By David Dawson
Baptist and Reflector
SHELBYVILLE — While leading a breakout session called “Parenting and Grandparenting Gen Z Kids” at the TBMB’s conference, Debbie Doane revealed 10 common characteristics among Gen Z-ers. Doane then discussed ways in which these characteristics shape relationships with this demographic. By learning more about their world, it becomes easier to open the lines of communication, she said.
1 They’ve always been ‘wired’
Gen Z kids have been surrounded by screens their whole lives. With the commercialization of the internet in 1995 — the year that many consider to be the start of Gen Z — and the influx of cell phones, Gen Z is seemingly always connected to something.
2 The world is very small to them.
Gen Z-ers aren’t bothered by distances when it comes to relationships. They know they can chat with — or even play video games with — someone in another part of the world simply by turning on their laptop.
3 They are racially diverse.
Unlike past generations, who attended schools and churches that were primarily one skin color, Gen Z is growing up in a world that features more diversity than ever before. They generally have respect and appreciation for cultures other than their own.
4 They often live in homes with no religious ties.
Gen Z is being called the first “post-Christian generation.” Some surveys have revealed that roughly 13 percent of Gen Z kids are atheists. (That’s nearly twice as many as their parents). However, it is worth noting that Gen Z-ers are typically open to learning about religion and faith.
5 They are very safety conscience.
If you are around young Gen Z-ers, you will quickly realize that they believe in safety. Whether it’s buckling their seat belts in the car or putting on their helmets before riding their bikes, they know the rules — and they follow them. Often times without being asked.
6 They put a high value on family time.
Although it might sound contrary to their other patterns, Gen Z-ers put a high value on family time. Why? Perhaps because they spend more time with their families than past generations. Now that sleep-overs and neighborhood gatherings have become so rare, kids spend much of their time at home, with their siblings and parents.
7 They are health conscience and eco-friendly.
Modeling some of their behaviors after the millennials, Gen Z-ers typically make healthy choices regarding food. They also take pride in protecting the environment. In fact, they are likely to get excited about anything that they believe will have a positive impact on the world.
8 They have short attention spans.
Eight seconds. That’s about how long the average Gen Z-er will stick with something. If he/she is not engaged in the first eight seconds, they will often move on to something else. They are also known to be quick thinkers and make quick decisions.
9 They are competitive.
Gen Z likes to win. This is not just true in the sports realm, but in the classroom and in the board room. They like to finish first and they like for their accomplishments to be applauded and rewarded.
10 They are independent.
Although this is a positive trait in many ways, it can also have a downside. Gen Z-ers are often lonely, and they can sometimes make for easy targets for cyber-bullying.