This week I’ve read a few interesting things about Gen Z.
Generation Z is made up of those who were born 1999 to 2015; they are today’s preteens and teenagers.
A lot has been written about Millenials (born 1984 to 1998) as they are the largest generation in the US workforce (35% of today’s labor force).
There were two different sources for the information and they give two different snapshots of this generation. The first is a podcast by Pro Church Tools, which focused on how Gen Z interacts with through social media. The second source is the Barna Group, which has done some research on the beliefs of Gen Z.
Pro Church Tools talked about how Gen Z uses social media differently than previous generations. The main distinction they made was that Gen Z uses social media for one to one interactions, where previous generations use social media for one to many interactions.
So, where previous generations will post something to Facebook for everyone to see (and to generate more friends), Gen Z will use Messaging Apps, including Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram DMs, along with others.
After I heard the podcast, I sent a message to over a dozen of the high school students in our student ministry. I asked which Messaging App they used most frequently. In the quick survey I took, Snapchat seemed to be the most used, along with Instagram and texting. How Gen Z communicates is a little different from other generations and it is helpful to know if we want to communicate effectively.
The Barna Group study focused on what Gen Z believes. While there were a number of stats shared, these two were highlighted:
- 24% of Gen Z strongly agrees that what is morally right and wrong changes over time based on society
- 21% of Gen Z strongly believes sex before marriage is wrong – though they are mostly on par with other generations, with Gen X being the most conservative (26%)
While there is much more in the Barna study, I think those stats give an interesting look into Gen Z. The fact that nearly one-quarter of the generation thinks that what is right and wrong changes based on society should create some interesting conversations. If right and wrong is a sliding scale, it could have some pretty unique implications.
While I think we need to be careful not to stereotype people based on their age and not everyone who was born in a certain generation reflects those characteristics, it is good to have a sense of where our students are.
Barna does note that they only included teens 13 to 18 in their study.
Click on the links above to read all the information that Pro Church Tools and Barna provide. If you work with students or are a parent of Gen Z, it is helpful information to have.