I think there is an umbrella that gets placed over Generation Z. A nickname for us is the “iGeneration”. We are defined solely by the fact that we grew up in a world that was digital first. However there are plenty of other things that have shaped our world besides technology. I think those things don’t get talked about enough.
Gen Z follower counts never fail to shock me. Across all social platforms (but especially YouTube and TikTok, which used to be called Musical.ly), young Gen Zers consistently have very high follower counts that break the boundaries of what I, as a 21-year-old, perceive as standard. It isn't uncommon for an average middle/high schooler to have a few thousand Instagram followers. On TikTok, teenage influencers tend to have multiple millions of followers (see @babyariel who has amassed 20M+ followers at age 17). I think these numbers contribute to the growing pressures teenagers are putting on themselves.
One truth is that Gen Z isn't wasting their lives with all the time they spend on their phones. It's no different from when people used to listen to the radio, phones are just more portable.
I think what is missing from Gen Z discourse is the reality that we’re not only a very brown generation, but we’re also diverse in sexualities and gender identities. For example, in the beauty industry, popular influencers include, Manny MUA, Gabriel Zamora, James Charles, and Gigi Gorgeous. They are a vast departure of the early 2000s CoverGirls. There are tons of articles about how Gen Z uses social media, how they engage with brands and what they think is cool versus uncool, but there are fewer studies on what are the long-term societal and economic implications of a generation that is gender-bending, LGBTQ+, and brown! To everyone else, all of these changes are new and possibly overwhelming, but to Gen Z this is their normal. Most of Gen Z will grow up in a time where Congress members are IG TV-ing their dinner prep while talking about public policy (See Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as reference).
In terms of dialogue regarding Gen-Z, I believe that there is a misconception about how active Gen-Z members are on social media. Many marketers equate social media use to an “obsession”; however, I believe that routine media use is simply a facet of everyday life that members of Gen-z commonly rely on through force of habit. For example, I often rely on Google Maps when I am trying to find my way around. In my opinion, I would not relate this action to an obsession with my phone; rather, I would consider it to be an action of convenience.