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Next Generation’s New Pathways – And Potential Dead Ends, All Just A Click Away

Sep 26, 2011

A recent post on the Future of Media (my favourite new blog) predicts that the next big business boom is likely to be in occupational therapy, (OT) and intimacy counselors. Millennials, the generation born post-1985, will increasingly require their services, having become too plugged in to remember that a “friend request” isn’t always a mouse-click away.

Sadly, I don’t think this a prediction, it’s  turning out to be true – and growing. A report, “Cyber Communication on Today’s Youth,” by the American Counseling Association was already ringing alarm bells in 2008. Reading the document three years on, it’s fascinating to note how much the digital landscape has changed in such a short period. While Myspace gets at least minor billing, Facebook, which was already 4-years-old at the time, does not receive a single reference.

How the mighty have fallen. Or, more to the point, how the mighty squandered a golden opportunity. But I digress…

If that much can change in three years, it’s rather hard to envision the next 1,100 days. While I’m praying for an economic rebound, I would hate to think that these new, or “reinvigorated” professions would be spurred by society’s digital addiction. When President Obama talked of job creation, it’s unlikely he was referring to these.

Taking advantage of our “click addiction”

A recent article in the New York Times looks at Americans’ growing reliance on their shrinks – online. Can’t make it to your weekly couch-session in person? Not a problem. Just fire up Skype and connect with your therapist anywhere. Having an anxiety attack, possibly caused by having to do an “in-person” interview? Get some webcam time with your therapist for an online RX.

And the irony continues..

Driving to the beach this morning, I was reminded of this growing “click-to-counsel” profession: A huge billboard touting a local hospital’s ER room “click and book your ER visit online.”

The scenario could go something like this..

Have an accident with the automatic carving knife. Put sorn-off finger(s) on ice. Log on to hospital’s ER booking system and reserve your place in the ER queue. Wait at home hoping you don’t lose conciousness in the meantime, or take a leisurely stroll for a few hours (with ice pack of course), stopping at a drive-thru before your appointed time slot.

“Turn on, tune in,” may have been part of ‘60s countercultural icon Timothy Leary’s well-known phrases. I doubt he would have imagined the phrase’s 21st century impact on the Children of the Sixties’ children.

Of course, “click-to-counsel” hadn’t been invented then. I wonder what he would have made of that?

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