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Last Updated: September 25, 2020

You can call them Generation Alpha, Generation Glass, or simply Alpha kids. All these labels are used to describe a new demographic cohort that is all set and prepped for the 21st Century.

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. 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 years of birth fall between 2010 and 2025, and it replaced 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 Generation Alpha?

The award-winning Australian social and demographic researcher, Mark McCrindle, preferred the word alpha in 2005.

McCrindle and his team ran a survey across Australia to find out a befitting name for the new generation. They were looking for a name that represented the new dawn of existence all built around technology and related sciences in the 21st Century.

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. The Latin alphabet was used to name the previous cohorts and had just expired with the letter Z.


Parenting Generation Alpha kids

millenials, the generation alpha parents
Millennials, form the bulk of Generation Alpha kids. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels)

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.

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. Equally true, the youngest Generation X parent will be 45 in 2025 and capable of fathering more children.


Alpha kids and technology

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 the newborns, and Instagram became the app for older siblings and millennial parents to share baby photos. 

Soon, other manufacturers (besides Apple, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger), shipped their own tablets and phablets to tap into the lucrative market.

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.


… enter the second wave of digital transformation!

Alphas also happen to experience 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 mean even more:

While technology has always been about enhancing productivity, improving livelihoods, and solving mathematical headaches, the second wave is about harnessing the co-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.


COVID-19 and the new normal for Alpha kids

While everything seemed normal as the Alpha cohort entered its 10th year – 2020, a novel coronavirus strain known as COVID-19 begged to change the course of their lives.

While the new strain proved deadly for the aging generations and those with underlying medical conditions, it strangely spared the Alpha kids.

Alpha children adapted to the new normal lifestyle, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

First was the call for social distancing to help stay away from the COVID-19 pathways, and second was the need to stay at home, to limit interactions with the sick. While distancing helped save many, it actually affected how children socialized, played, and attended school.

Notably, kids had less face-to-face communication and used technology as a countermeasure. Those with limited spaces at home played less, and instead binged on Tv sets and computer games. Those that could, attended online lessons, while the rest sat still at home.

Sadly, the majority of kids participated less in physical wellness, while others wore faces masks when they ventured outdoors.

On a good note, many children learned to eat better as a precaution against the novel coronavirus. Some endeavored to read books, while others learned to prepare food.

COVID-19 also ensured that families began bonding once again, as the work-from-home phenomenon became the new normal for parents.

On a bigger picture, the COVID-19 period made one thing very clear. There is a need for everyone to embrace technology, notwithstanding the need for communities to go cashless.


Generation Alpha characteristics and facts:

  • 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 around 2 billion in 2025
  • They will not text or use email much when they grow up
  • Instead, they will use audio/visual tools for communication
  • Many Alphas will grow up wearing health trackers
  • 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
  • Alphas will have to deal with intrusions from technology giants like 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