In the course of our research on Gen Z (those born since the early 2000s), what has struck me most of all is the fact that there’s very little deep analysis or observation available about this age group. Instead, newspapers and magazines abound with articles about how obsessed teenagers are with their phones and how technology is ruining their attention spans.
So, it was interesting to come across this article in the Economist which suggests that in fact, the habits of today’s young people have more in common with those of their great-grandparents than the popular stereotype. In fact, Gen Z seems to be rejecting rather a lot of common youth stereotypes: from alcohol and drug use to teen pregnancy, 20th century-style teen problems are on the decline.
So why is this? The Economist piece suggests that Gen Z has more to worry about when it comes to the future: the need to compete for academic success from an increasingly young age, concern about the scarcity of jobs, and a growing lack of privacy may all have contributed to making this generation more reticent about indulging in life’s excesses.
While many are happy to speculate about the motivations and preoccupations affecting Gen Z, I’m inclined to think we should ask them. At the Hot Spots Movement, we’re conducting an in-depth survey of 14-18 year-olds, their values and aspirations, to find out just what it is that makes them tick, how their priorities differ from those of their predecessors and how we can best prepare to share a workplace with them.
We’re still actively looking for young people to take our survey – if you have any young people, parents, educators or youth groups in your network, please feel free to share the link: http://genz.fowlab.com/