Book Review: Generation Z Unfiltered: Facing Nine Hidden Challenges of the Most Anxious Population

Generation Z Unfiltered: Facing Nine Hidden Challenges of the Most Anxious Population (Amazon) by Tim Elmore. Poet Gardener Publishing, 2019. Total pages: 337.

This book aims to fulfill three purposes. First, to inform adult generations of the characteristics and challenges members of Gen Z experience. Second, to help adults obtain a glimpse of the world through a Gen Z lens in order to understand this perspective. Finally, to help adults guide members of Gen Z into the adult world.

Tim Elmore, author of more than 20 books mostly dedicated to help adults understand new generations, presented in his clear and informative style the nine challenges Gen Z faces in the world of today. The author expects adults to change their narrative regarding the Gen Z generation and to show to Gen Z the existence of caring adults they can trust.

The questions this book presents originated from the relationship dynamic between adults and children/youth. Is technology usage, mainly portable devices and social media, good or bad? How much is too much? Is technology use good at all? How much should we protect our children from the dangers of daily life? How much planning of one’s time good/bad for them? Are the practices of protective and overprotective parents, teachers, coaches, and adults in general good for the maturity development of the young?

Compared to recent generations, Gen Z members are definitely different than all previous generations. Why? The effort adults exert to protect children from danger and equip them for a future success actually has damaged the younger generation’s ability to become productive adults. The experiences that allowed previous generations to fail, take risks, and learn responsibility, are not available to Gen Z because adults have generated a safe environment without dangers or risks, plus and a scheduled, driven life. In turn, the lack of such experiences has created a dependence on adults for decision-making and has left them without the opportunity to learn from their own mistakes. Instead of learning such experiences while growing up though situations that carry minimum consequences, the risks come at a later age with things that have potentially irreversible consequences.

Most Gen Z books only provide information on the characteristics of this generation. Generation Z Unfiltered stands apart by offering a wealth of well researched information in a simple and clear style apt for any adult. Most importantly, it provides the reader with practical ways to solve the nine “hidden” challenges of this generation. Elmore stated each challenge clearly, gave helpful examples, and added practical suggestions to guide the reader to a possible solution to the situation. These elements make Generation Z Unfiltered a must read for any adult who is interested in the next generation. However, as a pastor, and because Elmore is a Christian, the book could be improved if it had some biblical references along the way.

For the casual reader, the book is an eye-opener in regard to reasons behind the behaviors of Gen Z. For the professional youth worker, the book validates information and offers a hopeful perspective to understand and help in Gen Z’s quest for the future success in maturity. For parents of children in this generation, the book serves as both an indictment of many of our parenting mistakes, and still it offers hope for the future of Generation Z.

Rogelio Paquini

Rogelio Paquini, DMin, pastor of the West Covina Hills Church in Southern California.