If you ask anyone what defines Generation Z, their instant response would be probably “social media”. Words such as “digital-savvy” emerged to describe millennials’ use of new media but things with Generation Z seem to have shifted to another level of digital use and consumption. And this is not strange at all. Generations are influenced by the political events, technological changes, financial shifts, and rhetoric of their times. But Generation Z’s use of media has become the subject of quick judgments about a generation who provide unique outlooks and different perspectives than their older counterparts. Issues and challenges faced by young people have become associated with the image of the vulnerable and passive media consumer, who needs institutional intervention: Parents worrying about their children’s excessive screen time, media narrating horror stories of cyberbullying, cyber texting and other forms of cyberisms, and politicians complaining of young people’s decreasing political participation
The following collection completed by four Carleton students aims to overturn these misconceptions by displaying four media projects done by young people to address their generation’s challenges. The projects address four issues commonly referred to in discussions of youth, particularly regarding their use of media: (slack)activism, cyberbullying, algorithmic filter bubbles, and lack of socialization amid covid. With the diminishment of young people’s voices in discussions of these issues, the collection aims to highlight Gen Z’s ideas and looks at the four issues from their own perspectives. It showcases creative ways young people engage with media to navigate the challenges of their time.
The four media projects are: