The teenagers and young adults that compose Generation Z are more technology-savvy than any generation before them.  Generation Z tends to spend an excessive amount of time on their phones, are glued to their streaming devices, and many of their adolescences are reliant on devices that no generation before them had access to. However, their ability to navigate technology comes at a cost. A recent study revealed the surprising concept that this iPhone-addicted generation is willing to give up their privacy in order to have a personalized experience online.

Understanding the iGen

Have you ever heard of the term “iGen“? The technology-based term is used to describe the current generation of people from the ages of 5 to 22, all of whom are the first to grow up in a generation with easy access to smartphones. These individuals have never known a time before there was public access to the high-tech devices that we have now. Many of them grew up with the latest devices in hand, opening up new means of communication, social connection, research, self-education, and more. This generation has also had to face a plethora of problems associated with the advancement of technology, particularly technology addiction. Over half of Generation Z self-reported that they spent a stunning five or more hours on their phone every day. Additionally, considering that smartphones, the Internet, and high-tech personal devices are newer inventions than many people realize, Generation Z’s children and young adults are among the first to have to navigate the need for safe behavior on the Internet, including protecting one’s own privacy. However, a recent study revealed that many individuals who are a part of Generation Z are willing to surrender their privacy if they can have a more personalized experience online.

Generation Zs desire for personalization

Generation Z has a unique standpoint on navigating the Internet and surrendering their data. Many are perfectly fine with companies tapping into their information, as long as they get something out of it. For Generation Z, their reward for giving up their data privacy is that they can receive more advertisements that are personally targeted to their interests. Previous generations such as Baby Boomers/Traditionalists have been statistically shown to be more wary of giving up their information and are generally more distrustful of the Internet, yet Generation Z has proven itself to not only know how to manipulate their data privacy but also accurately predict how companies are planning on using their data. 63% of Generation Z has reported knowing how companies will use their data to advertise to them, and 67% of Gen Z expect their ads to be personalized. The real kicker of Generation Z’s willingness to give up their privacy for personalization (34% want ads to be based on their browsing history) is that 32% are unconcerned that companies who acquire their data could use it in a way that is harmful to them.

An awareness of their data

Generation Z may sound like they are fairly naive when it comes to technology. In reality, these individuals have been raised on smartphones, portable devices, laptops, and other pieces of current technology. For the majority of these individuals, not having frequent access to the Internet has never been an issue for them. As a result, many Gen Z kids and young adults truly have insight into how their Internet data can be processed and utilized by companies, as opposed to Baby Boomers/Traditionalists who are unaware of the limits of how data can be accessed by big companies online and are more paranoid about the Internet. Generation Z has shown a fascination for interactive content, advertising that is personalized, and increased engagement with consumer companies online. The technology-savvy iGen isn’t only more willing to give up their data, but also has a greater awareness of the ways that their private data will be utilized, and they are open to the opportunities for personalization that use of their personal Internet data may open up. Companies trying to appeal to Generation Z may have the best luck increasing their online presence and developing targeted advertisements if they want to connect with this generation of savvy smartphone users.