Generation Z is a largely misunderstood generation, according to research carried out for Newsbeat.
While 16 to 22-year-olds see themselves as hard working, creative and independent, a survey carried out by Ipsos for the BBC suggests older generations think of them as lazy and selfish.
We asked 1,003 people from Generation Z what their priorities are, where they see themselves in the world and what they think the future holds for them.
Generation age definitions
- Generation Z: 16 to 22 (youngest born in 2001)
- Generation Y: 23 to 37 (youngest born in 1994)
- Generation X: 38 to 51 (youngest born in 1979)
- Baby boomers: 52 to 71 (youngest born in 1965)
Newsbeat also asked 2,004 23 to 71-year-olds how they view younger generations.
The research suggests Generation Z prioritises family and education over going out, social media and the internet.
And it’s a generation more optimistic about its future than older generations think it should be.
Here are some of the main findings.
Generation Z has different attitudes to sexuality
The survey suggests a difference in attitudes to sexuality – with two-thirds of 16 to 22-year-olds saying they’re “only attracted to the opposite sex”.
That’s compared with 88% of baby boomers and 85% of Generation X.
Almost one in 10 in Generation Z say they’re “equally attracted to both sexes”.
Other generations don’t understand what’s most important to them
While older people think social media, going out and the internet are the most important things to 16 to 22-year-olds right now, Generation Z has a different set of priorities.
The Newsbeat research suggests family, education and partners are the most important things to them.
Generation Z is optimistic about its own future and prospects
Despite older people being pessimistic about the future for Generation Z, the people most positive about their own future are 16 to 22-year-olds.
While 41% believe their life will be worse than the previous generation, for baby boomers that figure rises to 54%.
Only 25% of Generation Z think it will be better – compared to 7% of people over the age of 52.
Social issues rank higher than for older generations
The different generations were asked about the most important issues which need to be addressed in Britain.
All ranked improving the NHS, preventing acts of terrorism and making the economy work after Brexit in their top three.
But there were notable issues which under-22s listed as more important – including prejudice towards LGBTQ+ people, gender equality and racism.
Facebook is their most popular social media platform
The research suggests three-quarters of Generation Z uses Facebook with Twitter way behind on 44%.
But while most 16 to 22-year-olds use Facebook, they’re much more likely than older generations to use Instagram (59% compared to 21%), Snapchat (56% compared to 9%), Tumblr (17% compared to 3%) and Twitch (13% compared to 2%).
The only social media service used more widely by older generations is LinkedIn.
The Ipsos research is based on replies from 3,007 people – 1,003 from Generation Z, 660 people in Generation Y, 667 in Generation X and 677 baby boomers.
James Delves from the Chartered Institute of Marketing says Generation Z are extremely influential.
“Brands such as Snapchat understand that they’re at the forefront of fashion and their influence extends far beyond their age group,” he says.
“It’s really important that marketers recognise 16 to 22-year-olds are individuals, and their tastes, fashion, interests vary as much, if not more so, than other age groups.
“What the research does clearly show is that Gen Z have starkly different attitudes to their elders.
“The onus now is on brands to identify these attitudes and utilise them to make authentic connections with young people.
“Gen Z are set to be the biggest buying group and as digital natives, their new demands will only increase as technology evolves.”