Move over Millennials. There's a new kid in town.
Recently demographers and gen theorists documented a clear shift---distinct behaviors and attitudes that signaled the start of a new generation. Technology plays a role here. For people 19 and under, digital relationships and multi-tasking on five screens at once are the norm. In fact, many of them were read "Goodnight IPad" rather than "Goodnight Moon" at bedtime.
Now the question -- what to call this new group?
Names abound (IGen, Gen Z, Globals, Builders), but two names seem likely to stick: Homelanders and Gen Edge. Here's why.
Each generation is born into a time of stability and belonging, or a time of idealism and awakening, or a period of skepticism and instability. And then (drum roll, please) once every 100 years or so a generation is born into a world on the knife edge of change, maybe even on the edge of collapse. Economically, socially, politically and technologically, things are changing so quickly and intensely that the whole era feels unpredictable, risky, edgy.
Of necessity, a generation of kids who grow up in an edgy time develop an edge themselves. Resourceful realists, they develop an ability to cope and resilience. They have to. And as they find their way through minefields of uncertainty, they figure out new ways of making things work. In terms of generational theory, this is an Artist generation. The last one was the great-grandparents of Gen Edge.
Parenting comes into the mix as well. Today's kids are being raised by Gen X parents who nurture without coddling. Unlike Millennials, Gen Edge has not been overprotected. They've known about adult problems, like unemployment and bills to pay, from early on. So they navigate the world with savvy beyond their years. Realists to the core, they have an edge.
Gen Edge just fits.
Generational expert and keynote speaker, Amy Lynch helps the generations understand each other. She has spoken to 100s of groups from MTV and Comcast to Boeing, J&J and the staff of the U.S. Senate. Contact Amy about your next event.