The Rise of the 21st Century Visionaries
A recent poll commissioned by digital lifestyle brand, iCoolKid, has revealed just how dependant we Brits have become on ‘Generation Z’ (those born after 1995) when it comes to making key life decisions – with the current under 18 age group’s insight and opinions proving to be the biggest driver for adults when buying home tech, booking a holiday, or choosing which restaurant to dine in.
When parents were asked which things they most often turn to ‘Gen Z’ for guidance on, 79 per cent put booking a family holiday at the top of the list, saying they wouldn’t finalise a family trip without input from their kids.
In second place was buying home tech products such as TV’s, Laptops or smartphones, with over two thirds of respondants (68 per cent) indicating that they would seek advice from their under-18 family members on factors such as design, spec and brand. Completing the top three line up was the slightly more everyday issue of choosing where to go for a meal, with 57 per cent of adults surveyed admitting that their younger relatives would play an instrumental role in selecting where they went to eat.
Other popular answers from poll respondants included – adopting a pet (55 per cent), and items for the weekly food shop (40 per cent).
When questioned on why they feel Generation Z are so influential, nearly a fifth of those polled (17 per cent) pointed to the fact that Gen Z are more confident in making decisions, and the wealth of information available online means it’s not limited to a small number of subjects but spralls in an increasing number of directions. The increasing frequency with which they find themselves in such positions has helped them develop a more creative mentality, solving problems more easily than their older relatives.
In addition, those surveyed believe Generation Z absorb information much faster than other generations as a result of their continuous consumption of news and entertainment through social media. The vast majority of those polled had children/younger family members on social media with Snapchat (74 per cent) proving the most popular, followed by Instagram (70 per cent), Twitter (43 per cent), Facebook (65 per cent), and YouTube (52 per cent).
Whilst a quarter of those surveyed (25 per cent) believe such high levels of social media engagement encourage a short attention span, most (72 per cent) believe that this tech-led world has resulted in ‘Generation Z’ becoming much more driven and decisive than previous generations, for whom social media makes it easier to look up to highly success celebrity-come-business owners such as Will.i.am, Victoria Beckham and Jay Z.
As a result, nearly a third of respondants (30 per cent) believe Generation Z are equipped with a better skill set than their older relatives, with a further 37 per cent admitting that – unlike the adults who were slowly introduced to social media - people aged 8-15 are ‘born social.’
Carmen Greco, Co-Founder of iCoolKid Ltd comments: “These survey results clearly show that 2017 is an exciting time to be a kid. Over the past decade we have seen a seismic shift in generational influence, and a rise in the intuitive interaction within the 8-15-year-old demographic. Consequently, this age group has become much more informed and engaged with the digital world, and the options available to them.
This shift can be attributed to widespread technological innovation and the fact that Kids today have exposure and hands on access to technology from a very young age. This has primarily been driven by lower product prices, a more varied and simplified product offering and broader availability through mass distribution. When coupled with the higher frequency use of targeted tech-related advertisements across print, multimedia, gaming/music and social media platforms; the results are undeniable, deeply entrenched and here for the long-term.
Whatever the reasoning behind it, this seismic change has had an astounding effect on family dynamics, which is fascinating to observe. Generation Z (the current under 18s) are more confident and better able to express themselves than ever before, and unsurprisingly this has in turn had an effect on how parents view their children within the family set-up.
Parents of Gen Z-ers, such as myself, are in a unique position due to the fact that our children have been ‘born social’ and have an incredible wealth of information available to them as the result of the digital world they are growing up in. Children within this age group are much better equipped to sift information, think creatively, and problem solve. In recent years, we’ve really got to grips with this and understand the incredibly positive impact which it can have on household dynamics and the key decision making process.
From speaking to my friends who also have children within the Gen Z age group, it’s clear to see the real-world effect that this generational shift is causing. They each have multiple anecdotes about how their children are the driving force behind any technology purchases/upgrades within the household, or how their children are their first port-of-call if they want any advice about which apps they should download, or how is best to research hotel options for family summer holidays. One friend in particular shared with me that her children had huge influence over a recent property purchase which her and her husband made.
This level of trust and inclusion within the decision-making process is something that just hasn’t existed within previous generations. In fact, it has been quite the opposite – with the traditional family dynamic involving children being completely led by their parents.
We must not make the mistake of thinking that this is about kids telling parents what to do, setting the agenda entirely, or about parents giving in to their children’s demands; or even the shifting of parental controls. It’s just about kids at a younger age than ever before being part of a two-way family conversation making positive, informed contributions; and as a result, helping to make well-thought-out collective family decisions.
For me, one of the most interesting changes to come about as the result of this shift is the way in which families now interact with each other around the dinner table. Ten years ago, a mother asking her son the simple question, ‘how was your day’, would most likely have elicited a response of ‘ok’. However, in today’s society kids are much more comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions across the board, and I believe that this is having a wholly positive effect on parent-children relationships.
This confidence in expressing opinions also extends to current affairs, with Gen Z-ers having both the ability and the desire to engage in topical discussions surrounding world events. Again, I believe that this is a real benefit of the world we live in today. It’s fantastic that parents can have this level of engagement with their children. My husband and I always aim to have this level of discussion with our son, Jenk, and actively encourage him to talk about what’s going on in his world, and his passions in life.
With all of this in mind, it will be interesting to see what the future looks like for Gen Z-ers, who are naturally more entrepreneurial, better multi-taskers, and more diverse because of their interactions with peers across the globe on social media, along with the information available to them. In many ways, Gen-Z-ers already seem more advanced than the generation before them – they are without a doubt more engaged and more responsible. As they become adults, it will be fascinating to see the world they create.“
iCoolKid is currently the UK’s biggest digital media platform of its kind with over 1,500 original articles spread across 7 topical channels. For further information please visit: www.icoolkid.com