By Ezzatullah Mehrdad-In April, friends and family members of Freshta Bakhtiari, a senior high school student, celebrated her 17th birthday. The party reminds her that she is one of teenagers who lives shared pattern of the Generation Z which she belongs.
Generation Z, which is also known as Post-Millennial, the Generation, Founders, Plurals, the Homeland Generation, and Centennials, are made by teenagers and those who are at early 20s age. According to the New York Times, demographers place its beginning from the early 90s to the mid-2000s. Some other say Generation Z consist of those were born in 1995 or later.
Bakhtiari, who was born in 2000 when Mark Zuckerberg was on the edge of founding Facebook and like most members of Generation Z, set foot on a world overrun with technology. In other words, Generation Z is the generation of technology.
“I have whatsapp. Text with my friends on Viber.” said Freshta. The generation is bond to social networks and deeply depends on cell phones, Ipod, Facebook, Youtube, Viber, whatsapp, telegram, Instagram and many other social Medias.
“We are the first true digital natives.” Hannah Payne, a 20-year-old U.C.L.A student and lifestyle blogger, told the Times. “I can almost simultaneously create a document, edit it, post a photo on Instagram and talk on the phone, all from the user-friendly interface of my iPhone.”
But Generation Z is the first generation to be raised in the era of smartphones. “From the very early age, I have had iPhone.” Freshta recalls. “I cannot remember the time when I had not smart phone.”
Generation of Smartphone is ‘digital bond to the internet’, characterizes Generation Z Anthony Turner. Mostly Gen Z’ers goes online to overcome to emotional and mental struggles. They likely spend more time talking with their best friends, who are mostly made online, on Facebook about their emotions, rather than talking to their family members.
Interestingly, the way they use social media is different from old people. They likely “follow” others than “share”. In the vast media, they seek uniqueness. “I’m different and want to be different.” Freshta says, adding smile.
Generation Z’ers, as result of interaction mostly online with a wide range of people, is the first true global culture. “We had video conference with New York students in 2015.” said Freshta. Internet and social media have made connection between members of this Generation easier than ever before. As a result, they have been raised in global culture which multiculturalism is the main feature of it.
Not only that, exchange programs bring them together and face-to-face global interaction is normal. “I have been at Turkey for participating in exchange program of Camp Future Stars,” Freshta told me proudly. “For two weeks, more than 30 students from central Asia, we were enjoying attending leadership, public speaking, academic writing classes. Besides, we had culture exchange and visited historical place of Turkey.”
Education is another shared pattern of living of this generation. In the history of world, it’s the first ever time that a generation is at school at this large scale. Only in Afghanistan, 9 million students are studying school. Mostly the 9 million students are members of generation Z. “I definitely can say that education has opened my mind.” Freshta stated.
While most members of this generation are still in high school, their style tends toward the teenage. For boys, jeans, cool sneakers and messy hair. For girls, jeans, cool sneakers and near hair for girls. This type of style is found widely on streets of Kabul and other parts of the world.
A global marketing consultancy the Futures Company surveyed ages 12 to 17 that member of Generation Z, “care a lot about whether this clothes are in style.” They wear cloths to express their own sense of style, rather than clothing for peer-accepted dress, added the survey. And they are less interest in fashion, because they, like Freshta, are actually fashionable by looking. “I hate going to beauty salon… I never go there.” Freshta said.
Digital Age, Global Culture, and education lead this generation to be the most open minded people to the date.
“This group seem much less attached to traditional gender binaries or linear definitions of sexuality.” Lucie Greene, a trend forecaster at J. Walter Thompson, told the Times. This generation crosses gender borders and other social boundaries.
“For me, there are no differences between male and female teachers.”Freshta emphasizes, who was President of Student Council of Marefat High School where she works with many boys in a team to run programs at the school. She sees no difference between male and female neither at her home, where she does home-works shared with her brother, and beyond. “Why should we have different jobs or roles while we are the same?” she asks.
This generation is much more than this. Their characters seem quite interesting.“I know I’m easy-going and social girl.” said Freshta, adding smile. “I’ve never lost my confidence. Just, like over-confidence girl in Kabul.”Besides, Gen Z is more competitive. “I wanted to teach English in order to be independent.” She explained in English.
In a report by Wikipedia based on a 2014 study Generation Z Goes to College in the U.S. said that,“ Generation Z students self-identify as being loyal, compassionate, thoughtful, open-minded, responsible, and determined. They view their peers as competitive, spontaneous, adventuresome, and curious; all characteristics that they do not see readily in themselves.”
In more words about what characters Gen Z have, Journalist Harry Wallop states, “Unlike the older Gen, they are smarter, safer, and more mature and want to change the world. Their pin-up is Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani (from Pashtun Ethnic group) education campaigner, who survived being shot by the Taliban, and who became the world’s youngest ever Nobel Prize recipient.”
Gen Z lives in a world where demand this generation to dream big in order to fix the past mistakes made by older generation. “I want to change Afghanistan,” Freshta dreams. “It’s my one of dreams.”