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Generation Alpha – also called Generation Glass is the latest in the queue of demographic cohorts and one that best fits the digital native description. The Alpha cohort is projected to be the most transformative generation when it reaches maturity, and for good reasons. The children of this generation are born inside the world of technology and are wired to the core to exist with digital and related gadgets. Anything out of this is unthinkable.
The Alpha birth years fall between 2010 and 2025 and came in time to replace the Generation Z cohort, whose birth years ended in 2009. The first child from the Z generation was born in the last century, in 1996. Despite the slight age differences, the two generations seem to experience the influence of technology in similar ways.
As of 2019, the eldest Alpha child is 9 years old.
Why the Name Alpha?
The word alpha was preferred by Mark McCrindle, in 2005, by the award-winning Australian social and demographic researcher. McCrindle and his team ran a survey across Australia to find out the most fitting name for the new generation. After months of research and discussions, the word Alpha was agreed upon.
The name was picked up since it represents a new dawn of livelihood all built around technology and related sciences of the 21st Century.
The alpha letter happens to be the first in the Greek alphabet and the most befitting replacement of the Roman/Latin alphabet, which was used in the previous generation cohorts. The Latin alphabet just expired with the letter Z to represent Generation Z.
In its entirety, the Alpha cohort is the first to be born entirely in the 21st Century. Statistics point to over 2.5 million Alpha births every year, culminating into a total of 2 billion Alphas when the last one is born in 2025.
Generation Alpha kids are usually referred to as the children of millennials, simply because Millennials happen to form the bulk of their parents.
Preceding Generation Z cohort, Millennials were born towards the end of the last century (1981 – 1995) and were mathematically primed to become Alpha parents.
As of 2009, the eldest Millennial male was roughly 28 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.
Much as Millennials form the bulk of parents today, Baby Boomers and Xers too, continue to father children.
By 2025, the youngest Baby Boomer will average 61 years and still in the business of producing children.
Generation Alpha and Technology
The first Alpha children were born in 2010, the same year the first iPad was released by Apple. 2010 was also the year that Instagram was unveiled. The iPad became a hit with parents who shopped for them as play-things for the newborns.
Soon, other manufacturers shipped their own tablets and phablets and saturated the market with alternative mobile gadgets. All were designed for educational purposes and toys for the new generation!
As of 2019, tablets and mobile phones are ubiquitous and are necessary companions for children at home and in the classroom.
Alphas are therefore immersed deep into touchscreen devices, they hardly envisage a world without them. They are also experiencing first hand the introduction and implementation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) which is centered around Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
The new revolution
The changing landscape means the biological being, the digital technology and the physical sphere in life are destined to work together as one, in what is popularly known as cyber-physical systems.
The changes will make existing user interaction with computers rather obsolete, with Alphas favoring evolving interfaces. Yes, Alphas will use touch technology for a few more years but are visibly unimpressed with the keyboard and mouse, which happen to be boon for the older generations!
Typing on small screens will seem old-fashioned very soon, and when they grow up, Alpha adults will not interface with apps, smartphones, and tablets the way we do today.
They are more in favor of voice assistants and the whole spectrum of audio-visual interactions. Who knows what else will become the modus operandi in the years to come!
Facts About Generation Alpha
- The first Alpha children were born in 2010
- The last Alpha children will be born in 2025
- Around 2.5 million Alpha children are born every week
- Alphas will total 2 around billion in 2025
- They are brought up in front of screens right from day one
- They will not text or use email much when they grow up
- Instead, they will use audio/visual tools for communication
- Alphas re being made to wear health trackers all-day
- They are largely born to Millennial parents
- Alphas are culturally diverse owing to increasing interracial parents
- They are less attached to family and cultural history
- When grown-up, Alphas will be very savvy technologically
- The generation will increasingly become urbane
- They will be affected most by intrusion from tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Amazon
- They are and will continue to be ardent gamers
- Alphas will interact less face to face, and more through technology
- They will probably outgrow addictive technology earlier in life
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Children who play outdoors are naturally drawn towards nature because it lets them blend with plant and animal forms, and learn new things.