The official tagline and mission of Space Innovation Labs is 'Get Outside!'. Simple and direct it says it all about the hope for our flagship product, the Tail Table.
It is our sincere vision and hope that this product will be more than another piece of plastic and other fancy materials that you use from time to time. It is our emphatic desire that it inspires people to have more meals outside, exercise more outside, or simply be present in nature and off of our computer or phone screens.
Which brings us the crux of this blog post, Generation Z and their inordinate affinity for all things technology leading to a disconnect from people and the world around them. Whether you have kids in this demographic or know some kiddos in your circle, grab them this week and get them outside. If you need a little motivation, here are a few stats to get you moving with them. (ref; Z Economy by Jason Dorsey and Denise Villa)
- 55% of Gen Z are on their phone 5 hours or more a day. That is over half of an entire generation that spends a majority of their leisure time connected to people who are not physically present with them. A 2019 national study showed that 84% of Gen Z use messaging apps at least once a week and that 45% of them include emojis most or all of the time when sending a text message. Gen Z finds that digital interactions like emojis, memes, GIFs, avatars, filters, and videos are often more comfortable to use than written words to communicate with their friends - even for sensitive conversations.
- Smartphone usage for Gen Z
- 10+ hours per day | 26%
- 5-9 hours per day | 29%
- 1-4 hours per day | 35%
- < 1 hour per day. | 7%
In one focus group conducted in the above reference book; Daniel, a parent got a shock when he checked the activity usage on the family's cell phone plan. In a four week period his wife sent 76 texts, he sent 243, an d is sixteen year old son sent 10,184. "Let's take out eight ours a day for sleeping" he says. "I think he does more than that, but for kicks, let's just say eight . . . that means he had to send more than twenty-two texts each hour for every single hour he was awake those four weeks. How is that even possible? I mean, how would you get anything done?"
I do not know about you, this gives me a really uneasy feeling. My cortisol shoots up just writing about this and I feel like going outside right now for some fresh air, or even not so fresh air. Anything to get away from this idea it is possible to be chained to our phones for or devises for so many hours of our lives.
We could belabor this point all day. Rather we will spare you the browbeating of 'kids these days' and leave you with a question and a request.
Question; Do you know someone who falls into the Gen Z category or who might fit the aforementioned digital heavy lifestyle?
Request; If the answer is yes, would you mind grabbing them to help them Get Outside! this week? I would argue that their mental health depends on it and that a small effort to get a kid outside for a few hours a week could make a world of difference for all of us.
If they look like this at the end of the outing, mission accomplished!