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Someday, “Generation Screen” Will Make All of Us Look Like Thousand-Year-Old Technophobes


Remember when you were a kid, and you were the only person in your house who could program the VCR? (Or, for you Gen Y types, the DVR.) Well, in a couple years, we'll have a lot more sympathy for the funny old fogeys of our youth. That's because someday, today's babies will grow up, and they will eat our lunch, business-wise.

Kids who were born during the last three or so years have never lived in an era without touch screens. Think about that for a second. Their entire lives have taken place during an era when “The Minority Report” was just barely fiction. Flip phones are like rotary landlines to them. Wi-Fi has always been ubiquitous. It has never been impossible to talk to your friends without, you know, talking to your friends.

In a column on Ad Age, Adam Shlachter calls these kids “Generation S” or “Generation Screen,” and he has some very good reasons why businesses should start thinking of them, even during their preschool years.

“We’ve all witnessed toddlers navigating a smartphone or iPad better than we can, or swiping a TV or laptop screen expecting it to react to their touch, only to be dismayed,” he writes. “The keyboard and mouse are foreign to them, and soon may be remote controls. Will wallets, credit cards or even cash have any purpose for them a few years from now? How will marketers, brands, retailers and publishers stay relevant to this audience that expects to transact nearly everything on a touch screen?”

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He cites a study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau that says that 45 percent of companies don’t have a mobile version of their site. So … they might want to get on that. And for the rest of us aged Gen Xs and Gen Ys, well, we might want to keep an eye on those kids. Someday, they’ll be competing with us for jobs.

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(Photo Credit: Henriksent/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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