Here are 6 things to know about Gen Z

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Editor's note: Here comes Generation Z. Born in 1995 on, members of this generation are starting to enter the workforce. What's more, they are decidedly different from their millennial elders. Anna Dupont, a Great Barrington resident and Gen Z-er, explains.

Generation Z. Dissatisfied. Lazy. Preoccupied. Impatient, socially awkward and elusive. But we have found a way to change the world with blinding speed using only one finger, or thumb, rather.

Berkshire County, here are six things you should know about Generation Z and our secrets to rapid social change.

1. We spend most of our time on our phones. On average, Gen Z uses their smartphones 15.4 hours per week, according to a recent study.

2. We don't know how to buy groceries. This doesn't speak to all of us, per se, but there have been many apps developed to support our weakness.

3: We take the world sitting down. The default stance of the Gen Z-er is seated, looking at a phone. We spend most of our time indoors, and the routine for those of us who do go outside is to surround ourselves with the vast beauty of the natural world, take a picture of it, and retreat back into the shadows.

What other generations have perceived as lazy, however, is misleading. From our stance, we are connected to millions of people culture and information from across the globe. Technology and social media is an outlet for expression and information that is almost detached from immediate consequences.

With this as our tool, we have learned to express ourselves radically, and sporadically, with the tap of a thumb.

Each minute we spend on Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter is filled to the brim with disjointed information we can either like or ignore. These wordless gestures are our way of signaling our acceptance to others without saying it or really thinking about it — active indifference. Despite the blase manner of the process, we are constantly communicating our preferences and absorbing information simultaneously.

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4: Very little phases us. Our technique to be able to absorb the voluminous amount of information we receive from each moment to the next without fixation is a form of indifferent acceptance.

We scroll past topics that have been the focal point of controversy for decades without blinking. Through pure insouciance, sexual orientation is accepted as a spectrum, makeup has become universal, androgyny is in style, and most notably, gender expression and identity are fluid.

The information we browse through nonchalantly is so vast and changing, there is little space or time in our brains to fixate on anything in particular. We don't have the time to be confrontational because, in that second, we could miss something crucial.

5: In our world, you must understand the definition of a pronoun. You have to train yourself not to assume gender or name. Understand, we do not allow traditional labels to define us and you need to accept our obsession with individual autonomy.

6: From the couch, Gen Z has broken a major cultural basis: We have normalized fluid gender expression. Each of these is a lesson in and of itself, and they are difficult to learn without the context of social media and technology.

Gen Z is the first generation that has had the opportunity to grow up with cutting-edge technology and social media. For this reason, we are not as surprised by it or have the butterflies in our stomach that come from trying to keep up with it. It is ingrained in us.

We are able to keep pace with an increasingly globalized, connected world, our world. Therefore, we have become teachers for the generations that precede us and the target of generalized disappointment.

Our "laziness" is our nonconfrontational acceptance of new ideas and people. We may not go outside much, but we are constantly connected to others and information.

We sit still, with the weight of the world hunching us over our phones while everyone races to catch up.

Anna Dupont, of Great Barrington, is a first-year student at Clark University.


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