No need to worry about Gen Z
Every generation likes to poo-poo the next but it seems as though this newest generation is taking more than its fair share of criticism.
Gen Z or iGen, as it is called is defined as those who do not remember September 11, 2001. Anyone who does remember the events of that day is defined as a millennial (a generation that has also been dumped on quite regularly).
iGen is a very appropriate name for the up and coming generation. They are totally plugged in and unabashedly embracing of all forms of technology. While it has been said before of others, they literally have the world at their fingertips. They are a generation absorbing knowledge from every possible source and sharing their accumulated knowledge with others.
They will likely never know a life without easy access to technology, meaning instant access to information. This makes them more inquisitive and less contrained by boundaries of what should be learned when (yes, this causes some problems for parents but we have to adapt as quickly as they do).
It has been said that they will probably never experience a huge leap in technology – something that leaves them aghast – as has happened to other generations time and time again. The internet, the laptop, the smartphone and GPS have all left most of us marveling about just how cool it all is. Meanwhile iGenners won’t bat an eye when their prom date rolls up in their parents’ Google driverless car in a few years.
The new generation gets a bad rap for having their heads buried in their devices all the time but what is going on in their little noggins is very impressive. They are navigating complex computing systems, sometimes programming them, as though it is their native language. And all this without any training. They learn by osmosis.
No generation has approved of the way the next one communicates, whether it be through formal correspondence or inappropriate music, but make no mistake, they are communicating. We may not like what they are saying or how they are saying it but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth saying.
This generation, like the millennials, are sure to shake things up. They won’t be motivated by the same economic drivers as say, the baby boomers. Aside from tech, it’s hard to see how they will be big consumers and they may not value having a lot of stuff in general. They may be fulfilled living in a much smaller world physically but a wider world through the connectivity of technology. Their world will have more people to connect with, although in a different way, but they will also create less waste, something that must be applauded.
We should acknowledge the good in this very impressive generation. There is no reason to think they are any less community minded than any of us. They rely on the creativity and openness of others to perpetuate their online community and as a result they may have more people skills than the generations that were happy with lots of stuff.