Confession: I'm 24 and I love my iPhone.
You're shocked, I'm sure. If you rolled your eyes, or said "of course you do" under your breath, hang with me. Yes, I love my iPhone. And yes, I use it all of the time. And yes, I check it before I go to sleep and right when I wake up. Does that make me addicted? I say no, you may say yes, and that's okay.
More than just the Millennials
Pew Research Center found that 90 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 sleep with their phones on or right next to their bed. Most of you probably aren't surprised by this statistic. But the finding that is even more important is that 65 percent of all Americans sleep with their phones by their beds. That number includes half of people age 50 to 64.
My curiosity peaked when I read these numbers, so I did a little social-media poll of my own. I asked my followers on Facebook and Twitter, "How many of you sleep with your phone right by your bed?" Out of the 125 people who answered in the affirmative, 86 of them were Millennials. The remaining 39 people—about 31 percent of my respondents—were Gen X or older. What this says to me as a young adult is that while our age defines us as Millennials (or Gen X or Baby Boomers, and so on), our culture influences our love of technology.
Extreme technology use isn't just a Millennial characteristic. Although the ratios may be different, people in all generations are leaning into what's being labeled as "Millennial tendencies." In fact, Pew Research Center offers a "How Millennial Are You?" quiz for people of all ages. I took the quiz and got an 89 percent—the exact same score as a co-worker of mine who is 20 years older than me! The reason we both got the same score has nothing to do with age and everything to do with the ways in which we use technology.1