Today is 9/11, a very contemplative and sacred day where we honor those who died, survived and were affected. More than 3,000 children under the age of 18 lost a parent on 9/11. And for those of us who watched the tragedy from afar, we each have our own memory. My memory is dialing and sobbing in front of the tv, and also desperately shielding my toddler from the news of the event.
Today is also the day after Apple announced the iPhone 5s and 5c. When I heard the release date was in September, I was shocked: how can technology take the stage away from 9/11? Instead of drooling over the new phone, Gen Z needs to reflect and be thankful they’re alive. I’m a Realist, and being a Realist can get you far.
Gen Zs are Realists: technology gives Gen Zs live uncut access to global news 24/7, giving them heavy doses of Reality. Which is why I find it so ironic that Apple announced its’ new phones the day before 9/11.
Gen Z, the connected generation, is growing up fully aware that life has its fair share of tragedies. Being connected means watching all of life’s victories, disasters and tragedies, live and uncut, anytime and anywhere. As a result of this intense exposure, Gen Z believes they’ve seen it all so for their future, they are more realistic about life and ready to face future challenges or tragedies.
But even if a parent wanted to shield Gen Z from some of the news, it’s nearly impossible. Being connected means your connected to everyone else’s screens. Go out for burgers– the walls are full of flat screens showing the news; sit next to someone on the bus – you see an iPad with the news; play on Dad’s phone– there’s the news feeds. Looking back, was shielding my son the right thing to do? I think so because he was young. But 12 years later, why do most think it’s ok for their little Gen Zs to see everything?
Gen Zs are Realists And Early Exposure to the World’s Harsh Realities Has its Benefits
- Reality teaches Gen Z to be Grateful for what they Have.
They are learning how to appreciate being alive and what they have in a visible world of wars, attacks, hurricanes, and economic downturns. According to the Forbes Cassandra Report, “only 6% of Gen Zs are fearful of the future, despite what they’ve witnessed”. Gratitude gives them perspective, reminding them that the world doesn’t revolve around them; they revolve around the world.
- Reality encourages Gen Z to have compassion for those less fortunate, and inspires them to make a difference. My son has insisted on watching the news since age 6, and while it’s often violent and scary, it IS reality, and our town is NOT reality, so I’ve let him watch it. Today, at age 13, he eats up the news and spews it out intellectually for debate club. He cares about innocent people in Syria and tears up when he sees impoverished children. So many Gen Zs are doing charity work, demonstrating their inspiration and compassion.
- Reality will help Gen Z make better decisions. The more information you have, the better decisions you are able to make. Exposure to news and consequences teaches kids what’s right and wrong, particularly in drug or gun situations. Hearing the negative reviews of how ridiculous Miley looked in Wrecking Ball hopefully taught some girls not to dress or act that way.
There are exceptions to giving your kids too much exposure. I’ve let my Gen Zs see almost all the news except for school shootings. According to Forbes Cassandra Report, “43% of 7-13 year olds feel that school violence/shootings will have the biggest impact on their generation….”
Without a doubt, children’s exposure to tragic events causes fear and anxiety. Such events are horrific and no child should be exposed to that if possible. In cases like that, shut down all media in the house, especially the new iPhones!