Throughout history there have always defining moments for different generations. For the Baby Boomers it was the Moon Landing. For Generation X it was the Stock Market Crash and for the Millennials it was September 11. For the emerging generations – Generation Z (born 1995-2009) and Generation Alpha (born since 2010) – it might have been Donald Trump’s election or Brexit, until COVID-19 took hold of the world in 2020. The age at which we’re exposed to a transformative event determines how embedded it will be in our psyche.
How COVID has changed Gen Z and Gen Alpha’s world
The COVID-19 pandemic stopped social gatherings, halted the economy and significantly disrupted the normal rhythms of life. It has had an unprecedented impact on a global scale with world leaders putting measures in place, the likes of which have only been seen in response to the World Wars and the Great Depression.
From how we shop to how we work, engage in community, learn, educate, contribute and lead, COVID-19 and our response is marking a significant societal shift, the impacts of which will be felt even after the virus is kept under control. All of this change is truly unprecedented, especially for the younger generations who have only read about similar responses to a crisis of this scale in history books.
More than four in five believe COVID-19 will significantly shape the children of today
While people of all generations have been impacted by COVID-19, it stands to define those who are coming of age during it, with more than four in five adults we surveyed (84%) agreeing 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.
While these uncertain times can cause justified anxiety and concern, it is also in these times that we see community and human connectedness shining brightly. In challenging times, we see the positive and resilient aspects of the human spirit as we come together to respond to a changing world. This is true of the emerging generations as well, as this once in a century crisis stands to shape them and their future.
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