Hess Associates

Rearing the “All Digital Generation”?

Who makes up the all-digital generation? Lately I was in a restaurant – at the next table,
a mere child, no more than 2, was playing with a cell phone, thumbs flying, obviously entrenched in some
age-appropriate game or other. Or who knows, maybe writing code.

On the one hand, there are the Millenials (Generation Y, also known as Millenials (born late seventies or early 1980s to early 2000s), with some overlap, depending on the source.
http://www.livescience.com/38061-millennials-generation-y.html) – with such amazing examples as Mark Zuckerberg, and others of that ilk. Many of us are just getting used to that moniker.

But there is an even newer generation now – Generation Z, the All-Digital Generation, following the Millenials, mostly still in high school, or barely out of it, others barely into it, or still in primary school. (Approx birthdate range 1995-2012)
(http://www.socialmarketing.org/newsletter/features/generation3.htm).
These ‘children’ have never lived in an age without cell phones, internet, amazing TVs, total connectivity, online games, video games, video game learning, and homework and class schedules on line.
Some younger Zers have never existed without iphones, phone cameras, selfies, flat screen TVs, targeted ads,
You Tube,Vimeo, and the like. One of the 11 year olds I know just built herself a computer. When I was 11, mainframes existed in huge corporations,’ Normal’people never saw one, and bank tellers did entries by hand!!!! We communicated by land line or snail mail. “Generation Z is the first generation to be raised in the era of smartphones. Many do not remember a time before social media” (Alex Williams, NY Times, Sept. 26-27, 2015). “They will ultimately number close to 80 million, according to the U.S. Census. Mintel puts their spending power at close to $200 billion annually when you factor in their influence on parental or household purchases.”
(http://www.forbes.com/sites/lauraheller/2015/08/14/move-over-millennials-generation-z-is-in-charge/)

And yet here we are, bringing up, sometimes one generation removed, Generation Z. They differ slightly from the Millenials – and tend to display more caution with respect to what and where they post (e.g. Secret or Whisper or Snapchat, where images appear and disappear almost as fast) (Dan Gould, Sparks and Honey).

If you are part of Generation X (born 1965-1980, the generation born after the Western Post–World War II baby boom), raising Zers, don’t worry too much. According to a Sparks and Honey trend report, Generation Z is much more practical and safety conscious than the Millennials (Alex Williams, NY Times, Sept. 26-27, 2015).
Nevertheless, the older ones are wordly, smart, totally comfortable with the current communication technologies, and their omnipresent video games have taught them more about math, history, geography, strategy, winning and losing, finding friends, learning sports rules, reading, and technology than many of their predecessors learned by rote.
If you are a Baby Boomer, enjoying your Zer grandchildren, make sure you learn how to text them as soon as they are permitted a phone!!! They expect that form of communication – it’s just like walking or breathing.
If you are dealing with the close-to-coming-of-age Zers, these people are risk-averse, practical, and pragmatic, and determined to succeed, many in a more entrepreneurial fashion (http://www.fastcoexist.com/3045317/what-is-generation-z-and-what-does-it-want.)
For the younger Zers, they are still fun-loving kids, with the best toys the world has ever had to offer. They are great, they are the future, they are All Digital, but they are not The Matrix (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Matrix). They are real, and they still need you to love them and be there for them – a smart phone can’t do that.

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