The way we live, work, and communicate has been completely transformed by technology. An entire generation has grown up with access to the internet, social media, and mobile devices for the first time in history. Gen Z is the most technologically advanced and digitally native generation to date. Gen Z is leading the digital revolution in Kenya, and its effects on individuals’ lives and the nation at large cannot be understated. The impact of technology on Kenya’s Gen Z, its prospects, and problems, and how Emerging Leaders Foundation-Africa (ELF-Africa) is bridging the gap through the IT Governance department will all be covered in this article.
Gen Z is regarded as the first generation to have never experienced a world without the internet because they have grown up in a technologically advanced environment. With 428,514,686 people, or 31.20% of the population, Generation Z is now the largest generation in Africa, according to the Population Pyramid. Gen Z makes up the majority of the population in Kenya (18,378,493 people, or 33.42%), and their use of technology has important ramifications for the future of the nation.
Gen Z in Kenya now offers a wide range of prospects thanks to the development of technology. For instance, it has democratized access to knowledge and education, giving young people a platform for education, connection, and self-expression. Young people may now advocate for change and speak out on social issues that impact them because of the platform that social media has given them. Young people now have new opportunities to earn money through internet platforms and e-commerce thanks to the gig economy.
The way technology has affected Gen Z’s ability to communicate and engage with others is among its most significant effects. Gen Z in Kenya uses social media sites like WhatsApp, Instagram, and TikTok as their main method of communication and socialising. These sites are among the most popular. According to a report by Global Web Index, 97% of internet users in Kenya use WhatsApp, with a sizable percentage of Gen Z users.
In Gen Z, the prevalence of social media platforms has also spawned new genres of entertainment and ways to consume content. Internet video content, especially short-form videos, has grown in popularity; one of the most well-liked venues for this kind of content is TikTok. Several members of the Gen Z generation in Kenya are using platforms like YouTube and TikTok to exhibit their abilities and connect with a larger audience because of the popularity of online video content.
However, technology has had an impact on Gen Z, but not all of it is good. It has also resulted in a great deal of difficulties. The rise of cyberbullying, a type of abuse and harassment that occurs on social media platforms, is one of the biggest problems. It has led to mental health issues and, in some cases, even suicide. Unsuitable content has become a lot more accessible young people, including minors because of technology which exposes them to habits that socially frowned upon. According to a study conducted by the African Child Policy Forum, excessive screen time among kids and teenagers in Africa, especially Kenya, is linked to higher rates of obesity, restless nights, and reduced physical activity.
ELF-Africa recognizes the significant impact of technology on Gen Z in Kenya and has established an IT for Governance department to bridge the gap between technology and governance. The department encourages the development of technological competencies that can spur innovation and economic progress while also promoting the proper and ethical use of technology among young people in Kenya.
In conclusion, the ever present need to take a deeper look into the effect of technology on Gen Z cannot be wished away. The popularity of social media sites and online video has altered how Gen Z interacts with others and communicates, as well as opening new possibilities for entertainment and content creation. The need for responsible and ethical technology use is highlighted by the possible drawbacks of technology use among Kenya’s Gen Z population. One initiative that aims to address this problem and close the gap between technology and governance is the IT for Governance department of ELF-Africa. It is crucial that we continue to track how technology is affecting the users especially Gen Z and take proactive steps towards online safety particularly for minors.
This article is part of the #GenerationalMosaics series that focuses on understanding the complexity of generations.
The writer is currently the IT for Governance Officer at Emerging Leaders Foundation – Africa (www.elfafrica.org).
You can connect with him via Twitter: @Edward_Kalya