Are Gen Zers Voting with Their $$$? | February 28, 2020
Three Things This Week
What it is: This new app for connecting college students with food and beverage vendors could also become their favorite dating app.
Why it’s exploding in popularity: It has been on some college campuses for a few years, but recently got new funding to help it reach 100 new campuses in 2 years. Essentially, it works by making ordering from food vendors near a campus super simple and quick while offering discounts and freebies. Users can also gift items to other users, and they’ve started using the app’s direct messaging to ask others out. For those who are in or about to go to college, it’s yet another app that can be a great tool but could also cause a lot of problems concerning money (easier to spend money when it doesn’t feel like spending money), eating out constantly, and even relationships. Anyone remember when college prep was actually about college?!
2. Juul Is So Last Year
What it is: Vaping brand Juul was cool...until adults and the government caught wind of it. So as we slowly get around to enacting new legislation to curb use by minors, teens have already taken their business elsewhere.
Why it can be frustrating: Disposable vape pens like Puff Bar, Stig, and Mr. Vapor have proliferated, filling the void left by all the restrictions against Juul. These disposable “pod mods” are compact, cool looking, easily hidden, and much more potent that traditional cigarettes, with one pod containing as much nicotine as two or three packs of cigarettes. Since laws and government enforcement never move as quickly as teen whims and interests, parents and other caring adults have to be the first line of defense. We must talk about vaping and its risks without fear-mongering or using scare tactics. This article has some helpful suggestions, as does our Parent’s Guide to Vaping.
3. Raising Thoughtful Citizens
What it is: Gen Z cares about what’s happening politically, so much so that 49% of voting-age Zers (18-23) plan to donate to a political campaign in 2020.
Why it’s surprising: The proportion of Gen Xers (37%) and Boomers (25%) who plan to do the same is much lower, despite those cohorts having more money. Of course, intent is not the same as action, but it seems that Gen Z is reminiscent of young people in the 1960s and ‘70s in their political concern. It’s a great opportunity for families, churches, and schools to guide their fervor by teaching them to seek more than one perspective, ask good questions, weigh ideas against God’s Word, and pray for God’s guidance in their lives. Most policies and candidates aren’t as clear cut as they seem, requiring them to learn wisdom, patience, and humility as they reach voting age.
What Goes Up...
TikTok has been a frequent subject of discussion in this newsletter, simply because of its sudden rise to popularity and its simultaneous ability to baffle most people older than 24. And while lovers of the app cite its playfulness, randomness, and uniqueness as reasons why they prefer it to other social media platforms, there hasn’t been a whole lot of data on how the apps pros might give way to a bevy of cons. If we look at other platforms as a reference, we know it often takes a while for that initial shine to wear off. But TikTok is once again proving to be different.
As some TikTokers are already finding out, the app is unprecedented in its ability to skyrocket a person to success in mere days or even hours. But that fame can be wiped away just as easily, leaving the user confused and alone, with no support system to turn to. One 16-year-old named Sam was willing to open up to Voxabout his experience and its impact. He said that it wasn’t negativity or bullying that drove him away from the app, but rather “what happened when the views and ‘Likes,’ which he’d amassed over the course of nearly a year after a few viral video hits, started to drop.”
From a teenager’s perspective, becoming an influencer looks like an easy, fun way to make a living without relying on a traditional (i.e. boring) desk job, so it’s no wonder more than half of 13- to 38-year-olds would become influencers if given the chance. But very few of them see what happens when the camera’s not on or when the elusive likes simply stop coming. For Sam, that meant a lot of anxiety and doubt: “It’s scary because it’s this spiral of not ever feeling like you’re enough, and that leaves this mental scarring.”
Like with any fame, the negatives are rarely salient but can be devastating without proper preparation, support, prayer, and community. And since the positives are always up front and center for anyone who’s on social media, it’s important that we also lovingly help aspiring teens think through both aspects and make healthy, godly decisions based on all the data, not just what they see.
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
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