Growing Up in a Digital Time: What is in the Mind of a Gen Z? by@gedyflowers

Growing Up in a Digital Time: What is in the Mind of a Gen Z?

“Our generation are going to be the best parents…” My friend made this statement in the middle of our heated conversation while she was having college application anxiety (quarter-life crisis). Well yes… and no.  I know it is weird to see a 19-year-old Gen Z writing about parenting while having been single for the most part of his life; but believe it or not, this is a fairly common topic that I and my friends often talk about (online). What Do We Think When Talking About Gen Z? Okay, so we have the Boomers, and then Millennials, and then after that Gen Z -- the generation born between 1997 and 2012.
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Tuan Anh Vu

Die-hard MCR fan and student 💁🏻‍♂️ 🎶 Explore good music 🎵 also a HackerNoon Editorial and Marketing Assistant 💚

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“Our generation are going to be the best parents…”


My friend made this statement in the middle of our heated conversation while she was having college application anxiety (quarter-life crisis).


Well yes… and no.


I know it is weird to see a 19-year-old Gen Z writing about parenting while having been single for the most part of his life; but believe it or not, this is a fairly common topic that I and my friends often talk about (online).


What Do We Think When Talking About Gen Z?

Okay, so we have the Boomers, and then Millennials, and then after that Gen Z -- the generation born between 1997 and 2012.


We generally define ourselves as the generation full of depressed a-holes with a twisted sense of humor as a cover-up for our unstable mentality. [Editor’s note: Isn’t that just being human though?]


Growing up with the Internet, games, and memes; we are hypocrites with low self-esteem whom no one is allowed to make fun of except us-self.


And the fact that we collectively hate Hawaiian pizza.


I was born and raised in Vietnam, being surrounded by friends that are like me, a bunch of heavily Westernized Gen Zs living in a highly Eastern society.


Please note, I’m not debating whether Western or Eastern culture is better since (as a real yes-man), I think each has its own merit.


Well, that leads to our parents often saying things like this…


“Your generation now is too laid back! You have too much freedom nowadays…”


The next thing you know they start rambling about how hard they had it back in wartime. I think that’s why our parents often put pressure or expectations on us to become more successful because they don’t want us to experience what they've been through.


But the thing about growing up in this time is that sometimes the world feels too complicated, even if it’s not.


“Maybe we are too engulfed in our own freedom that we trapped ourselves in our own thoughts, hypotheses and doubts.”


The exposure to the Internet and social media, aka being “Westernized”, allows our generations to be more aware of the world around us, the society that we are living in, and its own drawbacks.


However, within the Eastern culture that we grew up with and are directly influenced by, when these two cultures clash with the impact point being us Gen Zs, we are torn between the need for self-fulfillment and the responsibilities to our families, our past and our future.


It almost feels like the more freedom we get, the more responsible we bear: to be able to do better, to make money, to have nice things… and this took a toll on our mental health as me (and my friends) all overthink to death.


And the competition? Tell me about it. With social platforms and Western media influences comes the hustle culture.


“Pressure creates diamonds” or as in Vietnamese “Áp lực tạo kim cương"


I swear to god that sentence sounds better in Vietnamese XD


I hate that quote.


As people started to put it on their social profiles and went out of their ways to make money, start internships, study 24/7, get straight A(s), and write about their journey to self-development; I started to feel that they were missing the point, (or as my friend often says “...forgetting that you have a life”).


Okay, it might sound a little bit too mean, maybe because I’m lazy, maybe because the point of view of my friends and I do not align with those people’s.


Hustling is cool, and if you really enjoy it, that’s good. But ask yourself this, are you overloading yourself, or are you doing it out of peer pressure?


You see, growing up in this digital world is hard. It’s paradoxical, and there is a lot of information to take in every single day and to us, it seems like there isn’t enough time.


It’s like we are taking part in a constant race, not only against ourselves but also our friends, technology, society, expectations, and temptations.


And sure enough, this makes me question myself…


Does pressure create diamonds, or will pressure break people before they have a shot to shine?


Diamonds have a molecular structure which makes them one of the hardest materials in the world, but put under enough pressure, even the hardest diamond will eventually break into pieces.


Call us weak all you want, Millennials, we Gen Zs are easy to break.


This leads me back to my friend’s statement at the beginning of this article.

Well yes… and no.


Easy to break is definitely not a good thing when you’re dealing with kids. But one thing that we get from growing up with immense mental pressure is empathy.


Social media, though sometimes misleading and manipulative, gives us the ability to open up, the ability to view the world in different angles, to not judge one thing from the look of it.


We are aware of mental health, of unsaid traumas; we are aware now that as time goes by, raising one human does not stop at giving them food to eat, a home to live in, and proper education.


After all, growing up was never easy, and don't we all crave a little understanding at times?


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