Digital Savviness And Life Inexperience: Millennials Under Scrutiny

Born between 1977 and 1999 — or 1981 and 1997 depending on your sources — the Millennials represent the next generation after Generation X. They are sometimes referred to as Generation Y, or Generation Why by the press, followed by pictures of young adults holding a smartphone. There’s a common misconception that the millennials can’t spend a minute of their lives without holding a phone in their hands. In reality, the smartphone obsession has spread across all generations, from seniors to teenagers. Nevertheless, digital savviness remains one of the main descriptions for the millennials. Previous generations, including the Baby Boomers, tend to portray today’s young adults as incompetent in most areas of life. While it’s an unfair portrayal, there is no denying that millennials have grown up in a safe environment under the protection of parents who have wanted their children to have an easy life. As a result of this somehow assisted education, millennials lack the essential life experience that their parents and grandparents had at the same age. Here are some of the primary areas where the combination of parental style and digital savviness has allegedly deprived the millennials of essential life skills.

They don’t know how to date

According to an American study of 3,000 individuals, millennials, despite their modern ways of communicating, lack experience and confidence in establishing and developing a dating relationship. It might sound surprising that they found it difficult to create meaningful bonds when they are easy to use dating apps on their smartphones. But in reality, the romantic life of the millennials is a lot bleaker than for other generations. While their parents live in the perception that young adults are all about casual sex and hooking up, the study reveals the surprising fact that millennials are in fact feeling more awkward than believed about dating. Why so? Technology is a limitation in this instance. The abundance of dating apps makes it challenging for young adults to focus their attention on one person only where there are plenty of choices. Additionally, the social media habits of sharing their everyday online build wrongly the portray of confident people, comfortable with their personal issues. The sharing confidence, however, doesn’t exist IRL. Finally, the most important aspect of all is the lack of guidance millennials have received from their parents about relationships.

They drive cool cars they don’t understand

Baby Boomers were the last generation who was confident to work on their cars. Admittedly, cars at that time were less complex than now. However, there’s no denying that some essential car knowledge has been lost in the generational gap. In fact, you’d have to look for a long time to find a young adult able to change their wheel or their brake pads. Admittedly, it would be unfair to say that millennials are completely clueless about cars. They do understand the potential risks of handling toxic liquid and trying to mend electric systems. But their lack of knowledge and interest in vehicles is the cause of high maintenance costs.

They leave their family home late

Millennials are on average around 25 when they finally leave their parents’ home. When they do, most of them have already completed their studies and found their first job. So naturally, the move from their bedroom to renting their first flat is a dive in the unknown. In fact, it wouldn’t be exaggerated to say that most need a guide to renting a property so that they know what to expect. Indeed, for most young adults, the concept of managing their budget to deal with the various payments — deposit, furniture, bills — is something they’ve never heard of before. First-time tenants are left unprepared for household chores that are, in the family home, the responsibility of their parents. Some don’t even know how to use the washing machine! But are they really to blame for their lack of experience?

They make poor leaders (without training)

When millennials first reach the company work life, they were perceived as lazy, social-media obsessed, and narcissistic. These labels are not entirely fair, but it’s easy to understand how the generation who is revolutionising the working environment might, at first, had difficulties to fit in. The truth is: young adults have developed a different mindset than older generations. Raised by parents who told them that the world was their oyster, millennials have created a habit of job-hopping as they were unwilling to settle in roles that didn’t make them happy. They grew up with finding their path as the main guidance, so it’s only natural that they value happiness in their careers too. As they are old enough to be promoted to leadership roles, their different mindset causes new workplace conflicts. Their digitally-focused communication has stunted their interpersonal skills.

They don’t go to the doctors

It’s not that millennials don’t care about their health. They do. But contrary to older generations, they rely on digital healthcare data to find the solution to their problems. For the NHS, the new way of shopping of healthcare might come as an advantage as it makes handling staff shortage easier. All the millennials need to interact with is an informative website that provides the answers to their complaints. What to do for a runny nose? What are the symptoms of a cold? Why does my tummy hurt? More than half of millennials search online before deciding to see a doctor. Unfortunately, an online article can’t provide the same service than a trained practitioner.

They cook but don’t know their way in the kitchen

There’s a funny thing about cooking. Millennials are rediscovering the art of cooking, and a lot of them enjoy spending time in the kitchen to create something exciting, indulging or healthy. But at the same time, many of them don’t have any kitchen wisdom. The millennial preps don’t start with getting the ingredients but begins with finding the perfect spot for your phone or tablet. According to memory expert, Benjamin Storm, cooking by heart is a dying art. The phenomenon of memory offloading, aka using your smartphone to cook, results in lack of long-term knowledge, insights and uninspired results.

They can DIY but they can’t at the same time

Most marketing agency would agree: Millennials have become the craft generation. They have developed a strong DIY culture that encourages customisation of their everyday objects. From Christmas decorations to making birthday invitations, young adults enjoy collage, colouring and sharing their creations. But at the same time, the craft surge doesn’t include any useful DIY skill. In fact, one in five people under 35 asks their parents for help when it comes to household chores. However skilled millennials might be;, they are missing out on practical skills. Some of them don’t even know how to change a bulb!

They can’t save money

92% millennials don’t have a clue about money. It’s not that they don’t care. But lack of parental advice has put them in a position where they are earning a living without having ever understood how to manage a budget. And that is a perilous position. As a result, a lot of millennials don’t even think of checking their credit score or create a budget to manage their expenses and savings. Their most common mistakes are those of people who lack essential knowledge, such as accumulating debts through misuse of their credit card and not saving for retirement.

In the end, it would be unfair to claim that all millennials lack essential life experience. However, while there is a lot of soft skills they need to develop, it’s important to understand that millennial mistakes are the result of the advice and tech development of the previous generations. With the social support to improve their skills, millennials have the potential to combine the wisdom from the past with the tech of today for success.