Called, Gen Z or iGen, this age cohort was born from 1995 to the present. The oldest members of iGen were early adolescents when the iPhone was introduced in 2007. iGens were so named because two out of three US teens own an iPhone. iGens are the first generation for whom Internet access has been constantly available.
iGens are different from every previous generation in how its members spend their time, how they behave, and their attitudes toward religion, sexuality, and politics. They socialize in completely new ways, reject once sacred social taboos, and want different things from their lives and careers.
They are obsessed with safety and fearful of economic futures. They have no patience for inequality based on gender, race, or sexual orientation. They are at the forefront of the worst mental health crisis in decades with rates of teen depression and suicide skyrocketing since 2011.
Contrary to the prevalent idea that children are growing up faster than previous generations did, iGeners are growing up more slowly: 18-year-olds act like 15-year-olds used to, and 13-year-olds like 10-year-olds. Teens are physically safer than ever, yet they are more mentally vulnerable.
Jean Twinge identified ten important trends shaping iGeners. They are:
- In No Hurry (the extension of childhood into adolescence).
- Internet (how much time they are spending on their phones.
- In person no more (the decline in in-person social interaction).
- Insecure (the rise in mental health issues).
- Irreligious (the decline in religion).
- Insulated but not intrinsic (the interest in safety and the decline in civic involvement),
- Income insecurity (new attitudes toward work).
- Indefinite (new attitudes toward sex, relationships, and children).
- Inclusive (acceptance, equality, and free speech debates).
- Independent (their political views).
Around 2012 Twinge started seeing large, abrupt shifts in teens’ behaviors and emotional states. All of a sudden, the line graphs looked like steep mountains–rapid drop-offs erased the gains of decades in just a few years; after years of gradual inclines or hollows, sheer cliffs suddenly brought traits to all time highs. In all her generational analysis (some of it dating back to the 1930s) she had never seen anything like this.