So, who are the people described by this term? Swiss Education Group carried out a study on this question and came up with a precise definition of this category of young “digital natives”. Before getting to know generation Z better, we need to know who they are. In practical terms, they are young people born since 1995 (who are currently under 21 years old). A generation which was born with the internet at their fingertips, mobile phones, bottle fed on social networks and thus naturally ultra-connected.
Mobile phones as an extension of their bodies
One thing is for sure: you rarely see a young person of around twenty years old without their mobile phone – maybe only when they have forgotten them at home! This one of the observations made by the Swiss Education study, going so far as to describe their mobile phones as an extension of their bodies…
When on their mobiles, these young people from the Z generation often look at social media. They post around 60% of their social life on it (meals, outings, friends, etc.). Alexandra Broennismann, the head of this study, provides this analysis: “It is as if the real event never took place if it hasn’t been published on social media and validated by the online community”.
Another observation which confirms that these young people are addicted to technology and the virtual world: 70% state that they communicate online more than they do in real life. In conclusion, to communicate with them, you’d better tweet them…
LThe study also looked into the question of generation Z’s attention and concentration span. Verdict: they move from one activity to another, analysis of whether a subject interests them or not is made within just 1,2,3,4,5,6,7… 8 seconds!
If the young member of generation Z’ attention is captured by the subject, their concentration span can reach 12 minutes at most. So when will there be 12-minute lessons at high school? The study notably aimed to provide professionals in the education sector with advice about how to manage this generation. Five pieces of advice were provided: they can achieve greater responsibility if they are provided with autonomy use digital tools grab their attention, notably with shorter teaching cycles teamwork provide regular feedback.
… and pictures!
This generation of “digital natives” focuses a great deal, sometimes too much, on pictures. Their own pictures and those of other people. Snapchat, a social network which solely focuses on sharing pictures, is used by 67% of students at least once per day. 64% of them have an account on Instagram, another platform for pictures and photos.
And while we are talking about pictures, we should also consider the figure uncovered by the Swiss Education Group study: 8 out of 10 members of the Z generation watch YouTube more than they watch the television. Further proof that digital media is taking over from traditional media. YouTube provides much shorter formats than television does: this affection for the video platform is connected to this generation’s short attention span.