A generation shaped by glowing rectangles
Culture | Reflecting on the culture of college students today
by Nick Eicher
Posted on Friday, July 29, 2016, at 12:18 pm
Each week, The World and Everything in It features a “Culture Friday” segment, in which Executive Producer Nick Eicher discusses the latest cultural news with John Stonestreet, president of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Here is a summary of this week’s conversation.
After spending concentrated time this summer teaching Christian worldview to college students at Summit Ministries in Manitou Springs, Colo., John Stonestreet reflected on the strengths and weaknesses of this generation of young people.
College students’ obsession with technology—what Stonestreet called “staring at a glowing rectangle”—has led to poor communication skills and self-centeredness.
“When you are used to having entertainment on demand and communicating always on your own terms—where you can choose to answer a text or not, you can choose to pick up the phone when you see who’s calling or not, you can choose to communicate when and with whom and in what way—it really does feed a sense of narcissism in this particular generation,” Stonestreet said. Young peoples’ infatuation with the cellphone game Pokémon Go exemplifies that problem.
“The good news is, it’s getting people outside,” Stonestreet said. “The bad news is, it’s getting them outside to national landmarks and beautiful scenery only to stare aimlessly on their phones for creatures that don’t exist in real life.”
Relativism has also infected this generation, and conservative Christian students are not immune.
“They’re much more concerned about being nice than being true. They’re much more hesitant to be mean than they are to be wrong,” Stonestreet said.
But the news isn’t all bad, and Stonestreet found plenty of encouragement in his dealings with young people this summer: “I think one of the biggest differences between this emerging generation and mine is just these two words: They care.”
When confronted with biblical truths, particularly about issues like abortion, the students Stonestreet worked with showed an eagerness to put their knowledge into action.
“I believe that when you can actually sit them down and talk to them and get them in a place where you can actually challenge them with ideas, that this generation cares enough to want to do better,” Stonestreet said. “They want to make a difference in the world. And, to me, that’s very encouraging.”
Listen to “Culture Friday” on the July 29, 2016, episode of The World and Everything in It.