Those born between the 1990s and early 2010s are considered the Generation Z, or Zoomer, population. They would be between the ages of 11 and 26 on average and are often seen as misunderstood and perhaps even enigmatic. Why is this?
One of the reasons why Gen Z is misunderstood is that this age group has spent their entire lives in the digital age. This is the norm for them, and they are a lot better at digital know-how than any other generations before them. This has created a divide between them and others who are only just starting to get accustomed to digital innovations and their intricacies.
Evolution in communication styles
Zoomer kids have devised their communication language; for instance, the use of GIFs and emojis is the norm for them. This type of communication can be a little daunting to those who aren’t used to it, and the brevity associated with it puzzles those accustomed to traditional communication. They’re also comfortable interacting with bots, as mentioned by Zendesk.
Unique sense of humor and memes
There is no doubt that Gen Zs have a unique sense of humor. They are more inclined to find things such as memes funnier than most other traditional types of humor, such as jokes. This comes from their affinity for the internet culture, which is rapidly evolving into a more cryptic form of communication, and they are less inclined to engage in communications directly.
Influence of media
Media platforms have heavily influenced Gen Z children and are constantly changing their ideals and values, which could appear unconventional to others not of this generation. The difference between them and millennials, for example, is that they are more influenced by things on platforms such as TikTok or Instagram than LinkedIn or Twitter (X).
Political and social consciousness
Social issues are a priority for Gen Z kids, and they are more interested in supporting valuable causes such as social justice, sustainability, and climate change. They are stronger activists compared to other generations, who think this is either overly idealistic or radical.
Shifting career aspirations
In comparison to other generations, Zoomers are more interested in starting their own business and becoming entrepreneurs rather than working a traditional 9-5 job. They find these non-traditional pathways to be more appealing and less risky, and they prioritize the security of their futures. Older generations find this risky and impractical.
Ranging entertainment choices
Not only does Gen Z have diverse entertainment preferences, but they also consume it through unconventional means like streaming platforms and YouTube. This can make it challenging for others to relate to or even be aware of their choices.
Prioritizing mental health
Globally, Gen Z, or Zoomers, make up one-third of the population, as revealed by Greenbook. It is no wonder that essential topics such as mental health have stepped to the forefront of the world. They are interested in mental health issues and the stigma associated with them, whereas others find certain topics harder to understand.
Differences in the education system
There is no doubt that the educational experiences of Zoomers are completely different from those of other generations, such as the Millenials or the Boomers. It is more influenced by technology than print and traditional forms of teaching. This has resulted in diverse problem-solving approaches and worldviews that are slightly different from each other.
Pragmatic financial mindset
Gen Z children tend to be more pragmatic and practical, especially when it comes to financial aspects. These populations prefer to save more than to spend, and their spending habits differ from those of other generations, who may confuse this with a lack of ambition.
Conscious of the environment
Gen Z, also known as the ‘eco-conscious generation’, is more involved in sustainability actions, as cited here on Kadence. Perhaps it’s because they are present in a world that is going through climate change, issues of plastic waste, and pollution. Others don’t necessarily share the same sense of urgency.
They challenge norms in society, and things such as gender equality, traditional family structures, and sexuality are all being questioned continuously in many facets of the world. They are more open and accepting of differences than other generations and believe in equality and fairness. Those who hold their own strong beliefs may find this challenging.
Short attention spans
Growing up in the digital era, Zoomers tend to have a reputation for having short attention spans. This may not be a myth, as stated in this Mind The Gap article on the McKinsey & Company website, as it’s more about them needing constant stimulation than it is about having a short attention span. Others who see this may misunderstand this trait as having a lack of focus.
Rely on technology
Relying on technology to solve all their problems, find answers to questions, get directions to a place, or do some research, for instance, comes naturally to Gen Z. For those who are more inclined to pick up a book at a library or read a newspaper or magazine, there can be some misunderstanding. However, the results of acquiring information may be the same.
Generation Z kids have also grown up in a multicultural society, and this has helped them to organically be exposed to different cultural practices, viewpoints, and issues. This may have disconnected them from national or local concerns for the most part.
Lifestyle and fashion variances
The variation in style and fashion trends of the Zoomers compared to other generations is quite obvious at times. They are more inclined to choose clothing and trends from online culture than anywhere else, and this can be inexplicable or fickle for the rest of the crowd.
Work-life balance differences
A difference in their work-life balance is also something apparent with this generation and something most of those who don’t understand it find indifferent. The typical 9-5 job is seldom on their priority list, as they often drift towards more flexible job options and purposeful career options.
Variations in career and education paths
When it comes to their choices in education and career paths, this variation, as mentioned in the previous point, has an influence. They chose the more unpredictable and unconventional paths in education and careers such as sustainable energy specialist or social impact consultant, among the 10 other jobs mentioned in this LinkedIn article.
The evolving language of Zoomers is also something that is drastically misunderstood, and this stems from their use of slang brought about by influences from social media and the World Wide Web. It can be difficult for outsiders to adjust to this or, at the very least, to understand it.
Questioning and challenging authority come easily for this generation. This can be interpreted as being disrespectful to others or lacking discipline; however, it is more because of a shift in how they see the world and are more curious about things.
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