Think millennials have it tough? For 'Generation K', life is even harsher


A World Health Organisaiton report, published this week, suggests that British teenagers are among the most troubled in the world: of the 42 nationalities surveyed, only Macedonian and Polish teens are less happy with their lot. Our teenagers say they feel pressured by schoolwork and worried about the way they look. Researchers say they were particularly struck by how the life satisfaction of those aged 11-15 had gone down everywhere.

For this generation - named in this article by The Guardian as generation K due to Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen (pictured on the image above) - it’s all too attuned to spin, Photoshopping and sponsored content, soauthenticity is particularly prized.

Generation K is far lonelier than we might realise and yearns for connection, virtual or physical. Surprisingly, despite (or perhaps because of) all the time they spend texting, gaming and on Snapchat or Tumblr, when asked which activities they most enjoyed, teenagers list those with an element of physical togetherness, such as gigs or trips to amusement parks. In a world in which virtual communication is now the standard, face-to-face interactions come at a premium. Eighty per cent of those I have surveyed prefer spending time with their friends in person rather than on the phone or online.

Members of Generation K increasingly value things they can actively co-create.It is a generation of makers, creators and inventors. From Sarah, who builds her own computers, to Jake, who loves making horror films with his pals on his iPhone, today’s teenagers don’t only want to buy stuff, they want to imprint their voice on products, services and media, and become part of the design and creation process. Producing something themselves has value for this generation. It resonates with their desire to be self-sufficient, and to have physical experiences in a digital world – as well as their desire to have agency and impact.

Other characteristics of this generation:

  • They are coming of age in the shadow of economic decline, job insecurity, increasing inequality and a lack of financial optimism. 
  • They don’t feel that politicians care about ordinary people, and believes that the rules of the game are rigged.
  • They do not believe that life is a meritocracy.

Selfie-taking yet unselfish, connected yet lonely, anxious yet pragmatic, risk-averse yet entrepreneurial, Generation K is a distinct cadre, a generation very different from those that preceded them.

(This post comes from our Designing Deeper blog
(Este post foi retirado do nosso blog Designing Deeper)