Generation Z:’ We have more to do than drink and take narcotics’

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.

Demi
Demi Babalola, 19, says she and her friends enjoy kickbacks together. Photograph: Courtesy of Demi Babalola

” They’re aware from an early age of how they’re portrayed online and offline, so they curate themselves in a more conservative way ,” she says.( In other terms , no one wants to be publicly dishonor getting messy or being recklessly daft .)

” But they’re also more socially aware and ensure themselves as part of a global community. It’s easier to get and feel connected to someone in Africa or Asia and share concerns about climate change, for instance .”

Clara Finnigan, 22, who grew up in Devon and is in her final year at the University of Art London, points out that one size doesn’t fit all. She still goes out,” often to gay clubs “.

She believes her generation is unfairly judged and that it reports levels of stress and depression that are higher than ever because of the economic and political state of the world it has inherited.

” The whole anxiety of not having stability in your future is something that is definitely very present. I won’t probably ever own my own home, unless I get really lucky .”

She slumps in her seat at the pretentiously swanky bar we satisfy in.” I only want what previous generations have had: you work hard, you reap the rewards of that. Sometimes I feel a bit hopeless because[ my degree and hard work] won’t make a difference.

” I don’t expect to have one full-time gig; my career won’t be defined by one chore. I know I’ll have to do stuff I don’t enjoy can be allowed to do passion projects designed to I do .”

Amelia Colthart, a 22 -year-old graduate from Leicester, and Myesha Owen Munro, a 17 -year-old -Alevel student from north London, both agree.

” At my age, my parents and my grandparents owned their own home ,” says Colthart.” I don’t go out clubbing- I know my limits. I go to friends’ homes[ for bribes ], but I have to prioritise my career objectives because it’s a lot harder to achieve what I want .”

Owen Munro adds:” My generation feels bitter about all the things we won’t be able to do because of what the older generation selected .”

Clara
Clara Finnigan, 22, believes Generation Z is unfairly judged.

The subjects of Brexit and of dropping out of university to pursue less mind-boggingly expensive apprenticeships come up a lot. As does a consistent refusal to accept that anyone should be defined by traditional markers of identity.

” We’re more all-inclusive ,” says Babalola.” You can do what you want as long as you don’t harm anyone and bide safe. It’s about liberty. Previous generations always made distinct separations between being homosexual or straight.

” I try to avoid labels- being a black girl entails society already has certain stereotypes that are expected, like I should be outspoken or’ sassy’ or loud or like certain music .” Another eyeroll.” It’s limiting .”

” People are more sexually experimental in my school, more than I supposed ,” says Owen Munro.” The boys as much as the girls .”

Do monogamous relationships hold any appeal?” Well, I don’t know anyone who wants to get married as a life goal. Why would you expend the whole of your life with one person ?”

While statistics show that smoking, drinking and clubbing may be in decline for today’s young people, the health and wellness industry is booming with the same demographic- in part, because these young people have had so much information at their disposal.

” The hazards and downsides of doing all of those things have been drummed into us at school from an early age ,” says Colthart.” Self-care is a much bigger deal for us .”

Generation Z-ers will, after all, be living longer and more healthily, and seeming better for it.

A report( pdf)from the Institute of Alcohol Studies suggests that changing demographics also play a part, reporting that” ethnic minority children … are less likely to drink,[ which] can immediately explain a small part of the fall in underage drinking” but also that there is evidence these same minority students can also influence their peers.” Non-Muslim children in schools with a high Muslim population are less likely to drink ,” it states.

So what is the new going out? The Generation Z idea of fun that is inexplicable to older adults? Owen Munro, Allely and Babalola instantaneously refer me to Snapchat, where they communicate in a constant group feed with their friends. Broadcasting the minutiae of her day- a good oufit, a trip-up to Westfield- is as second nature as breathing to Babalola.

” It’s kind of documenting your life, but you have an audience and you immediately know who’s interacting. I enjoy it- it attains me feel important that 100 people are watching what I’m eating .”

” It’s easier than Instagram ,” agrees Owen Munro.” I dislike putting up a picture and waiting to see if anyone likes it. It’s scary .”

And what are Babalola’s plans for today?” My friends and I go out to London, or cycling. We might go to a cute cafe and take images .”

The Baby Boomers( bear 1946 -1 964 )

Invented: free love.

Known for: benefiting from free university education, a prosperous jobs market and robust economic growth.

Big on : telling each other that if you remember the 1960 s, you weren’t really there.

Generation X( born 1965 -1 981 )

Invented: irony, McJobs and disaffected slackerism.

Known for : their diet of MTV, rave culture and indie films.

Big on: reminiscing about 1988′ s second summer of love.

Millennials( born 1982 -1 995 )

Invented: avocados and too elaborated coffee orders.

Known for: build “hipster” a dirty word and sending selfies mainstream.

Big on : blaming Boomers for dismantling the concept of free university education, homeownership and jobs for life.

Generation Z( born 1996 -2 016 ) Invented : the ability to hold a dialogue and simultaneously scroll through their phones. Known for : being globally connected and politically anxious.

Big on: experimenting with gender and sex spectrums.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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