An Insider’s Perspective on What It’s Been Like to Grow Up in Gen Z

An Insiders Perspective on What It’s Been Like to Grow Up in Gen Z

Those who were born anywhere from 1997 to 2015 are considered part of Generation Z. This means these people are in the range of 6-24 years old as of 2021. It’s been interesting to grow up in these times, and as a member of Gen Z myself, I am here to tell you about some of the experiences of the 2000s from the perspective of an insider (the main events, of course).
The internet is one of the most life changing aspects that we in Gen Z have been able to grow up with. We are the first generation to have complete internet access throughout all stages of life, and it shows. I personally have some mixed feelings about the internet. The majority of the time, the internet is a wonderful place with laughs and helpful information. However, there are times when I think we as a generation rely on the world wide web too much, as we should be able to think and learn for ourselves. Nevertheless, the internet is full of hours of entertainment, and I can never get bored, so in the end, the internet is a for sure win.
Similar to the internet, we’ve had a lot of great movies and TV shows available to watch as we grew up, whether that be on a tape in the VCR, on a disc, or with cable. For me, some of the most memorable movies growing up were the original Barbie movies. They are so iconic and have more than a few catchy songs. (Some people may think Barbie taught us unrealistic expectations about love or body types, but I never saw that growing up. I learned that courage, kindness, and fighting for what’s right will get you far in life.) Other amazing movies we had growing up include original Disney movies, such as High School Musical, Camp Rock, and Teen Beach Movie among many others. Some memorable TV shows include Hannah Montana, Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Drake and Josh, iCarly, Victorious, and Fairly Odd Parents (these are a few that stick out in my mind, anyway). These movies and TV shows helped influence us as a generation while also opening our imaginations to new possibilities.
In addition to the internet and TV, we had access to online gaming websites, such as FunBrain, Fun4theBrain, and Agame. FunBrain had games and puzzles while Fun4theBrain had math games. Agame had games of all sorts, with anything from racing and interior decorating to dress up and cooking. I remember playing on these websites whenever I could. I liked that I could challenge my brain, but I could also relax and play more carefree games when I needed a break. Another fun website I remember playing on a lot growing up was Poptropica. On this site, you can customize a character that travels to different islands, where you complete tasks to help the people of that particular island. You can also go into a specific building on each island that is similar to a live lounge, where you can chat and play minigames with other players who are online at the same time. A similar game to this is Club Penguin, which I personally never played; however, I have watched friends play and can see that this game also has a special place in our generation’s heart.
Similar to the games mentioned above, there is another game that the majority of Gen Z would know (or would have at least heard of) that is iconic not only from when we were younger, but also now: Minecraft. I know not everyone in our generation loves this game, but a lot of us grew up playing it or watching videos of it. Minecraft has been fluctuating in its popularity, as it first became popular in 2013, four years after it was released in 2009. After that, it dropped off in usage as people stopped playing it. However, in recent years, people have come back to this sandbox game and it has been rising in popularity — again. It also helps that Mojang has been adding new and game changing updates recently, with the new Nether update in June of 2020 and the caves and cliffs update that is coming this summer. These updates have brought excitement back to the game as they add new elements, biomes, and creatures. Once again, some people may not have grown up with Minecraft, but I, and a lot of other Gen Z kids, have. The game has grown and matured with us. It has always been a big part of my childhood, and it will continue to be moving forward.
Before we were old enough to have phones, we used to play outside. Imagine that! It’s crazy, I know. Anyway, as I reflect on certain aspects that made my childhood from this time period so memorable, one of the things that stands out is playing outside. Whether playing in my backyard on the swingset, hopping fences, or playing hide and seek tag with the neighbor kids, being outside and enjoying the fresh air is something I always look fondly on. Although playing outside is not something specific to growing up in Generation Z, I still felt like mentioning it. A difference between our generation and previous ones, however, could be that we got to come inside to air conditioning and TV when we were done running around. Playing outside and having fun is an important part of any childhood. And remember, you’re never too old to play outside! Go get that sunny vitamin D.
The final aspect of growing up in any generation is knowing who the current celebrities or pop bands and artists are. Growing up, we’ve been able to know many musical artists and celebrities. For example, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, and One Direction are some of the artists that our generation has been able to grow up with. I remember when my sister had a 1D poster on her wall when she was in late elementary school and early middle school. Those were the days. Of course, celebrities and music artists can remain popular for many years, but there’s something about knowing that a certain celebrity was a part of your childhood that makes them even better. Times are still changing, but being able to mature at the same time as that of our favorite celebrities and music artists is something special, and it can even create a sense of warmth and comfort because it is something we know and are familiar with.
All in all, Generation Z has been lucky to grow up with technology and iconic movies and games. It’s been interesting to take this nostalgia trip, but it’s still fun. It brings back many fond memories that I never want to forget. Gen Z may be spoiled with technology, but there were always good aspects of growing up in this generation. I will cherish these moments; it has been amazing to grow up in Generation Z (minus the pandemic — but we won’t talk about that).