The Next Generation, the Net Generation, aka, Gen Z

Those born between the early 1990’s and the early 2000’s have a common name and common thread, the Internet. Generation Z also known as Generation Net have become the most recent generation. The earliest birth year for a Gen Z is commonly agreed at 1991. These people were born at the dawn of the World Wide Web.

More generally, some of the oldest members of this generation were born at the end of the “Echo Boom” or the Gen Y group. The youngest babies are generally believed to be a baby “boom let” which occurred around the time of the financial money crisis in the 2000’s ending in 2010. The next generation is yet unnamed.

The parents of the Gen Net group are typically Gen X, or late boomers and quite easily the older members of the Gen Y generation. The new generation has been given many names such as Generation Internet, Gen Z after the Gen Y, the M Generation after the reference to their need to multi-task, Generation 9/11 referencing the juvenile population at the time of the September 11 attacks, Homeland Generation, based on a study by Strauss-Howe, showing the similar type of personality of their grandparents or great grandparents, the Silent Generation.

Digital natives is another tagged name for this group since they have been connected for their lifetime by media technologies such as the World Wide Web, MP3 players, text messaging, mobile phones, PDA’s, YouTube, I Pad’s and the list goes on and on and on. The difference between their Generation X parents and the Gen Z children is their parents had limited use to tech communication and the children were born with the highly connected forms of communication from birth.

The trends and traits of the Gen Net have been described by some as instant minded, a tendency to have “acquired Attention Deficit Disorder” since their dependency on technology is high and the attention span is lower than other generations who relied on book reading, newspaper reading. They are more consumers driven as their need to upgrade to the next more efficient tech tool, game, application is top of mind for this generation. This generation was born directly into a global society.

While Generation Z is referred to as the 21st Century generation, the generation after Gen Z will be the first generation born entirely into the 21st Century as some of the oldest Generation Z were born at the end of the 20th Century. It has been suggested the next generation after Gen Net, Gen Z, will be called the Alpha Generation. Generation Alpha will be the children of the Gen Y and older members of the Gen Z, as well as grandchildren of the younger Baby Boomers and older members of the Generation X groups.

For additional reading on this subject you might want to read Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser and The ABC of XYZ: Understanding the Global Generations by Mark McCrindle and Emily Wolfinger.