My life as a 19-year-old female between two very different generations of Xs and Zs has been an interesting one thus far. My bittersweet existence between these different generations bumps against both ends of this wave pool. The deeper end of this wave pool contains Generation X, a generation often criticized for its “it’s all about me” mentality and praised for its handpicked, higher-educated individuals. In the shallow end, for more obvious reasons, is Generation Z, the generation picking up speed to trample over my generation’s foreground—and our parents’ and grandparents’ with new and improving technologies.
How sensitive this young and flourishing Generation Z has made itself out to be infuriates me almost as much as the 2016 presidential election. I only claim this generation to be as sensitive as it is because I’ve seen the sensitivity in action. The way our shared social media outlets have shaped these young people is turning them into mindless zombies.
According to The Center for Generational Kinetics, though I have to disagree, “Gen Z is more concerned than other generations about online privacy in a number of areas, such as playing with debit or credit cards and online dating.” The unnecessary surplus of social media outlets that Gen Z has been born into has seemingly diverted their expected attention and well-behaved manners away from other forms of human life. Any form of casual human interaction between Gen Zs and Gen Xs sucks whatever life remains out of those Xs and shoves it down the drains of the lifeless Zs. Exchanged words of humorous sarcasm or dry humor voiced by those Gen Xs create gaping holes of negative sensitivity in the once-beating hearts of the Gen Zs.
Every Monday through Friday, I sit through a number of collegiate-level courses and observe different teaching styles and how they vary among each of my professors. Countless times I have held conversations with my professors and students alike about the lack of communication skills in young people today. These young people include the tail-end of Gen Y and almost all of Gen Z. Oftentimes, I find that my own attention is drawn away from human interaction, and I’m attracted to my phone more than friendly faces. Most Gen Y people will admit to being guilty of biting into the enticing poisoned apple that our assorted electronics offer.
According to the Stanford Research Institute, “the money you make in any endeavor is determined 12.5% by knowledge and 87.5% by your ability to deal with people.” It’s a rather frightening thought because communication is the foundation for pay in the future careers of these individuals. It’s scary for current college students and, hopefully, for those who are serious about pursuing a higher education because all of our money is being poured, and will be poured, into courses taught sometimes by computers and electronic media. Sensitivity is the dress worn at this ball on account of Gen Z kids not being taught otherwise.
I walked into a classroom full of first-year college students whose eyes darted from one object on my body to the next and who analyzed the words that came out of my mouth. I had not felt that judged since my first years of middle and high school. Their overall demeanor showed that they woke up every day with an attitude of entitlement and self-righteousness.
From my own experience, almost every 13 and 14-year-old pre-teen tightly holds on to the distasteful holier-than-thou attitudes and projects them upon their parents. These little Z kids seem to have never left that know-it-all stage.
Much like what the Gen Xs were criticized for, a notable trend of “me, me, me” attitudes has surfaced like the acne of a ripening 13-year-old just trying to scrape along through the angsty years of middle school. Social media outlets, housed on smart phones awarded to smart-mouthed, unappreciative kids, such as Instagram and Tumblr have allowed individuals to freely express their artistic individuality. Not only have the outlets accommodated their freedom of expression, they also have supplied attention-hungry individuals the opportunity to pose with their favorite and more expensive designer trends like depression and tranquility through photography.
As one Gen Z would call it, their “aesthetics” have really been put in the spotlight for everyone to see that “it’s all about me.” By “aesthetics,” I rightfully mean hashtags and captions to make “bae” jealous and freed body parts positioned with care to capture a candid photo at a concert full of flower crowns. According to The Center for Generational Kinetics, Gen Zs say that “social media affects them internally more than any other generation, including their own happiness and self-esteem.”
Naïve little children running around with their glazed-over eyes glued to the hunk of “wisdom” in their palms who consecutively bumping into an elderly woman without excusing themselves is the future I see for the newest generations to come. I will be that elderly woman.
How the remainder of Gen X and the fullest of Gen Y will convey a lessened sensitivity, more communication, higher responsibility and self-respect and motivation to those negligent Gen Zs is beyond my reach. Perhaps a handful will grab ahold of this printed article, ask what it is and curiously stumble upon this Hail Mary to wise up a bit. Mind my opinion.