November 7, 2005

by Reb Yudel
The iGeneration Gap

WSJ.com - Moving On
Technology has exacerbated the gulf between today's parents and kids in ways we need to notice. It's easier now for kids to function in their own closed societies, leaving them oblivious to adult culture.

People over age 40 grew up with just a few TV channels. We watched TV news -- at 6 p.m. it was the only thing on -- and soaked up the adult worlds of information and entertainment because that's all that was available. Now kids have their own worlds, their own channels.

I live in Michigan, and two days after Hurricane Katrina hit, I drove my 16-year-old daughter and her friend home from the movies. I mentioned Katrina, and this friend didn't even know there was a hurricane. She's a lovely girl and an A student, but for days, she had chatted online, watched her own TV shows, and saw no news of the tragedy. Her parents hadn't thought to tell her.

Samantha Landau says she mentioned new Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to fellow students in her 11th-grade advanced-placement history class and most had no idea who he was.

Baby boomers knew newsmakers from their parents' and grandparents' generation because families watched Walter Cronkite and Ed Sullivan together. But most 20th-century legends are "dead brands" to kids today, youth marketers say. To them, historical figures are last season's reality-show contestants.

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