Generational Apathy

Katelynn Jones, News Editor & Copy Editor

   The idea of generational apathy has a stereotypical hold over every young person who chooses to contain their opinion. Oxford Languages defines apathy as the “lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.” Throughout time, older generations have accused the younger generations of being apathetic towards life. 

   When asked what I wanted to write about, I simply shrugged and said, “I don’t care.” That answer resulted in talking about apathy. What started as a respectful way to allow more ideas for my article turned into a conversation about how the older generation believes the younger generation is apathetic. It was decided that I would write about how my generation is apathetic. But after researching what apathy is, I decided to write this article from another angle. Generational apathy is based on what generation each person grew up in and how they view the younger generations. 

   Each generation is separated by what year they were born in. Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, Generation X was born between 1965 and 1980, Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, and Generation Z was born between 1997 and 2012.

   Each generation has separate values depending on how they were raised. When focusing on the political side, older generations focus more on the ability to vote while younger generations use social media as a tool to express their opinions. Older generations watch the ways that Generation Zoomers (GenZ) live their lives and ridicule what they don’t agree with.

   The right to vote is important to Generation Xennials (Gen X). However, voting numbers have decreased throughout the Millennial and Gen Z generations. According to the PR Newswire, a survey in 2019 found that with 55%, Baby Boomers were most likely to vote, with 20% voting for Millenials and 9% voting for Gen Z. When asked why voting habits have changed, 49% said they “don’t care” and the other half said they don’t feel a connection with any of the candidates. 

   This is the main reason for the older generations’ accusations. When older generations are taught that voting is their fundamental right, it is difficult for them to watch younger generations throw away that ability. 

   However, Gen Z uses social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok, to voice their opinions. With quick advancements in technology, the younger generations quickly adapt to each platform’s unique layout, leaving the older generation behind. Gen Z uses the idea of “trends” to spread information they care about. Multiple movements/protests have been based off of social media, such as the Ice Bucket Challenge and the School’s Strike for Climate protest. Started on social media, these movements transformed into impactful protests. 

   Generational apathy is also based on the changes in workplace behavior. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, Traditionalists and Baby Boomers found importance in connecting with a company and staying with them until retirement age. Having loyalty towards a workplace and its workers created a foundation that each older generation grew up with. 

   Today, individuals are more focused on loyalty towards themselves and their families. With hopes of success, Gen Z grows throughout a specific field by changing jobs and getting promotions. The pandemic also affected this data, as 53% of Gen Z say they will leave their current company within two years time. Both generations value the workplace, but find importance in different aspects. 

   Each generation ridicules the other, just like in a high school setting. As a Freshman, you walk through the halls, hoping not to see the Seniors. That same class will grow up to be the Seniors who cause anxiety. Each grade level disapproves of the lower grades, which continues the cycle. 

   The accusations of generational apathy are present in today’s society, but they will also be present 30 years from now. Each generation will have a problem with how the younger generations handle issues, including Gen Z. If Gen Z can remain aware of the difficulties that each younger generation will face, they may be the first group to not accuse the younger generation of apathy.