Chapter 15 of Jack Myers' book Hooked Up: A New Generation's Surprising Take on Sex, Politics and Saving the World focuses on the impact of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the generation that was just entering adolescence -- the Hooked Up Generation -- born 1991-95 and the first generation to grow up with the Internet . Hooked Up was published in 2012 and is winner of the International Book Award for Youth Issues and finalist for the USA Book Award for Pop Culture.
Is it any wonder the Hooked Up Generation are immersing themselves in television programs, videos, music and games? They are not only the first generation to grow up with the Internet, but they are also the first generation to have been emotionally defined by 9/11. The single most significant event in defining the hopes, fears, behaviors and attitudes of the Hooked Up Gen happened on September 11, 2001.
83 percent of 17- to 21-year-olds have personal memories of that fateful day, according to the Hooked Up Gen Study.
9/11 and the decade of war and divisiveness that have followed were incredibly life-altering for this first cohort to grow up with the Internet. The differences between those who recall and do not recall 9/11 proved far more significant and relevant than the more typical differences based on age, region, ethnic heritage or personal beliefs.
Every analysis of our study proved conclusively that 9/11 has had a meaningful effect on the beliefs, media consumption, opinions, plans and attitudes of a generation. 9/11 was a traumatic day for members of the Hooked Up Gen - one that has resonated throughout their lives and remains the psychological foundation of many of their attitudes.
It's logical to assume that the differences in attitudes among those who recall and do not recall 9/11 are caused by conditions other than their recollection of the tragic day…conditions such as ethnic heritage, economic circumstances, geographic location, politics or even gender. But a thorough review of the data proves that, while there are examples where these other factors also play a role, the recollection of 9/11 stands alone as a defining day in their lives that has and will continue to have lasting influence in almost every sphere of their existence.
The long-term effect of 9/11 on society, politics, business and relationships truly cannot be measured in a survey, but we can conclude that the role and influence of 9/11 on this generation––and therefore on the long-term future of our country––are meaningful in ways that cannot be easily measured or defined.
More Politically Engaged, Progressive and Global
The Hooked Up Gen is far more likely to be politically engaged and progressive when they recall the events of 9/11. 43 percent of those who recall 9/11 define themselves as liberal/progressive/moderate compared to only 28 percent of those who do not recall the events. Conservatives capture 19 and 13 percent, respectively. 25 percent of those who recall 9/11 claim no political persuasion versus 45 percent of those who do not recall it.
78 percent of those who recall 9/11 definitely plan on voting in the 2012 Presidential election, with an additional 12 percent possibly voting. Among those who do NOT recall 9/11, only 51 percent plan to vote.
42 percent of "recallers" believe it's important that the United States continue its current overseas commitments but get out soon, compared to 30 percent of those who do not recall 9/11. 15 percent vs. 9 percent favor maintaining a military presence indefinitely, suggesting that the continuing war commitment may have a greater importance to the 2012 elections and beyond than assumed, at least among the Hooked Up Gen.
50 percent of those who recall 9/11 have traveled multiple times outside the United States, compared to only 26 percent of those who do not have personal memories of 9/11.
More Social and Connected
This first generation of Internet Natives who recall 9/11 are more social and connected. 64 percent of the 17- to 21-year-olds who recall 9/11 have more than two hundred Facebook "friends," compared to 53 percent of those who do not recall it. Those who personally recall 9/11 are 15 percent more likely to use check-in apps and to post videos to YouTube. 47 percent versus 34 percent of them are Twitter users.