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Youth generations are hugely different from the previous one, there are differences in the interests that adults should pay attention to.  Children and teenagers in the twenty-first capacity to be connected in ways that their parents could never have anticipated when they were growing up.
According to Statista, 64.4% of the global population in January 2023 have access to the internet through cell phones, laptops, and tablets becoming available to more and more people. 59.4% were social media users.
With worldwide access to the internet growing, technology is becoming ubiquitous. As a result, the interests of the youth generation have shifted drastically from what they once were.
At the start of the century, the internet was still in its infancy. There was no Facebook, no Instagram, no Snapchat, and certainly not the Gen Z phenomenon of TikTok. The internet was mostly used for research and information access, as well as for gaming and communication, but it lacked the real-time social aspect it has gained in the last decade.
As the technology and services of the internet have grown and changed, so have the interests of youth. Today, young people are consuming content in the form of videos and images – and creating their own, through applications like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.
Content creation has become a form of connectivity and entertainment. The virtual communities that can be accessed globally have encouraged many young people to develop their subgroups and subcultures.
Their interests now lie in emerging trends and challenges where they socially engage with others through likes and comments. However, while some of these interests can be educational and creative, there is a great need for digital safety among this generation of digital natives.
As adults and educators, we need to recognize the potential dangers and pitfalls of this new generation’s digital interests. We must be proactive in teaching our youth about online privacy, and keeping an eye out for cyberbullying ha, tried and any other malicious activities and language that can exist online.
We must also strive to help them maintain a balance between their virtual lives and real ones; and keep in mind that while their interests may have changed, their needs remain the same. Our children need protection while they are exploring their environment and forming their identities.
It is essential to remember the underlying needs and values of the youth generation. They need guidance and education, love and nurturing, and a safe space to explore and express who they are. It’s up to adults to ensure that our youth are supported and protected as they navigate the ever-changing landscape of technology and its associated interests.
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