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The Next Generation: Rescuing the Economy or Plunging It Further Into Decline?

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks working on a package of articles for The Fiscal Times focused on the spending habits of those ages 18 to 30 — so-called “milennials.” I’ve been fascinated to discover that although this age group is facing one of the worst employment situations ever, many are inherently optimistic. I’ve been mulling this over with particular personal interest. My daughter, about to turn 21, will graduate from college next year, and I fear for her prospects during this down economy. But speaking with so many millennials, I didn’t get the impression that there’s a need to worry. Not only do many have comfortable jobs, but they believe they’ll earn enough money over their lifetime to afford all that they crave. And they’re spending as if they’re already living the high life, despite staggering college loan and credit card debt. Millennials represent the fastest growing sector of the luxury market. The appearance of having made it often trumps consideration of whether you can afford a luxury item. It got me to thinking: have these millennials learned the lessons that plunged us into the recession? Is their spending likely to wreak havoc on both their personal lives and the nation as a whole? Or will their persistent optimism succeed in helping to turn the economy around? Only time will tell.

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Do One-Year-Olds Need an iPad?

While researching a recent article I wrote on kids and technology http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/03/21/iChildren-How-Apple-Is-Changing-Kids-Brains.aspx?p=1,  I was slightly astounded at how much has changed since my children were young. I remember my middle-schooler, now nearly 21, begging for her own cell phone and telling her she would have to wait until high school to get one. Waiting until you’re 15 to get a cell phone these days is almost unheard of, when recent statistics show that 77% of teens ages 12 to 17 own their own cell phone. I was amazed at how many babies have their own iPads; 24% of those ages three to eight own their own. It got me to thinking: would I have been one of those parents who purchased an iPad for their child? The idea of putting a $500 electronic device — glass top and all — in the hands of a toddler is frightening at best. And I know that my son would immediately have gotten hooked on it — to the detriment of any other activities, like interaction with his parents. I have to admit that, as the mother of three much older children, I’m glad I don’t need to navigate all these “must have” gizmos of today’s kids.

This topic of technology came up while I was researching a piece that ran in Scholastic Parent & Child’s April issue: PC_FEATPreschool_apr12_F. It involved picking a preschool for your child. Experts were divided on whether technology in the classroom was a good thing. Some said no way; others thought it could be a useful addition, provided it was used in moderation.

I also appreciate the recent mention of my book, Making Up With Mom, by Marguerite Kelly in The Washington Post. She discusses ways that you can “break up” with a mother who is too difficult to handle. My co-author, Debby Carr, and I had a lovely tea with Ms. Kelly when we were promoting our book. She’s an inspirational journalist who paved the path on parenting advice, and we’re grateful she’s given a nod to us!

 

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Welcome To My New Website!

At long last, I have a place where you can see what I do as a freelance journalist, journalism instructor and blogger. Feel free to peruse the site to get an idea of my work. Right now I’m busy working on another installment of how certain religious denominations are taking action to combat climate change. It’s for a series by The Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media. My first piece was on Judaism and I found it to be an extremely fascinating subject. With the iPad 3 coming out next week, I’m exploring the implications of getting very young kids hooked on technology. It’s a piece I’m writing for The Fiscal Times. And I’m very much looking foward to seeing the great news features that my environmental journalism students submit next week.

I hope you enjoy the site! Feel free to contact me with your comments.

Julie