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Tech-obsessed, arrogant or baby geniuses? Everything you need to know about generation Alpha

Baby boomers, generation X, generation Z, millennials—the list goes on. These generational labels have become as personal and intimate to us as a tried and trusted deodorant brand. While on the surface they may appear trivial, for so many, they provide a sense of self and an opportunity to reach out and congregate among like-minded communities who share attitudes, perspectives and inside jokes. I mean, let’s be honest here, a baby boomer could never appreciate internet spawns like the Corn kid or the Lord Farquaad haircut.

But one fact that unites all generations alike is that, sooner or later, another cohort of kids will descend upon us and begin to shape cultural norms and attitudes for the next decades to come. And, sure enough, that time is now.

Introducing generation Alpha

Now, the exact commencement of generation Alpha has been a hot topic for debate online, with many netizens unable to decide when the cohort truly begins. For generational researcher Mark McCrindle, it’s approximately between 2008 to 2010. McCrindle unofficially coined the term ‘generation Alpha’ back in 2008 after gaining feedback from the public through an online survey.

Speaking to The Atlantic in 2020, McCrindle shared that aside from ‘Alpha’, he also received a slew of now-discarded monikers that focused on the next batch of humans’ supposed ‘super-strengths’: technology and the undoing of damage caused by previous generations. These proposals included “Onliners,” “Technos,” “Generation Hope” and, most notably, “Saviours.” No pressure, kiddos.

Of course, generation Z was one among many other potential labels for those of us born between 1997 and 2012. In reality, the post-millennial hoard also skipped out on a number of questionable labels including, “iGen,” “Homelanders,” “Plurals,” or “Founders,” as noted by TIME.

Forbes, like so many other publications, have focused on the consumer potential of these up-and-coming mini millennials. The business magazine—that believes gen Alpha refers to those born between 2010 and 2025—predicts that the kids of tomorrow will most likely grow up in one-child households, thereby making them more selfish and prone to demanding excessive spending dough from their 1980s-born parents.

While this is a rather harsh forecast, it definitely will be interesting to see which traits gen Alpha might carry over from their corporate anxiety-ridden elders.

‘Baby geniuses’ or ‘arrogant’?

The internet—aka the place where all things become slightly dark and twisted—naturally has had its own take on gen Alpha and their characteristics. And, as expected, some observations are more astute than others.

On Reddit, users had a wide array of thoughts on the generation in question, ranging from triumphing the youths as “baby geniuses” to admonishing them for not liking SpongeBob SquarePants. Pick your battles, people, these kids are far too busy with hoverboards to appreciate nostalgic cartoon classics.

@thatcurlytopp

Oh to grow up with a hoverboard

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One of the most prominent strings of discussion among Redditors came from parents both applauding their gen Alpha offspring while simultaneously worrying about the impact AI and social media may have on them.

On these terms, comments included, “I can’t imagine being a parent right now and trying to navigate a world where most kids have tablets or smartphones, let alone fully immersive virtual worlds.” To which a parent replied: “My eldest is six. I homeschool her and I thought I was being a biassed mum but the things she does and says really takes me back, she is six and plays but there’s a side to her where she is beyond her years? Things I didn’t think of or do around her age, her memory and retaining information is amazing. She is extremely observant especially towards her newborn sister and actively tries to figure out how to meet her needs.”

One user also emphasised how it was too soon to truly understand the potential of gen Alpha or how they will navigate adulthood. They wrote, “It’s far too early to tell what major political or world events will influence their formative years. Or even when the cutoff will be. It’s only in retrospect that we can even determine a meaningful estimate for a transition to the next generation anyway.”

On Discord, however, netizens had a slightly more juvenile outlook on the next generation. For those of you who frequent the instant messaging online platform—home to some highly-eclectic and questionable conversations—you may not be surprised by users referring to gen Alpha as “the morons to start World War III,” “arrogant,” and the generation “with the weakest immune system.” Weird diss but okay, I guess.

@asapscience

Gen Alpha is gunna be insufferable

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Albeit varied, there was an overwhelming sense of distrust in gen Alpha among users. That being said, it should be noted that Discord servers aren’t always the most accurate soundboards for public opinion.

In order to gain an even greater understanding, SCREENSHOT also spoke to self-proclaimed millennial Katie Willis to find out more about her generation’s thoughts on the subject. When asked to name certain traits or trends associated with millennials, Willis used the string of terms “socially progressive, difficult mental health, instant gratification, judged.”

