Generation Zen compasses all human beings born after the year 1997. The media characterizes Generation Z as the diverse demographic cohort most familiar with and comfortable using digital technology since they were born after the birth of the Internet and right around the time social media was born.
This article will talk about the lives of the first digital natives, their unique beliefs and their core behaviors. As they finish their education and start entering workplaces, it will become more important than ever to understand how this new generation thinks and what they care about.
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The World Wide Web Has Changed 72 Million lives
Generation Z never knew a world before the public availability of the World Wide Web and mobile systems. In fact, Net Gen, Digital Natives, the Plurals, Generation Wii and iGen were all suggestions for naming this demographic cohort before Generation Z was finally settled upon.
The Cautious Generation
Generation Z is even more worried about the future than their parents were. They see a world of war and see global warming worsening the environment. They see the economy crashing around them. This is partly because of how fast information can be collected and distributed by the Internet.
The “information overload” leaves Generation Z feeling stressed out. All of this has contributed to increased anxiety and depression. As media outlets bombard them with sensational news, they are finding it increasingly hard to separate fact from fiction. They want to know the truth. They are known as the “cautious” generation.
The Unique Generation
As the world around them becomes increasingly unlivable, these young people are even more eager to be change-makers. After seeing their parents struggle financially, they now encourage entrepreneurial desire, but they are also financially pragmatic as the cost of living becomes higher.
The ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ has led to a rise in demand for highly skilled workers. There is more pressure on Generation Z to become life-long learners. They have to keep continuously increasing their knowledge, skills, and abilities. Is it any wonder that they are stressed out?
It is no surprise that a McKinsey study found that the four core behaviors of Generation Z are that –
- They like self-expression that celebrates their uniqueness
- They fight for social causes
- Try to improve the world through dialogue
- They are highly analytical and pragmatic in decision-making.
As the most diverse population yet, they are also more inclusive of all races and ethnicities. They are also more likely to support the LGBTQ+ community. They value authenticity.
The Ethical Generation
Generation Z wants to be more responsible in their consumption, which is driven by their need to form unique identities and they’re growing desire to be ethical and sustainable. This has resulted in an increase in cause-related marketing. They buy brands that fit their individual identities so businesses have to come up with increasingly personalized offerings but they dislike how businesses collect their personal data in order to do that, seeing it as a breach of their privacy.
While mass production is still profitable, mass customization is increasingly becoming the norm. Businesses have to become more agile and flexible to meet the demands of this new generation. Moreover, Gen Z consumers are more skeptical of brands after having grown up seeing many companies scandalously involved in environmental and human rights abuses. They now demand proof that brands are socially responsible. Companies have to make sure that their entire value chain is ethical and sustainable.
The Pessimistic Generation
Generation Z is increasingly uneasy and pessimistic as a deluge of horrifying news about climate change, mass extinction, businesses behaving unethically, governments becoming corrupted and increasing debt among their demographic cohort drowns them.
They believe the future will be dystopian. They are determined to avoid making their parents’ mistakes but they are pessimistic about their finances and wealth prospects. Moreover, they wonder how they can succeed when the “system is rigged” against them. Their priorities have changed as a result.
Many do not think that to be successful means to own a home or have a big family, because it has become increasingly harder to afford them. They only have enough money to spend on enriching experiences so they would rather travel and see the world. As the nature of work changes, even the first digital natives are scared that they will not be able to keep up with technological advancements.
The Bitter Generation
Generation Z does not like the world they have inherited. They think previous generations have used up resources injudiciously, not caring enough to leave a sufficient amount for their progeny to enjoy fulfilling lives. They do not like that they have to be so careful because the ones that came before them were so careless.
The popular sentiment is that “baby boomers ruined everything” for these young people. They are to blame for all the world’s problems. Baby boomers conversely characterize Generation Z as “infantile snowflakes”. Generation Z feels unfairly judged as a result and this has resulted in generational warfare that is not helping either generation.
The “Connected But Isolated” Generation
Generation Z has been connected since they were born, which has transformed how they interact. They form friendships and relationships more easily. On the other hand, they are just generally unhappy with their personal lives and the world around them.
They are more stressed and depressed. Also, they are afraid of the many challenges facing their generation. They cannot make sense of the world around them. This makes it harder to form connections. They feel socially isolated.
They may have the ability to communicate much more easily than previous generations online but face-to-face interaction has decreased as a result. This lack of contact increases feelings of loneliness and separation. Instantly available entertainment on your smartphone is easier to engage with than talking to your family at the dinner table.
In conclusion, Generation Z values unique individual expression, authenticity, and connection. But they are also the most anxious and depressed generation because they are unhappy with the world they have inherited. They are cautious and pragmatic because they have to be.
They are pessimistic about their prospects and primed to save the world if we let them. As Generation Z teenagers emerge into adulthood, one can be sure that they have the ability to change the world around them for the better. It is the world’s responsibility to give them a chance to.