Making sense of the potential of Generation Z to improve America is a matter of understanding the forces that dominate today’s culture. Technology has been important in facilitating cultural processes and social patterns and members of Generation Z are beneficiaries of the postmodern technological revolution that has brought some of the greatest advances of our society. There have also been drastic improvements to the standard of living during the years when members of Generation Z were born.
However, with privilege comes expectations, and there are many arguments that fairly criticize Generation Z’s unreasonable sense of entitlement with a lacking sense of responsible. For instance, Generation Z has been maladaptive to rapid changes accompanying the shift of socialization from real life to technology, an entity with vastly different rules and consequences (i.e., deindividualization, cyber bullying, fake news, etc.). In fact, Generation Z has been quick to accepting this virtual culture and immersing themselves in ways that undermine their mental health.
Children are born and raised to play with handheld devices very early, which influences their self-concept and sense of self. Generation Z’s attachment to technology has made it nearly instinctual for members of Generation Z to be glued to phones or spend their weekends binge watching. Moreover, attention capacities have been severed by the predominance of technology and facilitated access to leisurely activities. For many in Generation Z, having privilege that can reduce one’s responsibilities can provide a false sense of comfort at the expense of willpower and healthy living.
Even though our living conditions will improve, the overall approach to life will become increasingly focused on self-gratification because privilege is usually packaged with complacency; in other words, those who are enabled to more time watching television and less time in school might believe that their future is secure. Additionally, this generation is acclimated to a “soft,” material lifestyle that may hinder Generation Z’s innovation, initiative, and industrious in the future. Recurring manifestations of this “softness,” which include procrastination and shortcuts that prioritize performance over learning inside the classroom, results in a heightened ineptitude.
Yet, there is a silver lining. Generation Z is likely smarter than previous generations, with greater global awareness and access to education. Young people certainly don’t want to suffer living in the unjust world left by their predecessors’, as students are increasingly becoming involved in social movements. Yet, more work needs to be done by parents, educators, employers, and post-millennials themselves to motivate Generation Z to pursue cooperation, cultivation of knowledge and experiences, and a shared optimism for a better future. Indeed, Generation Z has a responsibility to take care of themselves now as well as in the future.