By Olivia Espinoza
The generation of people born in the late 1990s and early 2000s, otherwise known as Gen Z, are finally emerging from adolescence and entering adulthood. We have come to learn that not only are members of Gen Z tech-savvy, open-minded, and individualistic, but they’re also socially responsible.
Gen Z has gained the reputation of a group that works to improve society by building a more accepting environment for future generations. “60% [of Gen Z] want to have an impact on the world with their jobs,” according to a poll completed by Time Magazine. Such career goals prove our passion for making society a more accepting place.
One of the major reasons this is such a change for this generation is that technology has been an unprecedented asset for our generation compared to generations of the past. This has resulted in unparalleled experiences compared to those who came before us. Social media has connected Gen Z with other people’s stories, from strangers on the Internet to celebrities and influencers. Being uneducated on, or at least unaware of, social issues and differing cultures is nearly impossible in this new age.
These connections have made it easier for Gen Z to talk openly about mental health struggles, compared to previous generations such as Millenials and Gen X. Additionally, since previous generations fueled climate change and political unrest, such stressors have fallen into the hands of Gen Z to solve. Our generation has allowed room for such anxieties to be discussed with more open-mindedness.
According to the Mental Psychiatric Association (MPA), “Gen Z were more likely to have received treatment or gone to therapy (37%) compared to Millennials (35%), Gen X’ers (26%), Baby Boomers (22%), and the Silent Generation (15%).”
The MPA came to the conclusion that the stigma around mental health has lessened, and the probability of Gen Z recognizing their own issues and seeking help has increased.
With such openness comes criticism from previous generations, however. Our willingness to learn and grow has been under scrutiny for “caring too much” or “being too sensitive.” We are the first generation completely raised by the Internet and smartphones. Being born into such a society, we have resources that teach us about past generations’ behavior towards people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and individuals who struggle with mental health. So we’re not being too sensitive, we’re seeing the truth. With the mistreatment of such communities in the past being very evident, repeating history isn’t on Gen Z’s agenda.
We are also the most racially diverse generation in American, according to the US Census Bureau. We are, therefore, accustomed to hearing and seeing experiences different than our own.
In comparison to previous generations, our environment has also been more inclusive. We grew up around the time same-sex marriage was legalized by the first Black president of the United States. Also, we are more likely to know people who are multiracial, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender than any other generation.
Because of our unique relationship with technology and our much more inclusive upbringing and environment, Gen Z is ready to take on the world and make it a better place.