Representatives of different generations don’t always… see eye to eye, to say the least. After all, each generation – Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), Millennials (1981-1996), and Generation Z (1997-2012) – grew up in a radically different social, technological, and economic setting. But there’s one generation that goes under the radar, that no one really talks about that much. Which is it? Well, it’s the generation that succeeds the infamous Gen Z – Generation Alpha (2013-2025).
This generation is also referred to as the “digital natives” because they were born into a world where technology is omnipresent. As toddlers, many from Gen A already knew how to use smartphones, iPads, and even computers. But that’s not all. Due to demographic changes, Generation Alpha will likely be the most diverse generation yet, with a greater representation of minority groups than any previous generation. With their early exposure to technology as well as its diverse nature, this generation is likely to have a unique set of values, preferences, and behaviors that will shape the future.
“Zoomers” and millennials are generally pretty comfortable with technology. Still, they’re nowhere near the level of Gen A. The representatives of the most recent generation are not just tech-savvy. They were forged by technology and the internet. In other words, for them, using the newest technological wonders and scrolling through TikTok is as natural as using their limbs. This near-innate connection with technology and the internet means that the demand for more ICT solutions in education, the job market, and in personal life will increase even further, eventually leading to an almost entirely automated and digitalized society.
Of course, Gen A’s technological proficiency is not all roses. Excessive exposure to computers, smartphones, and the internet may cause people from Generation A to develop an over-reliance on (or even a potentially crippling addiction to) all things tech. It is important, then, to encourage healthy technology use habits in Generation Alpha to help them avoid developing issues such as addiction. This includes setting limits on screen time, encouraging physical activity and face-to-face social interactions, and promoting digital literacy and critical thinking skills to help them navigate the digital world safely and responsibly.
INDEPENDENT IN PROFESSIONAL LIFE
Much like Gen Z, Generation A foregoes stability and routine in favor of creativity and personal fulfillment. This means that Gen A’s are likely to lean towards freelance work instead of traditional long-term employment arrangements. This shift is often talked about in terms of “the gig economy,” which refers to a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts, as opposed to permanent jobs. In the gig economy, workers are usually independent contractors or self-employed individuals who are paid for individual “gigs” or tasks, rather than a salary or hourly wage. Platforms or apps, such as Uber, TaskRabbit, or Fiverr, which connect workers with clients or customers, facilitate the gig economy. And who’s more adept at using these apps than Generation A?
But that’s not all. Gen A will also likely take a radically different approach to workplace hierarchy. While most previous generations have accepted their position as subordinates, Generation A will accept nothing less than a flat company structure, where the boss is on equal footing with the employees. Only time will tell whether Generation A will succumb to traditional work structures or whether employers will be forced to make their workplace “less tyrannical.”
Generation Alpha is growing up in a world where extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and wildfires, are commonplace and where the impacts of pollution on human health and ecosystems are impossible to turn a blind eye to. Much like “zoomers”, Gen A won’t accept the vane excuses made to justify the destruction of the environment. They will take a stand in any way they can, including political activism, economic boycotts, and an environmentally-friendly personal lifestyle. On top of that, having grown up with technology invariably at their fingertips, Gen A’s will be better equipped to find and utilize alternatives to fossil fuels.
This might also mean that Gen A will feel a sense of animosity toward a profit-centered approach to society and the economy. Instead, they will likely lean towards equality and long-term sustainability.
FOCUSED ON MENTAL HEALTH
Talking about mental health was taboo for the vast majority of recorded human history. Only recently have things begun to change for the better. Today, seeing a therapist is perfectly normal in many places in the US. The word “shrink” is no longer in use, which says something about acceptance of mental health. But Generation A is the only generation that will have grown up in an environment where being in a bad place mentally isn’t stigmatized and ostracized.
This increased awareness of mental health will likely make Generation A upend the traditional hierarchy of values. Money, professional success, fame, and forming a family, will pale in comparison to maintaining a healthy mind. In many cases, it will mean that Gen A’s will be more likely to drop out of school, leave their jobs, and end relationships all to make sure they focus on their mental health. What’s more, they might even seek alternative sources of internal peace and wisdom, from Buddhism to all kinds of New Age practices, religions, meditations..
Naturally, it is impossible to know for sure what Gen A will be like. But, if current trends hold, Generation A is likely to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor – Gen Z – and create a society that is more reliant on technology, more open to gig-type work, more aware of mental health, and more environmentally friendly.