Millennials, or Generation Y, are referred to as the “Snowflake Generation”.
They were born between about 1982-2000. They are currently, as of 2019, between approximately 19 and 39 years of age. They follow Generation X and precede Generation Z.
A “snowflake” is a person who is considered to be overly sensitive or too easily offended. Millennials get “triggered”. According to the Slang Dictionary, the word “triggered” is used to describe someone who is angry and filled with hate. A person usually gets triggered after seeing something upsetting or alarming. Using the expression “triggered” is way to describe irritable people.
According to a 2013 article in Time magazine by Joel Stein, Millennials have characteristics that are different from other generations. Stein states that millennials lack the kind of empathy that allows them to feel concerned for others, but they also have trouble even intellectually understanding others’ points of view. According to Stein, Millennials are interacting all day but almost entirely through a screen. They are most often sitting next to one another and texting. They might look calm, he further describes, but they’re deeply anxious.
Loneliness is also something that greatly troubles Millennials.
They tend to rely on technology to stay in communication with others.
Interestingly, they are also reported to have declining fertility. In addition, they are more likely to be diagnosed with mental illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder.
Millennials are also the generation of “Social Justice Warriors”. A recent (2019) “Democratic Socialist Convention”, filled with Millennials, made the news when the convention speakers were frequently interrupted by Millennials complaining about “sensory overload” and being “triggered”. Clapping was not allowed because clapping was “triggering”. Quiet spaces were available and the use any scents/fragrances was discouraged.
So why are Millennials different? Most explanations include growing up with technology. But Generation Z also grew up with technology. Other explanations include parenting. But are parents from Generation X and Z that different from parents of Generation Y (Millennials)?
As a neurotoxicologist, I have my own theory…
If you look at the Table below, you will see the differences in mercury exposure levels from childhood vaccines between the generations. The Millennials received 3 to 9 times the amount of mercury of previous generations, and up to 237 times the following generation, Generation Z.
|Year of Birth||Mercury Exposure from Childhood Vaccines (micrograms)|
|Generation Z||2001- present||0|
Table 1: Differences in the amount of mercury exposure from childhood vaccines between the generations.
Moreover, the characteristics associated with Millennials are also associated with mercury exposure…
…i.e., lack of empathy, problems with “Theory of Mind” (or understanding others), anxiety, sensory sensitivity, social phobia, being socially withdrawn, depression, irritability, infertility, and difficulty controlling anger. Basically, Millennials were exposed to much higher levels of mercury than are considered safe by the EPA through no fault of their own.
Who is at fault?
Probably the FDA, which was admittedly, “asleep at the wheel” and not paying attention to the amount of mercury these children were given. The good news is that mercury was taken out of childhood vaccines in the US in about 2002. The bad news is that this generation is going to also be more susceptible to dementia later in life.
Call them Millennials or Snowflakes, but, in reality, evidence suggests many of them are basically on the Spectrum.