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…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“My generation feels entitled and is less willing to put in hard work to get the results they want.”—Female, 17, VA

CoverGirl is getting a marketing makeover to impress Millennials. The brand is changing up their slogan for the first time since 1997, with “Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Covergirl” getting traded for “I Am What I Make Up.” To go along with the new tagline, an inclusive lineup of new CoverGirls will debut the revamped brand—from 69-year-old Maye Musk to pro motorcycle rider Shelina Moreda. Finally, products will be taking on the Less is More trend with “sleeker, more minimal black and white packaging” and a logo to match—a familiar branding makeover move. (Racked)

Riverdale’s recent premiere pulled impressive ratings, especially among young adults—and the show may have Netflix to thank for it. The Archie-remake grew in popularity by 67% from last winter’s premiere and 140% with women under 35. But it gained the most ground with teens, jumping an impressive 467% from last winter’s premiere, making it the most popular show from The CW among teens since The Vampire Diaries in 2012. The show’s presence on Netflix during the off-season may have helped attract young viewers, allowing them to binge the series and get addicted on their time—The Binge Effect at work. (Vulture)

Essential oils are the latest wellness trend to gain traction, appealing to Millennials’ desire to ease anxiety. The most stressed generation to date is turning to little vials of “something between a perfume and a potion” to calm their minds and remedy simple sicknesses. Companies aren’t missing the opportunity to capitalize on the growing demand. Two major brands, Young Living and doTerra, “have more than three million customers apiece, and a billion dollars in annual sales.” (The New Yorker)

The majority of teachers say that life skills are more important to success today than academics. According to research out of the U.K., more than half of teachers believe so-called “’soft’ skills,” including perseverance, the ability to problem-solve, and communicate effectively are more important than “academic knowledge and technical skills.” Unfortunately, institutions often focus on test scores instead of “social and emotional learning, or character.” The good news is groups are pushing for change and “teaching ‘character’ is taking hold everywhere.” (Quartz)

Throw that “Me, Me, Me Generation” stereotype out the window, because Millennials are probably not any more narcissistic than previous generations. (Sorry, Time Magazine.) A report published in Psychological Science compared students from a ‘90s study with students in the 2000s and 2010s and found that today’s youth are “at best” equally as self-involved as young people of the past, and may actually be less narcissistic. The professor who led the study reports, “The kids are all right. There never was a narcissism epidemic, despite what has been claimed.” (Uproxx)

“My love of video games and knowledge of technology and streaming naturally eased me into the world of esports.”—Female, 23, FL

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