Ukraine: Z-generation is the future of Ukraine

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Authors: VitaliiKotsur, LesiaKotsur

In this review it is made an attempt to reveal the features of the Z generation in Ukraine in the current circumstances of Ukrainian society’s development, the impact on the youth of global socio-cultural trends, social interaction models and information technologies.

 Modern Ukrainian youth born after 2000, as their peers from other countries, are conquered by modern information technologies. According to their belief, life would mean nothing without gadgets, the Internet, social networks, computer games, YouTube and other modern means of communication with the world.

According to the “theory of generations” of historians William Strauss and Neil Howe, which appeared at the end of the last century, nowadays there are several such generations – X, Y, Z. Its authors in their book have considered the history of the USA as the sequence of certain cycles and came to the conclusion that general models of human behavior occur every 80-100 years. Regardless of the time they are united by common values and the circumstances in which they grow [4]. During this time the society goes through four stages: recovery (the desire to coalesce and unite dominates in the society), the awakening (the desire of autonomy and individuality dominates), decrease (the prosperity of individualism) and the crisis (destruction of the old social institutions and appearance of the new ones) [2].

Z-generation in Ukraine, born in the 2000s, are the striking example of people who emerged during the times of globalization and postmodernism. Their characteristic feature is that from the early childhood they have perfectly mastered all modern technologies.

In 2015, almost 80% of youth used the Internet 3 hours a day, and every 6th spent about 8 hours a day there [6]. At the same time, in 2017, 91% of the Z-generation used the Internet and social networks [5].

Modern young people perceive the Internet not as a set of technologies, but as a medium of their existence. The modern Z-generation has a number of social characteristics that distinguish them significantly from the older generation.

According to William Strauss and Neal Hove, after the terrorist act in the USA on September 11, 2001, [7] and with regard to the spread of new global challenges and threats, modern youth are increasingly focusing on security. This is also evident from the example of Ukraine, which is in the phase of armed conflict since 2014.  The aggression of the Russian Federation in the East of Ukraine and the annexation of the Crimea have made a tremendous impact on the modern Ukrainian Z-generation. The international forum “INNOVATION MARKET”, which took place on November 21-23, 2018, is prominent in this context. This event was devoted to the meeting of innovators, inventors, manufacturers and vendors of leading innovative technologies, experts in the field of innovations, authors of startup projects, business representatives, representatives of investment and financial institutions, consultants in the field of intellectual property protection. Modern Ukrainian young peoplealso presented their inventions. In particular, a student from ZaporizhzhiaAnastasiiaKononenko created her own security system for cars. The reason for it was the situation described in the local newspaper, when the mother left the baby in the car for the whole day and the child died. The most important technological feature of her invention Nastia calls the “system of normalization of conditions”, in particular, of the temperature in the car interior. To put it simply, the system works like that: the required temperature range is preprogrammed. If the temperature, due to various reasons, changes (in the cabin becomes colder or, conversely, hotter), certain sensors are triggered – the climate control system is switched on and the temperature is regulated. The current security challenges facing Ukraine have prompted a schoolboy Arthur Semenenko from the Kharkiv region to develop a new security system for a house.

After visiting the Dnipro hospital, where Ukrainian warriors were wounded, having eye injuries, a pupil IhorShybka invented an electronic voice informer to compensate vision deficiencies [9]. These and other examples are the evidence of William Strauss’ and Neil Haw’s thesis on the “generation theory” about the special focus of the Z-generation on security issues.

The Ukrainian Z-generation is also concerned with global issues, is fond of science and art. Among other important features – responsibility and purposefulness, realistic view to the future and planning of one’s own life on the prospect. For this generation the functionality and practicality of everything around them, from gadgets to scientific concepts, plays a decisive role. They are open to new knowledge, social communications and active actions.

In terms of politics and education, modern Ukrainian Z-generation professes freedom and is ready to test established standards for strength. Such social behavior of young Ukrainians is confirmed by social surveys.  Thus, 58% of young people agree that democracy is the best form of government, and only 33% of them consider that education and educational institutions in Ukraine meet the needs of the modern labor market [5].

Their own health the Z-generation treats more responsibly than the X or Y generation. On the one hand, modern youth also buys many things through advertising, but at the same time they choose those brands and products that really make their lives better. First of all, beauty for them is not only an attractive appearance, but also a good state of health, sport and proper nutrition. The 2014 World Health Organization research indicates that young people all over the world

began drinking less alcohol and smoking less –cigarettes just go out of style.

The Ukrainian Z-generation is learning fast enough to cook gourmet dishes or reinstall the software on their gadget, you need just to watch one video on YouTube for it. If itpreviously was a trend “who owns information –that owns the world”, thenthe one who can quickly find it owns the world now. According to E.Toffler, “the information society challenges a person, his ability to live in an entirely new social environment, his creative and moral forces, the ability to a new type of social communication, generates a variety of forms of self-government”[8], and therefore the modern Z-generationbest deals with it.

Representatives of the Ukrainian Z-generation want to change the world for the better. That’s why among the participants of the ProsperityRevolution of 2013-2014

and the participants of the Ukraine’s bordersarmed protectionthere is a large number of young Ukrainians. This is confirmed by sociological research. So, 61% of young people are proud to be citizens of Ukraine, 61% – consider that Russia is guilty at spread of the armed conflict against Ukraine, 60% stand by Ukraine’s accession to the EU.

Among the preferences of young Ukrainians, the global trend, associated with the development of modern information technology and knowledge, prevails.  Compared with young people from Western Europe and America, where there is a popular social network Snapchat [1], the social networks such as YouTube and Instagram are the most popular among Ukrainian youth.

This is due to the fact that the current Z-generation prefers visual images to text ones. They like to view photos and to get to know about the lives of their friends, bloggers and idols. And also to tell about their own life. It is worth saying that the teenagers themselves are not only admiring the social network, but also understand its negative effects. One of them is the emergence of an entire subculture of insta-girls and boys who prefer an imaginary life in social networks to the real one.

At the same time, the social network [10] Facebook loses its popularity among the young generation. Young people of theZ-generation prefer popular serials as adults and almost don’t watch cartoons. On the contrary, anime and cartoons are often chosen by 30-year-olds, not by teenagers.

Consequently, with the development of modern information technologies, modern youth in Ukraine is actually integrated into the world civilized community, are good at the modern trends and tendencies of the world development. The generations of Ukrainians who are ready to push the European idea forward have already grown up – these are the young people that are most likely to feel the benefits of the united Europe in the form of Erasmus+ and visa-free regime [3], while they have no moral right to lose the national Ukrainian heritage and traditions!



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