Greta Thunberg. Emma Gonzales. Malala Yousafzai.
Their generation continues to inspire millions, making Generation Z the strongest driving force of the modern renaissance. McKinsey and Company concludes that Generation Z is setting the foundation for a society with higher moral and ethical standards by protesting against discrimination.
Open access to a world of information has not only expanded people’s individual knowledge, but also increased global awareness and stimulated activism. The rising movements of the past decade spearheaded by teenage influencers have brought attention to gun violence, climate change, animal cruelty and LGBTQ rights.
With easy access to factual evidence, students have united together to bring change to current issues affecting the world according to the Pew Research Center’s report on the influence of social media on activism.
For example, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg led a global school climate strike that has gained over 1.6 million followers in the past year, according to Nature.
Their fast success is explained by sociologist Dana Fisher to be a result of an attention loop. Dana Fisher said in Nature: the more attention young people are getting, the more new young people are drawn to the issue, creating an attention loop. The level of attention that Thunberg received is greatly influenced by the increasing social media presence of young activists.
Social media is too often criticized for its addictive nature but has actually promoted global awareness and helped inspire passionate teens into taking a stand.
Influenced by the development of social media, another characteristic unique to our generation is their improved ability to multitask. According to the HuffPost, a teen’s ability to efficiently eliminate distractions, switch between tasks and simultaneously execute multiple processes has set an unprecedented social dynamic.
Although as stated in Verywell Mind, multitasking is commonly believed to decrease overall productivity, the ability to selectively dedicate attention to specific activities and switch between activities without losing focus is convenient among the latest generation of students.
Preceding generations often label Generation Z as careless or dissociated from the real world. Forbes states that Generation Z is even less prepared for the workplace then the “sensitive and uncooperative millennials”. In addition, the pressing issues regarding gun violence, immigration and sexual harassment are creating an unstable environment causing the severe deterioration of emotional health in many young people who grew up amidst the chaos, claims the American Psychological Association.
Fortunately, the desire to become active and stand determined for change also stems from these conditions. Because youngsters are aware of, and personally affected by the numerous global issues, many choose to strive for change rather than engulf themselves in the despair of the present situations.
Article “Getting GenZ Primed to Save the World” by The Atlantic busts the popular myth of my generation being entitled, distracted and apathetic by exemplifying the success of We Day, an organization promoting student involvement in national and global issues. In one of the projects of We Day called “We Are Rafikis”, students sold bracelets made by Kenyan women to help them start businesses and feed their families.
Born amidst the rapid evolution of a world governed by information, the emerging species that is Generation Z is now beginning to showcase their unique facets on full display.