April 23, 2019
Technology has always had a complicated relationship with Generation Z. Teens surveyed by the Pew Research Center recognized both the positive and negative aspects of online usage—it both strengthens relationships with friends, while ruining others with the lack of in-person contact and rampant rumor spreading.
“When it’s wielded for the good things in life, technology can have positive contributions in efficiency, information distribution, and building relationships with people. But we can always take that a little too far— navigating information that we don’t need or not getting the necessary physical activity,” said Author and Speaker Meghan Grace.
According to Grace, those in Generation Z are often labeled as “digital natives”—individuals who were born into a technological world, whereas Millennials are described as “digital nomads.” As the generation before them learns more about technology throughout their lives, Generation Z is singled out for a natural aptitude for everything online-related.
“I honestly think that Gen Z is way smarter than I was at their age,” said Grace. “Technology is allowing people of different backgrounds to be able to access information at greater rates than any other generation or time period.”
According to Grace, a change in educational environments will most likely have to follow as well. Although technology has already been adapted into the lives of many students—Wayzata first implemented iPads with a select group of students in 2013—the next challenge will be to find incentive for students firmly rooted in the virtual aspects of learning.
“This massification of information is going to change the way that classrooms and education is structured,” said Grace. “If a student can read about this topic at home, what’s making them want to go to a physical place to learn?”
The technology section of this issue explores the changing environment Generation Z finds themselves in further. Looking primarily at how the prominence of technology use affects social lives, productivity, and health, our writers investigate what technology means to Generation Z—especially when it becomes a large part of their future careers.
iGen and the Future of Consumerism
Generation Z, although young, are still powerful consumers. According to Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media, by 2020 Generation Z will account for 40% of all U.S. consumers. A 2017 report from International Business Machines Corp. and the National Retail Federation reports that more than 70 percent of iGen consumers influence their family’s spending. Heavy use of social media leads Gen Z to look at real people, and especially their peers for influence on what to buy.
About 72% of Generation Z consumers rank cost as the most important factor when coming to purchases. Unless products are proven to be worth high prices, Generation Z consumers will look for a cheaper alternative.
Author and speaker Meghan Grace stated,“most of Gen Z isn’t making money right now so even investing in a pair of sneakers we’ll make them think about making the best decision when purchasing. They’re going to look at if the productive is effective for what they need to do as well as if it has social capital with it. There’s also this mindset of: do my peers think it’s cool?”
“They often look at if the company that they’re supporting ethical in their practices. Transparency in business is very important to them,” said Grace.
Seeing their parents impacted by the recession of 2008, Generation Z are commonly savers, rather than spenders. “So there really have this mindset of saving for a rainy day because we don’t know when the next rainy day is going to be,” said Grace, “The information Gen Z gets around information related to financial investments mostly come from their parents and their friends as opposed to learning about finances through traditional means.”
Due to heavy use of technology, iGen is being held responsible for the “death”, or rather the disruption of shopping malls.
“Any time that an industry is disrupted by something, they want to figure out what is causing it,” said Grace, “it’s one of those things where we need to look at the “why” behind it.”
According to a 2017 survey by Adyen NV, a global payments processor, 93 percent of iGen consumers prefer to shop without the help of a sales associate. Online shopping offers a independent, and personalized experience most stores cannot offer. “More than two-thirds of U.S. malls saw a decrease in national retailers in 2018, according to a report from property research firm Green Street Advisors LLC,” as reported by Bloomberg.
Alongside malls, the decrease in sales of print magazines is also blamed on iGen. According to Bloomberg, “teen magazines have struggled more than others to reach their intended audiences. Just last November, Condé Nast closed the quarterly (once monthly) print edition of Teen Vogue. Meanwhile, Hearst Communications Inc.’s Seventeen magazine, a 73-year-old print publication, slashed frequency from 10 magazines to six in 2016.”
Due to the rise of mobile payment apps among younger generations, cash is a dying industry as well. Apps such as Venmo, Google Pay and Apple Wallet make it less necessary to carry an actual wallet.
Bloomberg reports that, “American teens are four times less likely to use cash than the general public and only use cash for 6 percent of their transactions, according to data from teen debit-card company Current.”
The Teenage Working Class
A common misconception with Generation Z is that the generation is comprised of lazy, spoiled, and unmotivated kids who have everything handed to them on a silver platter. However, the manager of Plymouth Caribou, Scott Dose, explains that the work ethic of Generation Z is different, but in a very “driven and unique” way.
According to H.R. Future, 76 percent of Generation Z said they are willing to start at the bottom and work their way up.
