Think you know iGen? You might need to think again

Posted On September 9, 2019

What do you think of when you think of iGen? A bunch of teens glued to their devices, posting selfies to SnapChat and following the latest trendsetters on YouTube?

Maybe you don’t know them as well as you think.

A report from the British Institute for Practitioners in Advertising referenced at recently found that today’s teens are more interested in spending time with loved ones than keeping up with the latest trends and racking up likes on social media.

Or maybe they’re just saying that because they know that’s what their parents would want to hear.

The study found that iGen prioritized time spent with friends and family, mental wellness and having a job they enjoy. They had relatively little interest in following trends or owning the latest brands or products, with a majority of respondents finding the abundance of choices in today’s marketplace overwhelming.

Nearly two-thirds of the respondents in the study considered themselves activists in some respect, with the leading interests being climate change, mental health, the wealth gap and a pair of uniquely British concerns – Brexit and the NHS.

Are British teens more socially conscious than their American counterparts? It seems to be more of a generational than regional or cultural trend. A recent piece in The Atlantic highlighted American teens who founded a job training program for people in poverty and organized a march against gang violence, while noting the popularity and success of We Day, an event designed to inspire youth in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. to make a difference in their communities.

And the number of young people involved in or inspired by the #NeverAgain movement after the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., is significant.

We Gen Xers and Baby Boomers have largely sold millennials short with the stereotypes we’ve placed upon them as an entitled, participation trophy generation. Let’s not make the same mistake in miscasting their younger brothers and sisters as well.

Categories: Generations, iGen