The Dark Side of Gen Z: 21 Problematic Trends We Need to Leave Behind

Does anything that Gen-Z does make you feel baffled and confused? Do you feel like they have a whole other culture where the trends are weird and the language is different? You aren’t the only one who finds it weird.

Weird Gen Z Trends

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Recently someone posted, “What’s a trend among Gen Zs you find weird?” but most of the responses weren’t just weird but downright troubling. These are the problematic and worrisome trends that we need to say goodbye to, like yesterday!

The Romanticization of Mental Illness

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The first response came from a Gen-Z’er!  They said, “Gen Z here. Romanticization of mental illness or crime.” Someone else added, “They wear it like a badge, which naturally invokes sympathy. Nothing wrong with creating more openness around the subject, it’s a medical condition. And like with any medical condition, it typically doesn’t define someone. I really don’t want to know about anyone’s (outside of loved ones) medical conditions and absolutely don’t want just anyone knowing about mine. And, I wish I understood why this generation’s relationship with it is so boastful.”

While talking about mental illness is important and making sure there is no stigma surrounding mental illness is a noble endeavor, the romanticization of mental illness can be scary.


Documenting Themselves Committing Crimes and Then Posting Them to Social Media

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Gen-Z posts everything! Unfortunately, they either don’t understand that posting themselves committing a crime is a good idea, or they don’t care.

A Tragic Story

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One Redditor shared a tragic story, “[I] was at a (car) accident reconstruction engineering office this summer and a 20 ish yo guy drove of the edge of the road and died and his snap story from the night was a video of his speedometer at 100+ in the dark in the rain and he was bragging that he was going fast (and also drunk).”

A millennial added, “Yeah, but, it just seems obviously stupid to me as a millennial to document your crimes and broadcast them. Although I’m paranoid about surveillance and s*** always.”

Inviting Crime by Posting

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Of course, we are not trying to victim-blame, but please make it less easy for the criminals to find you!

One person posted about another drawback of posting too much information online, “Look what a fun life I have, I’m here on the mountains with my entire family nobody is home for 2 weeks pls come rob me.” Another commenter agreed, “Absolutely, I always post about vacations, family trips and the like AFTER we took them. I don’t have that many people on Facebook anymore but you never know.”


They Film Everything

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Gen-Z likes to film everything, unfortunately not always with consent. Not everyone wants their actions to be recorded forever.

“I went out drinking with a mixed age group,” shared one poster, “We got silly drunk, and had a good time. A few months later, one of the younger girls posted a “hilarious” video of me blackout drunk and acting stupid. Nothing illegal, just embarrassing. It was horrifying. Like, why would you video someone that vulnerable, and then put it out in public? Like, what other videos did they take? She took it down, but didn’t understand at all why I was so angry at her – because she posted dumber s*** of herself all the time! Never again. I’ll just stick with my older friends who know not to film anyone doing stupid s***.”


Getting Fired Because of Social Media

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Continuing with the theme of not being careful of what they post online, someone posted, “Gen Z getting themselves fired from work over TikTok is such a common occurrence.”

It’s a good idea to refrain from posting work-related content on your social media unless it is anonymous our you are 100% sure that your work is ok with it!


Micro-Labeling Everything

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Moving from the Millennial generation who tried to get rid of all labels, Gen-Z likes to label everything and anything!

Someone said, “The way everything needs to be a micro-label or aesthetic, and the differences between some of them feel so minuscule that I’m not sure why they all need to exist in the first place. I’ve seen both “clean girl” and “vanilla girl” on TikTok but…those both just seem like minimalism to me?” someone else agreed, “Except “clean girl” also seems like there are 50+ skincare products required which is the opposite of minimalism?? I can’t keep up.”


Weird TikTok Reels

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Some people just don’t understand the weird TikTok trends, “Posting videos where they’re just making faces with some text while a song plays that usually has nothing to do with the text. Just talk?”

TikTok Reactions

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Another Redditor agreed, “I don’t know if this is Gen Z specific, but TikTok / reels / etc in general are so full of these. Putting your face side by side with someone else’s video so we get your “reaction” to it, when that reaction is just making stupid faces. I mean, I’ve come across some actually entertaining “reactions” where they play the original video first, then cut to the reaction and it’s someone actually saying words out loud about what was good or bad about it. This other s*** is just… ugh. How/why would someone find that entertaining?”


