Does your child do his/her homework while listening to music, watching TV, IMing a friend, and talking on a cell phone- all at the same time? Your child is a millennial, a screenager, a digital native. Millennials are young people born between the years of 1980 and 2000 who have been raised in an environment saturated with digital and electronic media. The world they have grown up in has always had:

  • cell phones
  • VCRs, DVDs, and Tivo
  • Video Games
  • Cable and Satellite Television
  • Internet Connections
  • Computers in the Home
  • eMail
  • Instant Messaging

Their world has always had voice mail, iPods and digital music downloads, and a Starbucks on almost every corner. They never saw the Challenger fly, don't remember when "cut and paste" involved scissors, and never saw a Howard Johnson's with 28 flavors of ice cream. Bill Gates has always been a billionaire and "whatever" has never been part of a question. Last year, in their world, digital cameras outsold film cameras, cell phones outsold land lines, and it is projected that cell phone cameras will outsell all cameras next year.

Digital kids are:

  • Hyper communicators- They use many ways to stay in constant touch with their peers and access information around the world.
  • Multi-taskers- They thrive on and have no problem with IMing on a computer while watching television, carrying on a conversation, and doing homework. They can manage multiple objectives at once.
  • Goal Oriented- They pursue multiple goals at once and are ambitious and success oriented.
  • Curious- They like to explore, discover, and investigate. Written instructions are not "their thing." They had much rather jump right into a computer program or project and figure it out was they go. They learn new technologies quickly and easily.
  • Public- Millennials live their life online. They share their thoughts, feelings, and emotions publicly- on a blog, a social web site, or a web page.
  • Embrace Diversity- On the Internet no one knows your race, if you're short or tall, fat or skinny, beautiful or ugly.
  • Collaborators- Comfortable working in groups
  • Questioners- Millennials constantly question everything from their parents to the President. They are not afraid to challenge the status quo.

We are:

Parents and teachers are the "digital immigrants." No matter what our level of technology expertise, we did not grow up in the same world as our children. We may be excellent computer users or we may not even know how to cut the computer on but we have not lived our lives in the same environment they have. It's not a skill level as much as it is a mind set.

  • Adults couldn't live with out email- email is too slow for Millennials so they IM
  • Millennials don't wait for "Weather on the 8's"- they hop online to look at or better yet, have an RSS feed deliver the weather to their computer and update it every hour.
  • Millennials don't wait for the 4, 4:30, 5, 5:30, or 6 PM news. The news is at their fingertips- online.
  • Adults socialize with their friends on their phones or cell phones. Millennials communicate through text messaging and voice or video chatting. They use their cell phones to go online, play games, IM, and send email.
  • Adults keep journals, sometime under lock and key. Millennials use My Space, Friendster, or any one of a number of social web sites where they share their innermost thoughts, but publicly, not in secret.
  • We wrote "term papers" in school. Millennials create complex. multimedia projects.

Information taken from