Then vs Now: 1982-2012

It’s always instructive to step back and see how the world has changed over a generation. Our world is moving fast. And while some things stay the same, we’ve encountered some major game changers in the last 30 years: mobile communications (the cell phone) and the Internet (especially social networks). In the following infographic from Best Education Degrees, it’s worth considering how many of these social changes have been driven by technological change.

Then vs Now: How Things Have Changed from 1982 to 2012
From: Best Education Degrees

For example, marijuana use is down among teens. That surprised me quite a bit, given the widespread support of legalizing marijuana you see among today’s teens. However, when you dig below the surface and think about it, kids today are more occupied then they were 30 years ago. They have more to do. More opportunities to engage socially, from the comfort of their own home. And when kids leave home less frequently, and have less need for stimulation (since it’s being provided by their computer), it makes sense that they wouldn’t have as many traditional opportunities to experiment in a physically social space.

Thinking in this way also makes sense of the fact that less kids under the age of 17 are getting driver’s licenses. And while this infographic doesn’t address the topic, I’ve suspected for quite a while that part of the reason for the drastic decline in teenage pregnancies is primarily due to same development: the easy availability of porn and virtual sex, as well as simple social attention via social networks, diminishes the biological force for people to actually do the great deed.

Also worth noting in this infographic: the drastic shift in career goals. Probably a result of the aging demographic, but there’s a major shift from emphasis on engineering and sciences to business, health and education. Make of that what you will.

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