You can call them Generation Alpha, Generation Glass (they are born looking at glass devices), or simply Alpha kids. These labels all describe the new demographic cohort, one that is all set and prepped for the 21st Century.
Given its diverse and emerging characteristics, Generation Alpha is projected to become the most tech-savvy and transformative cohort yet, and for good reasons:
All Alpha children are born entirely in the 21st Century, at a time when technology is at the core of productivity, lifestyle, and of course, parenting. Many of them will most likely live into the 22nd century, given the remarkable improvements in health services, and their positive insight into life.
These children and soon-to-be adults are wired to co-exist with the digital ecosystem in its entirety, and anything out of this reality is unthinkable.
Generation Alpha is defined by technological devices like smartphones and tablets, video games, driverless trains, autonomous cars, and smart speakers that speak back to you.McCrindle
The new technologies and aspirations are built around Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and happen to be the hallmark of the 4th Industrial Revolution. They are also taking real shape at the emergence of Alphas.
Generation Alpha birth years fall between 2010 and 2025 and came to replace the Generation Z cohort whose birth years fell between 1996 and 2009.
The two generations are well placed to champion the rebirth of technology through the second wave of digital disruption.
As of 2020, the eldest Alpha child is only 10 years old.
… why the name Generation Alpha?
The award-winning Australian social and demographic researcher, Mark McCrindle, preferred the word alpha in 2005.
McCrindle and his team of forecasters ran a survey across Australia to find out a befitting name for the new generation.
Part of the challenge was that the Latin alphabet used to name the previous cohorts and had just expired with the letter Z.
They were also looking for a name that represented the new dawn of existence all built around technology.
They chose the word Alpha because it fitted the bill perfectly well. Alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet and a meaningful replacement to the Roman/Latin alphabet.
It also stands for a new beginning as depicted in the Bible, in Isiah Chapter 44 verse 6. In the contemporary world, the word Alpha represents courage, determination, and a strong sense of self.
Parenting Generation Alpha kids
Most generation Alpha kids are born to millennial parents, who were born between 1981 and 1995. Millennials are mathematically primed to become the parents of Alphas.
The eldest Millennial was roughly 28 in 2009 and capable of fathering the first Alpha child, born in 2010. And so too was the 28-year-old Millennial female very much capable of bearing an Alpha child in the same year.
Likewise, the oldest Millennial will be 44, and the youngest, 30, by 2025, all still capable of parenting the youngest Alphas.
As much as Millennials form the bulk of parents today, younger Baby Boomers and Xers also continue to father children. By 2025, the youngest Baby Boomer will average 61 years and still in the business of producing children.
Equally true, the youngest Generation X parent will be 45 in 2025 and capable of fathering more children.
Alpha kids and technology
They’re born into it, not as a new development, an experiment and stumbling innovation, a toy to grapple with, but as a fully-formed service.Joe Nellis, Professor of Global Economy
The first Alpha children were born in 2010, the same year the first iPad was released, and Instagram was unveiled for IOS.
The two innovations proved to be very crucial to the life of children born after that year. The iPad became a hit because it suited well as a plaything for newborns, and Instagram became the app for older siblings and millennial parents to share baby photos.
As of 2020, tablets and mobile phones are ubiquitous and necessary companions for children at home and in the classroom.
After only a few years Alpha kids are capable of amazing skills with gadgets. They easily find their way around YouTube even with limited reading abilities.
To them, typing on small screens will seem old-fashioned when they grow up. Alpha adults will not interface with apps, smartphones, and tablets the way we do today.
Technology is also considered part and parcel of life to Alphas, which is in contrast with Generation Z and Millennial parents who view technology as a tool.
For them it’s a tool. For alphas, it’s a way of life.FLUXTRENDS
Millennial parents also happen to be the driving force behind economies around the world. As such,
If Generation Alpha possesses similar behaviours, attitudes and beliefs to that of their parents, then to win a certain segment of millennial consumers (millennial parents), we must target Generation Alpha.GOOGLE
… enter the second wave of digital transformation!
Alphas also happen to experience first-hand, the implementation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) like no other generation.
The 4IR is at the center of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT), all designed to run inside faster data bandwidth of 5G and 6G.
These will lead to new experiences in robotics, Virtual Reality (VR), autonomous automobiles, advanced automation, biotechnology, etc.
The changing landscape means even more:
While technology has always been about enhancing productivity, improving livelihoods, and solving mathematical headaches, the second wave is about harnessing the existence between the biological being, the digital landscape, and the physical sphere to work together as one, in what is popularly known as cyber-physical systems.
In the years to come,
- service delivery will be fast and prompt
- digitalization to be simplified
- a preference for intelligent automation
The changes will make existing user interaction with computers rather obsolete, with Alphas favoring speed, simplicity, and intelligence.
Alpha and Education
Education for Generation Alpha children is more tuned around personalized learning which takes full advantage of technology tools.
Right from early primary through secondary education, teaching for Alphas will move away from the traditionally structured and audio-based instructional methodologies to more hands-on and visual interactions.
They are and continue to favor problem-solving skills and collaborate offline and online with peers and instructors.
They prefer using iPads and other instructional gadgets to sitting and listening to continuous lectures and writing notes. They prefer to design projects and visualize ideas with peers and feel that is how education should be shaped going forward.
In any case, we are all yet to understand how the future of work and employability will pan out:
Generation Alpha will take on jobs that don’t yet exist. This generation will be well educated, and wealthy families especially, will invest in increasingly specialised education. A percentage of alphas will avoid the higher education system altogether and opt for cheaper online learning.Cranfield University Professor Joe Nellis
Generation Alpha characteristics and facts:
As mentioned above, Alpha kids are born into a highly digitalized world, which in itself means they will always experience life in a digital realm, like no other generation.
- The first Alpha children were born in 2010
- They are largely born to Millennial parents
- The last Alpha children will be born in 2025
- Around 2.5 million Alpha children are born every week
- Alphas will total around 2 billion in 2025
- They will not text or use email much when they grow up
- They are a very curious lot
- Instead, they will use audio/visual tools for communication
- Many Alphas will grow up wearing health trackers
- Alphas are culturally diverse owing to increasing interracial parents
- They are less attached to family and cultural history
- Have access to a lot of information and data compared to other generations
- When grown-up, Alphas will be very savvy technologically and ‘always on’
- Alphas will be poor at interpersonal and social skills and interact less face to face, and more through technology
- The generation will increasingly become urbane
- Alphas will have to deal with intrusions from technology giants like Google and Amazon
- They are and will continue to be ardent gamers
- They will probably outgrow addictive technology earlier in life
- Have reduced attention span
- An indoor generation
- Believe less in religion
- Are ethnically diverse
- Will continue to receive personalized learning