Like much of the world, I stood in line in between Christmas and New Year’s Day to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (Without giving away the plot, the movie was quite good.)
In the middle of the movie, right after Chewbacca nailed a storm trooper with his blaster, I started to feel sorry for Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 2000. Yes, I know the two have nothing in common and my mind rambles off in crazy directions, but bear with me.
In any event, I started feeling sorry for Millennials.
They’re smart and full of big ideas and potential. They’re also tech savvy. They continue to push the limits and force big business to find new ways for our phones and tablets to bring about increased efficiency and productivity to our lives. Millennials and the technology they’ve espoused have brought far more positives than negatives. I’ve seen it in my own life.
However, somewhere along the line, we, as a society, forget how to relax and Millennials seem to be taking the brunt of the pain. The consulting firm Deloitte released its annual Global Mobile Consumer Survey recently and found that nearly half of U.S. consumers check their phones up to 25 times per day. And sadly we never power down anymore.
The survey found that 72 percent of 18-24 year-olds and 76 percent of 25-34 year-olds report using their mobile devices when they’re watching television or movies. The numbers drop significantly for the other age ranges.
The survey includes a number of other telling figures and, yes, I know that statistics lie, but this particular one stood out for me since I can relate so well to it. I kept reaching for my cellphone throughout the Star Wars movie to Google an actor’s name or look up where they filmed the movie. It didn’t matter if Han Solo or Chewie or the cast of new characters in the film were in trouble, I was still pulling out my cellphone. Fortunately, I was reminded each time that I was in a theater and put my phone back in my pocket. In my case, the “Force” won in the end.
However, I’m just like the Millennials. I don’t watch a lot of television anymore, but, when I do, I rarely just watch TV. I’m always multi-tasking. Even with the year’s biggest grossing movie playing in front of me, I had to make myself relax and just watch it. If a technology novice like me feels this way, I can’t imagine how someone much more used to mobile technology might feel. They’re doomed to a lifetime of fighting the dark forces of stress.
Okay, okay, maybe not, but Millennials do have another ominous force working against them, one that even Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda couldn’t help them to overcome.
They missed out on the first Star Wars phenomenon in the late 1970s and, until they create a time machine, they’ll never be able to go back and experience the hype and craze that took over the country for themselves.
May the Force be with you.