Digital Life: iGeneration - New Breed of Digital Natives
Trish Fischer in Digital Life, Marketing Demographics, digital media and kids, digital natives, digitally rewired kids, iGeneration, tfwco,, trish fischer, trishfischer

Illustration by Cathy WilcoxMove over Millenials; GenXers; Baby Boomers; and Mature Citizens. Welcome iGeneration, the hot new thing in marketing demographics.

Background on Generational Demographics

There are four popular demographic/generational categories on which most marketers tend to focus. They include:

  1. Millenials or Generation 2001ers, born between 1981 and 1991
  2. Baby Busters or Generation Xers born between 1965 and 1980
  3. Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964
  4. Mature Citizens born between 1909 and 1945

Now there is yet a new category: iGeneration born after 1991

Digital Natives: A Rewired New Breed

As you can guess, defining characteristics of the iGeneration have a lot to do with their lifetime exposure to technology. Psychologist Larry Rosen of California State University-Dominguez Hills explains all this in his 2010 book titled, Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn. Rosen believes that the tech-dominated life experience of those born since the 1990s is so different from the Millennials (the subject of his 2007 book titled, Me, MySpace and I: Parenting the Net Generation), that they warrant the distinction of a new generation.

That prompts me to do some quick math because the "generations" seem to be getting dramatically shorter. My baby boomer generation lasted 18 years. Gen Xers lasted 15 years. Millenials lasted a mere 10 years before being ousted by the iGeneration, which is comprised of today's teens and middle schoolers.

Rosen identifies several "distinct" iGeneration traits:

Yep. That sounds just like my teenaged kids. But, is it enough to warrant calling them a new generation? I don't think so. In my opinion, there are only two unique characteristics on that list that are owned exclusively by today's teens: 1) never having known life without the internet; and 2) their freakish ability to multitask. (As annoying as the multitasking is, I often tell my kids it will serve them well some day... just not tonight at the dinner table.) The rest of the items on Rosen's list seem to be more of a vast cultural change that is being experienced across all generations, not just our kids. But, I guess, that type of generalization wouldn't sell many books.

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