As the first generation to go through life with constant access to social media, Gen Z is a generation like no other. While there are certainly many things about this tech-savvy age group that can be admired, no generation or group is perfect. From their dependency on instant gratification to their increasingly more isolated lifestyles, there are even legitimate criticisms of Gen Z.
Read on as we discuss some honest observations regarding this unique and influential demographic.
1. Good at the Wrong Technology
One user posted, “I think a lot of that generation is good at using technology but not at understanding how it works.”
Another added, “I was a technology teacher, exactly this. They know how to use tech better than previous generations, but tend to know very little about making it work or troubleshooting it, let alone creating technology.”
One Redditor added, “I think they skip the basics at school now. My son learned a lot about digital safety and things like checking sources of information online from school, but when he first started installing mods at 12 yo I had to teach him how to find, copy and paste a file because he’d never been taught. They do everything online rather than learning about the PC itself.”
“When I was a kid we were learning how to make webpages in HTML and using inspect element to jack design elements from other peoples pages. The onto modifying MS flight simulator, rooting android phones and doing wonky stuff, messing with Linux and altering kernel parameters/undervolting etc. to make your lousy laptop work better. Now kids just open the settings app on their iPhone and select a toggle,” replied a fourth user.
2. Bad at Basic Technology
One Redditor posted, “As a Millennial, I am in an awkward position where I have done ‘tech support' for both the boomers AND Gen Z. God that's weird. Edit: The tech that Gen Z can ‘use' is generally useless entertainment-tech. Set indents in word? Run an equation in Excel? Nope. Troubleshoot something involving the school/college edu-tech portal? Nada. Roll back drivers? Use a command prompt? [What] are you talking about?”
Another added, “I notice this pattern all the time. The users that need the most hand holding are usually just entering the workforce or have been there long before me.”
“This reminds me of helping a teen/young adult print something. She asked for [help] using the printer, so I walked her over to the print station and started to walk her through the steps.
“Me: ‘Ok, first you'll wake up the computer.' Teen: bends down to the PC tower and presses on [the] power button, shuts down PC. Me: …. Teen: ….? Me: …. ‘Ok, you just turned it off, which is the opposite of our goal today. I am going to get you turn it on again now..' Teen: turns on computer, ‘Well I am from Alberta, we don't have those out west…' Me: ‘Computers?!' Computer finishes powering up and loading printing system… I never found out whether or not they have computers in the west.. Lol,” replied a third user.
3. Don't Take Correction Well
One Redditor shared his frustration, “We have some Gen Z students at my firm—I want to preface this criticism by saying that they are young, and still learning, and also this is all anecdotal based on the latest cohort in the firm.
I would say primarily if you're giving them directions or correcting errors that they have made, you have to use ‘softer' language. I had a couple different students complain about an architect in the office, and the way he was speaking to them, they said he was a bully. This was very surprising to me, as this particular architect is one of the most social and friendly we have in the office. We are a small firm, no HR, so I pulled them off of his team and then I spent a couple of months covertly monitoring/ listening to the way he was speaking to his team. He was never bullying, but he is very straight forward with the way he speaks – no sugar coating if someone has made a mistake, just a straightforward correction and he can be very brusque with his instructions. I've switched the way we do things in the office now, so new students are always on my team (I used couched/ softer/ encouraging language with them) and then I pass them off once they get to know the ropes and grow a bit of a tougher skin.
“I've also noticed that they are all terrible at communication – I will tell them to call an engineer or someone on the construction team to confirm something/get some info, and it will literally take them half a day to make the phone call. With newer students I will do practice phone convos, and even listen in on the first few phone calls they make (if they want me to, I always offer the first few months.) Similar issue with emails, I've actually put together a small handbook on sending professional emails for the new students – with emphasis on the fact that they should be capitalizing and punctuating their emails (Since when did a period become aggressive?)
“On the other hand, they are great at technology—they pick up new programs almost immediately, no whining. I also want to note that they are good at speaking up for themselves, I was impressed when they pushed back about the ‘bullying' I don't think I would have been able to have that conversation with a boss when I was their age.”
Another user added, “About the phone call thing—there seems to be a general increase in phone-related phobias/anxiety and not much instruction out there on how to get over it. It wouldn't surprise me if phone conversations eventually died out or became secluded to only the most necessary areas. I guess I'm trying to say that it probably isn't that they don't want to in a stubborn way; it's that they're psyching themselves out trying to do it. Phones don't allow for the same visual cues like face to face or editing controls like text. Gen Z is more visually-oriented in general and that's influencing most communication choices.”
“I'd like to add that the culture around the appropriateness of a phone call has shifted for younger generations. Older people, who grew up when a phone call was the most convenient way to reach someone, continue to view it as so. Younger people who are more used to texting consider phone calls intrusive and should be reserved for things that are urgent or too complicated for text. Texting doesn't demand someone's immediate and full attention the way a phone call does, and therefore its the more polite option for casual conversation. A lot of my personal anxiety around phone calls is feeling like I'm bothering the other person or interrupting them in the middle of something more important,” replied one commenter.
