KUALA LUMPUR, 28.6.2021. What is Gen Z best known for?
Famously known as ‘Zoomers’, this generation was born into the era of technological advancement. While millennials slowly adapted to technology upon reaching adulthood, Gen Z had the privilege (or misfortune?) of growing up with the convenience of automation around them.
Just like their predecessors, Gen Z has their fair share of negative stereotypes. Some include having a short attention span, an unhealthy attachment to their phones, and a tendency to job-hop and ghost employers.
However, their technological expertise does merit them the title of ‘digital natives’ that is defined by their love of social media and all things digital. More often than not, they’re the ones acting as technology mentors in the workplace.
In fact, an article by Business Insider revealed that one of Gen Z’s favorite pastimes involved something that allowed them to make use of the technology around them.
Gen Z also possess strong beliefs about their ideals and convictions. According to an article from Ripplematch, 71% of Gen Z’s are willing to go as far as to boycott a company or organization that is behaving unethically.
They are also more likely to take a more progressive stance on social issues. With technology at their fingertips, they are able to keep an open mind and actively advocate for fair and equal treatment of minority groups such as LGBT, feminism, and Black rights.
Their reputation doesn’t stop there. They’ve also been labelled as the ‘lonely’ generation, the ‘pessimistic’ generation, and the ‘sad’ generation.
This can be due to the mental health challenges that they face, as long hours spent online can contribute to feelings of isolation and depression. Many of them also fall to the ‘comparison trap’ that social media presents, which increases the turbulence of their mental health.
In sight of current global issues, Gen Z do have quite a bit to be anxious about. The uncertainty of the pandemic, political conflict, and growing unrest surrounding issues such as gun control and police brutality can lead to increased levels of stress.
Nick Bradar, president of support group Wolverine Support Network, highlights this in his statement.
“I definitely struggle with it because social media does have harmful impacts, especially on teenagers’ and adolescents’ mental health,” he said. “But I am also well aware that social media isn’t the only thing causing people’s mental health to look differently in this generation.”
Nick’s struggle with mental health issues was prevalent in high school. By the time he entered college, he was actively looking for ways to support a positive mental state. Through Wolverine Support Network, he managed to not only help himself, but channel his passion to help other members with similar struggles.
While it is possible that Gen Z are more stressed and depressed than previous generations, another possibility is that they are simply more willing to share about their mental health. These issues have always existed in every generation, but our awareness of it today is what pushes us to treat it.
Hence, if there’s anything Gen Z has proven about themselves, it’s that they possess a tenacious resilience in the face of adversity.
By growing up in a period of political chaos and economic crisis, Gen Z has taken to mental health awareness like never before. They’re continuously fighting a battle against the existing stigma and encouraging others to do the same.
As a generation that isn’t afraid to speak up, they have the ability to change society’s mindset that seeking mental health help is a sign of strength rather than weakness.
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