The Safety Zone Generation

Playing It Safe: Gen Ys and the Caution Effect

The statement that Gen Ys grew up coddled and protected has been used so much by generational experts that it almost feels cliché saying it. But the less-discussed flip side to this over-protection incubation is that Millennials were raised in an environment of high anxiety that taught them from a very early age that there is always something around the corner that could hurt you or go wrong. After all, there was a reason that you couldn’t walk down the street to school by yourself; stranger danger was everywhere. They could very well be called Generation Amber Alert. Add to this early-age hyper-awareness of personal danger the fact that the media they have been surrounded by has essentially been a non-stop loop of terror and highly dramatized fear-mongering-for-ratings and it is understandable that Millennials tend to be an anxious bunch.

Then, when this group of high-risk guarded youth were just starting out on their own, the recession hit and they watched friends and family who had bet big on houses, stocks, and high-stakes careers lose everything. Put all together, you have the perfect equation for a generation with a healthy fear of risk taking. Today, this risk-averse mentality affects how they are living their lives in a major way, from delaying major life decisions to approaching their futures with extreme caution.

Never a generation of rebels (why break the rules when you’re friends with your parents and could break any law you wanted in video games), Millennials today are moving forward in their lives with extreme caution. This general fear of taking big leaps could help explain the fairly drastically delayed ages at which Millennials are choosing to get married and have children when compared to other generations. In some…

 
 

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “When I go out, I just go where my friends are going.”
—Female, 22, DC

Influencer marketing is on track to grow next year, despite “significant questions about its effectiveness.” According to analysis by Chute, 66% of marketers surveyed have an influencer marketing strategy in place, but the majority aren’t calculating its success by direct sales. Over eight in ten say their top goal with influencers is to reach a new audience, and to measure effectiveness more than 70% look at engagement—either through likes or comments on Instagram, sceenshots on Snapchat, etc.—followed by reach or views, and then referral link click-throughs. (Digiday)

Higher education needs to prepare itself for a new target market. A steep drop in births during the Great Recession is expected to lead to a decrease in the number of U.S. high school graduates, especially among Caucasians: according to a Georgetown Center report, in 2030 white students will account for less than half of high school graduates. Growth within the Hispanic community can offset the decline, signifying that “schools will need to re-orient themselves toward a Hispanic, first-generation population to stay competitive.” (The Wall Street Journal

Health-conscious Millennials have some misconceptions when it comes to GMOs. New Pew Research shows that 21% of 18-29-year-olds believe genetically modified foods are “very likely” to lead to health issues, and 25% believe they create problems for the environment. But in actuality, scientific research says that GM foods are safe to eat, and as long as they’re developed properly “don’t pose any unique, undue threat to the environment.” The study also found that 12% follow vegetarian or vegan diets, which according to scientific research is a healthy habit to take on. (NYMAG

All tech toys are not created equal—according to the Institution for Engineering and Technology. Created with the “mission to encourage more girls to pursue careers in engineering, science and technology,” the Institution recently found that stem toys are three times more likely to target boys over girls, and nine out of ten “girls’ toys” are pink. The Institution reports the stereotypically gendered toys could actually deter young girls interested in engineering. (The Guardian)

Live video is increasingly becoming the space to watch for audience engagement. According to MarketsandMarkets, live video will be a $70 billion industry by 2021, and on Facebook, live content is generating 10x the amount of comments than typical videos. The holidays have proven to be an ideal opportunity for brands looking to dive in on the trend: Lowe’s Black Friday deals unveiling on Facebook Live reached an audience of 32,000 during broadcast, while Taco Bell’s livestream of their annual Friendsgiving dinner generated as many as 150,000 viewers. (Adweek)

Quote of the Day: “When I go out I look for pool tables…or something to do other than drink.”

—Female, 23, CA

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies