For their fall 2022 English midterm exam, Ms. Joey Savillo’s eighth grade students chose a topic to research. They were required to follow MLA format and cite evidence in their essays. IHM eighth grader Mitchell Dunlap wanted to know more about Generation Z versus other generations.
Comparison of Generation Z With Past Generations
If you were born about three to four generations ago, you would be born a Baby Boomer. Boomers are people born between 1946-1964 (parents.com). When I think of a Boomer, I think of the nuclear family. I think of a father who provides for the family, I think of the mother who takes care of and teaches her children about life, and I think about Ralphie from A Christmas Story. When I picture someone born in Generation Z, people born between 1997-2010 (parents.com), I think of a blue-haired, nose pierced, fat, 23-year-old, living in their mother’s basement, scrolling on Tiktok, and complaining about having to work 30 hours a week on Twitter. What happened? What happened to the war heroes fighting in Korea and Vietnam? What happened to marriage being a sacred vow between a man and a woman? What happened to the American Dream? Now, I’m not saying that the previous generations were perfect, but even I can tell that Gen Z has more problems than our elders. So why? Why is Generation Z so sensitive?
If Gen Z is sensitive, that means they are soft. They cannot stand up to challenges or problems. That means that they grew up in an easy environment. The fact that they live in America plays an important role in that, but the main root of this is technology. Technology is not a bad thing. In fact, it has benefited our lives in more ways than I can count. However, technology is a double-edged sword. Generation Z grew up when technology was starting to become more and more advanced, and making our lives easier and easier.
A good example is from an article called Laziness Highlights Flaws of Generation Z from The Standard (standard.asl.org). It stated that back in the day when people wanted to eat something, they had to be proactive and do things like buy groceries from the store, or go out to eat, while today, we just need to open Grubhub and have limitless options at our fingertips. The article also states that Boomers use today’s tech, but Generation Z has grown up in it, and it is all we know.
Technology is also an extremely addictive tool. A study made by Insider Intelligence said that by 2026, Snapchat will have about 50,000,000 Gen Z users (insiderintelligence.com). That is over two-thirds of Gen Z in America. An article by Exploding Topics said that nearly 64% of Gen Z check Instagram at least once a day (ExplodingTopics.com). One more study by Exploding Topics showed that one-third of social media influencers are Gen Z (ExplodingTopics.com). So obviously, Gen Z is addicted to social media. But what about it attracts younger people? Well, an article by Eclincher stated that there are three main reasons for Gen Z’s interest in social media. However, the main reason that stuck out to me was when it said, “Gen Z Chooses Entertaining Content Over Interacting With Friends.” This shows me that Gen Z is getting out of the house less, is spending more time inside, and is overall less social than the previous generation. They are disconnecting themselves from real-world circumstances in favor of their, or someone else’s,“fake world.” This leads to awkward situations when someone from Gen Z is put into a real-life environment.
Another key reason for the sensitivity of Generation Z is that they are more protected from outside influence than any other generation. For whatever reason, our society has recently been dedicated to creating environments for the younger generations that try to make everyone feel safer, and more accepting of everyone. This alone is a good thing, as everyone should be treated equally, no matter what skin tone, homeland, or social level they are. However, in the process of doing this, especially in the education system (not this one), our society has tried to keep the younger generations in a bubble, in which they live in a perfect world. More and more schools are talking less and less about sensitive topics that might make students feel uncomfortable. Topics like slavery, the Holocaust, and even modern-day politics are not being talked about, and books like The Giver, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and To Kill a Mockingbird are being taken off shelves to avoid sensitive topics. So when someone who has been sheltered for all their lives is put in an uncomfortable situation, they don’t know how to react or talk about difficult subjects.
So how can we prepare future generations? We can start by knowing what information our child is receiving. We should make sure we know who is influencing the children around us, and we should try to influence them, whether they be our children, students, or friends, with good morals that help them grow up into strong individuals. We should also listen to what Gen Z has to say about their morals, and understand that their lives are different from Generation X’s or a Millennial’s life.
So, why is Generation Z so sensitive? Well, it has been made pretty obvious that they have problems that the past generations don’t. They have grown up with technology that has made their lives easier, which leaves them always wanting more. Technology has also become an addiction for many Gen Zers, which for them is as hard to get off of as any drug. Finally, they have grown up in a society where they are protected all the way up until college, leaving them with no real-world experience when they get there. However, all hope isn’t lost. Humanity is far from being over, there are several generations ahead of us, and not all of Gen Z is bad. As long as we spread good morals, evangelize and spread the faith, have Jesus at the center of our lives, and try not to become addicted to social media, there is always a chance for the next generation.
A Year-by-Year Guide to the Different Generations and Their Parenting Personalities, From Boomers to Gen Z. (2022, June 28). Parents. https://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/style/generation-names-and-years-a-cheat-sheet-for-parents/
Howarth, J. (2022, October 10). 25+ New Generation Z Statistics (2022). Exploding Topics. https://explodingtopics.com/blog/gen-z-stats
Petrock, V. (2021, November 15). US Generation Z Technology and Media Use. Insider Intelligence. https://www.insiderintelligence.com/content/us-generation-z-technology-and-media-use
Schleicher, A. (2020, April 13). How to Prepare the Next Generation for Their Future—Not Our Past. https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/trend/archive/spring-2020/how-to-prepare-the-next-generation-for-their-future-not-our-past
Schattauer, E. (2022b, September 21). Why Are Gen Z So Sensitive? – By a Generation Zer. What to Wear Men. https://whattowearmen.com/why-are-gen-z-so-sensitive/
Salamander, G. (2022, December 1). Gen Z and Social Media: 3 Ways Their Use is Different. Eclincher. https://eclincher.com/gen-z-and-social-media-use/