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This Is Why Generation Z Is Smarter Than Millennials

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Generation Z consists of those born in 1995 or later. As per a 2017 media research report, generation Z is 26% of the total audience overall and the millennials are now trailing behind at 22% of the total audience.

Just so to be clear, a “millennial” is a person reaching young adulthood around the year 2000. Generation Z, also known as the post-millennial generation, is the demographic cohort following the millennials.

Here is a graph from that report:

Source – THE NIELSEN TOTAL AUDIENCE REPORT: Q1 2017

A few weeks ago, when I went for one of my long morning walks, I was passing by a bunch of kids in the joggers’ park. Kids who were seven to nine year olds. One of the kids was having a cell phone which looked pretty expensive. He was talking to someone. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but I could hear that small boy talking presumably to his girlfriend, “Hey baby, where are you? I’ve been waiting for you for half an hour, are you coming or should I go with my boys for a ride.”

My reaction to this was, “What the fuck?” I stood there for a while before I could continue my walk.

I was visiting one my uncle’s home back in Rajasthan last year. I have a 15-year-old cousin. He knows about gadgets no less than any of the self-proclaimed tech gurus of YouTube. He knows about most of the latest smartphones, laptops, headphones and even drones. But he is not alone, most of his friends are like that. He is not an exception but a norm.

18 years ago, when I entered my teens, I was a tech head myself. I had access to a computer. I knew about computer languages and was starting to learn C++ on my own. I knew about complex computer setups, though cell phones weren’t accessible at that time. Internet was a dial-up connection on a 56K Modem. Each time you connected to the Internet, you had to dial a number and your modem would make funny sounds before it connected you to the World Wide Web. The Internet (the network of networks) was launched on 6 August 1991. But even after a decade, the network speed was so slow that if you sent a person from today to the 2000s, they wouldn’t be able to handle the low speeds. It was a time of practising patience and I had a lot of it.

I always stayed busy with my computer doing stuff people around me wouldn’t understand. I was a total computer geek. In those times, people like me were an exception.

Fast forward to present years, when I see kids of my friends or seniors, I find them much smarter than the kids in my early years. This triggers so many questions. But the biggest question of them all is – have humans silently gone through another cycle of evolution?

I was so intrigued by this question from so long that finally, I put together the pieces of this jigsaw puzzle. Here is an interesting graph I made which reflects the cornerstone developments of modern technologies.

As you see in this graph, in the past two decades, technology has developed so much. Disruptive modern innovations happened in the early 2000s till years around 2010. They became the underlying platforms for the innovations happening right now or the ones to happen in the future. As the platforms were set, the later growth of technology happened at an exponential rate. Now we have drones, accessible home automation solutions and even reusable rockets! We (humans) have come a long way.

While technology was growing in these years, millennials were making babies too. Those babies grew smarter. Not because of a biological or genetic evolution but a technological evolution. Technology developed so fast and products started becoming cheaper. That gave access to these amazing technologies first to the millennials and then to their kids. Even the middle class or the lower middle class could afford a smartphone in the mid-2010s.

The cell phone became a smartphone with its integration with the internet and millions of applications. It can do simple things and also complex things which were unthinkable of in the early 2000s. Technology has gone from telling what’s the weather like to accessing your email to complex things like measuring your heartbeat to now very very complex things like measuring even your blood pressure. Samsung’s latest S9 smartphone literally have a sensor for that which detect any variations in your blood pressure. Smartphones have done what seemed impossible a decade ago.

The second important point is that the income per capita has increased. Business went digital and started making more money and jobs started paying better after the 2008 recession. Now people can afford things to make their lives better which wasn’t the case in the 80s and the 90s. For millennials, it has been a financially evolving journey but for their babies, that was not the case. They got a good headstart. They may not have been born with smarter minds but they certainly got the enhancement tools like smartphones, iPads and Google from the day they became conscious.

Well, I’m not trying to do a gibberish comparison between 80s kids and 2010s kids. I’m trying to make a point about the advantage which the babies of millennials have but millennials didn’t. So if we want to quantify it in years, they already got a 20 years headstart.

That doesn’t mean they got to skip their schools or colleges and directly started earning money. But the advantage they got was the methods of consuming information and ease of access to that information. In my early days, when Google wasn’t there, I had to look up the Encyclopedia Britannica. I remember I installed it from 4 CDs (Compact Disks) on my computer back in the day. It was quite good and gave answers to most of the general knowledge questions. But now we have Google. It can give not only the answers which are related to general knowledge but any question in any field. With the latest technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, search engines are becoming smarter and smarter day by day.

Yesterday, I was watching the Google I/O 2018 keynote of their CEO Sunder Pichhai. He introduced the latest version of Google Assistant which can now even call on your behalf to a hotel and book a table for you without even letting the hotel desk guy know that he’s talking to a robot. It’s so human-like. It’s only because they could make use of the artificial intelligence technology and make a platform like Google Duplex.

It feels like the technology development has given our life and time a huge thrust – indeed, we are living in the future.

Another aspect of the story is the health of the current generation. There are two sides to this coin. One is the type of people who became conscious of their health and started taking help of these technologies to become healthier. But there are also people who became lazier because of these technologies. They can now order everything from e-retailers or food ordering services that they don’t even need to take a step out of their homes to get anything. They hardly move from their bed at home or from their chair in the office. Of course, it is their own fault than the fault of technology. However, the technology was a trigger in their influenced behaviour.

What does the future look like?

I am not a fortune teller. But the growth happening in the technology world is making the next generation smarter already. I can see many impossible things coming into being. I can see space cars becoming a reality. I can see machines doing human work. I can see people living on the moon and on Mars. I can see earth becoming smaller from the travel point of view with faster transportation mediums like Hyperloop. Or any other similar technology where pods will travel underground in vacuum medium and with magnetic thrust.

I can see banks going extinct and new P2P transactional technology (probably not BitCoin or any of the cryptocurrency for that matter) becoming the new bank (or maybe Bank will shift their Business models, who knows!). I can see a product which may make smartphones extinct. We will be able to do things we are able to do on a smartphone today from our own body sensors like a screen projected on our wrist or in front of our eyes. Our hands acting as input sources on those projections or maybe something more unthinkable than that. I can see scientists making progress to save the earth. I can see people becoming more conscious towards saving the earth.

I have faith in this next generation of mankind. I hope they live up to it.

This post originally appeared here. If you want to read more such articles, please click here.

About the author: Himanshu Sachdeva is a writer and blogger at Lifestyle Architecture Lab based out of Mumbai, India. When he is not writing blogs, he is road-tripping and travelling.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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