@GenZ – #sassy #savvy #self-cen­tred

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My Gen­er­a­tion Z chil­dren ut­terly mys­tify me. How can my 11-year-old son do Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tions but still think “verse” is a word? (As in, “Will Carl­ton verse the Crows to­day?”)

How does my nine-year-old know the dif­fer­ence be­tween an in­fu­sion and a re­duc­tion – thanks to

– but still fail to make her own break­fast be­fore school?

And why is it that my six-year-old can’t read prop­erly but can nav­i­gate the on­screen prompts on Minecraft like a teenager?

Welcome to the world of Gen Z – the post­Mil­len­nial kids and teens of to­day. Time is march­ing and it won’t be long be­fore Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Gen Ys hand over the reins to them.

Most peo­ple will tell you our kids are too busy tak­ing self­ies at pop con­certs to have time to run the dish­washer, let alone think about run­ning the coun­try one day. But don’t be fooled by their big head­phones, small jeans and One Di­rec­tion com­bovers; they’re way smarter than we were at that age.

What­ever you do, don’t un­der­es­ti­mate any­one born af­ter 1995.

In the time it took you to read this, they’ve al­ready hacked into your wi-fi from their iPhone and will use it to sup­ple­ment their data al­lowance for years to come with­out your knowl­edge.

In­deed, for them the world is an open book – or more ac­cu­rately, a wire­less hyper­linked, user­gen­er­ated in­ter­face. (Don’t talk about books, you’ll just seem old.)

So what can we ex­pect from a gen­er­a­tion that reveres both ed­u­ca­tion ac­tivist Malala Yousafzai and singer Nicki Mi­naj in equal mea­sure?

Well, for a start, the self-pos­ses­sion and con­fi­dence of this gen­er­a­tion is the stuff of leg­end. They know their worth and it’s much higher than yours, let me as­sure you.

At work they won’t shy away from ask­ing for pro­mo­tions and pay rises. And they will gen­er­ally get any job they go for on sheer con­fi­dence alone – not to men­tion their abil­ity to hook their work­mates up with pi­rated Net­flix.

But you’d ex­pect noth­ing less from kids who think they’re ge­niuses be­cause they were raised on

DVDs and given par­tic­i­pa­tion medals ev­ery time they stepped on a sports field.

In­deed, one study showed half of all teenagers to­day are so sure of their con­vic­tions that they would pre­fer to be un­em­ployed rather than do a job they hate. Clearly, in the fu­ture there will be no in­sur­ance as­ses­sors, call cen­tre work­ers and beautician­s spe­cial­iz­ing in Brazil­ian bikini waxes.

Raised by work­ing par­ents who pro­vid­ing care and guilt in equal mea­sure, Gen Zs will want to do things dif­fer­ently on the work front com­pared to us.

This will mean that in the fu­ture we will see a rise of the “no col­lar” worker: pro­fes­sional free­lancers who will spend their en­tire work lives leap-frog­ging from con­tract to con­tract – and cafe to cafe.

A pip­ing-hot latte, some sick beats com­ing through their head­phones, and a wi-fi con­nec­tion (some one else’s, prefer­ably) is all they’ll need to take over our world. They’ll also be will­ing to sac­ri­fice cash for cred­i­bil­ity, and will put energy into wor­thy so­cial causes we aban­doned long ago.

There are some other changes we’ll see in Gen Z’s adult life­time – and they’re not all pos­i­tive.

These kids are grow­ing up mea­sur­ing their worth by Face­book likes and Twit­ter retweets, so they will crave at­ten­tion and af­fec­tion. In adult­hood, this means they will ex­pect replies to emails or texts at any time of the day or night. Be­ing able to work any­where, any­time means they will work ev­ery­where, all the time.

They’ll also spend more of their life alone; how­ever, they will be con­nected to more peo­ple on so­cial media than Baby Boomers knew in a life­time.

Gen Z also know a lot about good nutri­tion and will sur­round them­selves with the latest gym wear and gad­gets. But 77 per cent of them will be over­weight by adult­hood.

De­spite this, the big pic­ture is sound. While Gen Zs may seem like self-cen­tered prima don­nas at this age, there is ev­ery rea­son to be­lieve their con­tri­bu­tion to the world will ex­tend far be­yond Justin Bieber and dodgy hair­styles.

Back in the 1980s, many peo­ple wor­shipped peo­ple such as en­tre­pre­neur Alan Bond. We thought the guy with the van Gogh and the Amer­ica’s Cup tro­phy was win­ning in life.

Kids to­day are smarter than we were be­cause they wor­ship them­selves in­stead. They are savvy enough to re­alise that in a few short years, it will be them “verse” us, and they are go­ing to beat us hands down. Chat with Susie at susieobrie­n.com.au, Face­book.com/NewswithSu­se and fol­low her on Twit­ter @susieob

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