Generation Z:

Rebecca Cleeton, courtesy photo

By Lauren Ebben:

Along with the Toyota Prius in 1997, TiVO in 1999 and the iPhone in 2007, came a very new, very different kind of generation of people: Generation Z, also called iGen.

Although sometimes characterized as part of the millennial generation, Gen Z are younger. Anyone born after 1995 is considered to be a part of Generation Z. Basic characteristics of this generation include: a growing awareness of health issues, an almost jaded response to terrorism and war, a compassionate and open-minded nature and, of course, the massive use of technology.

“They have never known a life without the internet,” Dr. Elizabeth Rodriguez, psychology professor, said. “Social media is the primary outlet for this generation.”

Rebecca Cleeton, a well-organized elementary education major said she doesn’t feel like she has to shy away from the iGen standard.

“I have been able to get information faster and learn about different things just through a few key strokes,” she said.

But, just because it’s on the internet, doesn’t make it true. “I also am negatively subjected to fake news and made to believe it’s real,” Cleeton said.

Tammie Cleeton, Rebecca’s mom and a teacher’s aide, doesn’t think the constant connection always is a good thing.

“I think they are missing out on their childhood. We played outside, learned to use our imaginations. The computer does the imagine stuff for you,” she said.

Tammie said the iGen will not be able to experience life the way her generation did. “They don’t have to figure things out. They just look it up. They don’t have to think as much.”

She isn’t the only one think this. “I think technology can be amazing as long as you use it,” Rodriguez said.

“But by having that knowledge by searching ‘how do I do this?’ and it tells you step by step how to do it instead of trying to figure it out yourself. We miss the idea of critically thinking for yourself. Like, you come up with the solution. Don’t just look it up.”

However, Rebecca Cleeton remains hopeful and considers the use of technology as having a more positive than negative impact on the lives of others.

“It one hundred percent makes our lives easier,” she said.

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