The Mail on Sunday - You - - Generation Special -

chil­dren. ‘They dis­ap­prove of smok­ing and drink­ing – but also they’ve read about child labour and de­cided they don’t want new clothes. My part­ner loves fash­ion and of­ten shops on­line, but when the boxes ar­rive our daugh­ter will ques­tion her about it: “More new clothes!?” My part­ner gets such a hard time over it that she’s be­come se­cre­tive about her buy­ing.

‘They’re also news savvy and they’ll tell me off about all the plas­tic pack­ag­ing on food. They read all the in­gre­di­ents in the su­per­mar­ket – the youngest won’t eat cus­tard be­cause it’s got palm oil in it which is af­fect­ing orang­utans. He won’t have Tun­nock’s caramel wafers, which I love, be­cause they’ve also got palm oil in them.’

How Clean is Your House star Ag­gie MacKen­zie, 63, was ‘banned’ from buy­ing a pump­kin this Hal­loween by her 23-year-old son Ewan as it would be left out­side to rot. ‘He told me that an es­ti­mated eight mil­lion of them would be binned af­ter Hal­loween,’ she says. ‘Yes, I was pump­kin-shamed.’

Gen­er­a­tion Z want to chal­lenge and over­turn ev­ery­thing that went be­fore and re­place it with a rigid new set of rules which they en­force at ev­ery turn. If you don’t agree with them, you’re cre­at­ing a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment for oth­ers. Kate, 51, a pub­lish­ing ex­ec­u­tive from Lon­don, says her daugh­ter ‘al­ways sup­ports the un­der­dog. She’s a fully paid up fem­i­nist, hates racism, sex­ism, Don­ald Trump and dis­crim­i­na­tion in any form.’

‘All the things we want are be­com­ing pro­hib­ited by our chil­dren, so we have to hide,’ says Michael. ‘I imag­ine there’s go­ing to be an al­liance of par­ents meet­ing be­hind the bike sheds, smok­ing cig­a­rettes, drink­ing gin and eat­ing Tun­nock’s wafers be­cause their kids won’t let them.’

Where did these young­sters get their con­vic­tion from? Well, they are the first truly con­nected gen­er­a­tion who don’t re­mem­ber a time be­fore the in­ter­net. They didn’t stomp off to their be­d­rooms and sulk when they thought some­thing wasn’t fair; they stomped off and plugged into a hive mind of mil­lions who de­cided that noth­ing is fair. They en­tered a cy­cle of so­cial-me­dia evo­lu­tion, where ex­ist­ing be­liefs are chal­lenged and new cer­tain­ties emerge as de­bate is shut down. It’s also where new words de­scrib­ing Gen­er­a­tion Z’s re­al­ity pop up with be­wil­der­ing speed, such as ‘pan­sex­ual’ which refers to at­trac­tion to other peo­ple re­gard­less of their gen­der or sex­u­al­ity.

What you be­lieved yes­ter­day, Gen­er­a­tion Z know to­day to be wrong – you just don’t un­der­stand the terms they’re us­ing to tell you how wrong you are.

Kate’s teenage daugh­ter won’t al­low any com­ment that she con­sid­ers to be non-PC. ‘When I talked about a friend of hers be­ing Born be­tween 1945 and the early 60s, they grew up dur­ing post­war ra­tioning and re­con­struc­tion, and came of age in the Swing­ing 60s and 70s, be­fore ben­e­fit­ing from ris­ing prop­erty prices and fi­nal-salary pen­sions, mak­ing them the wealth­i­est co­hort.

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