Generation Z, those born after the year 1995, are a generation unlike any other that has come before. Growing up in a world of touch screen devices and constant connectivity, this generation often learns how to use devices before they learn how to speak. And it’s this unique development that has coined them the nickname of the ‘Digital Natives’.
Now you may see this as a bad thing, but this generation don’t see screen time and constant connectivity as a bad thing, we see technology as an extension of us, and as a tool to help us connect, collaborate and learn.
For me, I was born in the year 2000 and as a child growing up I was definitely part of this digital generation. As a 2000 baby I had wifi hit the mainstream here in Australia before I started primary school, and the first iPhone came out when I was in year 2. My first phone was an iPhone 4S.
Moving into high school I had Facebook hit 1 billion monthly active users before I was old enough to get Facebook, and laptop and iPads had replaced textbooks and workbooks by the time I was in grade 10. Upon graduating we had VR, laser cutters and 3D printers readily available for students to use in their assignments, and technology was second nature to not just me, but the majority of my cohort as well. We weren’t just digitally literate, but we were digitally confident.
Now I am constantly connected to my devices, but not in an unproductive and antisocial way. I see my devices as an extension of me and I use them to produce work faster, connect with my friends more authentically, and learn new things in a more engaging way.
As I was writing this post I checked the screen time feature on my phone and found that in the past seven days I have picked up my phone 1,316 times, about 188 times per day, and in that time I have received 1,514 notifications, that’s about 216 notifications per day.
Now it is true that I run a business so naturally I need to be connected to my device at all times replying to emails and calling clients and partners, but a great deal of the use my phone gets is messaging friends, googling questions and connecting with people.
Now you may be reading this and getting ready to delete all your apps and lock your phone in a deep dark box, or you may be feeling a bit outdated, but fear not.
The exciting thing about this is the power of Generation Z for our communities and organisations. Growing up in this digital world, young people today think about things in such different ways and approach challenges in a different way to most other generations.
So whether you are a teach exploring opportunities to implement technology in the classroom, an organisation looking to stand out from the crowd, or a parent wanting to inspire and empower your kids, try chatting to Generation Z, the ideas they come up with might surprise you!