Only one-third of women in Gen Z report feeling optimistic about the effects of technology on society. Olivia Harris/Getty
A new study from GfK Consumer Life asked over 37,000 people in 31 different markets and 25 countries about their feelings on technology.
More than 60% of Gen Z women reported that they have difficulty taking even a short break from technology.
But Gen Z women are less likely than millennial women to want to be reachable all the time.
Gen Z women and girls are both more tied to technology, and more skeptical about its possible benefits than their millennial counterparts, and women as a whole, according to a new study from GfK Consumer Life.
The study, which defined Gen Z as people born in 1998 or later, asked respondents a series of questions about how they use technology and how they feel about it.
With the oldest members at 21 years old, Gen Z is still quite young, and many don’t remember a time when they weren’t digitally connected. Notably, women in this generation are less likely to want to be constantly connected, compared to millennial women: 66% of Gen Z women reported that they wanted to be “always reachable,” compared to 71% of millennial counterparts. GfK suggests that this could be attributed to “technology fatigue,” in which a generation that grew up constantly connected seeks to loosen ties to technology.
Although they are less likely to want constant online connection, 61% of Gen Z women also reported that they have trouble taking breaks from technology, indicating that for many, they are always connected to the internet, even if they don’t necessarily want to be, but it’s difficult for them to give up. In comparison, only 41% of all women reported difficulty taking breaks, and 49% of millennial women reported the same.
Despite difficulty getting offline, Gen Z women are overwhelmingly pessimistic about the impact of technology on society: only 34%, or about one-third, said that they were optimistic, 15 points lower than women as a whole.
“Women and moms of Gen Z depend on apps to juggle their many roles in life — but they also know the downsides of tech too well,” Jola Burnett, vice president of Consumer Life, said in the press release.
Increased exposure to and awareness of the darker sides of technology could be responsible for the pessimism Gen Z women feel: 39% said that they are “always concerned about [their] safety and security,” and 19% are worried about personal information getting into the wrong hands, which is higher than all women as a group. This could also be the result of gender-based harassment many women face online, and the ability of new technology to make this harassment worse, such as using deepfakes to make non-consensual pornography.
Given these results, Gen Z women seem confused about the role of technology in their lives. It is more ingrained in their lives than those of other generations, yet they also know it well enough to be wary of potential downsides.