Gen Zers are seen as the ”do-it-yourself generation”, partly because the internet provides unprecedented opportunities for self-education and knowledge. “Because of this, when compared to the millennial generation, Gen Z is more competitive and independent,” according to H.R. Future.
Wayzata High School Senior Nick Moses works as a front end supervisor at the Plymouth Target, running the cashiers, guest services, self checkouts, and outside management. “My job teaches me skills such as responsibility and time management,” said Moses.
“This generation takes pride in their work, but they want to do their work on their own schedule and on their time. It’s all about freedom and flexibility,” said BlueStem Wealth Partners Financial Adviser Mindy Reid, who interns high schoolers.
Data released by the 2013 U.S. Census shows that more than one in four high school students age 16 and older work—that’s more than 3 million workers nationwide.
Junior Lily Mjaanes works two jobs: “I nanny three times a week and work at Evereve on the weekends,” said Mjaanes. “I am able to balance work with other commitments because of my good time management.”
Wayzata High School teacher Anna Olson worked as a teller at Prior Lake State Bank throughout high school. “I worked everyday after school and Saturdays,” said Olson. “I had a lot of responsibility and handled a lot of money. I’m pretty sure no teenager would get to handle the amount of money that I did today.” According to Olson, she made $7.50 an hour.
Anthony Luna, a sophomore at WHS who makes $12.00 per hour as a host at 6Smith, said, “I put my money into savings and the rest is spent on clothes and friend/family outings”. Some, on the other hand, don’t consider themselves the best “savers.”
“I am a really big spender, I am terrible at saving money. I think a lot of high schoolers are spending their money on luxuries, not necessities, especially in Wayzata,” said Moses.
GenZ might be thought of as immature, lazy, and off task generation due to their dependency on technology, but Dose of Plymouth Caribou explains that this is simply not the case. “The ability to utilize technology allows this generation to be the most independent, knowledgeable, and passionate about their work than any before,” said Dose.
“There are a lot of times where I have been called over and greeted with ‘oh this is your manager’ because I am so young. I am the youngest supervisor at my location, with all the others being over 21, but I’ve learned to be very mature and respectful to give my generation a good reputation,” said Moses.
With Generation Z’s powerful hold on the economy, the Trojan Tribune decided to have three teenagers track their spending habits for a week. Senior Bella Brinkman, Senior Katie Parsons, and Sophomore Andie Hansen agreed to record each purchase made throughout the week, including the time of day, monetary value, and circumstances surrounding the purchase.
According to Forbes, members of Generation Z aged 16 to 21 typically spend money] on transportation, entertainment, restaurants, technology, and appearances.
“I think my spending habits are normal for a teenager—mostly food and gas,” said Brinkman.
According to Brinkman, tracking her purchases reminded her to spend less money on food and coffee. “I could start making coffee at home or packing snacks for school,” said Brinkman. “I’m not really surprised, more annoyed at myself.”
Parsons said she was surprised at how little she spend throughout the week. “It feels like I usually spend at least $30 a week; in reality, I realized that I only do that once every few weeks—especially when I’m hanging out with people,” said Parsons.
“The case could also be that I’m not spending my own money. If I go out with my parents, they’re the ones who do all the buying,” said Parsons. “During this specific week, I went out, but other people would buy the food and wouldn’t take my money.”
Hansen said that she feels good about her spending habits; at the same time, she realizes that not everything she buys is necessary.
“I realized how much I spend with my debit card without me being able to physically see it,” said Hansen. “I did not expect to spend as much as I did.”
