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Generation Z is a Strong Demographic that Deserves Your Respect

Daniella Jurado, Staff Writer

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   According to an article by Business Insider, Generation Z are “the teenagers entering college, soon to join the workforce and spark their own round of why-young-people-are-the-worst think pieces on the internet.” The age range for Generation Z can loosely be defined anyone born as early as 1998 through 2016 (businessinsider.com). That includes us high school students. For a long time, we have been dismissed because we are stereotyped as the generation whose lives are consumed by technology, who are addicted to our phones and who therefore have short attention spans and lack motivation. But that is just a stereotype. We are not the way you think. We have grit, and we are determined. We are intelligent and capable individuals who deserve just as much respect and say in this world as those older than us.

   Forbes Contributor Ashley Stahl once criticized adolescents like us, saying, “One could argue that this mechanical way of living and not having to rely on others for help could have desensitized Gen Z from other people’s struggles, which would help explain their more conservative views on social issues” (forbes.com). Our mechanical way of living? Our lack of empathy?

   As Senior Julia Mosnier argued, “I don’t think I agree with Stahl; she says we are desensitized because we don’t rely on people, but I think that especially right now, we are relying on each other to create change.” Mosnier showed frustration about the allegations that as a whole, our generation can’t show any sympathy to others because we’re “isolated” due to our dependency on technology.

   Yes, we grew up surrounded by technology and yes, sometimes it has caused some problems, but what about all the good we’ve done with it? What about the way we use social media to get ideas out there into the world. We use it to promote events, campaign for protests, and even to break society’s norms. We follow and support young activists like 16-year-old actress Rowan Blanchard, who has even spoken at the United Nations (unwomen-uscnc.org). For UC High, the instagram account @uchs_walkout helped raise awareness for and coordinate the UC High effort for the national March 14 walkout for gun control.

   The school shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 students has caused a wave of activism and protests in high schools around the country centered on gun control. Instead of sitting down and being complacent, adolescents are stepping up and doing something where there was only deadlock and resignation before. Kids our age asked questions at the CNN Town Hall with Senator Marco Rubio and forced a conversation to happen about gun control (cnn.com). The shooting has become our defining moment. My generation has turned a tragedy into an opportunity to finally create the change we want to see in our world.

   It’s easy to dismiss young adults as brainless drones addicted to our cell phones, but that’s not true. We are the generation raised on Katniss Everdeen, Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson — teenage heroes who all changed the world in their own ways. We were told that we shouldn’t limit ourselves, and we can make a difference. Many of us have taken that lesson to heart. Regardless of what you think of our phones and our social media habits, we are the youngest generation in the workforce, and pretty soon most of us will be able to vote. We’re here, and we deserve your respect.

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Generation Z is a Strong Demographic that Deserves Your Respect