I thought my generation reigned supreme forever. I thought those born in the early 80s to the early 90s rocked for keeps. I thought we, the millennial people or Gen Y kids, who were born during the time when major events in late modern history took place, are braver, more adventurous, more daring, and more capable of sustaining institutions, creating advanced technologies, and performing significant researches.
Little did I know that there would be a livelier, more enthusiastic, and a more creative bunch of people. Once, when I hung out with a group of young’uns, I was suddenly at a loss in their company because they seemed to have a different wavelength—I couldn’t hit it off with them. They used jargons which called my vocabulary bank into question and, more often than not, I noticed they offered wittier solutions to problems.
Who is this new generation? Do I know better than them or vice versa?
Rona Sieh and daughter Isabelle in a dialogue
The conference held by Mommy Mundo and Our Awesome Planet entitled, “Raising Gen Z: Zentennials, The Making of the Greatest Filipino Generation” came in the perfect timing and answered the questions above.
The words in the title sound lofty at first, but thanks to the speakers, value-laden topics relevant to those who share my sentiments, including parents, educators, and marketers, were covered. They talked up parents, educators, and media to positively shape the lives of this younger generation. In addition, the speakers highlighted Gen Z behaviors in school and in work, ways for having them retreat once in a while from information overload, and how to sustain significant relationships with people who matter the most.
So, for older generations—including me, a millennial—here are four insights to help us know better the new generation that is Gen Z:
4. The Zentennials
Zentennials or Gen Z were born in the mid 90s to 2010. They are technology-oriented and technology-driven, because after all, they grew up along with the influx of modern technology. They are surrounded by facilities that allow easy access to information, and they are clueless about life before Spotify, Facebook, or Google. They know how to get around with life by viewing life hack videos on YouTube. Their desire to use technology varies as they progress from age to age. Boredom is not in their vocabulary, because right at their fingertips, they can connect with people, music, food, fashion, and places across the globe.
Sometimes, we, who belong to older generations, feel undermined by Gen Z because they are more mobile, progressive, and most of all, adept at manipulating technologies. Although come to think of it, Zentennials have full potentials in boosting businesses, for instance. They can promote media exposure of businesses through the use of technology. Mr. Cris Tagle’s talk on “Born Digital” tells us that this new generation will make use of technology more than ever because of their burgeoning interest to discover related skills, like coding, for example. He further reiterates that Gen Z will be interested in accepting jobs related to market research or trend forecasting, so this calls for business enterprises to simultaneously cope with the rise of modern tech to be able to provide jobs for the growing new generation.
3. “Kids getting older younger.”
This is my favorite quote shared by Chelet Tanjuatco. As a mother of Zentennials and a teacher of college students, she gets to be in contact with these “kids getting older younger.” Kids these days are very opinionated. With information overload, they acquire larger-than-life ideas and form different opinions, question rules, and endlessly seek answers. Hence, they can carry along mature conversations. As parents and educators, we play our part by supervising them in sifting valid information and in using reliable resources.
2. Gen Z kids seem to be distant
They’re physically present, but their minds seem to wander off because ideas infinitely stream their minds. However, parents and educators should not give up on them. They need supervision more than ever, particularly in decision-making and in pursuing their passions.
1. Older generations shouldn’t feel threatened by Gen Z.
Acknowledgement is the key to build healthy relationships with this new breed. After all, they will take charge of the future once we leave this earth. They have full potentials in sustaining and promoting growth of industries and economies. Technology is advancing day by day, and Gen Z kids take interest in them because, after all, they grew up with it!
Anthony Pangilinan and daughter Hannah
To my fellow millennials or Gen Y peeps, don’t fret. We have made our mark in history. We raised the bar of awesomeness. We have Mark Zuckerberg, for instance. Gen Y witnessed and encountered different transition phases and advancements in media and telecom (hello internet, iPhone and Facebook). We have had wonderful childhood memories that shaped our attitudes and aided formation of values (remember how we played in the streets?). Furthermore, we withstood all the changes, embraced them even, and proud to say that despite conflicts that emerged during our era, many great values have still remained intact, and are passed on to the new generation.
Let’s welcome the Zentennials and pray that they’d be a better bunch. Being optimistic in general is a millennial trait, so let’s acknowledge the Gen Z. Personally, I acknowledge their solid identity. Zentennial kids can easily and solidly identify themselves as people who grew up along with technology. It is a good thing, because in our lifetime, there’s a group of people who can continue previous efforts in building and advancing modern technology or continuing our values, and perhaps with proper guidance from us, the older generations, positive changes can take place.