This generation is possibly still being born, and the oldest members are at best teenagers, so at present it's impossible to say when Y ends and Z begins. The earliest cited dates being Z at 1989 or 1990, but these dates are only suitable if Y is considered to begin in the 1970s, or be a ten-year 1980s born generation.
A more reasonable beginning would be around 1995; someone born in this year would have missed out on the revolutions of the 1990s that define much of the Generation Y experience.
Some consider Gen Z to consist entirely of 21st century births, starting the generation in 2000 or 2001. In this definition, some members of Gen Z have yet to be born.
A number of different traits have been ascribed to the generation. It is claimed that members of Generation Z are very active consumers, with a high degree of influence over their parents' purchasing decisions, They are highly connected, having had lifelong use of communications and media technologies such as DVDs, the World Wide Web, instant messaging, text messaging, iPods and cellular phones, earning them the nickname "digital natives".
They have grown up in a world with widespread equality of the sexes at work and at home, and where single-parent or same-sex parent families are commonplace, as are two-income families.. Their lives are full of structured activities, and a number of social researchers anticipate members of Generation Z will have a strong social conscience and work ethic – though researcher Hugh Mackay disagrees, saying that Generation Z is more indulged and anti-social than Generation Y.
A study performed by Jan Van den Bulck of the Catholic University of Leuven on mobile phone addiction found that most teenagers have been wakened at night due to incoming text messages, and use of social networking sites such as MySpace that 20% regularly have sleep problems due to night time text messaging exchanges.
Due to the poorly defined "starting date" of Generation Z as well as its members having many traits in common with Generation Y, a number of names have been applied to both generations.
Authors Strauss and Howe have suggested the name "Millennials" to define a group born from 1982 to some time after 2000, with the name "New Silent Generation" proposed for the generation that follows it. "The Internet Generation" is another popular name for the youth culture, although it has also been applied to members of Generation Y. "Generation Now" has been suggested to reflect the "culture of immediacy" the generation is exposed to.
The term "Generation C" has also been used, with the "C" having multiple, often simultaneous meanings: "click", "content", "connected", "computer "community", "creative", and "celebrity have all been suggested. The American Press Association's Media Center describes Gen C as "creating, producing and participating in news in a connected, informed society." Like the "Internet Generation", this term has been used in reference to both Generation Y and Generation Z.
In May 2006, New Zealand's Idealog magazine published an article "Meet Generation C", which brought together many of the already-identified characteristics of Generation C. The article compared Generation C to the archetypical Renaissance Man or Woman, positing that the rise in creative expression was due to the same conditions that led to the renaissance - namely trade and widespread peace.