Listen to the centennials, a hyperconnected generation Listen to the centennials, a hyperconnected generation

They question the tradition and don’t follow orders, but they like social causes and nature. They are digital natives and do nothing without a cellular phone on their hands.

Advisor Gloria Hurtado Castañeda
Psychologist attached to Coomeva Prepaid Medicine

The centennials arrived for challenging the belief that every past time was better and to teach other generations a new sense of life. Some of them consider they are a generation of hope, but it is not easy to understand them: they are individualists and are not ready to accept orders, although aspiring to equity and to a more sustainable world. All the above makes that living with them represents a challenge that requires time and patience, especially for those who defend the preservation of traditions. How to achieve this without allowing them to shock you down, as a result of the way in which they see the world?

Although there is still much speculation about how these kids will be when adults, as they are just arriving to the university and starting their work life, a first step for having a harmonic living together with them is acknowledging that thing that, as it has been studied, makes them unique. That thing involves some characteristics described in the generation classifications made by market and social behavior experts, which specify that in any society simultaneously live together individuals with different life styles, who can be cataloged according to their ages and the milestones that marked their development stages.

The Nielsen Firm, specialized on this kind of studies, specifies that currently converge in the world five types of generations: the silent one or the traditionalists, the baby boomers, the X, the Y or the millennials, and the Z or the centennials. The youngest ones are in the last link that includes those who were born at the doors of the new millennium (1995 or 1996). The Dane estimates that some 17 million of individuals are located in this range of age in Colombia.

Their main distinctive in front to other generations is being digital natives, meaning, the new technologies have always been present in their existence and it is difficult for them to imagine life without a cellular phone. Such fact makes them to be more prone to passing time in front of screens and they are not afraid of solitude or sedentarism.

But the above are just elementary features of their profile. What is surprising about these new beings, under the light of professionals as Psychologist Gloria Hurtado Castañeda, for whom it is also very soon to speculate about their life styles, is their connection to nature that can result exaggerated. «It is like if their genes were predisposed to be sensitive to all that implies caring for the environment and the animals». It is then frequent to find a kid questioning subjects such as meat consumption, especially chicken, and this is why a number of cases are found in which, since very early ages, they inscribe themselves in vegetarianism. They are also akin to social causes and, in general, show more empathy sentiments in front of others’ pain.

«It is necessary to get prepared to understand that they are completely different. Since childhood they are great masters pointing out that life is different. They have no difficulty showing themselves against the traditions and customs of their older ones. They question traditions and customs», Hurtado Castañeda highlights.

Mores individualists

In contrast to their social sensitiveness, the fact that family is not a priority appears. This can be explained because they are more solitary and more individualists. «They were raised in more reduced families and, in many cases, they are only children. A reason why they manage solitude better». Then, how parents and people around can establish any communication with so different beings? Although complex, we must be ready to accept that they don’t want to continue making things as preestablished.

«More than stimulating and motivating them, the centennials have to be accompanied and listened. Instead of giving them orders, what can be done is providing them information and discuss it, and giving them tools for them to understand such information», assures the Psychologist. She adds that a key is not obliging or pressing them to obey, but choosing different strategies. The subject is not that they don’t adjust to rules or fail them, it is simply to use a path of agreements. For example, when they want to be locked in their rooms, instead of having dinner with their families, the worthy strategy is talking with them and proposing them to attend dinner at least once or twice a week, in order to find an intermediate path, a little in their way and a little in the style of their family homes.

The challenge is accepting them and be opened to know what they will teach us. It is a question of opening our minds and learning how to read them.


Styles of life, according to a generation classification*

Silent or traditionalist – 1948 or before

They are austere and very traditional, as they lived events that marked the humanity due to their complexity, such as the 1930 recession and the world wars. They believe in institutions such as the family, the school and the church. The gender roles of this time accented machismo.

Success is measured in: get married and have children

Loyalty to work: for ever.

Favorite activities: reading.

Baby boomers – 1949 to 1965

So called due to a natality explosion after the Second World War. The boomers are very active in the work market and assuming different leaderships They knew digital world when adults and have known to   use it with advantage. They are traditiona-lists, although during their youth social movements appeared that sought breaking customs.

Success is measured in: get married and have children.

Loyalty to work: loyalty.

Favorite activities: watching TV.

X – 1966 to 1980

They currently hold middle or high-level positions, are still laboringly active and like music and technology (although having born without internet), and they are the parents of the millennials and the centennials. This is the first generation in which mom and dad participated in labor market, which necessarily changed the family model.

Success is measured in: get married and have children

Loyalty to work: long periods of permanency.

Favorite activities: watching TV.

Y or millennials – 1981 to 1995

They are very much connected to the digital world. The use of new technolo-gies is part of their life style. They are laboringly very active, but despise routine and wait for spaces to be creative. They in general question institutions and are not involved in political movements They are having less children and traveling more around the world.

Success is measured in: enjoy life.

Loyalty to work: need to change each two years.

Favorite activities: watching TV.

Z or centennials – 1996 and after

This is the first 100% digital generation, considered to be constituted by more realistic and pragmatic individuals, and their vision of the world is more sustainable regarding consumption. They were born in the middle of drastic changes, such as the family model that is currently a completely different one. Many of them are only children.

Success is measured in: enjoy life.

Loyalty to work: they are not still in labor market.

Favorite activities: listening to music.

*Sources: Nielsen, Merca 2.0 y Díaz S. C., López L.M. y Roncallo L. L.