Gen Z: Calls is just another app

It has always been the case that parents found their children's generation weird. The world is developing at breakneck speed, and so are people. One development worth noting for our early 40 columnist Markus Sekulla: Young people don't like to talk on the phone as much anymore. Ever wondered what's the reason for that? We got you covered.

Ok, first, let's go back to 1994, when the family(!) telephone was still one of the central objects in our home. While the TV was the star in the living room, the kitchen was dominated by the stove, the telephone could be seen as the unrestricted ruler of the hallway. At some point, we even had a small bench next to the device so that we didn't have to stand so long while talking on the phone, it was that important.

But what we tend to forget. Making phone calls has always been weird. Let's take the first phone calls with the crush. A classic. I got all my courage together and although I really hoped to avoid it the first hurdle was waiting for me. The voice of her father. It's kind of like walking past a house where an off-leash dog and an open gate come together. You just don’t wan‘t that. And then this friendly, but actually very mean – today one would say “invasive” – “Ah, you want to talk to Melly, well, ok!”. I still hear it sometimes in my ears when I’m at my parents place. But we somehow got over the hurdle, which didn't make the stammered conversation with her afterwards any better. One phone call and I was ready for dolphin therapy. 

We didn't like phone calls either

Also a classic of my childhood. Picking up the phone without knowing who was calling you. In our teenage years, the excuse game was very strong.

So, in short, we didn't like talking on the phone back then either – at least not in every situation and with everyone. It's the same today, just more pronounced. Young people prefer not to talk on the phone at all. Sure, that's a statement from someone who was just born in the Millennial year. But the data (and my private observations) support this thesis. 

Aversion against spontaneous calls

Another observation: The aversion is also and maybe primarily to spontaneous – i.e., unannounced – calls. .

Another flashback to the 80s. In the old days, everything was very spontaneous. Sometimes you went to your friends house and asked at the door if they had time. Feels absolutely unthinkable today. And with the telephone it goes in the same direction.

But what are the reasons why young people don't like to make (spontaneous) phone calls anymore? 

  • Messaging has way more options to it and is more fun
  • You don't have to have an immediate answer to everything
  • Socializing is also possible over coffee or Facetime
  • Phone calls are also just one app of many
  • Voice Messages

The last point, voice messages, will certainly make some silver surfers' hair on the back stand up. But we all have to deal with it, it’s here to stay.

Calls is just another app

My generation grew up with the telephone and the TV as the central means of communication with the outside world. As a result, talking on the phone is still as ingrained in our memetics as reading the wood-version of a newspaper.

If we older people put ourselves in the shoes of the younger generation, it's all pretty easy to understand. Gen Z always (!) has its phone with it, but telephoning is no more than one app among many. It stands next to messengers and social networks with the associated response options. 


Hardly anywhere is the generation gap as evident as in the use of smartphones. While we had to make do with the very limited options of a Gameboy, the new generation has the world open to them in their room through endless possibilities. Why then leave the room in the first place? But that's okay. Empathy is the key here. We were different, too. My poor parents had to put up with hours of 90s dancefloor music with Haddaway and 2 Unlimited every day, and trust me now no one would want that.

Read more

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