BY Greg Mellen, Behind the Badge, May 10, 2022
Generation Z, those born between 1997 and 2012, are often described as “digital natives,” the first generation that has grown up ensconced in a world dominated by online and social media presence.
While older generations aren’t insulated from online dependency, Gen Z seems to have a much deeper attachment to social media. A 2018 Pew Research study found 95 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds had access to smartphones and 45 percent were “almost constantly” online.
And that was before the pandemic further fused Americans and their devices.
Whatever the social and political implications of that, there is little doubt that members of Generation Z, with their online savvy and presence, are ideally positioned to become the first line of safety from digitally promulgated danger and violence.
The flip side, of course, is that they are often the most likely to stimulate discord and be steered into the dark web or be victimized by predators.
To combat these dangers, SafeOC is spearheading the local application of the See Something, Say Something campaign by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to raise public awareness about safety and prevention of violence and terrorism. Through their efforts, they are hoping to encourage younger residents to report any suspicious activity they may witness online via social media platforms.