Goodbye Millennials, Hello Generation Z
While the age bracket of Generation Z is up for deliberation, they are the current teens and young adults of the world, and it is true that Generation Z is living in a society where everything is possible and the main communication channel is the Internet.
As a Generation Z’er myself, I can pinpoint the two biggest changes in society growing up: Technology and Gender Identity.
Gen Z were born into the ‘Back To The Future’ era.
Hover boards are real, automatic lace up shoes are on the market, we are all immersed with technology and identifying with a diverse gender or sexuality is no longer an urban legend.
Yes, for society both technology and gender identity are wonderful things that enhance our lives, but for Generation Z, unfortunately, it bought upon a new era of Bullying, and the bullying was bad, real bad, before it slowly became any better.
Everyone, everywhere has been bullied or bullied someone. There is no denying it. I bet even the Dali Lama slagged someone off behind their back once.
It is no secret that many teens and young adults have become more aware of themselves and identify as a diverse sexuality. Growing up, I have become friends with 7 people with who identify as ‘non-binary’, ‘Gay’, ‘lesbian’ or ‘bi-sexual’, all before my 20th birthday.
A Survey taken during 2016, shows only 48% of Generation Z respondents (ages 13–20) identified as exclusively heterosexual, leaving over half of Gen Z identifying as a diverse gender or sexuality.
In a 2005 survey, students said the 2nd most common reason peers were bullied, was due to their sexual orientation and gender expression.
Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year due to sexual orientation, as 44.1% reported being physically harassed and 22.1% reported being physically assaulted.
We are the first Generation of such diverse identities at such a young age, and that, right there, is such a large platform for Bullying.
Peers don’t understand what a-sexual is, gay male’s are kicked out of boys changing rooms, teachers suspend females who wear male uniforms and boys who wear make-up, and parents don’t understand their child’s sexuality.
As a Generation Z’er myself, I have grown up so reliant on technology that I was most likely born with an IP address and micro-chip embedded into my brain at birth.
I am unable to remember when I didn’t own a mobile phone, and everyday after school I would sit on a device for hours and chat to my friends, who I saw literally 10 minutes ago.
The only stress worse then doing a assignment last minute, was the stress of having to juggle four social media apps of, chatting to friends, searching for your crushes instagram page, downloading memes and uploading your most recent selfie, all at once.
Generation Z was the first era of teens to have technology so readily available at such a fast pace. It was the first time teens would come home and could so easily still face bullying.
Remember MSN? I guarantee a few Gen Z’ers shed a tear when the site officially closed down last year. Well, if you don’t, picture this: private chats, photo sharing and easily deleted messages, all at 10 years old.. a recipie for disaster. Not to mention Snapchat, with disapearing messages and photos children can bully and be bullied online with no proof. One click of a button and it was all gone.
Then came Facebook. Being such a large public social media platform, bullies became ruthless, uploading videos and pictures to publicly humiliate others and creating public groups based on harassing any one person.
Statistics show, every 7 minutes a child is bullied, with 1 million children subjected to forms of cyber bullying on Facebook during the past year. Also, 11% of middle school students were victims of cyber bullying in the past two months.
Lets be honest, all of Generation Z new our parents had no clue how to use a computer, phone or tablet, so it was easy to get away with.
Perhaps Generation Z needs to be renamed. Possibly Generation D?… With the D standing for Depression.
A new review of studies found a connection between bullying, being bullied, and suicide, as suicide rates among 10 to 14-year-olds have grown more than 50% over the last three decades.
In my local area alone, since 2014, 3 teenagers (under the age of 20) have died due to suicide.
THESE STATISTICS ARE NOT OKAY
BUT, It’s not all bad.
Generation Z is commonly referred to as ‘open-minded’, ‘tech-savey’ and ‘entrepreneurs’ allowing social standards to shift dramatically.
Today, in 2017, ‘Gay’ is no longer taboo and the term ‘transgender’ is not a myth.
Teens are now standing up for their LGBT peers and Generation Z has been educated on the risks bullying, resulting in harassment on peers becoming no longer ‘funny’.
Overall rates of bullying have dropped significantly in recent years; between the ages of 12 and 18, in 2007 31.7% teens reported being bullied, compared to 21.5% in 2013.
Lets make a goal, and lets make it 0%.
Many of today’s schools and colleges engage with gay-straight alliances, with schools have also taking steps to educate students on links between cyber bullying, harassment, depression and suicide.
Through social media, Generation Z have become the most global and accepting generation, even if things had to be bad before they could become any better. Gen Z are now running social justice campaigns, students are engaging with ‘are you ok’ day and the future is beginning to look prosperous as many generation Z’er move into adulthood and away from sterotyping and bullying. Lets continue to push furthur to make sterotyping sexuality and bullying non-existant.