They’re literally still children, with the eldest only nine or 10 years old at the most. So who qualifies as part of this new generation?
Generation Alpha consists of the children of millennials (yes, you read right—millennials are now parents!) born from 2010 onwards.
The name was coined by Mark McCrindle, an Australian sociologist who chose the name “Alpha” as he realized those born after Gen Z would belong to an entirely different world of “technological integration,” one not even Gen Z, for all its technological savvy, can lay claim to.
This is not a generation that will start where previous generations left of. Rather, this is a generation that will be part of a whole new world, born in the 21st century, thus the move to name it after the first letter of the Greek alphabet, in honor of this new millennium’s world.
What do we know about Gen Alpha? Surprisingly, a lot.
Thanks to a study conducted on 1,000 children by Hotwire North America, a global PR and integrated marketing agency, we have an insight into what the mindsets and priorities of these children are.
Perhaps we should start learning as much as we can because in a few years they are projected to number about 2 billion, 200 million more than the expected number of Gen Zs in 2025.
We still have half a decade to go until 2025, when anything can happen, which could drastically alter the direction into which Gen Alpha is born. But assuming everything remains as it is, we are looking at what could possibly be the “most formally educated and technologically supplied generation yet and globally, the wealthiest generation ever.”
While technology and screen time are their biggest want, this does not mean that they are indifferent to the challenges surrounding them. Among the issues they are passionate about:
School safety. Perhaps due to the school shootings, Gen Alpha children in the US feel that this is the most important issue, with 97 percent of them saying that children should be kept safe while in school.
Elimination of hunger. Tied in with school safety, 97 percent of children also felt strongly about making sure all people are able to eat.
Equality. The fair treatment of others was also an important issue, as 96 percent of the children interviewed believed that all should be treated equally, regardless of appearance.
Environment. Almost the same number of children, at 95 percent, voiced concern about the environment and the need to protect it from further harm.
While most would think that their concerns and priorities echo those of their older generation, the numbers show that Gen Alpha children are more concerned than their adult counterparts in the study, according to the Holmes Report.
In each category, there were 30-40 percent more Gen Alpha who felt strongly concerned about these issues than adults. Perhaps it is the idealism of their age, which one day will wane, or perhaps we are looking at a generation whose parents have truly inculcated social awareness and concern. Only time will tell.
With regards to their life with technology, here is a generation that is not just using gadgets but is actually interacting with them. From Siri to Alexa and Google Home, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is watching Gen Alpha grow up, and it is exciting to see where these kids will take AI.
More sedentary lifestyle
However, because of the increasingly prominent role of AI, the approach to their education may require some changes which will train them in skills not readily replicable by AI such as analytic and critical thinking, creativity and problem solving.
While this generation will definitely benefit from technology advancements in health, it might also suffer from the effects of a more sedentary lifestyle.
More than 50 percent of Gen Z is predicted to be overweight or obese by the time they reach adulthood in 2027.
Considering the same importance that Gen Alpha will probably give their gadgets and formal education, it is possible that the many health advancements will be canceled out by the consequences of an even more sedentary lifestyle.
Or perhaps they will learn from their predecessors and have a more balanced lifestyle.
It’s not just parents who are taking notice of their children, marketing companies and manufacturers are also focused on this generation. Here is the generation that is truly immune to television and whose screens are devoted to YouTube and streaming platforms.
Proof of this is the incredible popularity of seven-year-old YouTube celebrity Ryan. From his 18 million subscribers to his own line of toys geared specifically for Gen Alpha children, you can see that this generation has buying influence—buying power of their own just yet but enough influence on their parents to create new market segments and products specially for them.
Watching the members of Gen Alpha today—some of whom are just toddling around while the eldest are still struggling to perfect their multiplication tables—one tries hard to imagine them all grown up and interacting with a world which we cannot even begin to imagine.
But such is the beauty of life; as the old classic song goes, “I hear babies babies cry, I watch them grow, they’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know, and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”