Generation gap a smouldering social issue

Not getting enough attention

The generation gap is one of the leading social issues, which is being discussed everywhere and everyday but unfortunately no serious work has been done to minimize this gap and live a compatible life.

The generation gap is an academic and social concept that elaborates the mismatch of ideas and cultural discrepancies between the old and young generations. In the intergenerational gap both of the generations blame and arguably criticize each other for creating these differences and no one of wither age group tries to bring the two cohorts close to each other. The history of the generation gap is comparatively old, but since the mobile technology has infiltrated into the social world the ideas and thinking differences have increased swiftly which has widened the gap between the two age groups. The gap in return has caused social distress, familial embroilments, mental distortions, emotional and psychological unease and so on.

The adoption of modern technology is inevitable. Every field of life has been overlapped by this technology. Updatability is the need of the hour. The generation that lags behind in the pace of updatability will face an unfortunate end. The cleavage emerges usually because the old and mostly illiterate generation is totally disoriented with the usage of mobile technology and the youth are thoroughly dependent on technological gadgets.

Consequently, the elders have been found always complaining of the young generation being engaged with their mobiles and not giving them proper time to share daily routine activities. However, the young generation is trying to justify that modern technology is the need of the time and contend that spending life without technology is impossible. Speaking impartially the situation and trends in the life are no doubt changing frequently, which in turn making the existing cultural traits obsolete and absorbing new global trends and foreign traits especially the western trends, which is indeed denounced and discouraged by the older generation and welcomed by the young generation, that ultimately is promoting the intergenerational dissonance.

The generational gap is an old phenomenon. It is viewed by demographers that generation gap was noticed for the first time after World War II, when the devastating war annihilated a large portion of the world population. Consequent upon the situation that followed there was much child reproduction to increase the population so that to achieve the desired level. The Postwar generation was later declared as the Baby Boomers (the generation born between 1946 and 1964). It is asserted that this generation faced off for the first time with their parents, who had been born after World War I and the generation was named far ahead as the Traditionalists or Silent Generation (the generation born between 1925 and 1945). The ideas gap continued through the other generations, such as Generation X, Generation Y, Generation Z, and the Alpha Generation.

Our society is generally passing through a transitional period, where the young generation is shifting into the new life courses and the old cohort is still attached to the traditional lifestyle. Both of the generations have been found stubborn in their stances and ways of thinking, acting and feeling. The inflexible mindsets of differing generations have fostered frustration, intolerance and antagonism that have bred mutual conflicts, hatreds and social isolation unluckily.

Research studies indicate that smartphones and cultural diffusion are the biggest reasons encouraging cleavage between the two generations. Moreover, it is claimed that the economic independence of the young generation and the young generation being less religious than the old generation are the other indicators separating the two generations from each other. The youth have been desperately justifying that they are ignored by the elders in domestic affairs and claim that their elders are outdated.

Though a crucial issue, the intergenerational gap has never been taken seriously by any segment of the society. For minimizing this gap the two conflicting generations should show flexibility in their thoughts and actions. Staying at two opposite extremes may subvert the situation more. The old generation should understand the demands and needs of the modern world, and should not expect or force youth to behave like they did. The youth should spare time for their aging parents. Pay heed to their physical, social, psychological, physiological, emotional, recreational and economic needs. The elders also need attention and facilities as the youth do. The elders should be engaged and will be treated in a parental way.

Sociologists conclude that generation gap is a universal phenomenon, but it is found very narrower in those families and communities where the two generations are flatly illiterate or both of the generations are completely educated and equally updated. Only education is not instrumental to bridge the gap but updatability is more important than any other factor to bring the two conflicting age groups closer to each other.

The generation gap in Pakistan is prominently caused because of the tribal nature of the society, especially within the older population. The elders never ever are made to accept the social change wholeheartedly. They are firmly attached to their old traditions and resist any new trait to be adopted as a part of their culture. The young, while having the experiences of urban centers and more exposed to new trends, can never agree to live a traditional lifestyle. The educational progress and easy access to technological tools are influencing their cultural worldview, which as a result is shaping their minds that ultimately promotes a cultural and generational gap.

It is an undeniable fact that the generation gap is a smoldering issue which has put negative impacts on the social, psychological, cultural, physical and emotional life of the both generations. Both of the generations have been complaining of suffering more from this gap than benefitting. In Pakistan, the joint family system is still a favorite family setting. Owing to such temperaments, the gap has increased intra-family conflicts and discomfort. The stability of families has been kept at stake. The trust deficit and mutual hatred among the family members is viewed intensely. The youth prefer to spend more time out of the family, sharing their secrets and privacies with other than their parents and family members.

The emotional attachment between the parents and children is at the lowest level. The frustrated youth mostly avoid interacting with their parents, especially fathers. Consequently, the situation has negatively affected the personality of youths. In many cases the youth have been found tending towards deviant behaviour and acts.

Though a crucial issue, the intergenerational gap has never been taken seriously by any segment of the society. For minimizing this gap the two conflicting generations should show flexibility in their thoughts and actions. Staying at two opposite extremes may subvert the situation more. The old generation should understand the demands and needs of the modern world, and should not expect or force youth to behave like they did. The youth should spare time for their aging parents. Pay heed to their physical, social, psychological, physiological, emotional, recreational and economic needs. The elders also need attention and facilities as the youth do. The elders should be engaged and will be treated in a parental way.

Muhammad Rahim Nasar
Muhammad Rahim Nasar
Muhammad Rahim Nasar, Lecturer in the Department of Sociology University of Balochistan, Quetta. Email. [email protected]

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