The Kids Ain’t Alright
Generation Z and the pandemic
“Covid and I don’t get on well at all. It robs of me of my liberty, friends, favourite places and sometimes even my hope.” Almost one year on from the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, numerous studies are showing that teenagers seem to be paying the highest price in terms of their mental health. This is due to the knock-on effects of the substantial limitations on their social relations, having to spend the majority of their time at home, the interruption of their in-person schooling and the general drop-off in physical activity (and the consequent overuse of electronic devices). This condition will perhaps have wider consequences but it is proving difficult to talk about, or rather, difficult to get youngsters to talk about. The hermit-like teenagers of Generation Z are more inclined to open up (with one another) in 30 second bursts on TikTok than before the eyes of the outside world.
Twelve young people, aged from 14 to 19, agreed to be photographed in the places that are special to them and they told us how they are experiencing these times. “This situation should have taught people to be more human, but it seems that isn’t the case: they have become even more selfish, excessively bitchy, toxic and apathetic due to the lack of human contact.”
Many stories and many places, skate parks and playgrounds, discos, gyms and sports centres where now “everything is silent, all those places where we could escape just for a moment are now inaccessible”. And the schools: ”I am firmly convinced that education cannot be imparted through a cold electronic device. As Plutarch said, ‘education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire”.