What do I mean when I say this blog is about ‘reading the Bible with iGen’? Well, I’m inspired by Jean M. Twenge’s iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood—and What that Means for the Rest of Us (which has a throw-back, super-long subtitle). This is a book about the generation after the Millennials. Some call this generation ‘Generation Z’ (or ‘Gen Z’). Traditionally, Millennials were born in the early 80s (Twenge says ’81; Pew Research Center says ’80), which, fun fact, makes me one of the oldest Millennials (I was born in ’82). Gen Z or iGen begins in the mid-90s (Twenge says ’95; Pew Research Center says ’97). The reason I like the label iGen is because of Twenge’s rational for giving this name to the emerging generation. ‘they grew up with cell phones, had an Instagram page before they started high school, and do not remember a time before the Internet.’ (p. 2)
Millennials like me became adults at the turn of the millennium. We remember the pre-Internet Era. We used dial-up. Today’s youth don’t know the analog era, only the digital one. The ‘Internet was born’ in 1994, forever changing the world into which they would be born.
I teach religious studies to this generation, specifically high schoolers. So this blog will include my observations on how this generation thinks about religion, reads sacred texts, and other related matters. And I agree with Twenge: the (smart)phone in their pockets has forever altered how humans think and get their information. This means when they want to know about Buddhism, or the Gospel of Luke, or the Hindutva ideology, how will they learn about it…well, my hyperlink tells you how. They’ll look for information online. This can be good but it brings unique challenges. Challenges I want to think through.