Aside from watching TV or listening to the radio, past generations had to pay for what they consumed. But the internet has given today's young people the idea that content is something you get for free.
Whether it's news, music, YouTube videos or other entertainment, it's all there at your fingertips. Why pay when you don't have to? Getting around paywalls can be very easy.
My answer is that paying is a pleasure if I value the product that I am purchasing. I am honouring the producer of the product because I believe they are worthy of my vote of confidence.
This applies not only to what we get on the internet but to all goods and services. About 15 years ago I remember telling a friend that I had just bought hair clippers and would never again need to pay the barber for a haircut.
She looked dismayed and worried that I would be hurting my barber financially and also denying myself the human interaction that comes from paying for personal service.
After a few years, I did go back to the barber and discovered that handing over my cash to him was not so painful after all. In fact it was a pleasure to pay for a job well done.
That sense of pleasure in paying for a service that I value is something that remains with me.
I feel good when I pay my annual subscription for The Saturday Paper because I like their journalism. But I have mixed feelings when I pay Fairfax for the Sydney Morning Herald because their management has made so many decisions that I've felt have devalued journalism.
I pay for the New York Times but I wouldn't pay for The Australian or the Wall Street Journal.
When I am registering for a free service on the internet and they ask permission to access my usage statistics so they can improve their product, I think about it. If I like the company and the product, I say yes, sometimes with pleasure. Giving them access to my data is one way of paying for the service.
There are companies I don't particularly like or trust, such as Google. Their services are free, but often I will prefer to pay for an alternative, especially if they're a small business with personal service. That's why I pay $US5 per month to a little known company called Posthaven, for the blog platform I use in preference to Google's free Blogger.
The pleasure of paying for things we value presumes one thing. That we have the money to pay.
It is true that all of us have some money and we can and need to cut our cloth to suit our budget. But the fact remains that the generation of young people who don't want to pay for content online often find it difficult to pay because they don't have the secure employment we took for granted.