The internet is blamed for a lot of things: goldfish-like recall skills, short-circuited attention spans, selfie-induced vanity, and that’s just for starters. But a new study reveals that young people are reaping the rewards of a life lived online, using the digital assets at their disposal to achieve their career goals - and older generations are envious.
The research, carried out by Lucozade Energy, focused on ‘Generation Z’ (born between 1990 and 1998) and found that 71 per cent of those surveyed think they are more “worldy-wise” now than in previous generations, and 70 per cent of those believe this is because of social media.
“Twitter is faster than any news,” explains 20-year-old Max Furr in the report, published on Gen Z’s favourite blogging site, Tumblr (www.generatorsz.tumblr.com). “I’ll say to my parents, ‘Oh, have you heard about this?’ They’re like, ‘No.’ It’s like... YOU have to wait until 10 o’clock tonight before you can hear about the news.’”
It’s not just passive consumption of media that marks these youngsters out however. More than half of 16 to 24-year-olds (56 per cent) believe their digital and life experience means they’ll be more prepared for work later in life - and many are making headway in their careers in their teens. Max now runs a fashion retail site and leveraged his 40,000-strong Tumblr following to set up a hugely successful pop-up shop on Bond Street. Bejay Mulenga, meanwhile, founded the Supa Academy, a digital platform that helps other youngsters run their own business, after making £15,000 from a shop he set up at his own school.
Does this mean that growing up in a digital world makes it easier to succeed in life? Not necessarily – a quarter of respondents in the Gen-erators Z report think it makes life harder. The parents of Gen Z, on the other hand, certainly think the youth of today are at an advantage, with 72 per cent saying they wish they had had the same opportunities when they were younger, and 62 per cent even admitting they are jealous of the experiences of digital natives.
It’s well-known that when it comes to computer gaming, it’s no longer a man’s world, as women now make up half of all gamers. But did you know only 12 per cent of the people actually making the games are female?
Jealousy aside, the findings are encouraging. The internet may still be to blame for a lot of bad stuff, but it’s propagating a new kind of self-sufficient ambition and allowing the next generation to sow the seeds of success.