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Covid and the Reset Generation

The Covid pandemic is affecting the young generation. Find out what a researcher says about young people’s attitudes towards life.

Carsten Hauptmeier, 03.01.2022
Youth research expert Simon Schnetzer
Youth research expert Simon Schnetzer © Pio Mars

Youth research specialist Simon Schnetzer uses the term Reset Generation for the generation of young people who are being particularly hard hit by the restrictions during the Covid pandemic in Germany. This is because, whenever there seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel, someone pressed the reset button. In March 2021 Schnetzer presented the survey Junge Deutsche in collaboration with the well-known youth researcher Klaus Hurrelmann. And it was against this background of uncertainty that the overall mood of young people was shown to be gloomy. Despite the fact that a good 70 per cent of the respondents were content, or very content with their lives, the level had fallen by nine per cent compared with the pre-Covid results.

Schnetzer assumes that Germany is facing a “very big challenge”: “The pandemic will change a lot of things, especially for young people who are in a transition phase, for instance after leaving school,” says the researcher. “Many of them aren’t starting studying or entering a profession. Some face psychological challenges, because there’s no stage for them to perform on and enhance their self-esteem. A digital stage is not good enough for that.”

Is the future still safe?

Another survey carried out by the researcher in November 2021 showed that young people are very worried about the future. Some 56 per cent were worried about climate change, and 48 per cent had doubts about the pensions system. “It’s normal for young people to have fears about the future. It has always been like that,” says Schnetzer. “But the feeling that ‘life is safe’ is not as strong as it used to be. The so-called migrant crisis, climate change, and now the pandemic, have combined to convey the feeling that the future isn’t safe.”

According to the Junge Deutsche study, the Reset Generation is strongly motivated by money and fun. Above all, the importance of money increased significantly in comparison with 2019. Simon Schnetzer finds this hardly surprising: “For instance, people who felt their income from student loans and a small job was safe up to now are noticing that this is no longer the case. Many jobs, like those in the gastronomy sector, have disappeared in the pandemic. Suddenly, the certainty about having enough money has vanished.”


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