Generation Z refers to those born between 1997 to 2012. Whilst those born between 1946-1964 are referred to as the “boomers” due to the boom in births that occurred after World War 2, Generation Z is often depicted as the “Internet Generation,” due to their contribution to the huge consumption of social media and the fact that they were practically raised with no knowledge of a world outside of one with a phone. Following the recent lockdown during which thousands of local Gen Z students were thrown into the lonely world of online learning, and new statistics showing Gen Z to be the generation with the most mental health issues, is Gen Z disconnected from the rest of the world? How are they coping in a society that is so governed by social media; a technology that can pose numerous negative impacts to young, vulnerable, and developing minds?

Whilst some argue that Generation Z is the most advanced generation as they are currently in the run to become the most educated generation in history, many also label Gen Z as “the loneliest generation," and even lazy. According to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “the suicide rate among people aged 10 to 24 increased by 56% between 2007 and 2017,” and suicide is Generation Z’s second leading cause of death. Whilst suicide could be an action expressed as a result of many things, information which is medically reviewed by Carly Snyder, MD suggests that the most common cause of suicide is depression. A survey performed by the American Psychological Association concluded that Gen Z adults aged 18-23 reported the highest level of stress compared to other generations and that this age group was most likely to “report symptoms of depression.” This information altogether aligns to present Generation Z as not industrial, but in fact, overworked, mentally exhausted, and essentially: lost. Are these new statistics representative of what we should expect for future generations? How do we create a better living environment for this generation? Is it too late to retract gen z from their supposed “lost” and disconnected state?

I talked to a fellow Zoomer (a member of Gen Z), on their views about the idea that Gen Z is “lost.” This is what 15- year-old Naael Mausoof had to say: “I definitely feel that Gen Z is a “lost generation” as I think we lack motivation and drive to strive for our goals. I think that a part of this is due to how easily influenced we are by social media, which can sometimes become very draining as we are constantly exposed to false information, cyberbullying, and hateful comments on body image. I feel like we are becoming the sheep of the herd rather than the shepherd as social media is no longer pleasurable, but in fact, controlling. I am not surprised by the new statistics that have been released and I think that a large part of the problem sprouts from the pressure Gen Z faces from social media. When this is combined with other societal pressures like maintaining good education, Gen Z becomes easily overwhelmed and consequently, lost. Right now, I don’t know if there is anything that can be done can do to help my generation as I think social media has become too much of a staple in our daily lives as it is beginning to even provide employment opportunities, however, I hope something can be done to resolve this for future generations as I am already beginning to see how they are being negatively impacted.”

What do you think? Is Generation Z set to be the most influential, powerful generation in history or are we witnessing the gradual deterioration of an entire generation right before our eyes?