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Too Much Choice Essay

1375 words - 6 pages

In this essay I will explore the notion that contemporary young people are sailing in unchartered territory, unable to comply with traditional life course expectations of when one becomes an adult. The world is shrinking daily because of advanced technological developments especially in communication platforms. Generation Y has the world at their feet or more precisely ‘at their fingertips’. I will discuss that too many choices including a constant barrage from marketers, due to this massive exposure to information and the world at large, can create uncertainty and lack of focus. This is a contributing factor to the fairly new phenomena of the ‘emerging adult’ that could possibly require a ...view middle of the document...

“Young people live in two adulthoods,” says Blatterer (2014: 10). “One that is authentic and ‘in here’ and one that is inauthentic and ‘out there’.” This emerging adult is not rejecting the adult concepts of career, marriage, mortgage and children. They are delaying it, preferring instead to use this timeframe to explore as many possibilities as they can within their own immediate society where they could have twenty friends, as well as the wider world where they could have two hundred. Arnett (2004) also refers to bicultural identities. In other words, this generation have one identity organically linked to their local community and another in the global community through their connections in cyberspace where they can create a virtual identity.

Exposure to the World Wide Web has enabled young people to experience and adopt different worldviews. It has provided them with alternatives to the traditional path to adulthood. Opportunities to study online, live abroad, explore different vocations by interning and volunteering are all-possible on the extended journey into adulthood. This freedom of choice allows for self-exploration to establish strengths and weaknesses before deciding on any permanent future plan. However, “as the number of options increases, the effort required to make a good decision escalates as well, which is one of the reasons that choice can be transformed from a blessing into a burden. It is also one of the reasons that we don’t always manage the decision-making task effectively” (Schwartz 2004: 48).

Schwartz (2004) goes on to explain that too much choice is actually a paradox where freedom of choice can “cause paralysis”. Young people today have increased expectations but find it hard to make a decision because they worry they will make the wrong one. Making decisions can be quite stressful when there are so many outside influences. Marketers and media bombard young people as they are a very saleable demographic – youth [with their extensive social networks] sells. This constant infiltration of youth-orientated marketing is another distraction that quite aggressively steers young people to associate with their brand, pushing them to purchase their products, associate with their concepts and support their ‘ideology’ by ‘sharing’ and promoting to their friends. Shanahan’s (2008: 23) description of the other-directed person refers to this type of marketing manipulation . . . ‘whose character depends on signals, including those from one’s immediate peers and messages from the mass media. The other-directed person spends his or her life constantly attuned to the signals that are sent by diverse people both far and wide.

Young people, so use to scanning information, can have short attention spans and this can lead to being unable to focus on any one thing. One example: “In Mexico, an advertising representative for a large radio network complains, ‘A few years ago you could make a five-minute video for your presentation at an...

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