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Jacob Munoz, a junior at Scappoose High School, talks about the positivity gap he sees in his generation, and offers one easy fix

Today's generation is more self-centered than any previous generation. Ding! Incoming message. New message. Cool.

Sound familiar?

Being a 16-year-old, I have firsthand experience watching the members of my generation, Generation Z (around 1996 to early 2000s), care for themselves first, more than my millennial parents (1980 to early 2000s) and more than my baby boomer grandparents (1040s to early 1960s).

Raised during a recession and the tragedy of 9/11, all this generation knows is a time of hardship and survival of the fittest — or, in this case, survival of the unique. Those who belong to today's generation have a tendency to try to make up careers for themselves rather than pursue traditional work.While this generation has shown astonishing drive, desire to be creators and work ethic, there has been one major characteristic that has diminished: positivity. Rather than spreading positivity and making sure a neighbor is doing OK, there's a stronger desire to attain as many "likes" on social media.

What happened to volunteering and helping out around the community? Studies have shown that social media is making people more apathetic due to repetitive small doses of dopamine being released every time a message is received. This can make people feel indifferent to other events that also cause small releases of dopamine. Even worse than this is if someone receives, say, 50 likes on average and they post a picture that gets only 25 likes. It can make them feel like something is wrong and cause negative feelings.There are countless new studies illustrating that social media creates apathy rather than empathy.

To gain another perspective, I spoke to a millennial. He believes reliance on social media and technology is the main problem. When I spoke to fellow students my age there was overwhelming agreement this generation is selfish and doesn't share positivity with others as much as previous generations.

I believe this is true. I also believe the reason Gen Z is being critiqued so heavily is because teens are more likely to be using technology and social media.

Luckily, this is a problem that can be easily fixed.

Instead of posting about yourself, post about someone who is appreciated or someone who needs positivity. Instead of using technology to benefit our own needs, ask someone to hang out or try to put a smile on another's face, no matter what generation they belong to.

Jacob Munoz is a junior at

Scappoose High School.

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