Gen Zeds are the most formally educated generation in Australian history – not only have they started their schooling younger, they are also projected to stay in it for longer. Whilst 1 in 10 of the Builders generation have a university degree, 1 in 5 Baby Boomers, 1 in 4 Generation Xers and 1 in 3 Gen Ys, it is projected that 1 in 2 Gen Zeds will be university educated. With the increased focus on formal education and the increased time spent behind screens and on digital devices, it is unsurprising that they live largely indoors; after all, their parents place priority on homework, coaching and extra-curricular activities over a carefree childhood. These sedentary lifestyles are having an impact on our Gen Zeds – based on the current trends, it is projected that in 2027, when all Gen Z have reached adulthood, 77.9% of males and 61.2% of females will be overweight or obese.
However when it comes to getting outdoors and getting active, Gen Zeds have their favourite sports – with Gen Z males top sports being soccer (17%), AFL (15%) and Basketball (10%), and for Gen Z females, their top sports are netball (21%), dance (15%) followed by swimming (9%).
The Zeds are up-ageing because they are growing up faster. In less than a century, the onset of puberty in girls has gone from 14.6 years (1920) to 10.5 years today, with the trend similar for boys, with puberty on setting before the age of 12. They are also in education earlier and are exposed to marketing younger. Despite the environmentally conscientious times, the Zeds are the most marketed-to children of all time and the biggest consumers of any generation of children.
This Internet-savvy, technologically literate generation has been shaped to multitask. They move quickly from one task to another, often placing more value on speed than accuracy. They have only known a wireless, hyperlinked, user-generated world where they are only ever a few clicks away from any piece of knowledge. The world is an open book to Gen Z.
Over the lifetime of a Gen Zed, technology has transformed our society. When the oldest Gen Zeds were 2 years of age in 1997, Google.com was registered as a domain, and when they turned 5, USB flash drives and Nokia 3310 mobile phones were on the market.
Here’s a summary technology timeline in the life of a Gen Z:
TECHNOLOGY TIMELINE 1995 TO 2014 1997: Google.com is registered as a domain 1998: Portable MP3 players enter the market 2000: USB flash drives become available, Nokia 3310 launched 2001: Wikipedia is launched 2003: MySpace is launched 2005: YouTube is launched 2006: Facebook opens to the public 2006: Twitter is launched 2007: Dropbox founded 2007: First iPhone released 2009: Whatsapp founded 2010: iPad is launched 2010: Instagram launched 2012: Facebook has 1 billion active users 2014: Google Glass launched