Saturday, January 28, 2012

Peter Pan kids - The Next Great Generation?

(photo Wikipedia Commons)

According to those over 40, the Millenial Generation (people born after 1982) are spoiled brats, living in their parents basements, addicted to video games. Supposedly, Boomer parents coddled them too much and now they wear entitlement attitudes like a badge of honor.

Police recruiters tell me that Millenials resist authority. Police trainers tell me Millenials keep asking "why". They don't blindly accept what they are taught. They seek understanding before they buy into something.

Hm. Do we want cops who know why something is so? Do recruiters even know how to market to Millenials?

In Millenials Rising, Neil Howe and William Strauss call them Peter Pan kids because they defer passage to responsible adult-hood as long as possible. Interestingly, they claim Millenials are more civic minded than the X Generation before them.

There is another trend worth noting; from the mid-1990s to mid-2000s many Millennials became teenagers, an age criminologists call the start of the crime-prone years. Prisons are filled with young men who started their criminal careers in their teens. When the crime-prone proportion of the population increases, so too does crime.

For example not long after the Boomers were teens, (1960s) crime rates exploded. But not today! Under Peter Pan's tutelage, crime has been declining. Millenial parents might have produced high crime rates, but their kids don't.

Maybe Millenials are too busy texting and cybersurfing to get into trouble?

Anyway, the brats - the one's with technology in their DNA, who challenge authority and question why, the one's who trigger less crime - they are what Howe and Strauss call the latest Great Generation.

Given what's ahead, I certainly hope that's true.