Dec 6

Generation Alpha Kids Are Becoming Teenagers. Tips For Parents.

The new year of 2023 marks the beginning of the transition of generation alpha children to official teenage years. This article is based on the podcast interview with the founder of the Australian research agency Mccrindle, Mark Mccrindle, who shares interesting insights about this emerging generation and tips for parents to prepare alphas to thrive in adulthood.

Full interview is available here.  

About generation alpha

Born between 2010 and 2025, this is going to be the largest generation in the human history with 2.8mln children born weekly. They are described as more mobile, digital, social, global, culturally diverse and commercially sophisticated compared to the former generations.

With a great focus on wellbeing and learning, they are predicted to stay in education for longer, start earing later and get married later. They are no longer passive recipients of the marketing content, but rather active contributors with brand influence and purchasing power beyond their years.

Also called screenagers, the alpha kids are early adopters of technology with a screen often placed before them before they start to speak – whether as a pacifier, an entertainer or an educational aid.

And while the youngest of them are yet to be born, the oldest of them are about to become teenagers.

So what changes as they make the big step into this new life stage?

Social media influence

As they hit teenage years, the alphas will be legally allowed to join social media. The minimum age to create an account required by most social media apps is 13 years old. That means kids will be legally allowed interaction on Tik Tok, Instagram and other social media.

What is important is that these channels are likely to become their new source of guidance and learning. In the earlier study of generation Z, Mccrindle research found that TikTok was #3 source of learning new skills behind teachers, websites and ahead of parents.

Parents and members of the family have been traditionally seen as trusted sources who wish the best for their children and can give personalised advice. Now this role is gradually taken by social influencers who give advice or sell products without knowing the child’s context.

Thus, it is critically important for parents to equip children to safely navigate the social media, be able to qualify and verify sources, and be protected from the dangers of the online environment.  

“The Options generation”

The generation alpha will enjoy unlimited choices. On the one hand, they are given a blank page to build their life their way – from deciding whether and when to marry to choosing their gender. On the other hand, it may be de-stabilising because more choice comes with more challenges.

The researchers suggest it is the responsibility of parents, experts and supporters to give kids purpose, educate about values, create resilience, set the world views and form the character so they know where they fit, what they can be and why they are here. In other words, they need firm foundations to be able to construct their lives, and these foundations are based on love, belonging and identity nurtured by significant and trusted adults from the young age.  

Upagers and Downagers

Gen alpha kids are older younger. In other words, their psychological and academic age is beyond their chronological age. One reason for that is that these kids are exposed to more things earlier, so they are in need of guidance and information earlier than previous generations. Another reason is sophisticated school curriculum driven by advanced learning tools and technologies which enables more complex learning at a younger age.

Thus, from the knowledge and exposure perspective they are younger. But in other ways they are they are younger longer being more naïve than their years may suggest. In the past days, kids enjoyed more freedoms, could catch pubic transport or play outside with their friends without adult supervision. These days, many parents tend to keep their kids more contained by dropping them off to school or a friend’s house and picking them up straight after.

More detailed frameworks and structures limit the ability of teenagers to make their own decisions, develop social, leadership and risk-management skills. Thus, despite of being academically more advanced than previous generations, the alphas are behind in practical life skills.

Some of the ways parents can support their kids in developing these skills are though volunteering, travelling, curating kids’ experiences and involving them in family decision making.  

Parent’s role in raising gen alpha teenagers

Generation alpha will be managing more things by themselves, with 4 in 5 predicted to be self-employed at some stage in their life. They are predicted to have more jobs, more careers and more education to adapt to the dynamic employment world of the future.

Academic skills, such as literacy and numeracy, will be still required but will not be sufficient for them to thrive at work and in life. They need broader, more transferrable skills, such as ability to relate to people, resolve conflict, communicate effectively, be culturally aware, etc.

In addition to classroom education, parents should aim to develop their kids holistically - morally, spiritually, socially, academically, and culturally.

Whether through volunteering, having a job, participating in sports and team activities, serving others or learning from their families, the role of parents is vital in equipping their children with these broader skills and experiences learnt through different situations and contexts.

Read further insights about generation alpha in our previous article “Raising Generation Alpha: Future Outlook”.
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