Post-millennials have very different attitudes to older age groups, says a new report
They drink less, take far fewer narcotics, and have stimulated teenage pregnancy a near anomaly. Generation Z- one of several terms used to describe post-millennial youth born after 1996- opt juice bars to pub crawls, rank quality household time ahead of sex and prioritise good grades before friendship, at least according to a report published by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service last week.
An onslaught of sneering headlines followed, characterising today’s youth as boring, sensible and hopelessly screen-addicted.
So, are the kids all right?
” We have so much more to do than[ simply] beverage and take drugs ,” says Demi Babalola, a 19 -year-old philosophy and sociology student.” I’m not surprised those[ statistics] show that’s the case: it attains sense. We have a lot more to distract us now .”
What’s her biggest hour stealer?” Social media .” Babalola toggles between Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram, although she rolls her eyes at the mention of Facebook, full as it is of ” older people “.
But it’s not just the breadth of entertainment and culture that is so instantly available- and disposable- to Babalola and her peers. There is also a growing feeling that the preoccupations of her parents’ generation seem, well, a bit lame.
” Going out takes a lot of effort: it’s boring, repetitive and expensive ,” she says.” Patently, I used to go out a lot in my first year[ at university ], but now we do more kickbacks .”
To the uninitiated, a kickback is the sophisticated Gen Z sweet place between the lairy house parties of yore- the ones typified by puking on the parental carpet and a trashing of the family bathroom- and a pre-teen sleepover.
” We hang out, we listen to music, stimulate our own food, and play games ,” she says.” We’ll probably organise it a couple of days before .”
Lewis Allely, 14, from Cornwall, agrees.” We’re quite different[ from your generation] because there’s more stuff to do at each other’s houses and we have more technology- like, we have video games .”
His teacher, Mr Worthington, chuckles.” I dedicate them a free lesson the other day where they could do what they wanted .” He knew a mass bunk- off to the park or similar would be off the cards.” I came back after an hour and they were all sitting in a circle, seeming down at their telephones and chatting .”
The cliche that many young people spend far too much time online, instead of indulging in a romanticised form of insurrection, may have some truth, but as futurologist Rhiannon McGregor points out, Gen Z-ers are more cautious and risk-averse than their parents, partly because that technology exists.