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Many call them Generation Glass or simply Generation Alpha kids. Yes, these are labels used to define the latest demographic cohort, one that is all set and prepped for the 21st Century. Besides being the latest in the queue of demographic cohorts, Alpha is projected to be the most transformative generation yet when it reaches maturity – and for good reasons.

All Alpha children are born entirely in the 21st Century, at a time when technology is at the forefront of parenting. They 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. They replace Generation Z cohort, whose birth years fell between 1996 and 2009. The two generations are experiencing the influence of technology in similar ways and 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 word alpha was preferred by Mark McCrindle, the award-winning Australian social and demographic researcher, in 2005. McCrindle and his team ran a survey across Australia to find out the most fitting name for the new generation. The word Alpha was agreed upon. The name represents a new dawn of livelihood all built around technology and related sciences in the 21st Century.

The alpha letter is the first in the Greek alphabet and the most befitting replacement of the Roman/Latin alphabet, which was used in naming the previous cohorts. The Latin alphabet just expired with the letter Z which represented Generation Z.

Parenting Generation Alpha

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

Generation Alpha kids are largely babies born to millennial parents. Millennials were born towards the end of the last century, between 1981 and 1995, and are mathematically primed to be 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. Equally true, the youngest Generation X parent will be 45 in 2025 and capable of fathering more children.

Generation 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.

… into the Second Wave of Digital Transformation!

Alphas are also experiencing first hand the implementation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) which is centered around Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

All the new changes and revolution in tech are designed to be powered by faster data bandwidth in 5G and 6G, to usher in 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 the Alpha Cohort

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.

Alphas were, however, made to adapt to new normal lifestyles as a measure 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 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 are 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 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

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