Has COVID-19 transformed Gen-Z forever?
Many members of Gen-Z, already struggling with adolescence, now have to add COVID-19 to the mix.
According to survey of U.S. teenagers (13-17) from Common Sense Media taken between March 14 and April 1:
- Eighty percent are following news about the coronavirus closely;
- Eighty-one percent have stopped attending public events or visiting places such as restaurants, movie theaters or concert venues; 68 percent have stopped meeting with close friends in person; and 37 percent have reached out to a friend or family member they haven’t talked to in a while;
- Sixty-one percent are worried they or someone in their family will be exposed to the virus;
- Sixty-three percent are worried about the effect COVID-19 will have on their family’s ability to make a living or earn money;
- Forty-two percent said that they feel “more lonely than usual.”
DoSomething.org, a digital platform that encourages social change among youth, found in a survey of its members between the ages of 13 to 25 released April 9 that 47.9 percent were deeply missing being able to hang out with their friends in-person, up from 40 percent three weeks ago.
Gen-Z currently ranges in age from roughly seven to 22. COVID-19’s fallout is believed to be particularly tough on the teenage portion that is missing out on coming-of-age moments, such as proms, sports participation, graduation and heading to college. Slightly older ones feel they’re missing career opportunities, from dream internships to first jobs.
“Many Zs said they’re questioning and rethinking their standards for success, and what’s possible for them to achieve in their lives,” Ben Harms, director of insights and strategy at Archrival, which also conducted a survey of Gen-Zers, told Teen Vogue.
Although the group might feel comfortable with FaceTime, Zoom and other digital tools, that isn’t seen as enough to offset the loss of physical connections with friends at school and elsewhere. Indeed, the internet is full of advice columns on how to help teenagers cope with stay-at-home mandates.
“Teenagers and college students have amplified innate, developmental motivations that make them hard to isolate at home,” wrote Christine L. Carter in Psychology Today.
- The Reality of Covid-19 Is Hitting Teens Especially Hard – Wired
- Common Sense Media|SurveyMonkey poll: Coronavirus and teenagers – Common Sense Media
- Taking Stock With Teens – Piper Sandler
- DoSomething.org Launches Weekly Survey to Gauge Gen Z’s Opinions and Concerns on COVID-19 Crisis – DoSomething.org/PRNewswire
- Gen Z Worries They’ll Never Recover After Coronavirus Crisis, Survey Finds – Teen Vogue
- The Unknowable Now – Archrival
- How to Help Teens Shelter in Place – PsychologyToday
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How do you see COVID-19 affecting the Gen-Z consumer, particularly teenagers and young adults, in the near term? How might their long-term purchasing behavior change as a result of this experience?