Welcome to Generation Z, which includes those who were born between 1997 and 2012 (Parker & Igielnik). We are living in the age where Generation Z dominates. Already, Research shows that Gen Z is the most well-educated generation yet, along with being the most racially diverse (Parker & Igielnik). Clearly, Generation Z has already made its influence on the world. They have continued to create unique trends and patterns that have been identified by researchers, and much of Generation Z’s characteristics have been recorded. Research also shows that Gen Z as a whole, on average, is the most technology dependent generation the world has ever seen (Western Governors University).
Another notable trait of Gen Z, however, is how this generation values a different approach to dating, compared to previous generations. According to Elizabeth Berstein, an American sociologist, Gen Z is “romantically challenged” (Bernstein). She explains that Gen Z is the first generation to have access to a variety of dating apps. Due to this, experts say that members of Gen Z show apathy, commitment phobia, conflict aversion, and commitment issues. In fact, marriage rates are lower than ever, while Gen Z is defined as the most independent generation to date (Lee).
Why is Gen Z like this? Is romance dead? What does the dating scene look like now? Is it forever changed? What is the reason behind the stark difference in how this new generation takes on dating? The answer lies in our screens. The truth is that technology has made it so easy to connect with people, that sometimes it’s very easy to take individual relationships for granted. What will happen is people will use technology to maintain a surface level bond, but those same people also don’t put in the effort to build long lasting relationships, making commitment extremely hard (Orchard). People, especially Gen Z, spend countless hours scrolling, swiping, and liking that our eyes are opened to an amount of options where everyone is replaceable. Furthermore, the fear of restricting yourself to one person makes someone afraid and scared. Thus, there are so many chances to “ghost” someone (Spolia). These are common patterns that members of Gen Z exhibit when dating online.
Generation Z is already glued to our screens, and addicted to social media. We live in a world where people can make careers out of viral internet videos, where we are able to create a persona on the internet of someone we pretend to be, and where we can meet and connect with virtually anyone in the world. Thus, perhaps the correlation between a fear of intimacy because of a saturation of unrealistic beauty standards and the countless opportunities of meaningless connections makes perfect sense in this new, digital age.
Now, all of this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can only meet your partner through a screen, and that every person a part of Gen Z has commitment issues. Love stories still exist, and are truly possible for anyone. However, it’s important to take note of our internet habits, and how they can translate into actions in the real world.