Jul 19

Raising Generation Alpha: Future Outlook

This article was inspired by the recent Australian research about generation alpha which provides curious insights into the future of today’s primary school children. 

A few findings grabbed my attention and I’d like to think together with you about their implications for the future of our children. 

About generation alpha 

Generation alpha is described as children born between 2010 and in 2025 with an estimate of 3 million of them in Australia and 2.8 million being born every week globally; India, China and Indonesia accounting for the major growth.

By 2025 when they are all born, they will become the largest generation in the world’s history.

Unique characteristics of generation alpha kids
, the eldest of whom are 12 years old today:

  • The term “screenagers” is coined to describe their screen saturation through early exposure to screen technology used for educational and entertainment purposes, often before the child learns to speak.

  • Increased digital literacy in their formative years drives shorter attention spans, reliance on visual representations, and social impairment.

  • Given that the main growth of this new generation comes from Asian countries, the agency suggests a shift to the Asian century with the largest middle class being from Asia when generation alpha youngest kids hit adulthood (mid 2030s).

  • They will have a great focus on wellbeing which will enable them to live longer.

  • They will dedicate more years to formal education, with 90% predicted to complete high school, and 1 in 2 to obtain a university degree.

What does it mean for parenting generation alpha children?  

The world history has seen emergence of new generations for long enough, to assume that generation alpha will successfully adapt and embrace the new changes. What has not and will not change is the need for parents to connect and engage with children in the changing environment, and support them to be ready for and thrive in adulthood.

These findings prompted me to make conclusions which parents may find useful in preparing their children for the future.  

1. Interactivity and involvement.

Children of today are rapidly moving from passive recipients/observers into active participants of many processes, including education, buying and play. They do not want just to receive information, but be able to make an impact and see the consequences. My 7 years old niece told me at her birthday party that she enjoyed the pointer game more than the classic quest, which just proves that kids want to be able to contribute to the process rather than simply absorb old scenarios.

What does it means for kids education? I believe that digital trends in education will continue with increased interactivity and opportunity to fast-wind the development of academic skills. According to Mccrindle, toys with an educational benefit, will become a part of classrooms. It’ll be interesting to see the shift in the role of human teachers towards digital instructors.  

2. Popularity of Asian cultures.

Given that the biggest middle class will be from Asia, we can expect growing interest towards Asian cultures, including languages. With generation alpha children deemed to be more global and mobile, it’s fair to assume that knowledge of Asian languages may become a factor of employability to some extent.

Inclusion of Asian languages and culture studies into school and university curriculums, as well as increased opportunities of speaking beyond the classroom will shift the focus from European languages.

We may also expect dual language instructions when part of the classes are taught in the native language, and part in an Asian language.  

3. Value of education.

Education for life, not life for education. It is my hope that generation alpha children will redefine the value of education where education will be seen as a lifestyle, and not finite goal, as is often believed these days. Research findings suggest they will start formal education earlier and stay in it longer.  The focus on education will make them lifelong learners.

As a result, they will be well equipped with knowledge and skills, to be in the position to choose the right job to meet their preferences and priorities. Thus, they are predicted to hold multiple jobs across multiple careers.

In relation to the source of education, it is likely that it will be global when students will be able to find programs that match their interests and career aspirations. Thus, a valid question is whether they will be studying locally or globally, and what proportion of their learning will be face to face vs virtual? Regardless of the answers, recognition of the value of education is plausible.  

4. Focus on life skills.

It is expected that when today’s primary school kids enter teen years, they will be exposed even to more information than at present. Therefore, they will need to be well equipped with skills to help them make independent decisions and right choices. These skills include critical thinking, effective communications, logical analysis, knowledge of facts rather than opinions, etc.

Why wait if you can start helping children develop these skills right now? Increased parents’ interest in short courses for kids, as well as parents’ expectations of schools in educating around these valuable skills confirms that primary school is the perfect age to start teaching children to deal with complexities of real life.

This is why I developed the online course for children 8+"Un-Marketing: Critical Thinking Skills For Kids" where they learn about marketing effects, how they are designed to influence customer behaviours, and independent decision making in the shopping environment. Through familiar everyday examples children learn to develop smart buying habits and analyse claims and other marketing effects.

In another business course for kids "Online Marketing Course For Young Entrepreneurs", I share valuable information from my marketing studies and 17 years-long marketing career which I designed with my own children in mind.  

Final thoughts

The World Economic Forum predicts that 65% of today’s primary school children will work in new job types that don’t even exist yet.

A fair question many parents may ask, including myself, is what skills will the child need in order to succeed in the future career? The future will provide the answer, but one thing that is definite is - parents, guardians and the family are the ones who have the biggest power in teaching the right values and life skills in children. This done right, the child will walk their walk confidently, keeping true to their selves and standing strong when coping with life changes that will inevitably come their way.

In my opinion, this is the number one parenting goal every parent should be aiming at.  
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