For many younger generations, it’s very unusual to hear someone older talk positive about them.
Many young people hear older residents talk about how bad they are – from what type of music they listen to, to hairstyles and piercing, to politics and all things in between.
However, I would like to take this opportunity to thank a specific group of young people known as Generation Z (Gen Z), those who are now 1227 years old or born in the years of 1997-2012.
I have recently discovered that Gen Z’s are stepping back in time, so to speak, as their interest in the tangible is on the rise.
For those that need to know, certain experts have divided mankind into various groups and have given them specific titles. Here they are listed so you can see which group you are in: The Silent Generation: Born 1928-1945 (7995 yrs. old) Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964 (60-78 yrs. old) Gen X: Born 1965-1980 (44-59 yrs. old) Millennials: Born 1981-1996 (28-43 yrs. old) Gen Z: Born 1997-2012 (12-27 yrs. old) Gen Alpha: Born early 2010’s-2025 (0-11 yrs. old) According to Michele Debczak in an article posted to the Mental Floss website, Gen Z has grown into an “economical and cultural force that’s hard to ignore.”
“The world’s teens and young adults have been behind many of the biggest fashion trends, political movements and memes of the last several years. Even though the oldest Millennials are in their early 40’s, the generation has long been synonymous with young people. With Gen Z and Gen Alpha gaining attention, that’s finally starting to change,” Debczak writes.
Gen Z’s are most known by the fact that they are the first generation to be totally immersed in the world of the internet since birth.
While they don’t have first-hand accounts/ memories of US historic events such as 9/11, the Iraq War or the economic recession of 2008, this issue of being totally digital and online since birth has had an effect on this one generation unlike any other generation.
Last November, a report from the American Library Association (ALA) found that Gen Z and Millennials are using public libraries at higher rates than older generations. More than half of the survey’s respondents had visited a physical library within the past 12 months.
Even with most books now available in digital format, it seems this generation prefers to have a real book, with real pages and real ink, in their hands as they read.
One Gen Z, Henry Earls, told The Guardian, “I think people my age are craving something more authentic and looking for something that’s real. What’s more real than books and physical material?”
According to other research, Gen Z’s obsession with the tangible is not limited to books. It seems that newspapers are also the beneficiary of this wonderful generation. While many love the digital versions of newspapers and articles, Gen Z’s are going back in time to the real, authentic versions of America’s premier source of news, sports and entertainment.
This, to me at least, is great news and I can certainly relate. I’ve often said that there is just something about holding a book or newspaper. The feel of the pages, the smell of the ink, just being able to physical touch the information. There really is a difference.
Even though I have a Bible app on my phone and occasionally use it, when I do my Bible studies or want to read for spiritual insight or help, I like holding a physical copy of a Bible in my hands.
In all transparency, for Gen Z’s, the act of visiting libraries and reading real books, newspapers and other materials is also accompanied by the fact that they love the social aspect that goes along with those tangible experiences. It has become trendy to visit the library, it has become fashionable to sit in a coffee shop and open up a newspaper, and all of those experiences allow Gen Z’s to post photos to social media of themselves at said locations performing such acts.
Gen Z’s and Millennials are also going back in time in other ways. There is a growing movement among them to do things as their grandparents or great-grandparents. Hobbies such as gardening, crocheting and raising animals, to name three, have captured the attention of these young people. The only difference is, instead of going to their grandparents to learn how to do things, they watch YouTube videos from experts and then simply get after it.
Of all the times I’ve heard older adults complain about younger generations, all of this information ought to allow all of us to heap commendations upon them and stop the condemnations.
Regardless of the reason for the upward trend in reading physical books and newspapers, I think it is a worthy achievement for this specific generation. I applaud them for reminding us that in this social media world where anybody can pretend to be whomever they desire; the best experience is the authentic – the real.
So, to all our Gen Z’s out there: Thank you.
Now, may more generations join this movement and get out there and visit the La-Salle Parish Library and read. Let’s get a copy of The Jena Times and visit a coffee shop or park and just sit and read.
Study after study confirms that people who read newspapers are better employers, better employees, better citizens and simply better people.