Gen Z sees being connected to the Internet as an essential part of life.

Our April trend report examines Gen Z, the fledgling generation born after 1995, following the Millennials. For today’s teens and tweens—weaned on smartphones, tablets and high-speed wireless Internet—their digital connections with the world, and with friends in particular, are essential. Our research found that they value Internet connections, mobile phones and the ability to text friends more highly than allowance money and some material goods, and significantly more than real-world activities. And among the 200 teenagers we surveyed in the U.S. and the U.K., as many 9 in 10 would be upset if they had to give up their Internet connection. As many as a third of college students consider Internet to be as important as air, water, food and shelter, according to a September 2011 global survey from Cisco.

Our survey, which also included 200 tweens (aged 8-12) and 400 parents of tweens and teens, was conducted in early March using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool. Given the importance of technology and connectivity for this generation, and their tech-savvy, brands need to be not only up to date tech-wise but ahead of the curve.