12 Modern Social Norms That Baby Boomers Can’t Stand

Baby boomers, born between the late 1940s and early 1960s, struggle to understand contemporary socio-cultural and technological shifts. They find these developments a stark contrast to the life they have known in their younger days.

Here are 12 modern social norms that baby boomers feel odd with:

Constant Digital Connectivity

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The current generation can’t live without 24/7 connectivity through digital devices. They want information and accessibility at their fingertips. They expect others to be reachable online and respond ASAP.

Telephones, letters, television, radio, print publications, and social visits were the best ways for baby boomers to connect or stay informed. There was no urge or pressure for round-the-clock connectivity.

Sharing Everything and More on Social Media

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Today, people hardly have any qualms about broadcasting every little detail of their lives online, even if it is inappropriate or unnecessary. Some even fabricate their online image to create an illusion of a perfect life in the public eye.

Baby boomers value their privacy highly. Unsurprisingly, their rapport of trust with sharing information on social media is less strong than that of the young generation.

Texting Over Phone Calls

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Gen Z and millennials prefer texting over phone calls for social and workplace communication. They find calls nerve-wracking, whereas texting is convenient and gives them time to write a message.

Baby boomers feel that texting lacks the personal touch and clarity of a phone call. It is easier and more efficient for them to call someone to talk than to type messages to and fro.

Children on Phones and Social Media

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Most children are hyper-connected to smartphones and tablets, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. They are also active on social media. According to the American Family Survey 2023, 96% of parents said that their children (10-18 years) have access to at least one social media app.

Baby boomers feel that while it is essential for children to be tech-savvy, parents are giving them too much liberty to use gadgets and the internet.

Attitude to Dating and Relationships

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Baby boomers hold a traditionalist view of dating and relationships. They believe dating is a courtship period that leads a couple to a fulfilling marriage and a happy family life.

With their casual attitude, younger people consider open relationships, cheating, sexting, and ghosting a part of the dating landscape. A survey found that Gen Z and millennials think that marriage is an outdated tradition, expensive, or unnecessary. Some are not interested in marrying. Dating couples prefer to live together before tying the knot and making a life-long commitment.

LGBTQ+ Inclusivity

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According to a national survey, 28% of Gen Z adults and 16% of millennials identify themselves as LGBTQ. They demand inclusive and progressive practices. Hence, society and workplaces are opening up to embracing people with diversity, irrespective of their gender or sexual orientation. There is a growing emphasis on gender-sensitive language and equal treatment for all.

Baby boomers think that this paradigm shift violates the conventional gender classification and conflicts with morality. They are hesitant to support the LGBTQ+ community and give them social acceptance.

Gambling and Sports Betting Advertising

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Advertisements about digital sports betting, casinos, lottery, and gambling services have proliferated on television and other media formats. Baby boomers consider gambling as a potentially destructive vice that can turn into addiction. It baffles them to see it advertised as a service or a form of entertainment.

Flexible Work Culture

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Baby boomers have witnessed an old-school work culture. People went to offices for work, adhered to a structured routine, and kept everything strictly formal. They valued job security and lifetime loyalty to a single employer.

Workplace dynamics have undergone a seismic shift in the last few years. Remote and hybrid jobs, gig careers, flexible work hours, and job-hopping are novel workplace concepts for baby boomers.

Digital Transactions

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Traditional payment types such as cash, credit cards, debit cards, and checks are the go-to choices for baby boomers. Their familiarity and function give them mental assurance that their transactions have been safely executed.

They fear personal and data privacy concerns about digital payment options such as bank transfers, mobile wallets, contactless payments, and Buy No Pay Later (BNPL). However, they are gradually coming around to learning and using digital modes.

Informal Communication and Misuse of Language

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The young generation likes using slang, emojis, and abbreviated language in their conversations. They have poor sense of grammar and lack respect for language. Baby boomers find this type of communication unprofessional and puzzling. They think smartphones are killing the art of conversation and ruining people’s language and writing skills.

Headphone Culture

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It is becoming increasingly common for youngsters to wear headphones all the time. It is their way of listening to music, talking to someone, or finding privacy. Unfortunately, this self-imposed isolation makes them lose connection to people. They don’t even bother looking up from their phones to greet or respond.

Baby boomers who expect polite manners or a brief chit-chat from people find the headphone culture weird. It is akin to being rude and ignoring someone’s presence.

Emphasis on Health and Wellness

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Maintaining good health has always been important for baby boomers, but they have never dedicated themselves to it. It is unfathomable for them to take a mental health break, go for therapies, or adopt new diet trends such as veganism or gluten-free.

On the contrary, millennials and Gen Z prioritize self-care and don’t mind spending on health and wellness plans. They are also open to talking about and addressing mental health issues.

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