Gen Y V.S Gen Z

Alexis Wallace, student writer

Growing up, I’m sure the “kids have it so much easier these days than we did,” spill from your parents was a universal experience. But which generation actually had it harder? Our parents and our parents’ parents may have had it hard, but the advances in technology have made our younger generations more susceptible to the dangers of society. With more access to things like vapes, drugs, alcohol and even social media, younger generations are exposed to life altering situations everyday.

Mrs. Stephanie Rathgeber, a teacher at MCHS and a mother of four, says that our current younger generations do have it harder than her and her parents did. Mrs. Rathgeber says that “there has always been access to things like alcohol and cigarettes, but the stigma towards those activities making someone a bad kid isn’t as popular.” These days, things like peer pressure and social media idolize unhealthy and unsafe habits such as vaping, drinking, and smoking marijuana. 

Vaping at school is one of the biggest issues in middle schools and high schools around the country. As a high school teacher whose classes are mixed with freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors, vaping in the bathrooms is an issue Mrs. Rathgeber comes across everyday. 

In January of 2020, when vapes were just becoming popular in high schools, 59 people were hospitalized due to injuries related to vaping. 

Not only are the physically unhealthy habits popular in today’s younger generations, but social media presence also plays a large role in the emotional and social development of today’s youth. From lack of self esteem to large egos and flaunting for the media, the mentality of today’s youth is drastically different than generations before. Mrs. Rathgeber is a believer that children should be supervised, and trusted until given a reason not to be. She says that her son goes to the mall with his friends, but is picked up and dropped off by herself or her husband and also turns his phone in at night to them as well. 

Social media has such an impact on today’s youth that could potentially be very unhealthy. Peer pressure comes from friends, but the more images on social media portray these activities and habits as cool and fun. The more reckless children get, the more tragic the outcome may be. 

In addition to all of the current things we have to worry about for our children, the fact that two years of our lives were put on pause because of a global pandemic also stunted the academic development of Gen Z.