Are Gen Z and Millennial stereotypes really true?

February 14, 2019 — by Anna Novoselov and Sandhya Sundaram

Airpods nestled in ears, juul pods tucked in the back pocket and tide pods packed in the lunchbox. Thousands of memes saved in camera rolls and 350 day Snapchat streaks sent daily. These are some of the most prominent associations for Generation Z, or those born between 1995 and 2012. On the other hand, Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 1995, are often known for being “hipster” and enjoying uber cool treats like avocado toast and $6 coffees.

Based on generational differences, we often form stereotypes, varying from habits, hobbies, slang and attitudes. Both generations have significantly contributed to the world we live in today, especially in aspects relating to the internet and social tendencies. Both generations also have some ridiculous and inexplicable tendencies and quirks that may be puzzling to the outsider. So where do the differences lie?

First, AirPods. Sometimes they seem to be in almost every teen’s ears. When parents yell at you to do something, you just blame your AirPods. You can’t hear your mom yelling at you to do the dishes because your AirPods are in. It’s super convenient too: You can barely see them so they’re the perfect excuse.

Besides that, for us Gen Z peeps, memes are more than entertainment; they are a source of life. They have transcended all barriers in the mortal realm, perhaps even outweighing food, water and air as necessities for survival.

It’s also important to note that we learned how to swipe before learning to speak. Technology has become an extension of our arms and a permanent part of our existence. Some of us check social media 100 times per day and itch for our phones each time a notification pops up. It doesn’t matter if we have a huge exam the following day; we must get our fix.

Something that many Gen Z people may notice is the obsession with people receiving messages and immediately responding. No one likes to get left on “read.” If people don’t reciprocate, things get ugly. For example, you might get quite frustrated if you started a Words With Friends game on Facebook Messenger, and someone left you on read and didn’t play you back.

Basically, with instant gratification simply an internet search away, Gen Z kids are characterized as impatient and in need of constant stimuli.

But, to those adults that think we’re so impatient: If we are, would 1,000-day Snapchat streaks even exist?

Go back a generation and you have the Millennials.

The stereotype is that they were coddled by their parents (baby boomers) during a period of economic prosperity, and are now in need of constant pampering and attention. Positive reinforcement and compliments are like oxygen to them.

They get offended at the slightest of things and update their Twitter feed every couple of minutes. Of course, what they ate for breakfast and what they think about while brushing their teeth is completely necessary information for all of their devoted followers to know.

Maybe they should have stuck with their single-family desktop computer, floppy disks and cassette players instead of being sucked into the digital age. Now, they too walk around with phones and tablets by their side throughout the day. However, instead of sending black screens with a messy red S on Snapchat, they scroll through Facebook, contemplating whether a post deserves the “Love” reaction or simply a “Like.”

Although both generations use social media, Millennials tend to stick to Facebook and Twitter over Snapchat.

They are also known for their skinny jeans, oversized flannels and Tumblr Instagram posts that give you 2008 Bethany Mota vibes.

Despite these differences, it’s evident that both generations have made the world a more interesting place, whether through inspiring Pinterest posts, or “weird flex but okay” memes. And although we sometimes don’t notice our weird tendencies, looking at them closely reveals they may not be as different from each other as they’d like to think.

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