To be able to help the Generation Z children (better known as Gen Z), it is best to first understand who they are and what they stand for. Also, you need to know the difference between the other generations.
Generation Z children
Oxford Living Dictionaries describes Generation Z as
“the generation reaching adulthood in the second decade of the 21st century”
This second decade means from the late 1990s to the 2000s; that is from about 1996 or 1997 to 2015.
Characteristics of Children in Gen Z
- Gen Z is predominantly digital natives and is seen as self-learners. They assess information through the internet and not just traditional institutions.
- They cross-reference information from different sources on the internet and evaluate a large volume of this (information) themselves. This means that they could easily make decisions and form opinions based on what they learn online.
- Due to their digital ‘savviness’, they rely a lot on the internet and social media for communication, information, and decision making. They spend almost six hours or more browsing their favorite social media platforms. And due to the high level of connectivity that technology has given to Generation Z, many of them do not have ‘real’ friends. As such, they might lack adequate social and physical communication skills.
- This generation celebrates individual expression and for this reason, they want to be heard. What this means is that they expect to be engaged in dialogue.
- Along with their love for social media, they tend to be more lonely than most other generations. This is one of the downsides of Generation Z
- Generation Z has the will to work and make a change in society. That is why “42% of Generation Z within the age of 17-23 are already employed in either full time, part-time or freelance work” (Source: McKinsey)
- They are value-driven and this is the reason why they are able to mobilize themselves for a cause they believe in, such as peaceful demonstrations. [Read: How to Prepare Generation Z for Employment]
Generation Y and The Millennials
These are those born within the year 1981 to 1986 and are also most likely to be the parents of Generation Z. The youngest person born into this generation is now 39 years old and they may or may not be digitally savvy.
A large number of persons in this generation lived during a time when the internet was becoming more widely adopted. They can be referred to as ‘digital aliens’.
These are children of the millennials, and the oldest members of this generation are 5 years old.
Furthermore, understanding all these different generations will help us understand the uniqueness of Generation Z who are the first generation of real Digital Natives. Generation Z was born into a virtually connected world, and have grown up in this reality from day one.
How to Help Children in Generation Z utilize the Digital age
- Encourage them to make contact with other people physically. This can be hard because most of these children have multiple friends online but never make physical contact. Having friends on only Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the likes can be detrimental to their social and communication skills.
- Have personal time with them to discuss whatever issues they might be having as regards life. This is due to the fact that Generation Z is prone to mental health challenges if not well monitored.
- Encourage them to drop their phones and electronic gadgets once in a while to have a life outside social media. Make digital well-being a family priority!
- Give them the freedom to explore their capabilities and interests as a Gen Z’s. Once parents engage, then they can properly help them tailor these capabilities to good use.