While parents belonging to Generations X and Y (Gen XY) have found a way to flourish as the Philippines moves past the worst of the pandemic, more than half of Generation Z (Gen Z) children are languishing, according to a survey conducted by The Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. (Phils.), Inc. (Manulife Philippines).

Over two-thirds (68%) of Gen Z children (or those born from 1997 to 2004) experienced stress, fatigue, and depression, the study found. Over half were also irritable (55%) and sleep-deprived (54%) because of family conflicts, financial challenges, household chores and obligations, and work and school demands. 

In contrast, Gen XY parents said that the shift to the new normal improved their well-being, which they attributed to better work-life balance and “more hands-on, more present” parenting. Most respondents (82%) said they bonded more with their families, while 89% said their family ties got stronger. Majority also reported they are able to take care of their kids more (72%) and manage household chores (74%).

Released Oct. 11, the study titled “The Modern Filipino Family: Exploring family dynamics and digitalization in the new normal” was conducted this May, with 500 Filipino respondents nationwide. 

Millennials are also better at coping than Gen Zs because they are taking control of their situation, said Melissa L. Henson, chief marketing officer of Manulife Philippines. 

“Part of it is their difference of age, which translates to a difference in life stage,” she said. “They are more independent — in general and financially as well … versus the Gen Z children who are in a more structured environment and lifestyle, and who are a lot more dependent on their parents still. There’s not much leeway to make those big life decisions.” 

Sixty-five percent of Gen Zs have expressed digital fatigue, the survey said. 

Whether it’s online or offline, it’s good for people to remember to check in often, be open, and follow through, advised Raphael O. Inocencio, a registered psychologist.  

“We might have taken our family members for granted, thinking they’re just there, but we need them to feel that we’re keeping them in our minds,” he said at the same event. “Being present and available when we say we will be is crucial to showing we really care.”  

According to Mr. Inocencio, the challenge is in fostering interactions. 

“It’s in the quality of the interactions that make families strong and resilient,” he added. 


Filipinos approve of the responsible use of personal data when it’s for the development of better products and services (80%) or when it’s to serve them better (78%), the study also found. 

Within the Filipino home, 95% of those surveyed said they go online for leisure and entertainment, including video streaming and mobile game playing. Almost the same number (92%) reported communicating with family and friends through social media, instant messaging, and video and voice calls.  

According to the study, Filipinos are willing to invest online as a result of their positive experiences with digital transactions. A quarter (25%) of Gen Xers, as well as a third (33%) of millennials have bought insurance online in the last 12 months. Four-tenths (41%) of Gen Zs also intend to buy insurance online in the next 12 months.  

Across segments, the top reasons cited for purchasing insurance were convenience (45%), sense of security (22%), and protection (17%).  

Growth in the insurance sector will come from Gen Y and Gen Z, Ms. Henson said, since these cohorts make up 70% of the Philippine population.

“We saw in the study that different generations reacted differently to the pandemic. Their needs are also very different,” she said. “We have to be nimble and agile in terms of delivering our products and services to them so we can be relevant and cater to their needs as they evolve.” — Patricia B. Mirasol


SIDEBAR | Get a G.R.I.P., a psychologist advises

Raphael O. Inocencio, a registered psychologist, shared this stress reduction framework during the Oct. 11 launch of the Manulife study:

G — “Ground those feelings so they are not spewing all over the place and affecting people who are at the receiving end.”

R — “Reflect on the situation. Pausing for a minute before moving on to the next activity … really helps us get a better perspective on things.”

I  — “Interact with your thoughts and feelings. … They are trying to tell us something, whether there’s a concern we’re not seeing or there’s something we are not processing within ourselves.”

P — “Plan out courses of action and [make do with the resources] that are available to you.”