HomeopinionAre Millennials really selfish?

Are Millennials really selfish?

Sitting around the dinner table, it’s common for my over fifty-years-old parents to make comments about how ‘my’ generation does not like hard labor, and my response is, “and your generation did?”

Yes, there have been several inventions in the past twenty years that have simplified our lives (most importantly the computer), but this is not the product of laziness. This is the product of a more efficient world. We don’t have to pour over books to find an answer to a question, we can just type it into google search. This timesaver allows us to address new issues that would solve and further expand our comprehension of our surroundings.

Judgements and accusations like this are common against millennials. With developments in new technological mediums to express ourselves, we have come to be known as a ‘selfish’’ generation, but I don’t think that is a fair accusation.

Selfies and social media contribute to this opinion, but is that because our selfishness is more extreme or that it’s just easily expressed? Over one million selfies are taken per day, 48% of those selfies being posted to Facebook, 9% to Twitter, 8% to Instagram and 34% to other social media applications, for everyone to see. As our generation begins to venture out on its own, it is very natural for these twenty somethings to have a certain amount of selfishness, and be able to express it in a new way than ever before.

“I describe it as the self-focused time in life,” said Jeffery Jensen Arnett, who wrote Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road from Late Teens through the Twenties.

As a student fresh out of high school, they’re constantly moving, switching between their home life and their new university life. Being able to define themselves, establishing new relationships and making memories are all a part of the University experience, one that would easily be hindered by ‘too much’ selflessness.

“I don’t mean that they’re selfish; I mean that they have fewer social rules and obligations — the freedom to be self-directed,” said Arnett.

As young high school graduates, we live in a generation where we’re no longer pressured to get married and start a family right away. 21 million students were expected to attend American Universities this past fall of 2014.

The Millennials have just made their way out into the world, and now it’s their turn to be self-directed and figure out who they want to be. It’s natural for every burgeoning generation, Millennials  just happened to have their transition broadcasted on the new digital frontier.


  1. I think every “younger” generation on is labeled selfish at some point by journalists/critics hailing from older generations. The interesting trend I have notice lately is that older millennials, those 10-15 years older than us have begun to settle down more and are still using the traditional social media plat forms (Facebook, Twitter), have begun to enter into well established careers, and have shifted away from the “selfish”, “liberal” mindset into a more moderated set of values. Maybe you could explore the difference between the older millennials and the ultra tech savvy younger millennials who group more with “generation z”. According to Pew Research and other demographers, current high school and college students lie between the two geneations, sharing characteristics of both. Anyway, great article!


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