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June 28, 2007

The i Age

So today, I open my browser to my iGoogle page (personalized according to my own preferences); I could download (if I owned one) iTunes to my iPod or my iPhone according to my own personal tastes and not a radio dj's. I could (if I had one) send you to my myspacepage or mynewyorktimes or mymovies or myfamily. I could go online and buy clothing at selfish.com with messages ranging from "It's all about me" to "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of My Own Happiness," or I could find similar items at any department store. I can even print a stamp with my picture on it. I can find a church where I can worship the way I want to worship with the kind of music I want to listen to and the kind of people who are mostly just like me. I can get a Bible for women or extreme teens or sportsmen for that matter. And I can even chat with igod. (Disgusting, yes.)

Is it any wonder then that a new study has shown that kids are more self-centered than previous generations? According to Jean M. Twenge's "Egos Inflating Over Time: A Test of Two Generational Theories of Narcissism Using Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis" (read more from Twenge here), almost two-thirds of recent college grads (2006) display higher levels of narcissism than those tested in 1982. And that signals danger ahead. Big surprise here folks: narcissists have trouble forming meaningful relationships, they tend to be materialistic, and have high levels of infidelity, substance abuse, and violence.

But you are probably wondering, "What does this have to do with me?" If so, count yourself part of the i Age.

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» The i Age = I Am The Only One That Matters from www.gospelshout.com
Are iPhones, iTunes, iPods, iGoogle pages and MySpace pages creating a generation of ego inflated narcissistic punks? Check out this article and commentary about a recent study entitled, Egos Inflating Over Time: A Test of Two Generational Theories of ... [Read More]

Comments

Joe Dalfonzo

You forgot my all time favorite "AN ARMY OF ONE"! sometimes you gotta wonder...

Anna

Brilliant punch line.

Anna

I just now read Joe's comment. I think that 'An Army of One' is not a selfish statement. It represents the idea that one person can affect the world for good and it inspires others to do the same. I supposed it could be construed to affecting the world for my betterment but I doubt that's what people who wear/display it mean.

ott

I love the age of I. Being able to personalize everything is great and makes life so much more efficient. You get what you and not the stuff you don’t. I can’t speak to today’s youth being more self-centered but good parenting should help combat that problem.

Steve

You mean being able to personalize everything ... with stuff that has been mass-manufactured to be identical for everyone else that buys it.

Reminds me of the (cynical) shirt: "I'm unique. Just like everybody else."

:)

Carl Holmes

Wow, what a way to take an article and move it away from what was intended. You completely missed this statement at the end:

"Is all this such a bad thing? And is it really that much different than life for the "Me Generation" of the 1970s? Egos inflated over time also deflate over time. Life tends to do that. So don't worry about kids gorging on self-esteem. Why not feast while you can? The slow famine of reality sets in soon enough."

Egos that inflate over time, deflate over time...that is the way of the world. What do you suggest I tell my son... your handwriting is atrocious, or that finger painting is terrible?

The best way to raise a child and counteract what the child is being shown is to model personal humility... do it all the time. That way, when the ego deflates it is in a healthy and growing way.

Gina Dalfonzo

Just FYI, I'm the one who put in the "Chicago Tribune" link with that statement at the end. Catherine put in a link to the book, but I wanted to add one that would give people a quick summary of what the book and report were all about. So she didn't miss anything -- she didn't see that link (that I know of) before the post went up.

Steve

Carl,
I think the point was that the iAge/Me Generation produces self-centered people.

You don't give your kid an iPod when they do a simple handwriting assignment because it spoils them... just like you don't call their handwriting atrocious because it kills their self-esteem. You don't lavish without restraint on your child, you don't withhold praise when something is praiseworthy. There is a middle road. Our children are not devils, and they aren't angels. They're human... like us.

(By the way, I think our iAge has such over-inflated egos... that more often they explode than deflate).

labrialumn

Narcissism is a very destructive disorder, but as I read your post, what I was thinking about, was the total control that it gives the State or other principalities and powers.

Not only can you access all of these things, but what you do and when is automatically catalogued, profiled, recorded, and made available to data miners. Your politics, religion, likelihood of resistance or criminal activity, all psychologically profiled.

This is the Panopticon, the imaginary perfect prison dreamt of centuries ago, made fact.

The world has never seen its like.

With the illusion of total liberty, total control beyond the dream of tyrants, is established.

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