Summary: Generation Z is the demographic cohort succeeding the Millennial generation. This group, born between the mid-1990s to early 2010s, are sometimes called “Digital Natives” due to their familiarity with technology. In recent years, documentaries have emerged that explore the unique experiences and challenges faced by this generation.
1. Defining Generation Z
As the first generation to grow up completely surrounded by technology, Generation Z has been shaped by the internet age in a way that no other generation before it has. These individuals are known for being tech-savvy, with many reporting that they have never lived in a world without computers and smartphones. However, this has also created a culture of instant gratification, making it difficult for many Generation Z members to maintain focus and attention span for extended periods of time.
Despite being tech-focused, many Generation Z members have concerns about online privacy and social media addiction. These are just some of the issues that documentary filmmakers have sought to explore in their work, offering insight into the defining characteristics of this unique demographic.
One such film is “Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age,” which highlights the impact of technology on children as young as toddlers, and provides parents with tips on how to approach digital devices at home.
2. Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Generation Z is notable for its diverse makeup, with the group being more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation. This diversity is reflected in the subjects covered by documentaries on this demographic, with many exploring the experiences of marginalized communities within Generation Z.
For example, the LinkedIn documentary series “Take On The World” follows several young professionals from different cultural backgrounds as they navigate the workforce. Through the series, viewers see the unique perspectives of each member and the challenges they face in the work environment. This approach to documentary filmmaking not only highlights the diversity within Generation Z but provides a platform for amplifying diverse voices.
Another documentary, “Generation Start-Up,” focuses on several young entrepreneurs from racially diverse backgrounds as they launch their own companies in Detroit.
3. Mental Health and Wellness
Generation Z has been met with an increasing demand for mental health services. Studies show that this generation is more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and loneliness than any other generation before it. This has led filmmakers to focus on mental health and well-being as a central theme in many documentaries that explore what Generation Z is all about.
One such film is “Angst,” a documentary aimed at starting a conversation about anxiety among parents, teens, and educators. While the film focuses on teens, it includes interviews with mental health professionals who compare societal pressures today with those of previous generations. This topic is also explored in “The Mind Inside,” which takes a deeper dive into depression and anxiety amongst Gen Z members.
This focus on mental health aligns with a general trend towards openness and honesty amongst Generation Z members, who are more likely to discuss their feelings and seek help when needed.
4. Political Awakening
Generation Z is becoming increasingly politically active, with many members engaging in protests and movements around the world. Young people have moved toward social media platforms to voice their concerns and spread awareness about issues related to climate change, gun violence, and inclusivity.
The power of these movements and the potential for impact are covered in a Netflix documentary series, “Trigger Warning with Killer Mike.” The first episode follows Killer Mike as he explores the economic power of the black community and how to use it effectively. Throughout the season, the rapper tackles topics related to race and identity, culminating in a lesson to new activists about how to change social systems from the inside out.
Films such as “We Are The Radical Monarchs” and “Knock Down The House” explore how young people continue the legacy of political activism by demanding representation at every level of government.
5. Changing Cultural Norms
Generation Z embodies values that depart significantly from previous generations, with cultural evolution being one of their hallmarks. This demographic values individuality over conformity, personalized experiences over generic standards, and inclusivity over exclusivity.
The HBO documentary, “Swiped: Hooking Up in the Digital Age” explores the impact of dating apps on Generation Z’s relationships and hookup culture. Similarly, “Social Animals” highlights the dynamic complexities of navigating Instagram, Snapchat, and Tumblr in today’s polarized and pressurized climate.
The ways in which Generation Z has embraced inclusivity are also explored in documentaries like “Trans in America,” which looks at transgender youth fighting for acceptance in schools and communities across the US.
Documentaries exploring Generation Z offer insight into the unique experiences and challenges facing this group. These films explore themes such as diversity, mental wellness, political activism, and changing cultural norms. By providing a window into the lives of young adults around the world, these documentaries can serve to promote understanding among multiple generations and inspire a deeper conversation about the future of our society.