If you are old enough to have seen generational change, you have uttered the words “kids, these days” with an appropriate expletive to complete your thought about folks known as Generation Z-ers or Zoomers. You can be assured that our folks said the same things about us, but there has been no generation delivered into a world of tech, war and instant communication like these kids. For the record, I am referring to kids born between 1972 and 2012.
Conventional wisdom says that first born kids are leaders and scholars, middle born kids are team players, and the youngest child is an irresponsible class clown. So much for pseudo psychology. Can we, though, form generalizations about generations such as the Z-ers and Boomers? Turns out we can.
The Z-ers gave us such terrific pastimes as eating soap (Tide Pods), are thought to have short attention spans, are politically liberal and (gasp) are afflicted with mental health issues. Well, very few ate the pods although a check on their preferred lunch menus would show a taste for healthy stuff as opposed to the carb and fat preferences of folks in my generation. There are, however, generalizations that are applicable.
Z-ers are definitely tech addicted. Instead of a can of snuff imprinting their jeans it is a cell phone. Instead of cute pictures of a car or nature they exchange pictures that would make Hefner blush, all in real time. The information at their fingertips is astounding, with a few keystrokes delivering recipies for nuclear fission or tragedy in real time. (It is worth noting that recent studies show indications the females in this generation are, for the first time, having more sex than males, probably as a result of the instant gratification that instant access to pornography delivers via the smart phone and computer). My generation dreamed of cars, these kids dream of the latest tech fad.
Do the Z-ers have short attention spans? Yes they do. Their spans are in the neighborhood of 8 seconds (seriously) which is 4 seconds less than millennials. This is, again, fueled by tech which delivers information is short, accurate bursts. Now for the bad news. Z-ers are liberals, overwhelmingly. They believe capitalism is declining and their views reflect this on issues such as abortion, marijuana and the protection of LGBTQ “rights”. This propensity toward liberalism, and yes, socialism, is more pronounced in Z women than men. The Z-ERs also are deeply concerned about the health of the planet with “climate change” a top concern. In my generation, climate change would have meant a prediction of thunderstorms tomorrow.
Last up is mental health. These kids were born and have lived in a non-stop era of war on terror. They live with mass school shootings and are more familiar with lock downs than residents of a soviet gulag. Their trust in government is shaky. They resent authority and have a jaundiced view of policing. Service in a uniformed profession is less appealing than ever. Is it any wonder they’re anxious and jittery in general?
In total, this isn’t a bad generation. They are vocal, disrespectful of authority and are in the hands of educators who fuel their anxiety and rebelliousness. They are not failing us, rather we are failing them. It is not that conservatism isn’t a great alternative to liberalism, it is that we have choked off the conservative viewpoint at every turn. This is a generation to watch, tech savvy, anxious and free wheeling. These folks are, indeed, woke broke and very complicated.
Are you doing your part?
Have a great week.