Who Is Generation Z
Who is Generation Z? This article will provide an overview of the Zees, America’s Homeland Generation.
Greetings! My name is Jennifer and I’m the mother of three children who are Generation Z (Zees). I’m glad you want to learn more about this wonderful generation. I can help you. Please feel free to email me if you have a question or would like to contribute a thought or two. I love to hear from readers. Email me at jenx67 dot com. You may want to check out this book I read, We Are Generation Z: How Identity, Attitudes, and Perspectives Are Shaping Our Future. I recommend it for anyone wanting to learn more about our country’s next “Greatest Generation.”
What Is Generation Z
Generation Z, also called Homelanders, is the 15th generation of Americans since the Founding Fathers. They now fill schools all across the United States. It’s so exciting, isn’t it? They’re book-ended in school by no other generation. The late-wave Millennials (Generation Y) have all graduated and Generation A has not yet been born. Congratulations, Generation Z! You dominate America’s K-12 landscape. You’re a young, but mature generation with great promise!
What Are The Years?
The years for Generation Z are 1996 to present day. Gen Zees are primarily the children of Generation X who were born between 1961 and 1981. They are also the children of first-wave Millennials or Gen Y born 1982-1995.
Names for Gen Z
Some people including the popular historian Neil Howe, call Generation Z the Homeland Generation or Homelanders They’ve also been called
- Digital Natives
- Generation Edge
- Hookup Generation (Research Tinder and Kik apps, etc., to understand more.)
- Mobile Natives
- Bubble-Wrap Kids (because of Generation X helicopter parenting)
- Zees — My favorite, which is a play off Generation Z.
To understand how the name Generation Z formed, you have to go back to Generation X. Following World War II, Magnum photographer Richard Capa did a photo essay about featuring young people who came of age after the war. He called them Generation X because their futures were unknown.
In 1964, Jane Deverson wrote a story about British teens for Woman’s Own Magazine. Highlights included teens who hated the monarchy and slept together before marriage. The article was never published, however, because the editors thought it was too controversial. Deverson then collaborated with Charles Hamblett who published her research and titled it Generation X. In 1976, Billy Idol borrowed the title for his band, Generation X.
In 1991, Douglas Coupland cemented the name Generation X in the history books with his novel, Generation X: Tales For An Accelerated Culture.
Furthermore, the generation born after Generation X was called Generation Y. It’s been given many other names like Echo Boomers, Net Generation and Millennial Generation. In the spirit of X, Y and Z, the generation that came after Gen Y was naturally called Generation Z. This name has had more staying power than Y, because, in my unscientific opinion, Z is the funnest letter of the alphabet! In fact, Gen Ys are now almost exclusively referred called Millennials.
How Big is Gen Z?
There are about 319 million people in America and more than 25 percent of them are under 19. Thus, Zees are roughly 79 million strong.
Who is Generation Z – Characteristics
The Zees or Homelanders are still evolving, but its collective persona has already been fleshed out by many historians, marketers and sociologists. Some have characterized the generation as rebellious, while others describe them as do-gooders. Perhaps both attributes are accurate. One thing is for certain: Gen Z wants to change the world. They might still be a bit naieve, but when it comes to the enormous problems we face globally, they are unflappable. They are cause-oriented and interested in tackling a myriad of problems and crises. This is illustrated so well in a famous TED talk from young Logan LaPlante. Still the generation has huge, even apocalyptic fears about the future.
To help you understand exactly who is Generation Z, I’ve compiled the following list of characteristics commonly associated with them
- Ability to Process Massive Amounts of Information
- Addiction to Electronic Devices
- Adept at Research
- Diversity, Plurality
- First True Global Culture
- Empowered Customers
- Environmentally Conscious
- Empowered Customers
- Entitlement Issues
- Fears of the Apocalypse
- Latent Fears (The Future Isn’t Bright)
- Morally Conservative
- Prefer Face-To-Face Communication
- Philanthropic; Do-Gooders
- Speed Over Accuracy
- Socially Empowered, Responsible; Focused on Social Justice
- Technology Literate
- Worried About The Future
What Has Shaped Homelanders?
In addition to their parents, nothing has shaped Generation Z more than technology. Despite the helicopter parenting of Generation. Zees have had unfettered access to the Internet. They’ve been called the iGeneration and screenagers for their emotional attachment to smart phones and tablets, etc. Because of too much screen time, they’ve also been called the Distracted Generation.
Social media has significantly impacted the relationships and self-esteem of Generation Z. These impacts have at times manifested themselves in sexting, cyber-bullying, Facebook mourning and the Werther Effect. Many parents now attempt to keep their kids off Facebook for as long as possible, especially since social media is now linked to depression in kids and teens.
There are also concerns that the Internet is actually making our kids stupid, however, most experts cite the high intelligence and advanced problem-solving skills of Gen Z.
The War on Terror and severe economic recession have also shaped Generation Z. None of them remember life before 9/11, and many came of age with Occupy Wall Street. Generation Z’s parents worry constantly that their children will fall out of the middle class. When they aren’t worried about their financial futures they worry about things like the rise in opiate use and the epidemic of texting while driving.
The following is a list of things that have shaped Generation Z. You can think of others, please share them in the comments section.
- War On Terror, ISIS
- Columbine, Sandy Hook and the Aurora Shooting
- Severe Economic Recession (And their parent’s crushing debt)
- Helicopter Parenting/Over-parenting by Generation X
- Tiger Moms (Overly strict, Hyper-focused on academic prowess)
- The Advancing Global Society
- Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat
- Global Warming
- Social Media (It has redefined friendship) Popular networks (as of 2015) include Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Whisper and Secret
- Technology (Think Skype, Periscope and Beyond!)
- Screens: TV, tablets, smart phones, desktops, laptops
- Cyber-bullying, Sexting
- First Black President
- Gangnam Style
- Harry Potter
- Hunger Games
- Japanese Pop Music
- Korean Pop Music
- Viral Videos
- YouTube Celebrities
- YOLO: You Only Live Once Philosophy
Popular TV Shows (1996-Present)
Here are a few dozen TV shows watched by Generation Z. As you can see their lives have been filled with an enormous about of screen time. Please check back, as I will be posting popular books and movies, too.
Adventures of Jimmy Neutron
Bear In The Big Blue House
Big Time Rush
Bob The Builder
Clifford The Big Red Dog
Dora The Explorer
Lilo and Stitch Series
Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards
Phineas and Ferb
Sid The Science Kid
Spider Man Animated Series
The Clone Wars
The Fairly Odd Parents
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
Thomas the Tank Engine
Wizards of Waverly Place
Yo Gabba Gabba
I have published a couple dozen posts about Gen Z since 2009. I even started #GenZChat on Twitter, but have not had time to keep it going. Someday! I love learning about this generation because I want to understand my children better. The world in which they are coming of age is far different from mine. Practically everything about their lives is different from mine! The following are links to most of the posts I’ve labeled or tagged “Generation Z.”
In addition, I want to give a big shout-out to my virtual friend Nancy Nessel, an expert in all things related to Gen Z. Her blog is Getting Gen Z.
Generation Z Research, Studies and Infographics
Finally, a number of formal studies answering the question, Who is Generation Z? have been published on the Internet. There have also been several beautiful infographics with wonderful bite-size information about Gen Zees. Click here to view them.
Who is Generation Z? What is your biggest takeaway after reading this post?