Gen­er­a­tion Z lives in con­stant ‘fear of miss­ing out’

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE in Paris

Face­book? Of course. Books? Def­i­nitely not. Video games? For sure. Sport? No way. Speed? Yes. Pa­tience? Not so much.

This, in a nut­shell, is the life of the “Gen­er­a­tion Z”— in­de­pen­dent, stub­born, prag­matic and al­ways in a rush.

Num­ber­ing around 2 bil­lion, th­ese young­sters, born af­ter 1995 an­dunaware of a world with­out the In­ter­net, live a life that seems a mil­lion miles re­moved from the hopes, dreams and morals of pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions.

They are so hooked into the dig­i­tal world that some aca­demics have nick­named them “the mu­tants”.

Here are a few of the habits of Gen­er­a­tion Z: They want ev­ery­thing, ev­ery­where and im­me­di­ately. They surf on two­screens si­mul­ta­ne­ously. They don’t mind pay­ing through the nose for the lat­est smart­phone but turn up their nose at pay­ing for a movie or a song when you can get that for free on­line.

Ages 13 to 20, they get all the lat­est trends from so­cial me­dia and find the morals of their el­ders out-of-date.

Their fash­ions are those found world­wide over the Web: They watch Amer­i­can block­busters likeHunger Games or Diver­gent, lis­ten to Korean K-pop and, when they dance, they “tw­erk”.

When they speak, their vo­cab­u­lary is pep­pered with acronyms, in­com­pre­hen­si­ble to those not in the know. “Swag” is the new “cool”. Andtheir newidols are In­ter­net stars, like PewDiePie, who has the world’s most sub­scribed YouTube chan­nel.

Peo­ple from Gen­er­a­tion Z find it eas­ier to talk on­line than in per­son. Their friends on so­cial me­dia are as im­por­tant to them as their friends in real life but some­times they do ac­tu­ally meet up in per­son with th­ese “vir­tual” pals.

More than eight out of 10 are hooked on so­cial net­works and more than half of them think that this is where their real so­cial life takes place.

They are on dat­ing web­sites from the age of 16— some­times be­fore. Even as young as they are, they have al­ready seen so many tech­nolo­gies be­come ob­so­lete. For this rea­son, they have be­come the ul­ti­mate “self­e­d­u­ca­tors”, learn­ing how to use new­stuff via self-help videos on YouTube.

As for the web, vi­o­lence, al­ready seen it all.

Ac­cord­ing to US con­sul­tancy Sparks and Honey, the av­er­age “Gen­er­a­tion Z-er”

porn,

they’ve spends more than three hours a day in front of a screen. They live in con­stant “FOMO”, fear of miss­ing out. They can’t stand the idea of not be­ing in the loop when some­thing newand ex­cit­ing comes out.

Face­book is their main poi­son, de­spite its flag­ging pop­u­lar­ity among some Amer­i­cans. Pho­tos on Instagram, quick mes­sages on Snapchat. Twit­ter and Tum­blr are om­nipresent.

But it’s not all pas­sive: Gen­er­a­tion Z-ers are also putting them­selves out there on YouTube or “Vlog­ging” (video blog­ging), hop­ing to be­come the next “Fred” (Lu­cas Cruik­shank), who made his name at the grand old age of 13.

Ev­ery­one surfs the Web while watch­ing theTVand they think that ev­ery­thing is pos­si­ble with tech­nol­ogy. But, they have a short at­ten­tion span and tend to skim-read rather than read prop­erly, which can lead to dif­fi­culty at school.

This is a gen­er­a­tion that wants to cre­ate their own com­pany — be­tween 50 per­cent and 72 per­cent want to run their own startup. The idea of “busi­ness” brings up neg­a­tive re­sponses: “com­pli­cated”, “bru­tal”, “a jun­gle”.

They be­lieve suc­cess comes from their “net­work” rather than from qual­i­fi­ca­tions and they pre­fer a flat or­ga­ni­za­tion to a hi­er­ar­chy at work.

They want to suc­ceed and achieve, with 76 per­cent aim­ing to make their hobby their job. Th­ese are chil­dren of the cri­sis and it shows in their out­look. Most of them say they are “stressed out” by what they see as a bleak fu­ture, es­pe­cially in terms of econ­omy and en­vi­ron­ment.

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