Here are 7 events that have defined their lives so far.

They reached adulthood in the wake of 9/11.

The majority of Gen Zers learn about the 9/11 attacks as a historical event and have no recollection of the assaults. In 2021, according to USA Today, “Many of the Gen Zers said they first learned about 9/11 in school on the anniversary of the attacks and spoke about it as an abstract, New York-centric event.”

Read More: Current Events for Gen Z

Generation Z, Muslim and Arab, “sees a distinct difference in the way the attacks affected their parents’ and older siblings’ lives, compared to their own.” These individuals have never known a world before 9/11.

“They spoke of coming of age with a more tolerant generation — one with a critical view of U.S. post-9/11 domestic and foreign policy,” said USA Today.

They are unable to recall a time before smartphones.

Members of Gen Z are considered “digital natives” by the Pew Research Center, meaning they “have little or no memory of the world as it existed before smartphones.”

Before some members of Gen Z were even born, the first iPhone was made available to the general public in 2007. The maximum age of those who survived was ten years old.

Based on data from financial technology startup Kasasa, the average age at which a Gen Zer got their first cell phone was 10.3.

Gen Z witnessed “the fragility inherent in the system” during the 2008 crisis.

Gen Z members experienced the Great Recession as infants or young children, thus it shadowed their early years.

“Gen Z wasn’t ‘old enough to appreciate its magnitude but still conscious enough to see the fragility inherent in the system’ at the time of the financial crisis,” according to a 2019 Morning Consult article quoting Aaron Klein of the Brookings Institution.

School shootings became frequent throughout Gen Z’s formative years.

According to 2023 Washington Post statistics, there have been over 380 school shootings, affecting over 350,000 kids, in the more over two decades after the fatal 1999 Columbine High School massacre. Because of this, Gen Z is intensely aware of the existential threat that their contemporaries face from this persistent problem.

They “talked about threats and safety steps with their parents and teachers and grew up practicing active shooter drills and huddling through lockdowns,” as the New York Times stated in 2018, following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. “With friends, they wondered darkly whether it could happen at their own school, and who might do it.”

The momentous occasion of Donald Trump’s election

According to the Pew Research Center, less than three out of ten members of Generation Z were satisfied with how President Donald Trump carried out his duties in 2019.

“The election of Donald Trump was a turning point for these young adults, akin to the 9/11 terrorist attacks for millennials,” LA Times writer Jean Guerrero stated in 2023.

According to the reasoning behind this parallel, “Gen Zers realized as kids that American exceptionalism was a lie.”

Many saw flashbacks to the dystopian teen novels they had previously read as police used tear gas on them and immigration officials deported their parents during racial justice demonstrations during a pandemic. Guerrero writes, “They were ready. “They used their social media profiles as political weapons and cast ballots. Olivia Julianna, a 19-year-old Texas girl, scammed Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and used his name to raise $2 million for abortion donations. They also utilized TikTok to sabotage a Trump rally.”

The COVID-19 epidemic changed Gen Z’s expected course.

“Unlike the Millennials – who came of age during the Great Recession – this new generation was in line to inherit a strong economy with record-low unemployment,” the Pew Research Center stated in 2020.

“Now that COVID-19 has altered the social, political, and economic climate of the nation, everything has changed. The research went on, “Gen Z now peers into an uncertain future rather than looking ahead to a world of opportunities.”

Half of Gen Zers between the ages of 18 and 23 said that they or someone in their home had either lost a job or received a wage reduction as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, according to Pew’s 2020 research.

Gen Z went to social media and the streets when George Floyd was killed.

According to Axios, George Floyd’s murder—which occurred when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck while making an arrest in May 2020—was a factor in Gen Z’s “coming of political age.” Social media was crucial in shaping Gen Z’s reaction to the murder.

“Earlier generations experienced comparable awakenings as Gen Z. But given the influence of social media and cellphones, Gen Z is probably going to stay involved even after the protests are over, according to a 2020 article by Sara Fischer of Axios.

Before the internet, individuals depended on “word of mouth, pamphlets, posters, and songs” to spark action; however, Gen Z members found it easier to exchange knowledge and advocate for change due to the widespread use of social media. Gen Z-ers gave rise to a new kind of activism that would not have been possible without the internet by publicizing rallies, sharing footage of the murder, creating instructional visuals, and openly lobbying companies to take a stand.