Meet Generation Alpha: the first-ever group of kids who will grow up surrounded by technology. As the children of millennials, Alphas are those born from 2010 onwards, with many just getting ready to start their learning journey.
With 2.5 million Alphas born around the world every week, these youngsters will be the most diverse and tech-savvy generation yet. While millennial parents have been learning how to use the latest phones and tablets since their teenage years, the oldest among Generation Alpha have had these devices since before they could talk. In fact, the first smartphones were born in the same year as the first Alphas!
Thanks to technology, children in this new generation will break the limits of the world as we know it. Alphas will live longer, retire later, and communicate faster in a global, tech-driven environment. As a result, the way that Alphas live and learn is changing—new skills, learning styles, and ways of socializing are becoming important for their futures.
What’s New in Generation Alpha?
Exposure to electronic devices from such an early age means that Alphas will learn in new ways. Unlike their millennial parents, visual learning and communication through digital images will be at the center of Alphas’ development. While older generations are probably more used to learning through listening, evidence tells us that visual communication is much more effective for memory.
This way of learning will prepare youngsters for a tech-based and visual approach to education. In many modern classrooms, swapping textbooks for tablets is creating a more interactive learning experience, engaging young minds in problem-solving and collaborative work.
Tech-savvy Alpha kids will also experience a digital social world. As electronic devices become common toys for children, they are an increasingly important part of the way they socialize. Connected by apps and games, friendships in Generation Alpha won’t be limited to the playground!
Of course, these changes introduce challenges for the parents of Alphas. Growing up with technology prepares kids for the digital opportunities of the future, but parents need to know how to manage the risks. Cyberbullying, for example, now represents a quarter of all reports of bullying in schools—so the online world must be managed carefully.
What to watch out for? Experts say that screen addiction, cyberbullying, and making sure that little ones are viewing child-friendly content are all things that parents should be aware of. By getting involved with the digital habits of your bundle of Gen A joy, you can make sure that they experience technology the right way!
Keeping Kids Safe
Technology and digital skills are a central part of the Generation Alpha learning experience, which often goes hand in hand with accessing the internet. We’re all aware that the online world isn’t always child-friendly, so parents need to make sure they’re being proactive.
Educating yourself about internet safety is one of the best things you can do. Conclusions from a Lingokids study we conducted, showed that less than half of parents (48.5%) thought they had sufficient knowledge about children’s online safety. Your kids will learn from you first—so read up! Check out the rest of our Safer Internet Day study here.
Child-safe devices, parental controls, and ad-free applications are all great tools that allow parents to relax while kids enjoy some screen time. These make it possible to block access to certain websites, as well as set time limits to prevent overuse of electronic devices. As they get older, making time for regular family conversations about internet safety is a great way to set the right tone for tech habits.
Learn With Your Little Ones
Parents can’t learn faster or better than Gen A when it comes to technology—but we can learn with them! Turn screen time into family time by joining in with your child’s digital development.
Play multi-person games, sit with them while they use apps, and encourage them to show you new features.
Give Them Skills for the Future
In a fast-changing world, Generation Alpha will grow up to do jobs that don’t yet exist. Careers will certainly ask for digital skills, but with an unpredictable future ahead of them, Alphas will do better if they have a variety of employee skills. Luckily, using technology is a great way to give kids practice, with loads of apps available that provide fun, interactive games in key areas such as math, science, and reading.
The usefulness of languages in today’s interconnected world is sure to continue for the Alpha generation. Give kids a head start by introducing them to a second language is a valuable investment in their future—and Alphas are the perfect age to learn one!
Children’s ability to absorb new information is at its peak under the age of ten, while the language center of the brain is still developing.
While it’s true that technology will be central for Generation Alpha, it’s important to encourage interests that don’t require a screen. Just like any other generation, Alphas will need people skills and social confidence as they begin to experience the world. Be sure to engage your youngsters in some tech-free quality time by doing activities outdoors.
With the right parenting approach, growing up with technology can produce a wonderful learning experience in the early years and beyond.
About the Author:
Lingokids is the playlearning™ app in English for children 2 to 8 years old with over 25 million registered families. The apps’ playlearning™ method enables children to expand their vocabulary, improve their literacy skills, and develop important 21st-century skills in a fun and safe environment. Lingokids has more than 600 learning activities and songs, that teach an array of topics and everyday language, as well as skills like creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.