Friday February 23, 2024

Generation Alpha

September 30, 2022

Generation Alpha comprises children born in 2010 or later. These are the children who were born in the age of Instagram and iPad. They are known to have superior tech-savvy skills, but low social skills. Due to technological advancement, it is difficult to protect these children from various online harms like cyberbullying, adult content, gaming addiction and much more.

Technology has both advantages and disadvantages. It has been a key player in education, medical care, socialization, industrialization, manufacturing, eCommerce, business, and other aspects. The formal learning that Generation Alpha is receiving is playing a key role in preparing them for the future job market and creative play.

Working remotely will be the new norm, and Generation Alpha will have a key role in this. Earlier, they had to adjust to online learning when there were Covid restrictions; the transition to remote working will not be tough for this generation. We need to prepare these children for future work while still supporting them to develop social skills and reduce their dependency on life in the technology world. There is also a worry that children are maturing faster than older generations – Generation Z and Millennials – due to their exposure. This is because these children are exposed to some adult material which is inappropriate; the aim should be to achieve real-world maturity. They are becoming more mature at their age than other adults or their grandparents were at that age.

There is a big worry that Generation Alpha will be more addicted to electronic devices instead of their social life. Technology brings instant gratification, which is not highly recommended. Instead of normal bullying experienced in real life, internet users experience cyberbullying. Mental health issues are also a major concern for Generation Alpha. They are greatly using social media, which brings the feeling of comparison among peers. This leads to an increased level of depression, anxiety, and self-harm among the younger generations, Gen Z, and even Millennials.

On the bright side, exposure to information has made them enlightened. They can pursue better education and garner material wealth. However, due to the fast-paced world, Generation Alpha is more likely to experience a bad impact on their memory due to voice assistants like Siri or Alexa. They will not be motivated to remember certain things as these virtual assistants will help them. This can be disastrous to the preceding generations. Therefore, there is a need for better accommodation for this generation. Also, Generation Alpha will be one of the wealthiest among different generations.

Generation Alpha is born amid the IT Revolution, therefore their lives will be enhanced through electronic devices. There will be a big change in people’s psychological and physical relationships. This generation is estimated to be wealthier because during their productive years they will be fewer. Unlike previous generations, Generation Alpha is estimated to stay in education for long periods, join the workforce later, and have children later. This will leave room for personal growth over time.

Generation Alpha will also be some of the most demanding customers and employees. It might become harder to win the attention and loyalty of consumers. Their level of knowledge and technological advancement will make them question a lot. As employees, Generation Alpha will be tougher to keep motivated as they will prefer individual projects to get individual rewards. Therefore, remote working will be easy for them, considering they are growing up in the technology world. Entrepreneurship and freelancing will be more attractive to them, as they will want to be their own bosses.

Even in the education sector, Generation Alpha will not just want to follow a particular curriculum, but instead look to train as a specialist in different topics and niches. Most students will want to pursue more education before joining the workforce. By the time they join the workforce, there will be a lot of diversity in leadership positions. The generation will prioritize skills over degrees and also want highly personalized and engaging training. This will lead to the growth of virtual learning. Due to exposure to voice, AI, and machine learning, they will learn at a fast pace. Due to differences between older generations and Gen Alpha, the workplace system needs to change to make it comfortable for everyone.

Generation Alpha thinks that phones are a priority. They see technology as a mode to transform the world and will want to work for companies that align with their goals and provide benefits to society. Furthermore, they will also want their peers to see what they are working on to get a feeling of satisfaction. Their perception of life will be a bit different and somehow advanced. Therefore, the children need to grow equally, to ensure there is no backlash or anyone lagging behind. The world is changing with each passing day and so should individuals. They will be more advanced than their parents.

They experienced their parents working remotely in 2020 due to Covid and therefore will aim to get work that offers flexibility. They will want to get more control and be more focused on their emotional, physical and mental wellbeing. However, interventions need to be made to ensure that Gen Alpha has great mentors and role models as they transit in different environments. They will want to be treated as people first rather than workers and want more recognition than demanded by the prior generation.

The future is bright for Generation Alpha. However, they will need to be taught about the reality of the world to reduce the chances of them having too many expectations. The preceding generations need to garner skills that will allow them to collaborate perfectly with Generation Alpha in the work environment and the education sector. The fact that Generation Alpha has grown technologically is a good sign of the kind of inventions and innovations that they will build on. They might be able to leverage the metaverse and other virtual worlds comfortably.

The writer is CTO & director, Centre of Information Technology at IoBM.

He tweets @imranbatada and can be reached at: