Gen Z; switched on and willing to unplug
Part 2: The most connected and switched-on generation in history.
Born into the great acceleration at a time when the pace of technological change doubled every 18-months, Gen Z have never known a disconnected world. Digital technology is their first language and being digital natives in a time of always-on connectivity, Gen Z has a global perspective.
It is this perspective that makes them comfortable with communicating openly and agitating for change. Gen Z is not at all limited by local or even national events. Global events have as much if not more, impact on them and have shaped their view of the world.
Tech-savviness is considered a staple trait of young audiences and given they approach the world with eyes wide open, they’re very aware of the risks associated with modern technology. So how do they switch off? Is that even an option anymore?
With tech comes great responsibility
Being aware of the pitfalls of modern technology means that Gen Z take steps to control their privacy more than any other generation. They are much more comfortable being anonymous online and they’re conscious of their screen time. Nearly 40% are worried they spend too much time on their phones while 36% worry they spend too much time on social media. On top of that, 16% worry that social media causes them anxiety. The fact is, the one word that crops up time and time again across many reports about Gen Z and technology usage is worry. Switching on into platforms whose algorithms are like a heat seeking missile, locking onto a target – the entire experience is giving many Gen Z’s a sense of being anxious or troubled.
Growing up around these kinds of technologies at a time that is akin to the digital wild west, Gen Z have had to navigate this world with little understanding from anybody about the long-term impacts. Only now is this coming to light as research is beginning to show that being switched on has significant implications for mental health. While more than 70% of Gen Zs say anxiety and depression are significant problems among peers, they’re much more proactive about managing health than previous generations.
But it’s not all bad.
Being switched on has its positives. There is a significant generational shift in reducing the stigma when it comes to talking about mental health. This movement is being championed by Gen Z.
As people across the internet begin to talk about their mental health struggles, it makes it easier for others around the world to talk about theirs, too. These kinds of conversations are being driven by a generation who are more switched on to the world around them and their place within it, because of their connection through their devices – not in spite of it.
It is this shift in attitude and behaviour and that has made it easier for Gen Z to talk openly about mental health struggles and its why they’re leading the charge ahead of previous generations when it comes to normalizing the conversation. This has given Gen Z the ability to deal with their issues and grow rather than remaining stuck—and that’s the choice many of them taking up for themselves.