Generation Z


Generation Z (also known as iGeneration) is a common name for the group of people born from a currently undefined point, defined variously as between 1989 and 2010, through to recent years, as distinct from the preceding ‘Generation Y’ (also referred to as ‘Millennials’). Generation Z is also known as the ‘Pluralist Generation.’ If Generation Z is considered to begin in 1989, it would make Gen Y a very brief generation born from 1977-1988. This flies in the face of the traditional definition of Generation Y beginning at some point in the 1980s and ending in the late 1990s or early 2000s.

However, due to recent cultural developments such as the rise of social networking and the differences in attitudes created by the Great Recession a divide has appeared which suggests an earlier cutoff date between 1989 and 1994 might be warranted. For example, as of 2012 half the users of Facebook are 22 years old or younger, compared to 2008 when the median age peaked at 26 years old. If the traditional definition of Generation Z beginning in the early 2000s is used, Generation Y is a group larger than the baby boomers and spanning a full 20 years.

While Gen Yers born in the 1980s and early 1990s experienced the transitional phase between analog and digital technology, Gen Z were born too late to remember a time before mobile phones and the Internet boomed and created the global village. Gen Yers were early adapters, born during the early part of the Digital Revolution, but Generation Z is the first generation that can truly be considered native to the era of social networking and high speed Internet. The youngest of the generation were born during a baby boomlet around the time of the Global financial crisis of the late 2000s (decade), ending around the year 2010, with the next unnamed generation succeeding. Members of Generation Z are typically the children of Generation X; their parents may also include the youngest Baby Boomers as well as older members of Generation Y.

Generation Z is highly connected, as many members of this generation have had lifelong use of communications and media technologies such as the World Wide Web, instant messaging, text messaging, MP3 players, mobile phones, and YouTube, earning them the nickname ‘digital natives.’ No longer limited to the home computer, the Internet is now increasingly carried in their pockets on mobile Internet devices such as mobile phones. A marked difference between Generation Y and Generation Z is that older members of the former remember life before the takeoff of mass technology, while the latter have been born completely within it. This generation has also been born completely into an era of postmodernism, multiculturalism, and globalization.

In much of the world, especially in parts of Asia, Generation Z is the first generation born into a perceived developed world society. For example in China, it was rare to own a car through the 1990s, while as of 2012, about 6 cars exist in China for every 100 people, mainly among urban Chinese. In much of Africa, Generation Z’s parents grew up without electricity while their children have access to the Internet and other technologies. Generation Z are known for curating information online at a rapid pace: sharing thoughts and observations on a variety of media, topics and products. Parents of Generation Z are working part-time or becoming stay-at-home parents so that children are raised by them and other family members instead of a day care facility, which forces children to be in groups. However, soccer moms and helicopter parents are just as common with these members as with children of the previous generation.

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