Recently, Homeboyz Radio put up a phone challenge. They called on listeners to keep off their phones for eight hours on a given Friday, as well as social media. It was a ‘fast’ of sorts.
However, many Pulsers didn’t buy their idea. It meant that they would shut down their world. Getting off WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other social media networks simply meant they had no life.
They wouldn’t imagine how one can be off those applications for eight hours – something one of the Homeboyz presenters admitted was also hard for him.
“I don’t think I can do without a phone. I can’t do without Facebook and WhatsApp. That is where all my friends are and that is where I get my updates,” says John Oduor, a 22-year-old university student who finds it hard to go through an entire lecture without glancing at his phone.
The millennials have been accused of being a generation that thinks they are entitled to everything and one that wants it all instantly.
They have been accused of being lazy, shallow, impatient and tough to manage.
They seem to know it all and sound tough. And above all, as much as they are looking forward to making big money, they want things for free…Like the free Wi-fi at cafés where they would sit down all day to use the free Internet.
Throughout the day, the youth are busy on their phone, taking pictures and posting them on Instagram or Facebook for their friends to like. They are working hard for their following to grow, for people to comment and like, for strangers to request them to add them as friends.
If you unfollow them or remove them from a social group, they will get sick all day. You will sit down with them on the dinner table and they will still be away, chatting with unseen faces.
When they wake up in the morning, even before they say ‘good morning’ to their 'bae', they pick the phone to see who liked their last post. They are addicted…deeply addicted. And they look happy.
However, this is a depressed lot looking for fulfilment and joy as they run away from the truth in life. “Social media and all those applications that come with the digital age are the in-thing when it comes to social life and communication. I mean, bloggers are making a kill out of it. What is wrong with us being on phone 24/7,” wonders Susan, a 19-year-old who has just started her university education.
According to motivational speaker and author Simon Sinek, Pulsers are not to blame alone. He thinks that parenting, combined with social media, working environments and our impatience have created a generation plagued by low self-esteem.
“They told us we were special all the time and could have anything we want in life. We got medals for coming in last and if we didn’t get into the best clubs, our parents complained. This meant entering the real world was a shock and our self-images were shattered,” Sinek, says of the well-intentioned parenting strategies that may have backfired.
“Whilst really great in theory, parents were also pushing their kids to get the top grades, focus on rankings and make money, which left them conflicted,” he says.
“The reason is that many millennials feel the need to show on Facebook and LinkedIn that they’re rising through the ranks quicker than anyone else - seeing a peer get a promotion inevitably creates stress that your career isn’t progressing fast enough,” he notes as he justifies the reason why they ask for job promotions after months in employment.
However, Pulsers have an obligation to find a good balance in life. They should also come in terms with the truth that success and joy in life is not pegged on the ‘likes’ and the following they get on social media.
“You can’t be having lunch with your friends and at the same time be busy chatting with somebody on phone the whole while. It is simply wrong. In the real sense you might look smart but you are not. You are looking for satisfaction somewhere else,” says Rose Mwangangi, a communication consultant.