Part 4 of a 4-Part Series— The Alpha generation is the first generation that was born solely in the 21st century. They are also the first to have a childhood experience rooted in a global endemic.
All of their first experiences were shaped by COVID-19 and renowned social research experts Mark McCrindle and Ashley Fell documented the long-term effects that COVID will have on the Alpha Generation in their new book.
The book focuses on a list of distractors that will define the next generation but we have compiled the top 5 that pertain to the COVID-19 pandemic.
1 – Resilience: At a young age, children learn through observation. As much as parents, teachers, guardians and other adults involved in the lives of these children try to hide it, anxiety, frustration, fear, as well as determination, patience, and grit are some of the emotional highs and lows felt and observed by the Alpha Gen during the Coronavirus pandemic. What is learned during their developmental years is ‘resilience’, in other words elasticity and the ability to spring back from very low places, because that is what they are likely to have observed their parents and guardians do every day over an extended period of time.
2 – Digital Literacy: While this particular generation is born into the world of technology, the internet, and connectivity, the social distancing measures, stay-home campaigns, and lockdowns have only encouraged the Alphas to immerse deeper into their gadgets and screens. It is very likely that this generation will grow up to be the highest digitally literate generation compared to Gen Z and the Millennials, who although had a fair share of experience with technology, were not put into the position of reliance on tech such as Zoom learning, during their early developmental years. Over time, digital literacy for this generation may very well be more than just a learned skill but develop into an instinctive skill.
3 – Non-Conformist: For the older Alphas who are probably between 8-11 years old during the Covid-19 pandemic to date, their development would have been different than previous generations. It is during this time that children learn a lot about what are socially acceptable behavior (so to speak), and seek to self-affirm themselves by taking cues from peers. In other words, these cues can be called social judgements. Whether we like it or not, it is how society has been formed for centuries.
The minimal experience most children have with this type of learning about social norms and conformity, suggests they are likely to grow up as non-conformists; potentially they may exhibit more independent thinking, defy or even re-define what is considered socially acceptable and the norms of connecting in society in the future.
4 – Live First: The Alpha Generation would have seen their parents and adults in their lives struggle during the Covid-19 era that spans years to come until the economy slowly and gradually recovers. In this way, they would have learned the importance of ‘living life when you can’. Along with the army of information and world knowledge at their disposal, we can expect this generation to delay marriage, work, and other life milestones to truly live life first. We may very well expect the Alpha Generation to be living with their parents and guardians well into their 20s and 30s or beyond, considering the need to live life first and the stronger bond that was created with their parents during the Covid-19 era.
Despite the hardships that this generation has faced the overall result is that they will become the next great generation, similar to those children who survived the Great Depression and shaped our society over the past 60 years.
Education is still the most important fuel to drive our society and our children continue to prove resilient in the face of such adversity. Although there will be some cognitive development issues, increased social anxiety, and fundamental learning setbacks, the next generation will eventually recover and lead us into the future.
~Bayou Beat appreciates everyone who has supported this series by sharing, commenting, and offering insight through your experiences.