Generation Z, or commonly called Gen Z or “zoomers”, is the demographic generation born between 1997 and 2012. This is the generation group born in the Internet age, where most part of life has revolved around digitalisation and technology. Gen Zs are described to be more educated, generally with good dispositions and are well-behaved, having been raised by their parents from the Generation X demography.
However, a 2020 report shows how Gen Z adolescents are currently dealing with psychiatric issues such as anxiety disorders, depression, ADHD, and other behavioural disorders. They generally find it difficult to make friends and tend to isolate themselves socially.
The number of Gen Z adolescents suffering from at least one mental disorder has increased, some resulting in self-harm. More young people nowadays opt to receive medical attention for their psychiatric concerns. This is a significant change from the previous decades where getting psychiatric help is often stigmatised.
Additionally, these psychiatric problems are due to increasing sleep deprivation in most young adults. Sleep deprivation is caused by too much screen time on electronic devices, schoolwork pressures, unnatural sleep schedules or patterns, or insomnia. Consequently, this sleep deprivation results in worsening anxieties, mood swings, poor emotional management, depression, impaired cognitive abilities, and increasing alcohol and tobacco intake, and substance abuse.
It is also observed that more Gen Z adolescents feel heightening suicidal tendencies, mainly due to pressures from parents who expect perfection in school and in life. Other reasons include extended social isolation due to the ongoing pandemic, and social issues like poverty, financial, health, and family problems. Excessive use of social media, where comparing oneself to others’ ‘perfect’ online life, primarily contributes to feelings of worthlessness and depression.
Online life, or the life portrayed on each person’s social media accounts, provides the avenue to ‘escape’ the real life of personal and social struggles. The availability and affordability of electronic devices and internet connection has allowed many adolescents to build their lives online. This has become the norm and unique identifier of Gen Z — owning their own mobile phones and creating their own social media accounts.
Many Gen Zs prefer to spend most of their time daily browsing on their phones, interacting with their friends virtually, rather than interacting with them face-to-face. This has ironically impaired social skills and ability to decipher non-verbal cues despite the ease in interactions provided through these present communications channels.
Given these challenges in the Gen Z generation, combined by the pressures of social media, has proved how developing one’s emotional intelligence will be of important help. Being aware of one’s emotions, being more mindful of one’s actions and how one comes across to others, will play a big role in building good social skills and interactions. Building interpersonal relationships based on genuineness and authenticity will provide the balance with virtual interactions. Being able to manage one’s emotions and being self aware will help allay and reduce depression and anxiety. Practicing empathy and looking at things from other people’s perspective will make us understand others more and become more sensitive when dealing with others. Being a positive influence towards others, especially when various online platforms are available to promote oneself, can become a key and valuable source of inspiration and encouragement to other Gen Z adolescents.
Thus, having a good level of emotional intelligence will contribute to a better overall well-being for these happening and trendy “zoomers”. To know more about developing emotional intelligence transcending generations, Carrie Benedet can help out by sending her a message.