California; Hayward — The generation succeeding Gen Z known as Alpha (children under the age of 10) are experiencing a unique childhood with numerous benefits. However, it's not without its challenges. While this young generation holds unprecedented influence over important household decisions, their parents have deep concerns about their mental well-being.
The report "A Brand's Guide to Gen Alpha" and conducted by Morning Consult, surveyed 2,000 parents. It revealed that children in this age bracket are growing up rapidly, with screens playing a central role in their daily lives. A staggering 54% of Alphas have their own devices and spend substantial amounts of time streaming YouTube, gaming with online friends in apps like Roblox, and exploring virtual reality metaverses. The survey also discovered that around 26% of Alphas live in homes equipped with VR headsets, according to Fast Company.
While Alpha kids are technologically advanced for their age, their unique influence within the household is another distinguishing factor. They have a significant impact on their parents' purchasing decisions, particularly in the realm of food, and also provide input on significant matters like travel destinations. Furthermore, Gen Alpha is exposed to weighty conversations at much younger ages than previous generations, as their parents strive to prepare them for an ever-changing world. Topics such as race, gender and politics are already being broached with Alphas.
Although the report focused on children under 10, it's worth noting that demographers sometimes include slightly older children within the Gen Alpha category. Typically, Alpha is defined as those born in the early 2010s.
In many ways, this age bracket already exhibits advanced traits, both positive and negative. Morning Consult's findings indicate that parents generally believe their under-10 children are better off than they were in various aspects, with one exception: mental health. A significant percentage of parents (37%) perceive their kids' mental well-being to be worse than their own at the same age. This is concerning given the significant advancements made in science, medicine, and our understanding of mental health over the past few decades.
Growing up alongside continuous technological advancements, Gen Alpha is likely to be viewed as unstoppable creative innovators. However, they are also confronted with significant challenges such as historic inflation, the lasting effects of a global pandemic, and financially strained parents. Consequently, Gen Alpha may become more cautious spenders as they come of age. It is also probable that this high-tech, fast-evolving generation will experience heightened levels of anxiety concerning various aspects of their lives.
Noumaan Faiz, (he/him) is a journalist and entertainer from Hayward, CA who covers culture and entertainment.
Edited by Nykeya Woods