Gen Z. A study

Being curious about how generations have progressed over the years and given the recent mentalities as well as the fact that Gen Z has started being more outspoken about certain taboo subjects, I’ve decided to conduct a study to find out what teenagers really think.

By asking a few key questions, I have managed to gather information on targeted subjects, which has led me to a conclusion I wasn’t exactly expecting. That being said, I am going to focus on each question which posed an interest, due to unexpected answers.

I started by getting to know my respondents’ age and background, without regard to gender. Most of the partakers were the age of 17, followed by 16 and then 15. There was a small percentage of adults too, which completed my range of ages fitting into Gen Z. As for their education, the majority was in high school, studying mathematics, informatics, science, with few exceptions of philology and some even taking architecture on the side.

My first goal was to evaluate the visionary level of our generation. The majority was quite certain of their plans following graduation from college. More than a half knew or was strongly considering concrete options. The other percentage of respondents had little to no idea of what they would be pursuing later in life. This fact showed me that a unique aspect of this generation is the willingness to take risks or follow self-made paths. Unlike before, most teenagers aren’t forced by their parents to pursue a certain career but are encouraged to do what they like. Besides the professional orientation of the respondents, I was particularly interested in the concept of life accomplishments, which has been viewed for a very long time as the decision of starting a family. To my surprise, around 52.3% of responses said that having kids isn’t a key objective in life. This fact is still being criticized nowadays, as more and more couples decide not to have children. Still, 21.5% of respondents viewed the forming of a family as a must later in life, the rest keeping a rather neutral opinion, but open to the idea of becoming parents. These answers might predict that the number of babies born out of this generation could begin to drop considerably, as priorities change, and some will value work and personal fulfillment over family duty. I personally don’t view it as a bad aspect, given that we deserve to be happy first, which is an answer most of the respondents agreed on in the survey. The only aspect that has now changed is what happiness means to each.

Other interests of mine were in the views Gen Z has on rather new global issues, such as climate change, feminism, and adoption. I was happy to see that people are acknowledging these world problems and are determined to do something about them. However, there are still some who do not believe what I have stated above to be true. An even bigger surprise was the age of the respondents, which were over 18. By following a pattern, I have come to the conclusion that a rather close-minded perspective still exists amongst teenagers who are surrounded by pop culture, social media, and new ideas.

To further prove my belief that Gen Z has the power of change, I have added questions regarding sex education in schools and capitalism. Given that our country has the highest percentage of teenage pregnancies in Europe, some measures need to be taken. An obvious solution for it is to provide information regarding the risks of being sexually active. Unlike the opinion of other generations, the respondents of the survey have reacted very well to the idea, with small exceptions. This has led me to believe that once this generation will have legal power, some aspects will change for the better. As for capitalism, most of the answers were stating that it is not the solution to a better future. Still, there were some who strongly believed otherwise. There will always be a party that is against change, but knowing that the majority is willing to fight, goes to show how we as a race are improving.

Following my survey, I am able to state that my attempt at proving the fact that there is hope in Gen Z was successful. Looking at how the majority of the respondents answered, I was able to profile a typical character of this generation. Open-minded, vocal about their beliefs, impulsive, brave, intelligent, empathetic, thoughtful, and creative are a few words to describe nowadays teenagers. One of the main reasons for which we have not solved important global issues is the fact that many fail to realize the gravity of the situation, these people in question being adults over 40, who come from different times and have not yet adapted. Had it not been for the bold and new ideas projected through social media, breaking the social stigma around thinking differently from your parents, teenagers today would have turned into an exact model of their partly communist upbringing. This is the reason for which Gen Z plays a key role in the development of today’s society. It could be the fact that they are already showing signs of better parenting skills, for example. Mental health awareness is being played up now more than before. This part is missing from most teenage upbringings, which has resulted in bad parent-child relationships, lack of trust, and trauma shown later in life. Being that there is this freedom of speech when it comes to how someone feels mentally, Gen Z is setting an example and normalizing a lot of “taboo” subjects.

Considering the obtained results, it is safe to say that Gen Z has so far proven to create a better future, open to novelty and change, which is what our society desperately needs.

articol scris de Taisia Pleși

fotografia de Sophia Lopotaru