HOW KIND IS THE NEXT GENERATION?

GEN Z

WHO ARE THEY?

Born between 1995 – 2013 (Ages 3-18)

Grew up in post 9/11 and amid the 2007 economic recession

Most diverse and multicultural of any generation seen in the U.S.

Greater desire for equality in social aspects

Drive to help the world


According to Jean Twenge PhD., author of "iGen, Why Today's Super-Connected Kids are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy ....", iGens are different in these respects:


iGen'ers are:

  • Much more tolerant of others - different cultures, sexual orientations, races

  • More cautious, less risk taking

  • Less drinking and drug taking in high school

  • Less likely to go to church

  • More likely to think for themselves and not believe authority figures in church or government

  • Delaying having serious romantic relationships

  • Less teen pregnancy

  • Fewer run aways

  • Delaying driving, and fewer teen driving accidents

  • Less time spent in shopping malls

  • Less likely to go out to see a movie

  • More likely to use Instagram than Facebook


Whereas Millenials were raised to think they were special and that they could become anything they dreamed of, and then after graduating they found that Boomers had let millions of jobs slip out of the country, iGen'ers have seen this, and are far more cautious and less optimistic and maybe less naive.


On the potentially negative side, iGens are known for:

  • Less "in person" and "face to face" contact with others due to more time connecting via smart phones

  • Heavy use of gaming

  • Less reading of books, and newspapers

  • Grew up more supervised, more protected than prior generations

  • Less experience with teen jobs and earning money in high school

  • May stay up till 2 AM using smart phone and social media

  • Possibly more depressed than prior generations

  • Feels more lonely, and not needed

  • Possibly a higher suicide rate

KINDNESS:

A 17 Year Old's Perspective

We asked our intern at Summit Psychological Services to write a short commentary about kindness in high school.  Here are her impressions:


The real experience of high school is not at all what it seems to be in the movies. Not everyone has perfect relationships, perfect grades, and students definitely do not break into song in the middle of the day. The real experience of high school is equipped with hardship, adversity, and, most certainly, hostility. So, in an environment that can become so toxic, a little kindness can go a long way. 


As a junior in high school, I have experienced my fair share of hardships, whether they were academically related or personal. When these hardships arose, it was difficult to not let them consume me, and often, they had a lasting effect on my daily behavior and demeanor. I like to consider myself a cheerful and generally optimistic person, so I try my best to brush-off these worries and problems, but sometimes I let them get the better of me. At times like these, when all I seem to be experiencing are hardships and difficulties, every ounce of kindness I receive from a friend, or even a stranger, can make the difference in my attitude throughout the rest of the day. 


February is “Random Acts of Kindness” month at Summit Psychological Services. To honor this month, we are encouraging the public to engage in random acts of kindness for strangers as well as loved ones. Some random acts of kindness include paying for someone’s meter in the parking lot, baking goods for friends, giving a stranger a compliment, or even letting someone cut in front of you in a line. These small, almost unnoticeable acts can make a huge difference in someone’s day. It is impossible to know what an individual is going through in their personal lives, so it is important to always be kind.


Unfortunately, this kindness is not always an option in high school. Teenagers can be rude, offensive, and hurtful to their peers and often, it is unavoidable. I have experienced this type of hostility first-hand, even while trying to stay away from these situations. At my high school, to help combat the negative tensions and hardships that come our way, my choir teacher has made a remarkable effort to encourage random acts of kindness. For each class, she leaves a small note box where anyone can anonymously write a note directed towards another student, or even a general statement, that offers compliments or words of encouragement for them. Being able to give and receive messages from the communal note box has been an enlightening experience because I have seen, and felt, the difference these kind words can make. Acts like these are steps in the right direction to achieving a more accepting and kind community. 


Somehow, it seems that hostility and toxicity has become the “status quo” of many high schools, which is a terrifying reality. That is why, now more than ever, it is so important to be the change that spreads kindness and positivity to the community, despite any backlash that may result from it. Make the effort to brighten someone’s day, because you never know the difference it could make. 

-Maddie Johnson

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