What defines Generation Z? Is it their curiosity? Their ‘wokeness’? Their resilience? Their stubbornness? It’s hard to say. Because the truth is, they’re not meant to be compartmentalized; they symbolize plurality in everything that they represent. And we need to look no further than the digital space to understand how Generation Z has not only impacted the way information gets consumed but also bred a culture that emphasizes the importance of being socially and politically aware of the world around us.
On the one hand, millennials and Generation Z are using social media to amplify voices that are drowning in a sea of misinformation. And on the other, they’re spreading the much-needed message of kindness and positivity through their creativity and art. There is an unprecedented desire within this generation to stay educated, engaged, and above all, hopeful. In the face of a pandemic, Generation Z has turned the Internet into a creatively charged and healthy space for artists to create content that not only serves as a form of escapism but also as a form of activism.
Social media, in particular, has presented itself as a platform for Gen Z to learn, unlearn and relearn, as well as connect with a community of people that make them feel less alienated. Whether it be through Reddit threads, Tumblr posts, Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, or even the Instagram community, the platform has proven to be therapeutic for both content creators, as well as their audiences.
With more and more young people exploring a varied level of interests, ranging from TikTok dances to absurd trends, to blogging, to even attending workshops and webinars online, the Internet landscape has never been more vast, busy or accessible.
Naturally, social media, to some extent, has also harmed Generation Z’s mental health. But there are undoubtedly healthy conversations taking place regarding the same online, and normalizing therapy has been a big part of them. During a time where many of us are having to work from home or take online classes, the power of being able to engage with relatable content being made by young artists and creators online is quite comforting.
More than anything, what Generation Z has been able to do with the Internet and their familiarity with the digital space is make others feel less miserable when we are, in fact, at our lowest points or having the worst of days. Now more than ever, it is easy for young people to feel overwhelmed by the onset of global warming, political instability, and unemployment, but their resilience in trying to make things right and using humor to cope with the same is admirable.
Noticeably, there has always been a lot of stigma surrounding Generation Z and the Internet, as many often complain that young people are spending too much time online, but it’s important to bear in mind that this is a generation that is having to live with the direct consequences of choices made by generations before; the current political climate, as well as the ongoing generational crisis, do not leave young people with much of a choice than to actively engage online, so it’s safe to say that for all the ridicule Gen Z faces for “having it easier” than most, it is also the one paying the heaviest price.
Amidst a pandemic, however, their message online (and offline), reads strong: Do better. Be better. Stay safe, and stay woke.
About the Author – Nothing excites Ramya more than being able to talk and write about the things he loves. Particularly if it concerns film- Ramya lives for a good film.