‘ADULT” used to be a noun; it is now a verb.
That’s how Gino Borromeo of McCann Worldgroup said today’s youth made a mark in the century.
Borromeo was referring to the results of a study the advertising agency did in collaboration with the Ateneo de Manila University’s Institute for the Science and Art of Learning and Teaching.
Based on the study, Borromeo noted that adulthood is one important shift for the current generation of youth. However, it is no longer considered a milestone. Previous generations, he noted, regarded adulthood as a numerical age when one can legally enter contracts, drink alcohol, give consent, or drive a car, while today’s youth seem to use “adult” as a verb.
“Certain actions are deemed as ‘adulting,’” Borromeo said during the recently concluded International Conference on Educational Frontiers. “Adulthood is now a fluid state, an option offered on a daily basis. Examples of adulting include being able to pay bills, having a regular bed time, going to the movies by oneself and even having an ‘uncracked’ phone screen.”
He, however, added that “figuring things out” takes a longer time for today’s youth. For instance, Borromeo said the current youth generation does not have a general career road map.
A MAJORITY of today’s young people do not stay in the company for a long time and just move gradually up to the corporate ladder, he added.
“The youth are taking longer to figuring out a career for themselves. This process is no longer linear,” he said, citing results of the study that interviewed 33,000 people aged 16 to 30 years old in several countries.
Borromeo said they also observed that the older generation and the current generation hold different views on career development.
“The older generations say ‘Oh you’re doing this now, you’re doing this and you’re doing this’…whereas I’m just planting seeds. At some point, one of the trees is going to grow,” he said. “Today’s youth choose to do different things as a means of exploring multiple options simultaneously [‘sowing seeds’] in the hope that one of them will bear fruit.”
WITH the emergence of social media and hyperconnectivity, the youth of today have a much wider range of contacts as compared to their older counterparts. Moreover, this has resulted in developing a new definition of friendship, according to Borromeo.
“For many young people, it is about showcasing one’s best and most creative self,” he said. “We may even be living in an age where individuals become their own brands, able to define their own unique identity.”
On the positive end, Borromeo pointed out that social media have provided opportunities for the youth to find role models and sources of inspiration. On the negative end, however, social media have engendered widespread feelings of inadequacy and insecurity because of social-media envy, he noted.
“Despite living in a world that engenders social-media envy and personal insecurity, many more young people are valuing sincerity, honesty and loyalty,” Borromeo said.
He said members of the older generation have a bigger role to play in this times—e.g., impart wisdom—as there is a lot of chaos and confusion.
“The world has become so complex that the youth are actually looking for adult perspectives,” he said. “They’re in search of parental figures for advice and wisdom to navigate this confusing, chaotic world.”
Borromeo said that, while the survey was of international scale, the findings reflect some things that are relevant to Filipinos.
Despite the changes in technologies and the world, one thing has not changed: “Being young is about finding yourself, your people and your place in the world,” he said.
Borromeo added that adolescence and young adulthood remain characterized by the youth’s desire to find one’s identity, community and purpose in a fast-changing society.
He added these concerns have not changed for the youth since adolescence and young adulthood continue to be defined by young people’s desire to know more about who they are, who the people they can share interests with are and how they can make a difference in the world.
Meanwhile, these developments have a bigger impact in the Philippines, as the youth continue to live in multigenerational households with parents, grandparents, and even older and younger cousins, uncles and aunts.
“Our collectivist culture also stills values respect and the wisdom of elders and those around us.”