Pick-me generation

by Kim Jin-hyun

Young adults born from 1985 to 1997 are called the smart phone generation. They have logged on to the world by mobile phone since their childhood.

Thus, the youngsters make friends, watch TV, or even buy products by phone. They exist by connecting to it. Professor Kim Nan-do, author of the book, “Trends in Korea: 2017” named them the “Pick-me generation.”

Their parents were baby boomers. Thanks to rapid growth in Korea’s economy from the 1970s to 1980s and their diligence, their parents could easily get rich. They raised their children the best they could, and expected them to have successful lives, having only one or two babies.

But as their children became adults, Korea’s economy since the early 2000s has become stagnant. Job opportunities declined. Worse still, their upbringing made it difficult to adjust to society. Instead, they turned to a unique community: digital culture.

This phenomenon has led them to believe that personal values or experience are more important than traditional values. Accordingly, the youth have ignored human relationships or marriage.

Therefore, whether they have jobs or not, the youth have tried to achieve their own desires while they have been living with their parents. For example, as a visual generation, they have sought and enjoyed any objects they hope to obtain and have posted them on SNS.

This kind of selfish culture has rapidly spread among youngsters. This, combined with the sluggish development and numerous incidents including the Sewol Ferry disaster under the incompetent Park administration, forced citizens to harden their cynical attitude that “No one backs you up.”

This situation has led youth culture to be more close-minded and fragmented from the main stream.

There is a movie called “Chicken Run”. Its message is that “Chickens lived only in the fence, One day, after a cock destroyed it, all of them could fly away.” It means that dream can come true.

I think that the youngsters will also be able to eradicate their fence like the freed chickens if they have motivation in their lives.

Now, Korea’s economy depends on developing the fourth industry like artificial intelligence and robot technology. Korea as an IT powerhouse has unlimited possibilities to develop such industries, because the pick-me generation has creativity and a network of information trained with smart phones and information technology.

This year, we Koreans have a presidential election. I hope that the new leader will not only give the unemployed more jobs to draw on their abilities, but also restore Korean citizens’ faith in the government’s authority. Then, the system the seniors and the juniors can interact with will make our society more harmonious.

The writer is working at Jeonnam Natural Science High School in South Jeolla Province. Write to

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