There has been a lot of discussion lately about what it means to be a millennial, but with the first members of “Generation Z” already halfway through elementary school, it’s probably a good time to think about the next generation of young people and how kids born after the year 2000 will be different from us.
1. They won’t understand why the Microsoft “Save” icon looks like this:
In the era of Cloud data, DropBox, and Google Drive, Generation Z won’t know what floppy disks are and more importantly, why they had the most confusing name ever. While the availability and ease of data usage enables a much higher level of productivity and the sharing of information, kids born after 2000 won’t have a similarly tangible or physical connection to their data.
2. They won’t get to experience the joys of dial-up internet and an AOL.com email address
With lightning speed Internet now available across multiple platforms and (generally) wherever you are, Generation Z will never understand the pain of a dial-up connection, from the ear-piercing dial-tone to the incredible joy of hearing the AOL man tell you that “You’ve Got Mail!” On a related note, the classic Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan romantic comedy of the same name will make no sense to them either.
3. They won’t understand why having one of these in your lunch box made you the coolest kid at school:
Generation Z is now growing up with increasingly health conscious parents who are (rightfully) demanding that local school districts implement healthier and more nutritious school lunch programs, a movement being driven by the likes of Jamie Oliver and Cory Booker. For parents who still want to provide lunch for their kids, lunch pails (remember when they were still called that?) these days are also getting fancier, with members of Gen Z noshing on brown rice sushi and quinoa bento boxes during lunch hour.
For those of us born before 2000, we got to experience the joy of peeling back the wrapper of a Lunchables box (limited to a few select varieties back then) and assemble our own mini pizzas, nachos and cracker sandwiches featuring plastic tomato sauce and luminous yellow cheese.
4. They won’t understand the emotional importance of a mix tape or CD:
Before the age of iTunes and instantly accessible music, mix tapes and CDs played an important part in how people learned about and shared music. Countless after school hang out sessions and road trips took place to the soundtrack of carefully curated mix tapes, which were a great way of sharing new music and more importantly, an almost fool proof barometer of whether someone at school really *liked* you.
Nowadays, programs like Spotify make it incredibly simple to search, create and share playlists with friends but there will always be something special about a carefully crafted mixed CD with a “special” Sharpie message written on it.
5. They will never get to experience the awesome (and slightly terrifying) wonder of these guys:
Many members of Generation Y spent the majority of their childhoods listening to (and screaming about) a vast collection of outlandishly costumed girl and boy bands. Groups like NSNYC, Backstreet Boys, Destiny’s Child, the Spice Girls, and countless others churned out Billboard hit after Billboard hit, all while singing in perfect harmony and rocking out in completely synchronized dances. Sure, kids born after 2000 may have Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift but we’ll always remember what it was like busting out boy band dance moves in front of Carson Daly and TRL.