Gen Z (For Further Reading)
Kevin Yi | NOVEMBER 9, 2018 | 7 MIN READ
Whether you’re a parent of teenagers, a youth worker, or just someone concerned about the younger generation, we hope that SOLA Network’s series on Generation Z was helpful for you. Here are some further resources for you to read and digest.
If you’re the parent of a Gen Z gamer, this biography will give you plenty of things to discuss and digest. From the biography:
“If you haven't heard of Ninja, ask the nearest 12-year-old. He shot to fame in March after he and Drake played Fortnite, the video game phenomenon in which 100 players are dropped onto an island and battle to be the last one standing while building forts that are used to both attack and hide from opponents. At its peak, Ninja and Drake's game, which also featured rapper Travis Scott and Pittsburgh Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, pulled in 630,000 concurrent viewers on Twitch, Amazon's livestreaming platform, shattering the previous record of 388,000. Since then, Ninja has achieved what no other gamer has before: mainstream fame. With 11 million Twitch followers and climbing, he commands an audience few can dream of. In April, he logged the most social media interactions in the entire sports world, beating out the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Shaquille O'Neal and Neymar.”
Eighth Grade: AKA Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Hope from the Movie, Eighth Grade
‘Eighth Grade’ and the Horror of Being Unknown
If you haven’t had a chance to see this movie yet, you definitely should. Here are some articles on why the movie is important for getting an on-the-ground perspective on Gen Z and middle school in particular.
“One of this summer’s most buzzed-about films, Eighth Grade, is not a horror film. But at times it feels like one. That’s how well director Bo Burnham and his film’s cast of 13- and 14-year-olds capture the painful awkwardness of junior-high life in 2018. On top of the vulnerabilities that have been true of every generation of eighth graders (puberty, social awkwardness, acne, and so on), today’s kids filter the whole experience through phones, social media, the internet, and its accompanying anxieties. As well as any film in recent memory, Eighth Grade captures the nuances of how technology shapes the lives of teens today.”
Here’s a photo essay from 36 teenagers collected by The New York Times.
“What can you show us that might help make the portrait of ‘Gen Z’ more interesting, nuanced, complete or real?” we asked. Nearly 2,200 students answered.”
Everyone working with Gen Z should understand the differences between Peer Contagion and Peer Pressure.
“The term peer contagion describes a process of mutual influence between a child or adolescent and their peers that includes behaviors and emotions that potentially undermine one’s own development or cause harm to others. Examples of peer contagion include aggression, bullying, depression, disordered eating, drug use, bisexuality, suicide, tobacco use, and transgenderism.”
“Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences sheds light on teens' changing social media habits and why some kids are more deeply affected by -- and connected to -- their digital worlds. The report is a nationally representative survey of more than 1,000 kids age 13 to 17. And because it tracks changes from 2012 to today, we can see how teens' social media use continues to evolve.”
“Studies are showing Gen Z’rs are going out less with friends actually, socializing less in person and dating less. I think some of that is that technology has replaced human contact. And because of that, they don’t have as much experience as other generations in having an uncomfortable moment and working your way through it, and seeing nonverbal cues and tones,” Saler said.
“Sometimes, awkward encounters with people are how we learn to be more comfortable. And some of this generation is short-circuiting the opportunity for these interactions,” Saler said.
A first person Gen Z perspective on watching Crazy Rich Asians.
“Growing up, I struggled my entire life balancing being both Asian, but also American. The lack of Asian American representation in film and media only propelled my need to confirm. I never saw anyone who looked like me, spoke like me or even celebrated holidays or traditions the same way my family did. When I did come upon an Asian American in film, their character was a product of prejudicial beliefs that I never identified with and knew did not represent Asian Americans holistically.”
One of the things that Gen Z students have expressed is a desire for authenticity and a reality-based outlook on life. Suffering is one thing that our students need to think well about. Here’s a book review for a massively helpful book on a solid theology of suffering — one that we could all benefit from.
“Cole doesn’t examine the problem of evil and suffering with philosophical tenets in order to find intellectual resolution. He rather points sufferers to real, gospel-oriented hope as they wrestle with massive difficulties amid grief and pain. This book is a goldmine of truth and grace for sufferers and those walking with them.”
BONUS READ: Runs in the Family
Here’s an article worth reading with your own children about one athlete’s search for his biological parents. It’s a longer article, but be patient because the end is totally worth it.
“In early 2017, now-Kansas City Chiefs running backs coach Deland McCullough signed on to coach the running backs at USC, having spent the previous six years in the same position at Indiana University. A few months before making the move to southern California, he and his wife, Darnell, welcomed their fourth son into the world. For the fourth time, the couple provided doctors with Darnell's medical history but couldn't do the same for Deland's side of the family. At 44 years old, McCullough knew nothing about where he came from.”
Kevin Yi is the youth and education pastor at Church Everyday in Los Angeles, CA and has been serving the middle school and high school students for over 15 years. He is a bi-vocational pastor and has been in the animation industry for over 10 years. He is the founder of www.truthmattersministries.com. He is married and has three children. He is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity at Talbot Theological Seminary.