Ever since I can remember, I have heard the same argument from my parents. Generation Zs – the kids and teens born before 9/11 – know it all too well. It’s the, ‘back in the day there was less digital noise…your generation doesn’t know how to communicate…why are you always on your phone…’ speech.
It’s frustrating to hear all the hate since technology hasn’t been a threat that’s ruining society, but rather something that has connected cultures, people and ideas of the world. Living in the digital age is not a tragedy, despite what older generations think.
Just because the two generations’ lifestyles are different doesn’t necessarily mean Gen. Z kids are doomed or that teens these days have lost the ability to communicate.
The normal teen spends around six and a half hours a day using digital gadgets such as smartphones, tablets and computers, according to an article written by CNN. That’s almost as long as a typical student spends at school each day. However, I believe most of those six and a half hours are spent keeping up with friends and family that are simply not available to talk in person.
For example, I am a 1/4 Colombian, and so I have aunts, uncles, and cousins that live in South America, and the only way I’ve been able to meet and talk with people who share my DNA and my culture is by using Skype. If I were to live in another decade, those family members would just be random names or faces in a photo.
Kids and teens are also constantly meeting people from different backgrounds through social media. This seems scary for adults since ‘meeting people online is dangerous.’ In reality, it is giving teens a way to be exposed to creative ideas and communities.
If social media wasn’t around I would have never been able to have middle-of-the-night chats with my friend in Germany, or be able to fangirl about the latest Kpop music video release with my friends in South Korea and Canada. I never would have met the group of girls that I trust with my latest school struggles and problems and can always count on to understand my awkward quirks. I wouldn’t have met that group of girls that share the same nerdy interests, like memes and cute Kpop boy band stars with perfect jawlines. Instead I would be left to keep my music interest to myself since most people would find it weird. `
Instead I always look forward to the daily updates about school life, the rants about the struggles of homework and the craziness that comes when a band releases teasers for their next comeback.
My internet friends are the kindest and most supportive group of friends I have ever met, and I would not have been able to connect with them if it weren’t for modern texting or social media.
I am not writing this to point fingers at adults or create an all-out war over technology. I am simply trying to say that the new generation is not doomed. Gen. Z, the group of kids and teens that will be determining our future, will be one of the most connected and accepting generation in history because of what technology has allowed them to do. In fact, Gen. Z is also called Gen. C to stand for the “connected generation”.