There's no way any of us are going to forget 2020.
Each generation has had their defining moments, and it is likely that for Generation Z (born 1995-2009) and Generation Alpha (born since 2010) it will be how COVID-19 took hold of the world in 2020.
Cording to leading tomography Mark McCrindle, the age at which we’re exposed to a transformative event determines how embedded it will be in our psyche.
In his recently released report, understanding the impact of COVID-19 on the emerging generations, McCrindle suggests That the changes brought on by COVID-19 have been unprecedented for the younger generations who only read about similar responses to a crisis of this scale in history books.
While people of all generations have been impacted by COVID-19, research done by McCrindle shows that 84% of adults surveyed agree that the COVID-19 pandemic will play a significant role in shaping the children of today.
Both the virus itself and the response has already influenced the next generation’s sentiment, behaviour, and lifestyle.
The impacts will continue beyond when it is kept under control and we emerge out of ‘iso’ (isolation) as many Gen Zeds are calling it.
This virus and the world’s response to it is set to shape the emerging generations and their future for many years to come.
McCrindle found that younger generations are more likely than the older counterparts to feel extremely or very uncertain about the future .
While older generations have experienced other life changing events like world wars, measures we are now experiencing is something the emerging generations have only ever read about in history books. Generation Z are feeling more anxious, frustrated, overwhelmed, confused, and unprepared about the unfolding COVID-19 situation than any other generation.
Source: Mark McCrindle
Impact on their lives.
The impacts of COVID-19 have extended into all areas of life, including how we travel, work, shop, socialise and engage with education.
McCrindle found that while the impacts of COVID-19 and changes in behaviour are being felt across all generations, the impacts are being felt by the emerging generations more so than their older counterparts.
Generations Y and Z are the most likely to say COVID-19 has had an extreme or substantial impact on their life so far.
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The economic impacts of COVID-19 are also being felt by younger generations seeking to establish themselves in the workforce.
Source: Mark McCrindle
McCrindle found that one of the biggest impacts of COVID-19 was on people’s health – not just their physical health but their mental health, wellbeing and resilience.
When asked about the biggest impacts of social isolation, Generation Z were most likely to say that boredom (51%), less physical activity (47%) and increased feelings of loneliness (41%) were impacting them the most, and significantly more so than any other generation.
They are also the most likely to see the negative impacts of screen time in their lives (31% Gen Z compared to 25% Gen Y, 14% Gen X and 17% Baby Boomers).
The fact that these generations have never lived through anything like this before is a reason for their increased anxiety.
Another is that they were a ‘more anxious’ generation even before COVID-19. Currently, around one in four young people aged 15 to 19 years meet the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness.
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