4. Thinking Punctuation Is Aggressive
“Aggressive punctuation is the most bizarre thing to me. And the emoji side of it too, but that's a little more understandable,” one user posted.
Another user responded, “I don't get why people feel the need to yell all the time!”
“Or you could end every sentence with an exclamation! It makes even the most drab message more engaging and interesting! I don't care if it makes me look unhinged! I'm going to do it and you're going to like it!” one user replied.
One user shared his view of the pros and cons, “THE GOOD: Gen Z seems to be very good at organizing. They know there's power in numbers, and they actively utilize that power when they care about something.
THE BAD: Gen Z is judgemental. So judgemental. There seems to be a boomer-like tendency to find a reason to punch down whenever they can. They've got a knack for zeroing on the most seemingly inane things and turning it into a reason that they're ‘better than you.'
THE UGLY: At this point in time, none of them seem to realize how fast they're going to get old by their own standards. Every generation has probably been guilty of this, but it's sad to see them so self assured that turning 30 and being judged by the next batch of humans will never happen to them.”
Another commented, “I find the ones who want to learn something do it really fast. I mentioned to a friends teenager that we invested some money, almost as a throw away comment. Didn't think she was really listening to us oldies. Two days later she's back asking questions and it's clear that she's read and watched some serious amounts of data. It felt like she took two days to go 0-100 but when I started only a couple years ago it took me a month to get that same knowledge. Getting her to learn something she's not interested in? Like pulling teeth.”
A third Redditor commented, “This is specifically in relation to gen Z being the YouTube generation. The world’s information is all a few clicks away taught by the most interesting people you’ll ever see. It’s not hard to see why anything they’re not interested in is like pulling teeth.”
6. Thinking They'll Never Be Old
One Redditor posted, “I eye roll so hard whenever I see someone on TikTok try to insult someone by calling them 30. 😂”
Another commented, “I turn 30 in a month. Am I dying.”
One confirmed, “LOL this is it!!”
A third commenter responded, “They think every generation older than them are ‘boomers.' I've been called a boomer by a gen z on more than one occasion. I'm in my 30's. It's like they don't realize there will be generations after them.”
One user shared, “They pretend to be all about inclusion and then go on to create as many boxes as they possibly can to place themselves and everyone else into. If there are too many people in their box they create an even smaller one to try and separate themselves.”
8. Posting Everything Online
One commenter shared, “Gen Z underestimate the permanency of their content on the internet.”
Another responded, “I’m surprised I haven’t seen this take at all. So true, or they just don’t seem to care. So many embarrassing videos out there, maybe they will change their mind once AI can detect their facial patterns and trace them back to every single piece of media that has been posted of them, or China will.”
“A lot of them think the content they are making is “cool” so they think it will never be considered embarrassing or come back to bite them. As someone who had a YouTube channel when I was younger, looking back at that all I can see now is the most cringe content you can think of in really low quality. It may seem cool when you are making videos for tiktok or whatever we use now, but when you look back at it when your older it will almost never look good,” replied one user.
9. Playing Rude Pranks
A user shared, “Stop ‘pranking' and harassing service workers and fast food workers for TikTok views. Nothing screams ‘I’m a piece of junk quite as loud as that.”
Another added, “Millennials kinda started that ‘trend' in the early YouTube days though. I remember back in like 2010-2012 prank videos were HUGE. I never saw the appeal honestly.”
One Redditor responded, “I hate those. I can't imagine a service worker at a shop and someone throws a well shaken bottle of coke at the ceiling having to clean that junk. It should be illegal because they don't get paid enough and if they don't clean they will get fired.”
A Redditor shared, “I’m 25 and I thought the tumblr/Facebook/picture-only Instagram social media I grew up with was toxic. Now it’s on steroids. ‘Influencers' have advanced filters that fluidly follow movement and completely change all their features in videos, it’s all 20 second TikTok vids and reels that shorten the attention span. I just redownloaded Instagram for the first time in years and that junk blew me away. Quora is dying so all my old answers from 4 years ago are cycling again, and 18-60 year olds are asking why I wrote so much when my answers are like 5 short paragraphs. They didn’t do that before. The effects of this are actually terrifying and I worry for my daughter.”
“I've noticed that my attention span slowly deteriorated from ‘I can spend 8+ hours with my nose buried in this book' to ‘this 5 minute youtube video is too long, and it's making my brain spazz out.'
“Went on vacation and got obsessed with writing and worldbuilding videos, most of which were at least 20 minutes long, and I noticed that my attention span and ability to concentrate appeared to improve because of it. Sure, my brain still spazzes out from time to time, but noticeably less so,” added one user.
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