Clues and Questions about Gen Alpha
The oldest members of Generation Alpha (born 2010–2024) turn 13 this year, which means that from 2023 forward, this generation will be included in our research. Gen Alpha has already generated considerable interest in the research space, particularly as it relates to education and mental health. Read more on traits and characteristics of Gen Alpha in our previous post.
While there is much speculation on this cohort, the youngest of them have yet to be born. Our understandings about Gen Alpha will shift and change as they grow and mature, and as the world evolves alongside them. Drawing upon early clues from social scientists, educational specialists, and other researchers, what questions might emerge related to Gen Alpha?
Clue #1: Gen Alpha will bring a more advanced and integrated relationship with technology than previous generations.
More to learn: There’s no doubt that Gen Alpha will grow up with some of the most advanced technology we’ve ever seen—and that level of technology will be their baseline. But what does that mean for how they learn new information or interact socially?
Given their innate integration with technology, how much of Gen Alpha’s lives will be measured or tracked as “data”? How will they approach AI in everyday tasks? How will they feel about digital ethics and privacy? Will they bring new ways of integrating ”offline” and ”online” into a holistic existence?
Clue #2: The COVID-19 pandemic will be a (or the) defining life event for Gen Alpha.
More to learn: Wars, economic shifts, and other large-scale events can form an entire generation’s outlook on life. For Gen Alpha, the tremendous impact of COVID-19 will likely shape their entire worldview and how they live. How will this early life experience impact their mental health, wellness, and modes of learning? How will it influence how Gen Alpha forms and maintains relationships with digital tools as a mediator? Will their experience with COVID-19 shape how they feel about public health, public policy, or the larger political sphere? Will it influence their perceptions of what it means to feel safe and secure—both personally and collectively?
Clue #3: Gen Alpha may struggle with mental health.
More to learn: Early research shows heightened rates of anxiety and depression in children in this age-group due largely to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly for younger children, disruptions to routines vital to early childhood may help explain these increased rates. How will Gen Alpha contend with the effects of trauma? Will they struggle to develop resilience? Could the early appearance of mental-health challenges impact mental-health outcomes across their lifetime? Will Gen Alpha need trauma-informed mental-health care due to the pandemic?
Clue #4: Gen Alpha will develop their personal identities and social skills amid high levels of diversity.
More to learn: Gen Alpha is the most racially diverse generation to date, which may predict great tolerance for diversity and a leaning toward empathy. In a diverse environment with changing social norms, how will Gen Alpha express their own identities regarding race, gender, sexual orientation, and more? Will they establish stronger connections and have more conversations with those from diverse backgrounds or perspectives? How will inequality impact this generation? Will Gen Alpha continue the pattern of polarization characterizing so much of today’s US culture and politics, or will they create new models?
Clue #5: Increased parental presence and involvement may affect Gen Alpha differently than previous generations.
More to learn: Many Millennials have embraced “positive parenting,” which emphasizes spending more time with their children—some of whom belong to Gen Alpha. What lasting benefits might appear from this shift in approaches to parenting? A recent Pew study found that 40% of parents with children currently under age 18 are most worried about their children’s mental health; almost half described themselves as “overprotective” parents. How might these parenting styles affect Gen Alpha’s ability to think critically or show resilience? How might they foster empathy, compassion, or other positive psychological traits? Will these parenting styles impact Gen Alpha’s own decision to parent (or not) someday?
When it comes to Gen Alpha, we can identify more questions than answers. Beginning this year, Springtide will embark on the exciting journey of uncovering how Gen Alpha thinks, feels, believes, and acts. Sign up to join us as we uncover the answers about our youngest generation.