Listen: Why Gen Z is being labelled Generation Anxiety
"So it's twenty twenty. We're officially in the next great decade. But I won't lie to you. It's hard to be optimistic. About what the future sure holds a new report says home. Affordability is a growing problem for the average Canadian families. A new study of wildfires around the world from the Amazon rainforest to California says human activity is raising temperatures and adding to the threat. Job Market is tough and it's especially tough for college graduates. A huge number of them are actually working at jobs. That don't even fire a college degree if you're a millennial or a boomer or one of those rare rare Gen xers you might be able to get away with blaming this pessimism for the future on your age and life experience but the same can't be said for generations the young bucks of the future. Today's teens and young adults they should be excited about the next ten years keyword should in reality party they aren't instead they're being labeled generation anxiety anxiety is nothing new among young people but Gen Z.. is worried about vote. Much bigger and more pressing issues than previous generations. So how much of it is justifiable. How is it affecting young people right now? And what can other generations due to be more helpful and understanding I'm Stephanie Phillips in for Jordan Heath Rawlings. This is the big story. Johanna Chisholm is a digital. It'll producer at the Toronto Star. She looked into why Gen Z.. Is being labeled generation anxiety. Hydra Hannah. Hello how are you Stephanie. I'm good thanks so when we first reached out to you to get you on the show you said that this topic you know really interested you What about this topic interested you so much for sure I'll admit that it was assigned to me by an editor. So I don't WanNa take full credit for it But what I was given the opportunity to sort of dig into this topic. I was Gung gung-ho because partially previous reporting that I had done kind of focused on Internet culture in youth and so I had come across bits of anxiety in teens in adolescence revolving mostly around like self harm on social media accounts but when I was given the opportunity to dig into why it is that the more broad generation is experiencing anxiety at such high rates than other generations. I thought this is an awesome time to go on. This and I had the space to do. It hadn't hadn't editor support to do it so that's really why I was really interested in digging into it so you wrote that Gen Z.. is going to be remembered as this. This generation anxiety. So what is the reason. Most recent data tell us about the levels of anxiety for this generation. There was a lot of really interesting. Thank studies that came out about this. The one that I thought was most relevant to our readers that are you know Toronto Ontario focused Cam each study. That came out that she saw a fifteen percent increase in youth. Anxiety between two thousand thirteen and two thousand seventeen and that was in the Self reporting so again. There are problems with that but but this huge jump to see just in five years. That teens are self reporting that they themselves are suffering from severe psychological distress which is characterized as either depression or anxiety symptoms and then there was an EPA study that came out from the American psychological association that sort of mirrored that data in Americans Americans students that it was doubling from two thousand ten to two thousand fifteen which is in that same sweet spot. We were talking about with the two thousand ten being this sort of anxious decade So that that was confirming in the numbers and then the part that I was assigned tasked with really doing was going to the kids and the teens and actually speaking speaking with them to find out what's going on with you guys not that you can really contrast it with the before but just to get their takes on why they're feeling anxious and what's going on there air so so who did you talk to And and what did they tell you about their anxiety So there was a large group of teens that reach out to me. Initially Ashley. It was kind of hard getting you know. Anxious people to come forward and talk about their most intimate feelings about things but eventually I was able to get a hold of Some teens from ages fourteen to seventeen who are in high school and junior high to get thirsty takes on it from more to less inside of things and then I was able to get teens. Who are in the university level? So twenty two twenty three because Gen Z.. Cuts off twenty-three. In most situations some people push it to be twenty-five five. I think but I think most people agree like Pew Research Center Says Ninety Seven to two thousand twelve. Is Jesse because you had to be. I guess like sentient went for nine. Eleven for that event to be characterized as millennial and yeah so I spoke with a bunch of different teens all who were experiencing different kinds of anxiety Heidi and kind of different levels of awareness about it so once I spoke with he didn't even really characterize his symptoms as anxiety because he didn't even really know that it was anxiety he was just looking out at. What are my prospects after I graduate and he no? He's an ECON student at the University of Toronto. A student and really good and pretty sure. He's good for for jobs after graduation but even he was looking at job banks Canada every single day and was like my heart just feels heavy. I was getting Migraines at the library and couldn't really like put into words why he was feeling these things and then when someone asked him like hey do you think it's anxiety he was like. Oh maybe I don't know whereas other students I spoke with reveal airy capable of putting the words to what they were feeling so I think that also speaks to level of awareness ernest. That's out there for young people that previously wasn't there right and I spoke with a climate activist in high school. who had some very powerful awful things to say for seventeen year old that I quite honestly was blown away by but she was sort of just experience or explaining how you know she would talk to her dad about it was like for him growing up and the contrast between what she's looking at and what he was looking at? which was you know? Buy a home get a job or get a job by home. Live in the suburbs CBS. Pay Off your mortgage and she's looking at it like. How am I going to afford school? I don't even know if I can with all these. Oh stop cuts with all of these different stressors in the economy. Hey how can I even think about getting to the point where I'm getting a job or so much even buying a house There's a lot lot in there. Yeah those are big issues. Yeah complicated issues. What is research? Tell us about the world that these young people are well. There was a lot And part of the issue had Haad reporting it was like I'm packing it all into one article because you know you look at the world that these kids are walking into the world is on fire quite right literally at their feet. A precarious work is a huge issue. For them one in ten Canadians I believe stats candles. Reports that are part of the GIG. Economy and precarious work isn't just GIG. Work present as contract work or part time work but there's just an increasing amount of this non secure lifestyle that these other parents have There's also also the retreat of democracy that we're seeing fake news You know just social media technology all of these different things it's the cacophony of things. Just being shutdown these kids throats. So it's it's a lot that's To unpack for someone. Who's you know this vulnerable age group? Who are now between the ages of eighteen take twenty three to accept just digest and be like okay? Well maybe I won't be able to get a job and maybe I won't be able to afford a house and all those things that basically secured cured having good quality of life aren't going to be attainable. Well I I was talking about it. With other producers on our team and a lot of them expressed russell. They had feelings of anxiety when they were in high school or university. But it wasn't about these like big issues news about things that were kind of in control like their friendships or short term goals. Like you know. What University am I going to go to our? What job am I going to guide? Or what skill am I going. Go into that kind of thing. So what makes the situation for Gen Z.. So so different. Why are they concerned with these big issues? I will say that I think technology definitely is playing a large role in it. Part of the the Kwanza have with like pointing our fingers right technology to be the thing that's causing us is sort of a knee jerk reaction to say. Oh you know. Phones and cell phones and social media are causing all these woes and our youth because that sort of rationale has been applied to previous generations. When you Komo TV was causing it? We always point our finger at exactly social media digital world share But I definitely think it plays a role and I was speaking with a a researcher in the United States who sort of studies the role of technology and family life. Okay and she was explaining how not just technology but the way the information nation the sheer quantity of information that is just constantly available at your hip and just a moments away versus previously when you could kind of choose to not be turned the TV on and you could choose to have the radio off. That's not an option so much for teens The other thing that I'll point out that in some of the feedback that I received from Just readers who are of those generations you know the the boomers the Gen xers they were pointing out the stressors that they"