Teens - Gen Zers Are Well Connected, Well rounded

Teens - Gen Zers Are Well Connected, Well rounded

 Source - "Teen Wolf", Wolfkill

"Well, Dad it didn't pass me by. It landed on my face." – Scott Howard, "Teen Wolf", Wolfkill, 1985

Every generation has been the one that was going to take the world straight to hell. Gen Z may be the generation that turns the corner.

Today's teens aren't your prime customer market – yet, but they are the next in line to take over business, the world.

They're the first generation born with the Internet, the Web, apps and smartphones.

They are almost constantly connected and are perfectly comfortable tapping into any news, information, entertainment anywhere in the world.

Obviously, they're screwed up.

Except they're not!

And it's important that we know, understand them because – and let's be crass about it – they are the big customers of tomorrow and according to world census figures, they're a big market:

Silent Generation (69+) – 10.5 percent of the population

Baby Boomers (50–68) – 23.6 percent

Gen X (38–49) – 15.4 percent

Millenials (20–37) – 24.5 percent

Gen Z (19 and under) – 25.9 percent

Gen Z is rapidly coming into its own in terms of influence, consumption and spending power. The better you understand them, the better chance you have to be the product, service they want to align with, support, use and recommend.

Wikia's co–founder, Jimmy Wales noted, "It is clear that this generation is using technology in a way that is smarter, more involved and beneficial to their future. We can learn a lot from how this unbounded, younger generation interacts with technology and are able to quickly adapt to this rapidly changing media landscape."

Strong Understanding
Compared to the generation before them, Gen Zers appear to have a good grasp of the world they're going to inherit. Perhaps it is because Internet access has made it easy for them to judge "facts" for themselves.

According to a report by OfCom:
  • 81 percent view a degree as important to achieve their goals
  • 60 percent want their jobs to impact the world
  • 26 percent currently volunteer
  • 76 percent are concerned about our impact on the planet
  • 76 percent would like to turn their hobbies into full-time jobs
  • 73 percent support equality for all
  • 72 percent want to start their own businesses someday


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Financial Focus – Today's teens are already looking to the future with over half (62 percent) putting almost half of their earnings into savings. It may not sound like much, but it represents more than $44B annually. They are certain they'll fail at least once in their lives but feel it will be a learning experience. In addition, they plan to someday have a home and car.

Parents of teens and Millennials got involved with the Internet when content was mostly text; but for teens, it is just one giant TV/new/information/radio channel they can tap into with any device that's at hand – when they want, where they want, how they want.

According to a research report by Marko, there are real differences between Gen Z and Millennials:

Gen Z Millennial
• Five screens • Two screens
• Communicate with images • Communicate with text
• Create things • Share things
• Future focused • Present focused, here and now
• Realists • Optimists
• Want to work for success • Want to be discovered

Since they were almost born connected to the Internet, use of the internet by Gen Zers is high, regardless of the device. But as a clear indication of what tomorrow holds for device, app producers and online/onsite retailers, a growing volume of their access is being done with mobile devices.


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Totally Connected – Generation Zers, were born (1995 – 2009) the Internet was coming on strong; the Web was beginning and it wasn't long before every company on the globe had begun developing new ways to reach out and touch customers. And just like today's teens, when mobile devices emerged, they had an arsenal of tools to ensure they were always in touch.

Since they are rapidly becoming a major market, Stiles – a Millennial – looked over their focus, capabilities and potential and said, "I don't think I can handle it."

Males tended to use the internet more than females, according to Pew Research; and rural teens were more likely to access the iNet than urban teens (99% vs. 94%). However, females were slightly more likely to use mobile access than males (25% vs. 20%).

Key findings were:

  • 78 percent of teens have a cell phone, almost half (47 percent) smartphones.
  • 23 percent of teens have a tablet computer
  • 95 percent of teens use the internet
  • 93 percent of teens have a computer or have access to one at home
  • Seven in ten (71 percent) teens with computers access say it's shared with others
Sharing But...

Being online almost every waking moment, teens are sharing more information about themselves on social media sites than in the past. However they are also taking more aggressive steps to manage their privacy and are concerned about third–parties (businesses, advertisers) accessing their information.

They fully agreed with Stiles when he said, "Do the right thing."

Pew Research found:
  • 91 percent post a photo of themselves
  • 71 percent post their school name
  • 71 percent post the city or town where they live
  • 53 percent post their email address
  • 20 percent post their cell phone number
  • 60 percent of teen Facebook users set their Facebook profiles to private (friends only)
  • 56 percent say it's "not difficult at all" to manage the privacy controls on Facebook
  • 33 percent say it's "not too difficult"
  • 8 percent say that managing their privacy controls is "somewhat difficult"
Managing activities include:
  • 59 percent have deleted or edited their posts
  • 53 percent have deleted comments on their profile/account
  • 45 percent have removed their names from photos
  • 31 percent have deleted or deactivated their profile or account
  • 19 percent have posted items they later regretted sharing
Them, Not Me
A study by Camp Mobile found that 81 percent of teens felt their peers shared too much information.

Teens have embraced app downloading in a major way (especially games); however, a growing number uninstall or avoid apps because of security/privacy concerns.


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Don't Follow – While it often appears as though teens have little concern about privacy and security and seem comfortable sharing certain information, they know how to manage their social media profiles and which apps to download, avoid and uninstall. They're also very good at being able to turn off marketing tracking features.

Girls have become especially sensitive to location information monitoring/collection and have disabled the features on their smartphones and apps.

A recent research report found:

  • 58 percent of teens have downloaded apps to their phones, tablets
  • 51 percent have avoided apps due to privacy concerns
  • 26 percent have uninstalled an app because they found out it was collecting personal information
  • 46 percent have turned off location tracking features on their phone or app
  • Girls are more likely than boys to disable location tracking (59% vs. 37%)
eMarketer estimates 97 percent of Gen Zers will use the Internet this year with regular social media activity growing to 86.5 percent. A growing number will keep a closer eye on how much they reveal to the world, including selfies.

Unlike Millennials, they prefer hangouts like Snapchat and Whisper to Facebook and Twitter. They're very visually oriented and are very tech–savvy.

They've grown up in the DIY (do–it–yourself) environment, focus on how it is made, seek peer recommendations/affirmation and are usually early adopters of products that are practical yet cool.


Insert alt text hereSource - "Teen Wolf", Wolfkill

Gen Zers are focused not on today but on tomorrow which is probably why they agree with Coach Finstock who said, "It doesn't matter how you play the game, it's whether you win or lose. And even that doesn't make all that much difference."

Teens are not only the most digitally–savvy generation, they are helping all age groups advance more rapidly and more immersively with their communications tools.

They seamlessly switch from platform to platform, device to device and brand to brand to find a balance of the best product, the best service, the best price.

If they get burned by a manufacturer, service provider ... they can/will bite.


Andy Marken – andy@markencom.com - is an author of more than 800 articles on management, marketing, communications, industry trends in media & entertainment, consumer electronics, software and applications. An internationally recognized marketing/communications consultant with a broad range of technical and industry expertise especially in storage, storage management and film/video production fields; he has an extended range of relationships with business, industry trade press, online media and industry analysts/consultants.

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