Joseph F. Coughlin writes: COVID-19 is shaping Gen Z's attitudes toward all institutions, government, employers, experts & brands. The contagion is also forging Gen Z's view of traditions, having children, retirement even globalization. COVID-19's impact isn't in a year or two, it will be in decades, and Gen Z is its vector. My daughter stares into the screen. This is not just another TikTok moment. She is in her high school English class; this is education, COVID-19 style. Screens have taken over the classroom and in no sense has their invasion stopped there. They now mediate our connection to work, healthcare, shopping, and entertainment—not to mention our friends and loved ones. It remains to be seen whether this or any other COVID-necessitated lifestyle change will prove enduring. But the crisis has altered life for every age group. And, to the extent that any cohort will experience lasting changes as a result, my daughter and the millions of other Americans in their late teens and early twenties are especially likely candidates.
May 13, 2020