If there’s one generation that’s uniquely suited to the stay-at-home orders being imposed around the world, it’s today’s teens. That’s because they know how to be physically apart but emotionally together.
Gen Z — roughly defined as those born between 1996 and 2010 — contains multitudes, but many of the traits they’ve displayed in their lives to date are exactly what the current moment requires. They’re independent but connected.
Gen Z has pioneered the art of being physically apart but digitally together.
First, the independence: This is the era of physical distancing, something today’s teens have always done. At first, that seemed to make them the “loneliest generation.” They’ve been forced to live far away from their jobs, for instance. But they’ve shaped their media habits to address that problem, with everything from conversational podcasts to Twitch chats.
Then, the connection: Gen Z is incredibly social, both online and off. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest they don’t really make a distinction: Teens who spent more time online were actually more likely to see their friends offline. Now, with the offline component off the table, we’re all socializing online.
We could all take a lesson on being social in isolation from the Gen that knows it best.