Ashley Templeton, Fort Hays State University
September 13, 2018
In our changing and ever-progressing world, it is important to understand how technology plays into those changes and how we can successfully leverage it to our advantage. When it comes to parents and families of college students, it can be particularly challenging to understand how we can engage and support those family members as their student progresses through the college experience. According to Seemiller & Grace (2016), members of Generation Z, who we are now seeing enter college, were born between 1995 and 2010, are also known as digital natives, the Net Generation, or iGeneration, and are one-fourth of the United States population. Just as every generation before them, Generation Z has unique attributes that help to understand out how we are able to best serve them and those around them.
In order to best understand how we can support Generation Z in college, we first have to take a look at their parents, Generation X, or individuals who were born between 1965 and 1980 (Seemiller & Grace, 2016). Generation Z was able to see technology at its most early stages which means that they are adept at utilizing many different modes of gaining their information. We are now seeing more and more of the parents of Generation Z being members of Generation X. According to Seemiller & Grace (2016), students who are a part of Generation Z are best friends with their parents, and rely on their parents for support. Not only do they rely on their parents for financial support, they also rely on their parents for emotional support. The fact that Generation Z students are so close to their parents and families is an important factor in how we are able to engage parents and families using technology.
By utilizing the technology at our fingertips, we are able to find ways to intentionally engage the parents of Generation Z and include them in their student’s experiences while they are in college. According to Howe in Meet Mr. & Mrs. Gen X: A New Parent Generation, most Generation X parents expect schools to be run like customer-oriented businesses. Knowing all of the information that we do about Generation X as parents, and how they utilize technology, here are five ways we can use technology to engage and involve parents of Generation Z in their student’s college experience.
As opposed to previous generations, members of Generation X are not the parents who will hover over their students; rather, they want to be involved in their students’ lives and are more of the friend to them in most cases. These five tips are useful in keeping parents and family members of Generation Z engaged and involved in their students’ experiences and serving them utilizing the technology at our disposal. Generation Z students have unique needs and unique relationships with their parents and family members, which causes us to re-think how we serve those students and their parents and families in our everyday programs and processes using technology.
Howe, N. (n.d.). Meet mr. & mrs. gen x: A new parent generation. The School Superintendents Association. Retrieved from http://www.aasa.org/SchoolAdministratorArticle.aspx?id=11122
Seemiller, C. & Grace, M. (2016). Generation z goes to college. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
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