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Millennials Experience “Load Rage” Over Slow Download Speeds

Updated: Aug 16, 2021 08:46
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“Roughly 5,342 years remaining. Please do not turn off your computer.” Gen Xers who came of age during the AOL era look back on warnings like this with nostalgia. Load rage wasn’t a thing then.

For millennials, however, nothing causes more indignation than a download lasting more than five seconds. And hey, it’s understandable. People today work harder than ever — for less income. Many grind away at more than one gig, daily and their employers measure their productivity by how fast they hustle. Slow downloads can mean lost money — but is that the only reason behind the phenomenon of load rage?

What Is Load Rage?

People are losing patience with technology. A recent survey indicated that millennials lose their temper if data takes longer than a minute to download on their smartphones. As a result, if they want the app or content, they tap their fingers and stomp their feet. They let out a curse word — or seven.

Fully two-fifths of millennials also report feeling burnout. Constant connectivity takes a toll by making people feel like they never get a break. Nearly half of all people report wanting to take a timeout from their devices, but they also rank slow Wi-Fi as one of their biggest frustrations.

Considering this conflicting dynamic — wanting to disconnect but having to wait for slow downloads — it’s understandable that folks grow a bit testy in slow-speed areas. That said, the magnitude of the angry reaction many people exhibit reveals deeper truths about society.

Factors Contributing to Load Rage

Members of older generations look at millennial load rage as a sign of entitlement, but this assumption masks the full truth. Yes, today’s generation grew up with better and faster technology. And reliance on devices for instant gratification results in impatience and shorter attention spans. So there is a kernel of truth in the entitlement argument — folks today aren’t used to waiting and don’t like digital queues any more than long lines at the grocery store.

But to blame load rage entirely on petulance denies the reality that today’s adults lose their tempers when they’re delayed because they have a lot to do. They’re focused on making a difference in the world with their limited free time. Fully 84% of millennials made a charitable donation in 2014, and over three quarters say their value system influences everything from their shopping habits to their employment decisions.

Think about it — if you’re taking a leisurely Sunday stroll through the park, you don’t get annoyed if a group of people blocks your path. You politely say, “excuse me,” or you go around. However, if you need to grab one item at the corner store and a horde blocks the shelves holding that very thing, you grow testy.

And today’s workers have little free time to spare. One analysis states that the gig economy has created working conditions similar to the deplorable sweatshops of the early industrial revolution. Many perform work for more than one business, grinding constantly to pay their bills and rarely if ever, taking a day off. Even if they put in 80 hours each week, these workers get no health insurance. They also receive no unemployment compensation if they lose their contract or workman’s compensation if they get injured on the job.

When you’re hustling long hours just to survive and receive little, if any, benefit from your labor outside of meeting your most basic needs, you become understandably cross when technical difficulties interrupt your workflow. After all, each second you spend staring at your screen is one you’re not devoting to prepping a healthy meal or squeezing in exercise. It’s a moment you could have spent reading with your kids — one of many you’ll never get back.

Photo by Niko Virtanen, license Creative Commons BY

How Can You Overcome it?

Unfortunately, slow load times will continue frustrating today’s generation for the foreseeable future. How can you regain control when you feel ready to blow your top? Here are some ideas:

  • Step away from your desk: Let your device do its thing while you do another. Each second spent staring at the screen will only enrage you more.
  • Get your blood flowing: Do a few jumping jacks or perform a sun salutation. Getting your blood flowing will clear your mind.
  • Breathe deeply: Similarly, taking a slow, deep breath can calm you. Repeat as often as necessary.
  • “Phone” a friend: Chat with a coworker. Give your significant other a hug. Doing so will give you a mental and emotional break.

Controlling Your Load Rage

Load rage can make you fly off the handle and say things you later regret, but by stepping away, you can regain control. Time to offload that rage.

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Kacey Bradley

Kacey Bradley

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective. Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her.

Kacey has been able to further her knowledge and interest for nature, understand the power of exploring other locations, and embrace the styles and cultures that surround her through her passion for writing and expression.