A famous man in a spider suit once said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” The power that lies within the hands of Generation Z, a generation born into technology that has never lived in a time where they couldn’t conquer the world from a tablet screen, undeniably comes with great responsibility.
In honor of McAfee’s Global Community Service Day this week, our President Mike DeCesare and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome spoke at a local Bay Area High School about the responsibilities they have as what Newsome calls ‘Digital Natives’. This term means that Generation Z was born into an amazing technical age; having study sessions on an iPad with students scattered around the globe comes as naturally to them as hopping on a bike and heading to your best friend’s house to study for Spanish was to us. Gen Z doesn’t know a world without rapid technological advances – they have lived and breathed technology from before they could speak (have you ever seen a 1 year old navigate an iPad? I have.) . The rest of us, who can remember when the internet was something called America Online, are what the Lieutenant Governor calls ‘Digital Immigrants’ – we might be able to pick up the language, but we will never understand it in the same way that the Natives do. As DeCesare commented to the crowd, “In an incredibly connected world, you (Gen Z) are the generation which will be leading one of the most major transformations of mankind.”
Great power indeed.
Digital Immigrants, the people that are responsible for educating the future generations, are put at a great disadvantage. We will always be behind the curve, struggling to keep up and understand the world from the eyes of the Natives. What we can do, however, is educate these future technological prodigies in values that have been ingrained in us since we were children; Responsibility, Self-Worth, and a little something called Doing the Right Thing.
In a world where inappropriate videos go viral and get a million hits in a single day, where teen moms can become famous for their indiscretions, and where celebrities get more press time when their lives are spiraling out of control – it can seem that these traditional values no longer apply. Yet when given the opportunity to share their message with a group of children for an hour, both DeCesare and Newsome spent their valuable time on one of the oldest values in the book – Responsibility.
Will Generation Z use their power for good or evil? Only time will tell. One thing clear right now, it is up to us to teach them, guide them, and empower them to use their power responsibly.
How will you empower your children to be responsible and do the right thing?
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