We do many workshops with parents and children about the differences between our generations regarding technology, social media and how it effects our lives. From the parent perspective, we see it as an add on – something to enhance our daily existence, making our daily life easier because we remember how life was prior to the internet. Our children, however, known as Generation Z or IGen, are digital natives, never knowing life without connectivity. This scares us as parents who are not digital natives because we remember what it is like to make mistakes in our younger years and we see how our children’s mistakes can now be amplified globally in a matter of seconds. In our workshops we discuss what we can do to guide our children through these years as technology has added yet another layer of parenting – a new type of parenting that no other generation has had to grasp and must consistently work to understand with every new version or app. I suppose you could call it “I-Parenting.”
In the last month though, we have truly witnessed who Gen Z is becoming. They have shown the world what they as digital natives are all about through their use of social media in the gun control debate. Whatever your political leaning, you cannot deny the incredible way they have shown everyone how their understanding of social media connects them and has power, power to evoke change – power to influence each other, politicians, and corporations. A movement the likes of which has not been seen in 50 years. There is a beauty in it – almost a comfort to know that the kids will be alright. The Millennials scared us but Gen Z has teeth. They know who they are as a generation and they have found their voice and how to use it. While we do still need to give guidance and make sure that our Gen Z middle schoolers and teenagers have boundaries, parameters and understand the pitfalls of technology and social media, we can be comforted in knowing that our parenting has encouraged and developed this generation of connected thinkers that have a collective understanding of humanity. Maybe the GenXers’ “I-Parenting” are getting it right!
—Mary & Claire
**My Remarkable Self® is available to facilitate private workshops for parents and / or students on a a variety of topics in your school, work place or home.