Beware of Gen Z
Today’s parents aren’t doing so bad, after all. Their children could go beyond their gadget and style must-haves, after all, and help transform society.
The world woke up to this pleasant surprise and watched the news about hundreds of thousands of the Gen Z and the millennials marching across the United States to protest the Parkland deaths, the latest in a never-ending series of mass shootings in the US, and to launch the #neveragain movement.
But what made world media, indeed the world, sit up and take notice was this generation’s fearlessness, relentlessness—and articulateness.
Time’s “The Young and the Relentless” carries a full-page photograph of one of the
#neveragain leaders, Emma Gonzalez, her buzz cut hairstyle and fiery eyes now the iconic image of this phenomenon.
The Gen Z, and before it, the millennials, comprise the generation that has been getting a bad rep all this time—from the older generations, us. They have been dismissed as spoiled —spoiled by us, of course— self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self-entitled. In short, theirs is said to be an egocentricity the likes of which modern civilization has never seen.
But—guess what, the affluent and liberal parenting that bred them has an upside, after all. They have become a most assertive and most articulate generation that can shout down anyone (Republicans, Democrats, demagogues) and call out anything (no gun control, dictatorship).
They’re so empowered, thanks to their no fear of technology—technology, after all, is their surrogate parent. This generation raised on tablets and habitual selfies can look the camera in the eye—no self-consciousness at all, unlike their parents—and do a hot-seat interview.
This generation’s marketing savvy is unmatched, thanks to its life-long exposure to brands. It knows that branding is the message.
Gun vs social media
Political power, it was said in the time of Chairman Mao, comes from the barrel of the gun. For today’s youth, political power comes from the smartphone and the social media it enables. The Gen Z’s mastery of technology—and its supreme self-confidence— have turned this generation into the swing vote of the times, here and abroad; you don’t mess with it.
Where does that leave us parents?
Now, more than ever, we must make sure that this generation’s self-empowerment comes with the correct knowledge and critical thinking— and correct values. The kids have all the technology they need, now how do they grow the heart?
If we do this right, the future will belong to the humans, not the robots.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.