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Gen Z & the Negative News Cycle

A Common Sense Media report finds about half of 11- to 17-year-olds get at least 237 notifications a day. Some get nearly 5,000 in 24 hours. As more and more research is dedicated to the effects of phone and social media usage on kids’ developing brains, emerging results lead to more worries about harmful consequences. 

While the long term effects of excessive smartphone and social media usage are still largely unknown, we know that at least 50 percent of Gen Zers see news on social media daily and out of teens who follow news, 66 percent say they get most of it from push notifications. And when they are spammed with notifications all throughout their day, it is often hard for them to escape the mental impact of the 24/7 news cycle, focused on negative global developments. 

For example, a recent Dutch research found that 21 percent of young people (between 16 and 30) experience physical symptoms like tiredness and headaches due to climate stress. Being confronted with the news and constantly being reminded of the crises in the world, while being in no position to influence things, creates an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness among youngsters.

That’s why it’s not surprising that recent figures show a rise in ‘news avoiders’, especially among younger demographics. Almost half of 25- to 34 year olds say they (often or sometimes) actively avoid following the news.

Especially with important topics like climate change, it is important to keep them both constructive, yet optimistic. A great example of using lighthearted messaging while still addressing the issues is this public service announcement so ‘Save Florida Man’. Or if you’re overwhelmed by constant announcements and prone to doomscroll yourself; maybe check out this phone that is designed to be ‘used as little as possible’: the Light Phone.

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Douwe Knijff

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Kim Pillen


Before Kim Pillen started as a trend consultant at TrendsActive, she worked for four years as a creative strategist at Dept. For brands such as Philips,, Beiersdorf, JBL, and the Consumers’ Association, she built (online) campaign, brand, and social media strategies. After four years, she decided that she wanted to better understand people and society in order to advise brands more effectively. That’s how she ended up at TrendsActive. Here, she can do what she loves most: digging into people’s needs and then working with brands to see how and where they can be relevant and meaningful.

Douwe Knijff


Douwe is fascinated by how people work. With a background in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (Bachelor) and Psychology (Master) and an analytical mind he tries figure out how societal shifts manifest themselves through social culture and human behaviour.

Aljan De Boer

Keynote speaker

Aljan has been widely recognized as an inspiring professional speaker on the critical trends that will shape society in the decades to come. He works as the Head of Inspiration at TrendsActive, a trend consultancy from the Netherlands using social science to human-proof business decision for brands like

  • Disney
  • Vodafone
  • Hugo Boss
  • ASR
  • Rabobank

Next to his role at TrendsActive he is the Community Director at the Institute for Real Growth where he inspires and connects a global community of +400 CMOs.  

He has been on the board of the Dutch Platform of Innovative Marketing for almost a decade. Regular speaker and moderator for the Dutch Marketing Awards and 3 times winner of the best of MIE. 

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees his purpose is to help ambitious leaders and brands to human-proof their business. In 2003 he founded TrendsActive, a trend consultancy enabling brands to become more human centric.

Kees consults global brands like

  • Disney
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Asics
  • Discovery Channel
  • Swiss Life
  • Vodafone

and many more.

Next to being the founder of TrendsActive, he is also initiator of the first academic trend master for executives at the University of Utrecht and is initiator of various trend studies and white papers on subjects like trust, meaning, visual culture & generations.


Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist