Gen Z, born between 1995 and 2009 (FYI: from 2010 onwards - Gen Alpha) are a generation of digital linguistics and global collaborators who will redefine consumer behaviour as we know it and set new voting trends around the world. This generation makes up almost a quarter of the world’s population and are often described as iGen, Glass Generation and Screenagers.

The uprising and influence of this generation is screamingly obvious in the ongoing ‘School Strike 4 Climate Action’ led by Swede, Greta Thunberg who was born in 2003.

So, how did a 16 year old Swedish school girl inspire a movement we are witnessing on our very own shores? How did she find herself delivering a speech at the UN Climate Change Conference?

Greta did what is most familiar to any Gen Z citizen, she collaborated, employed her digital literacy and TOOK ACTION until she was noticed. In March of this year, 1.4 million students in up to 112 countries joined her movement in a strike and protest for immediate action against climate change. Since their uprising, Gen Z has since been termed the “greatest threat” we have seen to the fossil fuel industry and will be responsible for redefining consumer trends and what is important when we cast our votes.

Claire Madden, author of Hello Gen Z, social researcher, demographer, expert in interpreting social and generational change describes the importance of knowing how to engage this unique generation. In her latest book, Madden describes this generation as being “hyperconnected, agile and adaptive digital servants”.

So, is our education system cut out to serve the needs of this generation and ensure that their hopes, aspirations and dreams for the future are possible  and understood? 

Understanding the intriguing minds of this generation is vital and educating this generation will be vastly different to the way in which we responded to the needs of millenials for example.

Test your Gen Z lingo!!


So, how can we get to know Gen Z? And more importantly engage them in education?

Here are seven important attributes we need to understand and capitalise on if we are to understand the minds of Gen Z:

  1. Visual ~ Gen Z are the curators of their own visual storyboard or highlight reel and often experience visual media saturation every day. They are unfamiliar with boredom, have shorter attention spans and know visually appealing content when they see it. Want their attention? Use high quality visuals that tell a real story and convey strong emotion.

  2. Social ~ This generation value their virtual social connections very highly and taking this away is a violation to their human need to stay connected to their peers. Gen Z often have a highly established online community who will be open to online collaboration or impact in a virtual sense. They are connected to many, however sometimes lack deep companionship or the ability to uphold traditional social conventions. Want to interact with them? Teach and model the conventions of conversation and friendship.

  3. Global ~ With unprecedented exposure to the world, Gen Z have a ‘worldy’ knowledge like no other generation. The connection to a global community has seen uprising in global citizenship and intercultural understandings. This generation have instantaneous access to global trends and news and will often wonder about the human experience of their peers on the other side of the globe. Want to keep up? Join global networks and understand that they are exposed to events around the world instantly, however they may need some guidance comprehending these scenes.

  4. Mobile ~ With a highly adaptive mindset and the familiarity with being on the move, they are empowered to act (like, comment, share) from a device that is literally in their pocket! Gen Z are connected to networks and groups that can easily move in time and place. We are witnessing a generation who are predicted to have highly transient careers and a broad range of skills. Want to prepare them? Allow them time and space to experiment with skill adaptability and explicitly teach the transferability of learnings from one experience to the next. 

  5. Entrepreneurial ~ We an expect Gen Z to consistently question the status quo and challenge the ‘absolute truth’ of the human experience (whatever that might be!). It is strikingly obvious when in discussions with this generation that they perceive all opinions as valid and will actively listen to what others have to say based on their lived experience. Dreams of making a difference in the world are as common as their capability to have a clear purpose-driven vision and their tolerance of difference. Want to encourage risk taking?  Create a space that is safe for all options, dreams and hopes to be heard and validated so that every Gen Z can see their impact for a better world come to life.

  6. Virtual ~ A generation who have grown up in a world of blurred lines between reality and virtual realms speak quite openly about the ‘unvoiced loneliness’ that this can generate. With a significant decline in authentic and face-to-face human connection, these young people imply to their virtual audience that they are happy, however most are craving deep and rich relationships. Gen Z appreciate that the virtual world reduces social risk and the discomfort of awkward social interaction but spend time each day wishing and pondering about life before technology and a virtual footprint. Want to go beyond the news feed? Create and build spaces and communities of safety and sanctuary for young people to relax, take off the armour of their virtual news feed and just ‘be’ (openly sharing about the realities of their loneliness and needs).

  7. Digital ~ The digital revolution has encapsulated and swept Gen Z right off their innocent feet (or scrolling thumbs!). We are seeing a decline in the mental health of a generation who is also reported to have an empathetic emptiness, alarming desensitisation to violence and suffering (cue Fortnight) and addiction to screen time. Parents can expect to see their child struggle with the “switch off” mechanism for deep and restorative sleep as the brain’s function to settle the conscious mind on the present moment is underdeveloped of impaired. Want to protect your child? Carve out deliberate time and space to interact with the real world through play, time in the outdoors and tech-free days.

Book with us TODAY to give GEN Z the time and space to breathe, move and relax!