Ever since the “don’t-trust-anyone-over-30” countercultural movements of the 1960s, we have been living in a culture that increasingly valorizes youth. In the view of the noted Harvard University cognitive scientist and author Steven Pinker, a technological change — the advent of television — is what propelled this social change.
The baby boomers of the 1960s, the first generation to grow up en masse with a TV at home, received unprecedented access to each other’s doings. Television “allowed them to know that other baby boomers were sharing their experiences,” giving “rise to a horizontal web of solidarity that cut across the vertical ties to parents and authorities that had formerly isolated young people from one another and forced them to kowtow to their elders,” Pinker said.
Instead of learning from older relatives and teachers and taking time to mature into adulthood, the young instead started to imitate one another. It was now the judgment of their peers, not their elders,