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Jordan’s millennials

Nov 05,2018 - Last updated at Nov 05,2018

Many authors and journalists claim the coinage of the terms “Gen I”, “Generation Z”, or the “millennials”. All of these terms mean, what analysts have unanimously agreed to refer to, those who were born between the years 1994 and 2000. These are about 2 million people in Jordan and already constitute about 20 per cent of the total population.

Since His Majesty King Abdullah ascended the Throne on February 7, 1999, the number of millennials and those born after that, until now, constitute more than 50 per cent of the population. This demographic has lived its conscious life under the reign of King Abdullah. Their life history has begun, and continues to be associated with His Majesty’s Jordan.

In ten years’ time, this demographic which lives under the King’s rule is estimated to exceed 75 per cent of Jordan’s total population. They will be in almost full command of the various activities and institutions of Jordan. The rest of the population will be mostly either retired or living in the past, given the quick pace of technological change.

On October 31, His Majesty took to task the topic of media, obvious in his article in Arabic headlined “Social or anti-social media?” He revealed his displeasure with intransigencies of these media outlets which go unpunished. His own family was targeted by some misusers and abusers, which would have unleashed unthinkable wrath against such perpetrators in other countries.

To his credit, the King persevered and only occasionally referred to such foul messages. Yet, when such abuses became pandemic and aimed at every “who’s who” in the country, the King stepped in and wrote the article. It is obvious that he is establishing the raison d'être for enacting a law which punishes the spreading of unfair ad hominem attacks and deliberate disinformation and misinformation.

The millennials have their own language. If one receives a message from them, it would look like a hieroglyphic message, or like a Rosetta Stone. It is full of symbols, gestures, pictures and happy-go-lucky words. Such words are used habitually in the millennials’ daily conversations. They use them on social media, not realising the potential abuse embodied in them. They hardly distinguish between physical and virtual reality, and they are oblivious to the fact that once foul words are written on social media outlets, they become part of the public domain.

The millennials feel cheated by their fathers’ generation. They left them unpaid debts, few job opportunities and dismal prospects. They are angry and suffer from alienation.

We need to make sure that whatever disciplinary legislative measures are taken will consider that the millennials are spared punishment of things they do with good intentions. Most of what His Majesty targeted as outlandish use of the social media is committed by the older generation.

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