Holidays New Year's Perspective

Farewell to our decade, Gen Z

HONG KONG – Generation Z is considered anyone age 7-22 as of 2019, according to the Pew Center, with birth years from ranging from 1997 to 2012.

“Gen Zers” are best categorized as being the generation born into an expanding technological environment. The iPhone was released in 2007 when the maximum age of a Gen Zer was 10. By the time we were teens, we had wifi, cellular service, social media, easy communication, on-demand entertainment and constant connectivity.

A very young Lili Connell and some early Gen Z childhood relics, including a non-flat television. (YJI photo)

It’s no wonder the second choice of name for our generation was “iGeneration.”

Considering this, most of our trends came from social media and therefore were a lot more universal. For my parents’ generation, the trends could have been country-wide at most but hardly ever universal.

I could fly to rural China and probably still find someone who knows what Tik Tok is. This is the reason that with the arrival of 2020, there are many people who feel like we are saying goodbye to “our decade,” and because the memories of childhood we share are so widespread, it feels like a universal loss.

So for nostalgic purposes and to really reflect on our Gen Z childhood, here is a categorized list of some of the most significant things throughout my life and the lives of international classmates I surveyed.

To begin with, some childhood TV shows from some of our favorite channels: Disney, Nickelodeon & Cartoon Network:

Drake & Josh (2004-2007)

Suite Life of Zack & Cody (2005-2008)

Hannah Montana (2006-2011)

iCarly (2007-2012):

Wizards of Waverly Place (2007-2012)

Big Time Rush (2009-2013)

Victorious (2010-2013)

Good Luck Charlie (2010-2014)

Jessie (2011-2015)

Austin & Ally (2011-2016)

Gravity Falls (2012-2015)

And the movies we were able to watch on end:

Finding Nemo (2003)

The Incredibles (2004)

High School Musical (2006)

Wild Child (2008)

Camp Rock (2008)

UP (2009)

Lemonade Mouth (2011)

Frozen (2013)

Now, in Gen Z style, some of the most significant uses of technology throughout our childhoods and their release dates:

Nintendo DS (2004)

Club Penguin (2005)

Wii (2006)

Papas Pizzeria (2007)

Poptropica (2007)

iPhone (2007)

Moshi Monsters (2008)

Just Dance (2009)

Minecraft (2009)

Angry Birds (2009)

The 1st iPad (2010)

Vine (2013)

Subway Surfers (2012)

Flappy Bird (2013)

Direct technology wasn’t our only form of entertainment. Much came from the older generations:

Lego (1932)

Barbie (1956)

Play Doh (1956)

Easy Bake Oven (1963)

Nerf Guns (1969)

Littlest Pet Shop (1992)

Beanie Babies (1993)

Furby (1998)

Zhu Zhu Pets (2002)

Pillow Pets (2003)

Hex bugs (2007)

Silly Bands (2008)

Squinkies (2010)

Loom Bands (2010)

And we can’t forget the music/bands:

Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus (2009)

Tik Tok – Kesha (2009)

Baby – Justin Bieber (2009)

Grenade – Bruno Mars (2010)

Written in the Stars – Tinie Tempah (2010)

T.G.I.F – Katy Perry (2010)

Waka Waka – Shakira (2010)

Friday – Rebecca Black (2011)

Call me maybe – Carly Rae Jepson (2011)

The Cup Song – Anna Kendrick (2012)

Gangnam Style – PSY (2012)

Harlem Shake – Baauer (2012)

Whistle – Flo Rida (2012)

What Does The Fox Say?  – Ylvis (2013)

Watch Me Whip/Nae Nae – Silentó (2015)

The Black Eyed Peas (1995)

LMFAO (popular in 2011/12)

One Direction (2010-2016)

It truly has been a wonderful decade and I hope this list invoked some nostalgia.

Artifacts from Gen Z. (Lili Connell/YJI)

But as we reflect, we should also look to the future. How will we make the world better than when we got here? Each day better than the last?

I predict we continue to use our technological platforms for good, to spread sustainable ideas and to support one another.

The last decades for us were decades of nurture and learning, but for 2020 it’s time for us to take more action.

As we have just realized how fast time passes, don’t be afraid to pursue what you want.

So don’t be sad saying “goodbye to our decade” because instead, we should be excited about our ability to accomplish in the future.

Make this next one our most significant.

Lili Connell is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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