6 Things to Know About Generation Z

Generation Z hanging out together and looking at their phones.

Each generation has their own defining characteristics, whether it’s the self-sufficiency of Baby Boomers or the desire for meaningful work that Millennials crave. Generation Z is no exception. Those who were born between 1997- 2012 are generally considered to be part of this generation, and they have their own preferences and needs that are unique.

This generation has lived with the internet at their fingertips and information that is easily accessible. Smartphones have fully saturated the market.  This generation has also seen mental health issues rise during this time due to having access to information at all times. They are prone to be more stressed and depressed than any other generation before.

In order to better understand this group, let’s take a look at some of the characteristics that make up this tech-savvy generation.

1. Private

This generation is more private than the millennial generation about their information and what they share about themselves. Millennials were one of the first generations to experience social media and shared more information about themselves online. Generation Z typically has multiple social media accounts for different aspects of their personalities, and they are very selective on whom they share these accounts with. Gen Z’ers prefer to learn alone and be alone compared to past generations.

2. Anxious

Gen Z’ers suffer from more mental health problems than any other generation so far.  Their lives can be seen as both easier and harder. They have difficulty navigating their emotions but since they have access to technology, they have a wealth of information at their fingertips. They experience almost no dramatic moments but feel drama in their lives. Today’s students are able to hear about all events that are occurring across the country, as well as the world around them. 

3. Tech Savvy

Generation Z is at home on the screen more than any previous generation. Gen Z’ers can multi-task on multiple screens, and they use various social media platforms for different reasons and audiences. Gen Z’ers on average spend about nine hours a day on their devices. They are cognitively advanced yet emotionally behind. 

4. Nurtured

Caring adults (parents, educators etc.) have become more preoccupied with student safety, self-esteem, and the success of Generation Z. The more this generation takes in knowledge and information, the more concerned and protective parents and educators become. Gen Z’ers are independent, yet dependent on parents in many areas.

5. Entrepreneurial

Many of our Gen Z’ers have decided not to go to college after high school graduation. Instead, they want to create their own businesses from the ground up. But since this generation can also be more risk averse and have confidence issues, sometimes this entrepreneurial mindset can be hard for them to accomplish. In addition, Gen Z’ers are trendy yet traditional in their practices.

6. Redemptive

This generation is more caring and accepting of others than any generation before them.  They believe that anyone can change the world, regardless of where they come from, who they are, or what they believe in. They want everyone to feel respected. This generation has shown more interest in leadership than any other generation.

Takeaways for Teachers and Parents of Generation Z

As parents and/or educators, you may be feeling overwhelmed as you try to manage the high tech world that Generation Z is living in. However, one way we can support them is by letting Generation Z explore the world, see new places, and fail. This will allow them to learn from their mistakes, which can help with the anxiety they may be facing. We should also encourage curiosity and equip this generation to find solutions. 

In addition, according to Tim Elmore and Andrew McPeak, the authors of Generation Z Unfiltered: Facing Nine Hidden Challenges of the Most Anxious Population, parents and educators should encourage students to explore the world beyond screens and social media. Let us encourage this generation to be leaders. We should teach them to lead with first-hand experiences, to set healthy boundaries, and provide a set of skills to help them through their busy lives.

We should also encourage this generation to initiate action, include them in solutions, make sure they see the best in any situation, and inspire them to imagine the big picture! As parents and educators, we must also train this generation to become critical thinkers.

Let us encourage this generation to be drivers of positive change and show signs of responsibility, resilience, and resourcefulness. Implementing these changes can help Generation Z be the best they can be!

Learn more about Generation Z at our Artificial Maturity: Leading a Tech-Savvy Generation to Becoming Authentic Adults workshop with Dr. Tim Elmore.

Stephanie is a Project Specialist on the Counseling Services team here at Region 13.

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