What They Say About Us-What'd You Call Me?

January 12, 2005 | By Luke Campbell

Do you remember life without a computer? Were you younger than 18 when you got your first cellphone? Does “FUBU” mean anything to you?

If so, then you probably belong to the most technologically advanced, goal-oriented and possibly smartest generation yet-the Millennials, Generation Y or echo boomers.

If you Google “Generation Y” you will find many different Web sites with many different dates as to when this generation originated and when it ends. The site www.onpoint-marketing.com classifies the years of 1981–95 as the era of Generation Y, while www.wordspy.com categorizes it as “a person who is part of the generation born in 1978 or later.”

According to authors and historians Neil Howe and William Strauss, this “millennial generation” is made up of those born from 1982–2003. Howe and Strauss’ book “Millennials Rising” contained a survey of more than 600 students in four public Fairfax County high schools. The survey showed that people in this generation are generally happy, confident, team-oriented and less likely to experience violence. William Byrd students Kris Tunstall, Amanda Houff and Becky Eddleman say these aren’t the only traits they see among their peers.

“You can’t see anyone who isn’t materialistic,” said Eddleman, a 15-year-old sophomore.

“People definitely judge you by what you possess,” agreed Houff, also 15 and a sophomore.

The Edge conducted a poll of Hidden Valley High School students to ask how they would describe their generation. At least 91 percent of the 89 teenagers polled agreed that their generation is tech-savvy, stressed and good at multi-tasking.

But only 64 percent agreed that people in their generation are team players.

“We don’t stick up for each other,” said Tunstall, 17, a senior.

“You see people [from school] out of school and they act like they don’t know you,” agreed Eddleman.

But Josh Covert, a home schooled senior, disagreed.

“I think that when 9/11 hit we really showed our capability of teamwork,” he said.

The William Byrd students also said echo boomers lack morality, saying that people who do have morals are “the black sheep of their school.”

The Hidden Valley poll seemed to reflect the same thought-only 36 percent of the respondents said they believed their generation was highly principled.

So what else defines echo boomers besides materialism, tech-savviness and lack of morals?

“We’re dreamers-we thrive to accomplish our dream,” Covert said. “No matter who you are, we all have that drive that keeps us going.”