The youth of today, eh? Just what are they coming to? They’re an opinionated self-assured bunch aren’t they? Today’s youngsters certainly seem a lot more confident than the teenagers I remember hanging out with. And as for comparing them to those quiet, shy youngsters of the 1940s, well, there is no comparison. The youth of today are certainly very different to the teens of yesteryear.
Society changes constantly and one of the trends psychologists have noticed is the increasing egotistical nature of each generation. With each generation, scores of narcisim have risen constantly for the past 30 years. As the years roll on, youngsters show increased self-esteem, greater extroversion and increased assertiveness. The teenagers of today really are more assured of themselves than we were when we were young.
So what does it mean for the Internet and the future of your business online? It means more potential for arguments with your customers – whatever you say, they “know” they are right. It means more rudeness in emails and comments on blogs, in social networking sites and so on. And it means more people are likely to become obsessed with particular web sites, or even addicted to them.
So it’s all downhill then? Far from it. Along with greater self assurance comes an increase in one particular behaviour that bodes well for us economically online. Self assured individuals take more risks. The one psychological feature that connects all of the world’s top entrepreneurs is their risk-taking behaviour. Successful entrepreneurs take more risks than the rest of us.
So, as today’s teenagers become more narcissistic they will also become less risk-avoidant. And that bodes well for the Internet. It means we will have even more online entrepreneurs and more business opportunities. At a time when the world’s economic outlook is rather bleak, along will come the teenagers on their white chargers to save us all from doom.
Far from being the aggressive, self-obsessed, addicted bunch the likes of the Daily Mail would have us believe, today’s teenagers are likely to be the people who rescue us oldies from the current economic turmoil. And what does that mean for your business? Employ some teenagers right now and let them loose with their risk-taking ideas – you won’t look back.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+