When my 18-year-old son, who was born straddling two cohorts “Generation Z” (1981-1995) and “Generation Z” (1995- 2015) started talking about how more “tied to technology” toddlers were than he was, it was sobering; I thought he was as immersed in technology as it was humanly possible to be. That is, until Generation Alpha came along.
The march of generations continues with each new cohort coming like an ocean wave every 20 years. And each new wave is given a completely novel palette of technology to create lives and futures with. Our newest humans are different, breaking the mold when they come along.
Immersing Children In Technology From The Get Go
My first exposure to a computer came at about age 14 back in 1974. Smart phones, of course, didn’t exist and the huge cell phones available at the time were not anything a kid could afford or need. The most technologically sophisticated equipment we had were stereo receivers, turntables, speakers, vinyl records and cassette tape players. When I was 18, answering machines were all the rage.
Generation Alpha, coined by Mark McCrindle, a demographer and futurist, includes children five years old and under in this new, latest, greatest version of humans. And because this new generation has smartphones in their hands from day one, they are likely to live and learn quite differently from generations that came before them.
With new technology, it is projected that Generation Alpha will be the most highly educated generation in history with 90% of kids completing high school. Life won’t be easy for Generation Alpha as the ratio of workers to retirees will be just 3:1, rather than the current 5:1. According to McCrindle, Generation Alpha will live in 15 homes over their lifetimes, change jobs every three years and likely turn out to be the “greatest generation” as they will transform the world more than any generation before them.
It will be interesting to see what the downsides are to this type of immersion in high technology during formative years. It just hasn’t been done before and so we are on new ground.
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