Report: Gen Z chooses to spend hours away from social media

A new study explores the concept of JOMO - or the Joy of Missing Out - among young people today.

Millennials are famed for FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out), but Gen Z today is more on the Joy of Missing Out, which isn’t about going completely off the grid – it’s about balancing happy moments on social media with those that stress them out.

In Wattpad’s new study, "How Gen is finding balance in an upside down world," the vast majority of young people up to the age of 24 reported feely stressed somewhat to very often (95 percent).

Of the 400 Gen Zers who took the online survey, 43 percent said they make the active decision to spend a couple of hours a day away from social media. The other group that chooses to go online to de-stress do so by reading, listening to music, writing, playing games or watching funny videos as a means of escape or self-expression.

What’s stressing this young cohort out? Nearly nine out of 10 (89 percent) of Gen Z respondents said school and homework is the biggest stress trigger, followed by family (53 percent), friends (38 percent) and money and health (20 percent).

Almost all (91 percent) of Gen Zers between 18 and 21 say they have experienced at least one physical or emotional symptom due to stress, according to the report.

Gen Zers – the first digital natives – integrate everything they do with their phones. The majority (59 percent) say screen time makes them happy, which is more than time with their family (40 percent) or pets (40 percent).

However, too much phone time makes 45 percent of Gen Z feel judged, and 53 percent say they send too much time on social media.

When they’re not on their phones or social media, 65 percent of Gen Z reported taking time to volunteer, with 57 percent of those volunteers dedicating one to four hours of their time once a month. Nearly one-third (30 percent) also donate to charity each year.

"Because Gen Z is more discerning and selective of their online engagement, marketers and brands should be aware of the type of content they create as well. Capitalizing on trends, impressions, and popularity may provide short-term engagement but it isn’t effective in creating long term relationships with these digital natives," penned Wattpad in the report. "It’s important that Gen Z feels brands care about the same things as they do and that they are authentic in regards to their content."

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