|Image from here|
1. Technology addicted
Generation Z has never experienced life without 24/7 communication. They have been able to navigate an iPhone since before they could talk. Life is about instant gratification. Need to solve a problem? Google it. Need to know where someone is? Text them. Take a photo, see it instantly.
This is the world we have created. The world that they know. It obviously has its upsides, but it means that Gen Zs have had a relatively indoor childhood compared with their parents. They have spent more time in front of a screen, dedicating their innocent years to the virtual world, rather than exploring the real world.
Gen Zs have been pampered by their helicopter parents. They have smaller families on average than their parent's did and they haven't had to share much. The over-parenting that is common in this situation has resulted in children who are adverse to throwing caution to the wind. Everybody just wants their children to be happy, so they are shielded from sadness, disappointment and danger. Everybody gets an award at school. Everyone gets a present in the pass the parcel.
All this protection means that children are happy and safe, but without failure of any kind, children lack opportunity to build resilience. Without resilience, children's self esteems are at the mercy of others. By nature, self esteem needs to come from within, so no matter how many external rewards these children are given, their self esteem will not be built from praise alone. Without self esteem children are at risk of developing mental health issues, suffering in friendships and relationships and potentially impairing academic and job performance.
It is a heavy consequence of not letting our children fail from time to time.
3. Risk averse
Fear is a driving force in our society today. Fear of terrorists, fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of being sued. Add this the the infiltration of Work Health and Safety into all facets of life and risk has become a thing of the past.
There is a whole parenting movement - the free-range parent - which has acknowledged the need to add safe risks back into our children's lives. Children today don't want to raise their hands in class should they get the wrong answer. They don't want to try something new, in case they can't do it immediately. They avoid risks, just as the broader society does.
How this will impact on innovation and entrepreneurial spirit for this generation is anyone's guess.
How are your Gen Z's shaping up?
* Based on my interpretation of a talk that I went to by Michael Macqueen a couple of week's ago.