Do you know the students in front of you each day? I know you think you do because you know their names, their families, and how well they’re doing in your class or in sports. But this generation is more private, more anxious, more restless, more tech-friendly, more entrepreneurial, and more redemptive than previous generations. Below are three brief stories from teens who recently “pulled back the curtain” on their lives. I’ve edited their comments for time and space here:
“I want to get my generation of kids involved in issues like gender equality and racial equality, but I had to change my strategy. My problem is a lot of kids don’t want to get out to march or go to a rally; the party is on Snapchat or Instagram. So, I’m going to see if I can accomplish all my goals on social media.”
– Brianna, age 17
“I feel like we’re growing up in a time of overwhelming turbulence. Things are shifting, and so many people are divided on issues. I am one of those issues. I was born with a female body, but I want to be a male. Because I’m not sure how people will react, I have a lot of panic attacks.”
– Jordan, age 18
“My mom says I’m like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. She says my phone distracts me from being bored, but it also distracts me from getting things done. I use it to spend, save, and waste time. I definitely don’t want to be without it. I guess my phone makes me less efficient and more efficient.”
– Malik, age 19
What’s the Difference?
Every generation appears different, perhaps even odd, to the adults who lead it. Consider the differences between Generation Z and the millennials:
- Gen Z is growing up with smartphones not just cell phones.
- Gen Z is growing up with the first minority president and outsider president.
- Gen Z is growing up in an instant world with a Google reflex that’s on-demand.
- Gen Z is growing up facing mental health issues as early as elementary school.
- Gen Z is growing up watching adults who foster polarization, not collaboration.
- Gen Z is growing up with social media—billions of users on thousands of sites.
- Gen Z is growing up when it’s typical to know someone who committed suicide. (Students 15 to 24 have a higher suicide rate than the prior three generations.)
- Gen Z has grown up marked not by a Columbine High School massacre but by a world averaging more than one mass shooting per day this year.
A typical parent or educator may not realize this because, on the surface, a student from Generation Z looks so happy and posts goofy videos on social media. What’s more, those posts are filtered. They’re doctored. We don’t see them unfiltered. I’d like to offer you an unfiltered picture of them.
I try to avoid merely promoting a product in my articles. Today, if you’ll allow me, however, I’d like to explain the benefits of a new resource coming out this week that is different from other books I’ve written.
The book is called Generation Z Unfiltered: Facing Nine Hidden Challenges of the Most Anxious Population. It not only identifies nine of the most looming problems today’s teens face (each of them has its own chapter), but includes a follow-up chapter outlining a game plan to address each problem.
- The book is research-based and solution-biased.
- It includes nine clear challenges we see in students all over the world.
- The target audiences are parents, educators, employers, and coaches.
Andrew McPeak and I researched, curated the data from a variety of primary sources, and outlined that data as clearly as we could for readers. It’s a guide as you lead today’s 21st-century kids. As always, we try to be pracademic.
The book is ready for you now. I hope you benefit from it.
New Book: Generation Z Unfiltered
Available Now $16.99
Our new book is now available now! This generation of students who have grown up in the 21st century are the most social, the most empowered, and also the most anxious youth population in human history. If you are struggling to connect with and lead them, you are not alone. The latest research presented in this book, however, illuminates a surprising reality: The success of the next generation doesn’t depend entirely on them. Their best chance of success starts when adults choose to believe in them, challenge them, and walk with them through the nine greatest challenges today’s youth will face. For their sake, and for the future success of our world, it’s time we started seeing Generation Z—unfiltered.
From decades of research and hands-on experience, Dr. Tim Elmore and Andrew McPeak collate their conclusions into one resource that helps adults:
- Understand the differences between Generation Z and previous generations – including the Millennials (Generation Y)
- Discover the nine unique challenges that Generation Z is currently facing and how you can help them practically address each one
- Develop coping skills in students to help them overcome their high levels of stress and anxiety
- Cultivate grit and resilience in young adults that will allow them to bounce back from future setbacks
- Apply proven, research-based strategies to equip teens and young adults to reach their potential