Diagnosing Mental Illness

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A Gen-Zer posted, “As a Gen Z myself, I find trying to diagnose ourselves with a mental disorder pretty weird. I’ve never done it and I would never do it but I know some people who do it just for attention and stuff. Pretty annoying for people who are actually suffering in my opinion.”  Someone says it goes even further, “It doesn’t seem like you just diagnose yourselves, it seem like you’ve diagnosed everyone else -I swear everyone on Reddit’s last GF was a full blown narcissist.”

While we love that mental illness is not taboo anymore, maybe leave the diagnosis to the professionals?


Labeling Everything

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Gen-Z like to label everything!

“Millennials fought a crusade to do away with labels. You’re a person and can do whatever you want and don’t need to be labeled. Gen-Z seems to be dead set on labeling everything. As many labels as possible, and you must abide by what your labels say.”


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Someone added, “I was wondering when I’d get to this comment. I wonder if they do it out if an attempt to “own” their own labels, as if controlling that somehow gives them control of other things in life. Of course, it does not. There’s a lot more to be said here, but my tuna sandwich awaits.”

Hope the sandwich was good!

Refusing to Talk on the Phone

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“[They] Hate talking on the phone to…anyone” said one person but some people jumped to Gen-Z’s defense on this one: “Well if everyone didn’t spam call every Millenial and Gen Z to the point that they barely answer their phone, that would be great! I actually remember when cell phones wouldn’t get spam calls and there were national do not call lists with consequences.”

I also hate when people call me on the phone, so I get this one!


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One person doesn’t understand the addiction to vaping, “As someone who vaped for a while as one step on the path of quitting smoking cigarettes, it seems bizarre that people are choosing to get addicted to nicotine by the branding and marketing power of…fruit flavours and colourful plastic? I really don’t get it. I mean, yeah, choosing to start smoking cigarettes is dumb too but there’s much more historical cultural and social context to cigarettes. Vaping just seems so unbearably lame to me! No offence to those who enjoy it, of course!”


Cancel Culture

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Is Gen-Z too strict with their moralizing?

“Trying to “cancel” singers/rappers/actors for things they said 30 years ago when social norms were different,” one person said. Another added, “This one. I’m almost 24 and this trend is so irritating and hypocritical.”

Someone took it even a step further, “Gen z is the most pretentious moralistic and puritanical gen since maybe the lost gen.”


Pranking for “Clout”

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Many people did not like the trend of “pranking” people and then posting about it on social media.

One person said, “I’ve seen one that regularly goes into a store like Home Depot and pretends to be an employee and then films the real employees who seem to be going a little overboard in their reactions; but I’m just like this poor guy is just trying to get through his workday without this bull****.”

Pranks Aren’t Funny

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Another said, “I just saw a man was getting charges pressed against him for attacking a kid that was “pretending to steal his luggage as a prank.” The ‘prankee’ grabbed the kid by the hair and probably did go a little overboard but the number of comments I saw defending the kid amazed me. JUST LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE!!”

And yet another added, “I feel like a boomer (I’m not, I’m a millennial) thinking to myself, if there were videos of these kids getting the tar kicked out of them I bet there’d be less of them.”

Hyperbolic Language

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One person went on a bit of a rant about the language hyperbole that Gen-Z uses. “The use of hyperbolic language. Everything is defined in the most extreme terms and often not even accurately. Old guy dates a women in her early twenties or something, he’s a [redacted]. Some guy takes advantage of them even if they’re all adults and they were “groomed”. Parents don’t say yes to everything or set boundaries for themselves – narcissists. Spanking is abuse. Their break up is “trauma”. Some is a jerk, they’re clearly a psychopath.

It’s just absurd. Words have meaning. And it’s like they think they need to frame everything in the most extreme context for their experience to be valid or something. Sad, disappointed, angry, frustrated, conflicted, hurt…are all perfectly valid feelings. You don’t need to paint someone or something as diabolical to have your feelings and experiences be valid.”

Gen-Z Trends

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Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.