teens

'Dear parents, this is what I want you to know about growing up on the internet.'

Dear parents, 

Remember when you thought a Friday afternoon spent at Blockbuster renting two movies for the weekend was living? And now, we have thousands of movies at the touch of a button.

I’ve heard there was something called a Refidex? Or a street directory? Well, now we have Apple Maps and Google Maps to get us from place to place with ease.

Watch: Teens have a private, second Instagram account. It's where they share the "real" moments. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

Growing up with the internet and social media has impacted the minds of Gen Z. Some may call us lazier because of it, yet we call it working smarter, not harder.

The internet is all our generation knows, and it allows us to complete everyday tasks with ease. You may think we are constantly scrolling through our TikTok feed, yet some of us are simply checking the bus times for tomorrow or reading up on how to top up our bus card because we can so simply do so, at the touch of a button. 

I’ve heard about the times you missed the train or bus and had no way of letting people know you were going to be late. I mean, what was that like being MIA for a couple of hours? I’m sure it taught you resilience. However, being surrounded by the internet gives us the ability to be forward thinking and more independent from a younger age.

I mean, think about how the internet helps us all, not just Gen Z. During COVID-19, would we have survived without technology and the internet?

Of course, during the pandemic, the internet and social media allowed all of us to stay connected with our friends and family, but because of Gen Z’s technological upbringing, we have an innate desire to connect with the world. Not just with friends and family, but also with the current affairs in other countries. 

This power of staying connected and accessing knowledge makes us as a generation who wants to be seen and heard.

We may be "always on our phones," but how did you learn to use Zoom at the start of the pandemic? And didn’t you ask us how to stalk your friends' new baby pictures on Facebook? Yes, we have grown up with social media and the internet, so it’s all we know. But let's be honest, you also benefit from us being internet savvy.

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By growing up surrounded by the internet and social media, it has sparked a sense of creative innovation within us. With technology always progressing, new jobs are constantly being created, making Gen Z an entrepreneurial generation.

Listen to Help! I Have A Teenager where Jo and Ginni discuss whether you can take your teen's phone off them at night. Post continues after podcast.


But don't get me wrong, this isn’t to say social media is flawless. As I'm sure everyone knows by now, it can be a toxic place, too.

With social media, your appearance is always on display - always being watched, judged, and analysed. 

Through the convenience and ease of using editing apps, it is easy for anyone to edit their images, even the "realistic" influencers that Gen Z admires. This is the difference between the magazine covers you praised in your teenage years and the online world. On social media, the editing is constant. 

The 'dream' lifestyle never rests. And FOMO is rife.

You can stalk your high school ex-boyfriend or your former friend having a good time at a party on social media. And honestly, it's traumatising seeing all of your so called 'friends' at a party without you on Snapchat Maps, or seeing photos of said party on Instagram Stories.

On top of that, social media is often a breeding ground for online bullying.

Parents, when you were younger, if you were being bullied, it stopped when you went home. But nowadays, bullying never rests on teenagers. As social media never sleeps, neither does the bullying.

I know this all sounds a bit doom and gloom. But at the end of the day, Gen Z are the future leaders, and I am confident society is in safe hands. 

Though growing up with social media and the internet has had its negative impacts, it has made us a progressive generation. 

The truth is, having access to all the wrongs in the world has made us welcome and encourage change in this world. And if that isn't a positive, I don't know what is.

Ruby Randall may only be 18 years old, but she has well over 18 topics that she is passionate enough to write about. By sharing her experiences as the eyes of a new generation, she aims to connect with women of all ages who may have similar experiences so they can feel comfortable about themselves or maybe even gain some new insights. You can follow her Instagram  @rubyrrandall.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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