Gen Z Choose Calculated Risk over Rebellion
For earlier generations, rebelliousness was a hallmark of the youth experience. But as today’s teens and young adults come of age in these uncertain times, they’re weighing the consequences of their risk-taking more carefully. In our recent Youth Decoded study, we found that 86% of Gen Z (13- to 24-year-olds) describe themselves as “cautious” and just 64% consider themselves risk-takers.
Here’s more of what we learned about their relationship to risk:
Online privacy is a big concern. This generation believes that privacy should be protected, with 91% in agreement that finding out what companies hold information about you is a basic human right. Almost as many (82%) worry about the information that tech companies collect about them. Gen Z are often willing to give up information in return for personalized experiences, but they want companies to be more transparent about how their data is used. Nearly two-thirds think it’s fine for businesses to collect personal data if they’re open about what they’re doing.
They’re practical when it comes to finances. Gen Z have taken note of the financial troubles that have plagued the millennial generation and want to see their money go further. Virtually all (95%) believe it’s important to make smart choices with their money and 64% report that they’ve already started to save. This approach to handling cash applies to shopping, too. Nearly 9 out of 10 say they always research in advance to make sure they get the best price on new purchases.
Just over half have had sex. Today’s young people are conservative about sex, waiting until later than generations prior. Our research found that 53% of people aged 16 to 24 globally have had sex, which breaks down to just over a quarter among 16- and 17-year-olds and increasing to 50% by ages 18 to 21.
Wary of jeopardizing their futures, rebelling just doesn’t have the same cachet. In the past, drinking and smoking epitomized teenage resistance to authority. Now, 93% of Gen Z think you don’t have to drink or smoke to look cool. They’re also becoming less willing to share anything and everything on the internet – half worry that pictures or stories on social media might cause them problems down the line.