I grew up -am growing up- with technology. I have access to a smartphone 24/7, and I have all of the information that I will ever need at my fingertips. I am a part of Generation Z and I am smart. I am a part of Generation Z and I am innovative. I am a part of Generation Z and I am different.
Generation Z makes up roughly 25% of the population of the United States, but is often forgotten or tossed into the shadow of the Millennials. These days, persons of Gen Z are stepping into the spotlight and making themselves heard.
Millennials and Gen Z are often confused for each other, despite their disparities. Ryan Jenkins is a famous “Next Generation” speaker, and says that “ 53% of Generation Z prefer in-person communications over instant messaging or email. Generation Z may overcompensate on interpersonal skills as they notice Millennials struggling for a lack thereof.” Jenkins goes on to explain that because Gen Z recognizes the problems that Millennials have with in-person confrontations, Gen Z will be more skilled at face-to-face communications as they grow. All the time, both in school and in my social life, I hear things like “Oh, you kids are always on your phones, you don’t have any face-to-face or real communication skills”, when really, it’s the Millennials that have the bigger problem with this. Generation Z has taken it upon themselves to get better at in person communication because we have seen how bad the Millennials are at it, and if that doesn’t show you how innovative this generation is, I don’t know what will.
To me, this is what’s amazing about Generation Z- we recognize the problems the people before us have made, and adjust ourselves so that we don’t make the same mistakes. Another amazing aspect of Generation Z is that we are so diverse. From the year 2000 to 2010, the Hispanic population grew at four times the rate than it had in previous years, according to the Census Bureau. Also, the number of Americans identifying as biracial and mixed (black and white) rose over 130 percent, and the number of Asian-Americans increased by 87 percent. Generation Z is the most diverse generation that has ever been!
As a part of Gen Z, I know firsthand the kind of criticism we get for being too attached to technology. I don’t like feeling like I can’t message my friends back without feeling the cold stares of adults on me. It is nobody’s fault that we are growing up the way that we are, but having technology at our fingertips makes us the most social group of people yet. Studies have shown that because we have all of this technological information and knowledge, we are more in-touch with people from other countries than any other generation. Social media outlets such as Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat let us observe what goes on in other countries, as well as make friends with people of different cultures.
Let me break it down. Generation Z is the most technologically advanced generation. This causes us to be more attached to social media. This attachment to social media leads us to be more diverse and make friends with people of different countries. Making friends with people of different countries has made us the most racially accepting generation America has ever seen, and it will continue to make us better and more diverse as a generation.
Another argument that can be made against Gen Z is that we only have an attention span of about eight seconds. Although this is proven to be true, having such a short attention span is actually a good thing. “They have grown up at a time when they’re being served media and messaging from all angles, and have adapted to quickly sorting through and assessing enormous amounts of information,” (cmo.cm.com). Having new technologies has taught us how to faster analyze situations and articles and turn them into solutions or ideas. Maybe having an eight second attention span isn’t going to help anyone out during a history test, but when a Gen Z kid gets a job and has to answer on the fly questions, this ability they have been learning all of their life will help them more than any history class would have.
The kids of Gen Z are the innovators, CEO’s, and teachers of tomorrow, and it is so important that Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers and Traditionalists help these kids to do their best and be the best that they can be. Generation Z is going to do amazing things, and it is important that other generations recognize this and instead of criticize them for being on their phones, encourage them to do something useful with this technology rather than text and play Candy Crush. There are 10 year old millionaires that started their own companies at such a young age with the help of technology, and Gen Z wouldn’t be where we are today without it. Generation Z is, in my opinion, the best generation that has ever been. We process information faster, learn from the mistakes of previous generations, and use our technology to better ourselves. Generation Z, we are going to rule the world someday.
- Gen Z, born 1996 to present
- Millennials, born 1977 to 1995
- Gen X, born 1965 to 1976
- Baby Boomers, born 1946 to 1964
- Traditionalists, born 1945 and earlier