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Understanding the iGeneration

Teens texting

The World Wide Web was introduced to the public in 1995. This was immediately followed by a series of commercial and social changes as human activities moved “online.” Functionally, the Internet has changed how people interact  with one another and who they choose to socialize with. Everyday interactions are no longer restricted to a geographic region. It is as easy to be a part of an online gaming community, with members from around the world, as it is to be a part of a local church congregation. For those born after the mid-1990s, this is all they know. But for older generations, the amount of connection and freedom people have now, in terms of social and commercial interactions, is vastly different than what they were capable when they were young. As a result, there has been an onslaught of speculation and anecdotal evidence that those born after the mid-1990s are in some significant way ‘different’ from those who preceded them. The Understanding the iGeneration project is the first to subject these hunches to serious scientific scrutiny.

Over the last few years, Understanding the iGeneration has brought together academic experts in the areas of linguistics, sociology, religious studies, and methodology  to discuss what is currently known about iGeners, what questions remain unanswered about this generation, and how to go about answering these questions. Following these discussions, the projects leaders began an intensive data collection effort and are, currently, in the process of writing a book about their findings from this effort. Understanding the iGeneration is also writing 75 short articles for Pacific Standard. These articles will touch on the iGenerations relationship to religion, politics, family, community, and much more.

The Understanding the iGeneration project is led by 2016-19 CASBS Visiting Scholar Roberta Katz, 2017-18 CASBS Fellow Sarah Ogilvie, 2018-19 CASBS Research Affiliate Jane Shaw, and 2018-19 CASBS Fellow Linda Woodhead with funding from the Knight Foundation.

In the video below, Linda Woodhead provides an overview of the iGen project. (Video courtesy of Lancaster University).

For more information, please contact CASBS program director Betsy Rajala (