DAY ONE 12:00 AM Gluten free pancakes and sausage for brunch. This was the day after my 18th birthday so my friend and I went out to brunch to celebrate. The usual brunch places were all busy in Wayzata, so we went to the Wayzata Country Club where I am a member. DAILY TOTAL: $20
DAY TWO 5:00 PM American Eagle jumpsuit and romper. Spring break is coming up and I wanted some new clothes before I went to Mexico. I also had been working a lot so I could afford to splurge a bit. I was a bit disappointed that after 2 hours in the mall I only got a jumpsuit and romper. I’m excited to wear them. DAILY TOTAL: $62
DAY THREE 8:00 AM Apple. I was really hungry before school and wanted something to eat, so I stopped by Lakers. 10:00 AM Rice Krispie treat. I was hungry again before 2nd block so I stopped by the vending machine. 10:00 AM Iced caramel latte. I went to the College of St. Benedict for an overnight. We got there thirty minutes before we were supposed to arrive, so my brother and I wandered around the town and found a cute coffee shop; it would only make sense that I got a coffee while I was there. DAILY TOTAL: $5.25
DAY FOUR 9:00 AM Vanilla mocha. I did not sleep well the night before as I was sleeping on an air mattress—even after my coffee at breakfast I was still tired. Even before my day started, I needed another boost so I stopped by a coffee stand on campus. 1:30 PM Key chain. It was finally time to leave St. Bens. By the time it took my brother and me to go to the gift shop and the bathroom, I had managed to lose the car key THREE times. So we went back to the bookstore and I bought myself a keychain for it. 7:00 PM Money I owed. Basically, the week before I had used my dad’s credit card for a day and needed to pay him back in cash. DAILY TOTAL: $25.25
DAY FIVE 7:00 PM Tip for hairstylist. I got my hair cut this day. My mom paid for the cut but I needed to tip in cash so I tipped 20 percent of my own money. DAILY TOTAL: $10
DAY SIX 8:00 AM Daily parking. My brother didn’t have the parking pass in our car; currently, our car would get a boot as this would’ve been the third time not having a pass, so I paid for the parking. 7:00 PM Gas. On our trip to St. Ben’s, we stopped to get gas. My brother paid on his card and I was hoping he would forget to ask me for the half I owed him for gas. He didn’t—so I paid him. 8:00 PM Pizza. My family was ordering Davanni’s pizza for dinner. Since I don’t eat gluten, I needed a gluten-free pizza and that isn’t Davanni’s speciality. I bought my own from Dominos. DAILY TOTAL: $36
DAY SEVEN 8:30 AM Iced caramel latte. On Saturdays, I nanny a two-year-old for 6 hours. I knew that before a whole grueling day with a toddler, I would need a little caffeine in my system. 6:00 PM Mint tea. I went down to Caribou later in the day to do some homework but wasn’t feeling coffee so I bought tea instead. DAILY TOTAL: $10
DAY ONE I didn’t spend money that day. Track went late, so I went straight home to eat dinner and then didn’t leave once I got home. I also had morning practice so I didn’t have time to go shopping or buy food beforehand. DAILY TOTAL: $0
DAY TWO 12:00 AM Chipotle burrito. I was out for lunch before a Compass field trip and I wanted Chipotle so our group went. If I hadn’t bought this burrito I wouldn’t have had lunch that day which would not have worked out seeing I needed protein and nutrients because I had track that afternoon. DAILY TOTAL: $9
DAY THREE I didn’t spend any money today. I got to school super early for a workout and then left school late and went straight to a friend’s house so I didn’t necessarily need food or any other things that I needed to buy. DAILY TOTAL: $0
DAY FOUR 9:30 AM Breakfast. I spent $1 today; I didn’t have breakfast that morning and I worked out, so I needed food. DAILY TOTAL: $1
DAY FIVE 10:00 AM Oreos. I was out and about and wanted some Oreos so I went and bought some with friends. DAILY TOTAL: $3
DAY SIX 6:00 PM Swedish Fish and Smart Water. I actually was going to go out and get Caribou after my track morning practice, but I decided to take the healthier route and just drank water instead. I guess that got cancelled out since that night I bought snacks. DAILY TOTAL: $5
DAY SEVEN I didn’t leave my house today so I didn’t spend any money. DAILY TOTAL: $0
DAY ONE 4:30 PM Pasta Dish. I bought food from Noodles with my friend because we both needed to eat before going to the movies which she paid for. DAILY TOTAL: $9.95
DAY TWO I didn’t spend anything on this day because it was a Saturday and I stayed
home doing homework and just ate from what I had in my house. DAILY TOTAL: $0
DAY THREE I also did not spend money today because it was the weekend and I decided to stay at my house and focus on studying. DAILY TOTAL: $0
DAY FOUR 9:00 AM Superfan shirt. I bought a t-shirt to support my friend and the softball team for their upcoming season. DAILY TOTAL: $10
DAY FIVE 4:30 PM Wrapping paper. I went to Target because I needed to it to wrap my sister’s birthday presents last minute. I had to purchase this, otherwise I would have felt extremely bad that we didn’t wrap her presents. DAILY TOTAL: $26.50
DAY SIX 4:30 PM Hot chocolate and cake pops. My friend and I went to Starbucks to celebrate the end of the term and I ordered some treats for both of us. DAILY TOTAL: $6.30
DAY SEVEN 7:20 AM Gas. I went to BP to fill up my car tank, otherwise I would’ve run out on my way out with my friend. DAILY TOTAL: $30.82