iGens: What makes them tick?

10 defining characteristics driving cultural trends.


There’s a whole new generation out there, folks.

Last week, we intro’ed  iGen – a recent book by Jean Twenge – a psychology prof specializing in “generational research”.

She says that Millennials  are yesterday’s news.

The new generation is iGen – born after the introduction of the Internet … and now living connected to their iPhones.

See Disruptive innovation: How the iPhone has shaped a new generation
and the self-diagnostic How much of an “iGen” are you?

Prof. Twenge observes that the cultural and personal impacts of the “i” technology revolution are a mixed bag – some good and some bad.

Amazon link

More specifically, Prof. Twenge identified ten core “I” characteristics that shape iGen’ers …


IMPORTANT NOTE: Prof. Twenge observed “abrupt shifts in teens’ behaviors and emotional states“ starting around 2011-2012 … about the time that a majority of Americans started owning cell phones, most of which had Internet connectivity.  So, she coined the newest generation iGen and marked its start circa 2012.

But, while many of her observed behavioral characteristics may be influenced (or caused) by an increasing incidence of smart phone ownership and usage, other behavioral characteristics are strictly coincidental.  Remember that correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation.


The 10  iGen  I’s

1) In No Hurry … stay attached to parents longer; delay getting a driver’s license, drinking and having sex.

2) Internet … inseparable from their iPhones and always checking them or surfing the web.

3) In person no more … virtual relations dominate over face-to-face; more time alone on phones, less time hanging out

4) Insecure … a sharp rise in mental health issues: anxiety, depression, suicide; decline in percentage feeling “very happy”; competing against others’ “great life” images; constantly feeling “left out”

5) Irreligious … increasing numbers raised by irreligious parents; trend amplified by social acceptability of religion rejection; attraction of self-defined morality vs. “too many rules”; religion-based intolerance

6) Insulated … physical and emotional security; avoiding risk and danger; staying “in control”, e.g. less drinking; institutional protection: safe spaces away from physical threats and discomforting ideas

7) Income insecurity … “money is in, meaning is out”; college as a job-path: “earning beats learning”; challenged to stay relevant and technically competent

8) Indefinite (new attitudes toward sex, relationships, and children) … sexting, “nooding” and porn; separating sex and emotions; hooking-up over “clingy, constraining” relationships; fear of intimacy; high cost children can wait;

9) Inclusive … diversity-supportive- especially LGBT; tolerant and accepting – gender “fluidity” gaining traction; intolerant of gender or racial inequality; birth cohort: non-Hispanic whites are a minority.

10) Independent … claim open-mindedness in their political views which are molded by the internet and social media and clustered by groupthink; frustration with the establishment and the 2-party system; both Sanders and Trump as manifestations; claim advocacy for free speech debates (but favor safe spaces, speaker disinvitations and First Amendment limitations).

Why do the 10 I’s matter?

According to Prof. Twenge:

“Look to iGen  for trends that will shape our culture in the years to come.”



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