Members of Generation Z are often criticized by the older generations for being unproductive and having a short attention span, but Gen Zers are more than that.
Look at them; they are heedless. They spend countless hours on their phones all day doing nothing productive with their lives. How can we put up with millennials on steroids? It is their turn to mess things up.
These are the criticisms flying in the faces of iGens, commonly known as Generation Z or Gen Z, by older generations. We are rebuked for immersing ourselves in social media and taking it as second nature. Seriously? We are a diverse cohort, and all we aim to do is use social media to interact and connect with the rest of the world. We learn about different cultures. We curate our public image. It is our way of communicating and expressing ourselves. Born after 1995, Generation Z is transitioning into adulthood. Despite all the condemnation, we are simply innovative and pragmatic. We tend to understand where the world is headed and are open-minded to the evolving future of many things like technology and diversity. iGens are incredible individuals who are already changing the world. Our interaction with technology, ability to multitask, and entrepreneurialism have diversified our generation into some “cool beans.”
Generation Z's relationship with technology differs from the generations before. We are tech-savvy and learned how to swipe before we could even talk. Nowadays, technology advances roughly within a five-year span, in contrast with the 20-year span present before the 2000s. The 5G network has a wider coverage and a more stable connection, extremely faster than the 4G. According to the BBC, “The fastest current 4G mobile networks offer about 45Mbps (megabits per second) on average...5G could achieve browsing and download speeds about 10 to 20 times faster in real-world (as opposed to laboratory) conditions..” Such advanced technological developments are born in our age. We are also improving alongside technology, and, therefore, we are digital natives.
Critics say we are too often on our devices and less focused than previous generations. However, life has its stages and at every stage, preferences are subject to change. A Forbes article mentioned that “The average attention span of a millennial is a whopping 12 seconds—and for Gen Zers, that number is an even more disappointing 8 seconds.” The issue is not our impotence to focus, rather, it is that we have what older generations refer to as highly evolved “eight seconds filters." This means that we filter information in eight seconds, leading to a deepening focus once information of interest is found. We live in an era where our choices are limitless, and pieces of information are swimming indefinitely around us—introducing new ideas, facts, and data. Times have changed, and we live in a fast-paced world. Any information, including but not limited to advertisements, have just eight seconds to seize our attention. Therefore, due to the developing complexity of technology, research demonstrates that companies who are appealing to a good cause are most likely to capture the attention of Gen Zers. We are giving these companies a chance to step up their game and revitalize advertising their products within our “eight-second filter.”
Now that Generation X is done stereotyping millennials, it is time that millennials (or just older generations in general) shower us with their criticisms. The track record with the older and newer generations spewing criticisms toward each other has become a defined status quo. What is common to the older generations may not be so common to us. We are here to shape the world and change perspectives with our ability to rationalize facts. The time that we all stop stepping on each others’ toes and learn to appreciate the behavioral change and diversity that come with the era is yet to come.
Leshan Kroma is a junior in the School of International Service. She is a guest contributor for the Agora.
Image courtesy "Nben54," Creative Commons.