[Opinion] Gen Z is too reliant on the internet to form their opinions


Natalie Nguyen

Gen Z is too reliant on the internet and their phones, leading to desensitisation to many subjects and the inability to look for the real reason behind a problem.

Glory Lee, Senior Photo Editor, Social Media Editor, Event Coordinator

Generation Z, a group of people born between 1997-2012, have grown up surrounded by technology since day one, from DVD’s to TikTok. The internet has shaped this generation whether you believe it or not. With such a strong influence on this generation, the internet has led them to be exposed to a wide variety of opinions and values. Many argue that the internet shapes your personality and I agree.

For example, slang terms like, “slay,” “litty,” “queen,” “pushin’ P” have risen in popularity recently, letting it become a part of Gen Z’s everyday vocabulary. Same could be said with trends this generation follows like, “the griddy,” “what song are you listening to” interviews or point of view videos. Given this information, it is not crazy to correlate how this generation has become too reliant on them when the internet has become such a huge part of Gen Z’s everyday life.

Not only does Gen Z rely on the internet to formulate opinions, but they also have become desensitized to what type of content they’re consuming on a regular basis.

If someone goes on TikTok for more than five minutes, the content feed they would see contains a wide variety of topics. For example, in one scroll a viewer could be exposed to a stranger’s experience of sex trafficking and then to a puppy in a pinnaple costume.

It is as if we, as a generation, have become numb to the very things that actually matter such as war, sickness, riots and poverty. These catastrophes affect over 101.8 million people every year.

Now, I am not saying that this generation does not acknowledge or do anything to help those who are suffering in these conditions. Although, they spread awareness and contribute to “getting the word out” in many unique ways. For example, people make parody videos, comedy skits and edits to show support and awareness of whatever subject they are studying.

However, Gen Z disregards issues until they become another trend, another like, another follow and another way for them to stay in the loop and relevant; but it is not their fault that they do this. This is the pattern Gen Z have followed all their life and are simply going to continue to follow given their environment. They become aware of real social issues or accounts of injustice, spread awareness by posting online, then forget that this issue is still an issue. It is a relentless pattern that will forever remain as a never ending cycle with this generation.

Gen Z has also become too “soft” due to the inclusion of the internet being present in their everyday life. This generation has become too sensitive that they’ve mastered the art of being over reactive.

PragerU is an American advocacy group that creates videos promoting their viewpoints on many controversial topics such as economical and political. Recently, they posted a video on Youtube about Students Vs. Mexicans: Cultural Appropriation. Testing the bounds of what was cultural appropriation and if they displayed it, the video further proved the point that Gen Z is too “soft” when it comes to controversial topics by having the students overreact.

Will Witt, a social media influencer who is white, interviewed multiple UCLA students asking for their opinion on if he was participating in cultural appropriation. In the video he was wearing a festive poncho, sombrero hat and taped mustache. In this three minute video, Witt found multiple students that all answered “Yes” to the question; they all seemed to falter when Witt followed up with “Why?”

Differently, when Witt interviewed people of the Mexican ethnicity on Olvera Street, they seemed to disagree with what the UCLA student’s thought. “No, you look nice,” one man said in regards to Witt’s outfit. As the video made its way to TikTok, comments also agreed that Witt looked nice and did nothing wrong with wearing that outfit.

When I first saw PragerU’s video, I immediately agreed with the UCLA student’s. However, when Witt interviewed people of Mexican descent on Olvera’s street, I reevaluated my opinion.

The facts were that a white man was wearing a poncho, sombrero hat and mustache asking people if it was cultural appropriation in a culture I know nothing about. Witt was not mocking, making any rude comments or ignorant gestures when he wore this outfit. Yet, I was so quick to call cultural appropriation.

I am not Mexican and I am not in any way related to that culture. I am an Asian-American who has experienced racism and cultural appropriation with the sexualizing of my native clothes. But, Witt did neither of those things; so why was I and so many others apart of my generation so sensitive and quick to point blame?

I have come to the conclusion that the reason why my generation is so quick to point and shout instead of looking further is because believing the lie is so much better than the truth. That takes too much work and too much time than just accepting what is in front of us. In front of me, I saw a white man in a poncho. My brain told me “he’s culturally appropriating,” instead of looking deeper into Witt’s character, actions and actually processing his reason I chose to believe what was on the surface.

Gen Z fails to look for the reason and therefore relies on the opinions of others to tell them where, what, why, and how to react. The internet has caused Gen Z to blindly follow and accept that they are okay with being told what to do and believe in. It has also led them to be overly sensitive, initiating them to blame others easily and creating a hostile environment where they have become desensitized to real world problems.