Growing up with Gen Z: 6 Reasons Kids Today Have It Harder

Let’s settle this once and for all—Generation Z (or Gen Z) refers to those born between 1997 and 2012 and Millennials (or Gen Y) refers to those born between 1981 and 1996, as defined by the Pew Research Center. Gen Z are known as the “first true digital natives,” and they grew up in a technologically-advanced world that is likely very different from what you recall of your own childhood. Yes, technology and modernization make certain things easier, but that does not necessarily mean they make life easier. We’ve listed down 6 reasons why Gen Z kids have it harder when compared to generations before them. Keep on reading to find out why and let us know if you agree!

Growing up with Gen Z: 6 Reasons Kids Today Have It Harder

Pressure comes from countless sources.

The internal pressure to be “perfect” is at an all-time high because kids compare themselves to edited and enhanced content they consume from social media. The platforms enable them compare physical characteristics, career successes, and lavish lifestyles, to name a few.  On top of this, there is also external pressure felt from their parents’ expectations and judgement from older generations. We know it’s not easy to deal with all the pressure, so it definitely worth commending this generation for stepping up to the task!


They've been on social media before they were even born.

It’s quite common for parents to start posting about their baby after the first sonogram and continue “sharenting” until they’ve filled their baby’s social media account with enough cute content. Kids feel one of two things when they discover their online presence pre-dates their own birth. Either they feel excited over the recognition or embarrassed at the choice of photos. Whichever of the two they fall under, they now feel the need to take control of their online presence and adjust it as they see fit.


They're entering the workforce at a time with high unemployment rates.

The older spectrum of Gen Z have just earned their college degrees and are starting to apply for positions at a time when many businesses are still struggling to survive. It is unclear when industries and economies will recover, but when they do, these promising graduates will be competing for positions with experienced professionals who were laid-off due to the pandemic.


They grew up with climate change.

It’s much less shocking for Gen Z to see destructive wildfires and super typhoons headlining the news since the issue of climate change has always been in the conversation for them. The urgency and pressure is on the youth to act despite the fact these issues were caused by the decisions made by older generations. Business plans and professionals must now consider the environment and global warming, in addition to meeting profit margins and business objectives.


Their friendships are built in digital spaces.

It’s time to move over, playgrounds! From continuing Snap streaks to dancing to the latest TikTok trends, friendships are built on various social media and messaging platforms. It is arguably more convenient, but the trouble comes when virtual friendships can’t transition into physical interactions. Also, the dependence on technology to maintain relationships can at times be a distraction as well as an obstacle. It can be more difficult to get to know another person when you need to differentiate between real life and filtered content.


Mental health is a global issue.

While it is great that there has been an increase in awareness and acceptance when discussing mental health, there is still a long way to go when it comes to the changes that need to be made to lessen the inherent pressures.  Most especially now, after months of being holed up at home, missing friends and the normalities of a face-to-face school year routine, mental health concerns are growing in number and in significance.



Barna Group, New data on gen z: Perceptions of pressure, anxiety and empowerment, Millenials & Generations, January 2021.

Dimock, Michael, Defining generations: Where millennials end and generation z begins, Pew Research Center, January 2019.

Gurtchiek, Katchy, COVID-19 pandemic is hitting gen z hard. Find ways to connect, Society for Human Resource Management, August 2020.

Mier, Amanda, Gen Z grew up with climate change. Now it’s starting to have an effect on their career choices, CNBC, November 2020.

Rahim, Zamira, Why Gen Z will be hit the hardest by the financial fallout from coronavirus, Cable News Network, May 2020.


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