Is it true that Gen-Z is technologically illiterate?

Qadir A K
3 min readDec 20, 2023

As a millennial immersed in the digital landscape, I’ve often encountered the notion that Generation Z is inherently tech-savvy. Recent research reveals that they are true digital natives, with 95% owning smartphones and 72% using the internet mainly for entertainment. However, signs of dependency emerge, as 69% feel uneasy after eight hours without internet access. But is this label an accurate portrayal, or are we simplifying the complexity Gen Z has with digital literacy?

The Tech-Savvy:

Growing up in the era of evolving technology, Millennials like myself have seen the transformation from dial-up internet to the era of smartphones. Now, as we observe Generation Z seamlessly navigating through a world of advanced gadgets and optimized user experiences, it’s tempting to assume they are inherently tech-savvy.

However, let’s peel back the layers. Tech-savviness goes beyond effortlessly swiping through screens or crafting the perfect social media post. It involves a deeper understanding of the digital landscape. The assumption that Gen Z, as a whole, is technologically literate overlooks a critical nuance — the digital literacy divide.

Hands-On Learning vs. Born into Tech:

Millennials like us grew up in a time when technology was a playground that unfolded gradually. From the clunky computers of our childhood to the dawn of smartphones, we learned by doing. We grappled with complex software, tinkered with settings, and, yes, even faced the struggles of slow internet connections. Our journey shaped us into a generation that’s somewhat critical and resourceful when it comes to tech.

In contrast, Gen Z was born into a world where sophisticated tools and seamless experiences were the norm. Their learning curve was more about optimization than overcoming hurdles. While they effortlessly navigate the digital realm, the question arises — does this familiarity translate into a profound understanding of the technology at play?

Digital Natives and Internet Attachment:

Gen Z true digital natives, live and breathe the digital world. According to CGK’s research, 95% own a smartphone, 83% own a laptop, 78% own an advanced gaming console, and 57% have a desktop computer. The internet is their evergreen wellspring for entertainment, with 72% accessing it mainly for videos, apps, and message boards.

However, signs of dependency emerge. 69% feel uncomfortable after eight hours without internet access, and 27% can only last one hour. The Internet isn’t just a source of information; it’s a platform for maintaining friendships and reputations, with 51% reporting daily dependence on the Internet for connections.

Tech Dependency Complexity:

Tech dependency doesn’t mean Gen Z can’t be parted from their smartphones. Only 22% feel stressed if they can’t use their phones at work. This indicates a development of preferred communication channels. Additionally, Gen Z’s tech dependency cultivates an instinct for digital authenticity, with 48% wanting standardized authentication online for trust.

The Path to Digital Literacy:

The solution lies in understanding that tech literacy is not a given; it’s an evolving skill that requires a holistic approach to education. Early coding education can be a part of the puzzle, fostering computational thinking and demystifying technology. However, it’s not a magic wand — proficiency requires time and dedication.

Beyond coding, the focus should be on nurturing digital citizens who comprehend the complexities of technology. Initiatives like digital literacy training in schools, involving kids in the design process of digital solutions, and providing tools for self-education can contribute to shaping a generation that actively participates in and controls technology.

In Conclusion:

So, is Gen Z truly technologically illiterate? The answer, like the world of tech itself, is nuanced. It’s not about illiteracy but about understanding that the path to tech proficiency is multifaceted. As a Millennial, I see in Gen Z not a lack of tech prowess but a different journey through the digital landscape — one that challenges us to rethink assumptions and pave the way for a generation that’s not just tech users but tech architects of the future.

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Qadir A K

Entrepreneur & tech enthusiast. Founder of Ultimez Technology & Coinpedia. Relentless in driving innovation & delivering exceptional solutions.