updates, those annoying ads before the video loaded on YouTube, posting pictures of your lunch to Instagram, "damn autocorrect!" etc.
If 9/11 barely registers in their memories of the 2000s, I'm sure that the first black President, gay marriage, etc., will evaporate from their memories as well. It's all just been a series of distractions for a socially isolated generation in search of one novelty after another to alleviate their perpetual boredom.
It's truly amazing -- an entire generation with no memory of real life. Even more bizarrely, they have no memories of "the good old days" because technology keeps improving, and that's all that counts to them. Digital heroin keeps getting more potent, cheaper to score, and more efficiently transmitted.
Parents beware: this is the outcome of digitally bubble-wrapping your children out of overblown paranoia about what'll happen if they have a social life.