In a conversation with a friend of mine, it became apparent that our frustrations with our generation were inextricably linked to a combination of the Digital Age and an increasingly materialistic society. The pressure to create an image of a perfect life is leaving my fellow peers with a contrastingly dry and empty reality. The reason for my harsh words is due to my dissatisfaction with, and sympathy for, my fellow Gen Z-ers.
I find that my peers, chased by parents and school faculty to excel in both academics and extracurriculars, lack the time and experiences needed to foster their own thoughts and opinions. My high-school, a beige building filled with students aiming for excellence, was a competitive atmosphere that sorted students into an academic hierarchy. These students, myself included, were driven by the goals their parents and society gave to them. Gone are the days of playing outside, listening to music, and just "hanging" with friends. Instead, my generation has been reduced to grades and scores... essentially numbers have substituted substance. When children are told that what makes them important is what they can put on their resume, they focus less on their own thoughts and more on what others think of them.
College is an extension of this. I entered university aiming to expand my social circle, to meet a ridiculous amount of new people with incredible viewpoints and experiences. However, I soon realized that while I did meet people, these people had thoughts that were constructed for them, not created themselves. We are burnt out from striving for "success" which is defined by society when success is in fact subjective.
Aside from a capitalist society pushing us to always aim for more and never be satisfied, there is the added factor of social media. Yes, yes I know, another article bashing every platform. However, it is true that social media helps us buy into capitalism, as it makes us constantly compare our lives to people we don't even know. We aim to create an image of perfection, rather than actually being ourselves. Social media is creating a fear of actually living. We are afraid of failure, failure of reality not meeting our expectations.
The effects of a generation of "robots" can be dangerous and can impact future generations. It's visible already. Parents, instead of communicating with their children, give them iPads and iPhones to keep their screams at bay. Children at schools sit right next to one another while on their school-issued Chromebooks. When there is a lack of depth, and especially a lack of individual thought, society is left vulnerable to a select few. There needs to be a revival of social values. Maybe if parents and schools stressed personality and social skills, instead of resumes, Gen Z-ers wouldn't all be "helpless, selfish, one-of-a-kind millenium kids that all wanna die."