On the other hand, when Willis was asked about gen Alpha, she immediately pointed to their assimilation into the digital world. “They’re old before their years, technologically savvy, social media is an even bigger part of their lives than my generation,” she said.

In regards to Willis’ predictions for the future, she deemed baby Alphas “millennials 2.0.” She then went on to explain how she expects them to be “materialistic, but (hopefully) have even more care for the environmental and social issues” with current parents offering a “better upbringing in terms of mental health.”

Millennials, watch out—gen Alpha may be coming for your brand.

The problem with generational labels

While it can be informative, and let’s face it, very entertaining, to conjure up characteristics for future changemakers, it also can lead to reinforcing trends of pigeonholing incredibly diverse and different individuals and communities into a series of stereotypes or assumptions.

Each generation is made up of wildly contrasting people, many of whom will have different life journeys, opinions and perspectives. Grouping everyone’s cultural experiences together can be incredibly insensitive and harmful.

Generational conflict pertains to the inequality within cohorts, rather than the inequalities that exist between one another. As noted by The Conversation, common generalisations—such as assumptions surrounding housing prices or employment opportunities—ignore crucial divides created by gender, ethnicity, disability and class.

The future of generation Alpha

Keeping all this in mind, we should only do so much digging into the internet’s murky waters in search of predictions for gen Alpha. However, if netizens are even remotely close with their prophecy for the tech-obsessed toddlers, we’re definitely in for a wild ride.

‘Cost of loving crisis’: Cash-candid dating is the latest financial trend gripping gen Z and millennials

In 2022, the dating world has no time to spare. Following two years of lockdowns and restrictions, single people are making their priorities and preferences clear from the get-go now more than ever before. As trends like hobby dating and awareness about toxic practices including kittenfishing and Kanye-ing continue to gather mainstream attention, a new topic has debuted on the list of obligatory icebreakers: finance.

Meet cash-candid dating, a monetary trend rooted in the cost of living crisis where singletons are being more honest and open about money matters with their matches.

What is cash-candid dating?

According to a new consumer research by women-first dating app Bumble, commissioned through YouGov, talking about one’s financial situation with their dates is no longer considered ‘taboo’. In fact, some straight-talking gen Z and millennials are reportedly discussing their salary with a new flame almost straight away.

In cash-candid dating, this level of honesty and overlay of finance and romantic relationships has, in turn, paved the way to ‘low-key dates’—a meetup with little to no costs involved, which ultimately leads to less monetary pressure on both parties in question.

The results of the research also indicate that one in three people (34 per cent) aged between 18 to 34 across the UK are now more likely to suggest a free date activity, such as a walk in the park or on a beach, than they were at the start of 2022. Nearly half (42 per cent) of them also admitted to preferring “modest” date locations to avoid any stress about money whatsoever.

While one in ten (11 per cent) of daters said they are open to discussing salaries on the first few dates, as they believe it’s an important factor to know about a potential partner, almost one in five (19 per cent) mentioned the fact that it’s more imperative to them now—given the cost of living crisis rippling across the globe—to be with someone who is financially stable than it was at the start of this year.

On the other hand, only six per cent of participants admitted to never talking about finances with someone they’re dating. This ultimately suggests that, for the majority of single people, discussions about money are no longer inhibited.

@charlieandviyaleta

What date should we do for our next instacart order? #fyp #foryou #couplegoals #dateideas #charlieandviyaleta #girlfriend

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Compared to other generations, gen Z and millennials aged between 18 to 34 also proved to be the most concerned and pressured with their spending habits—with 30 per cent of them being conscious of their date’s budget when suggesting a venue, compared to just 19 per cent of people aged 35 to 54. 21 per cent of gen Zers and millennials are further more likely to set themselves a budget to spend on a date than they were at the beginning of the year, compared to just 12 per cent of singles older than 34.

Now, cash-candid dating is not about outright baring your financial history to your partner on the first date. Sure, it can be considered part of ‘cutting to the chase’, but the monetary shift in priorities is essentially hinged on being frank about your fiscal status to better navigate decisions together by planning financially-viable dates.

How to approach monetary conversations 101

Let’s be honest here. Whether you like it or not, money is an inevitable part of dating and the conversation about who should pick up the bill and how often you should go out on dates is bound to arise at some point. So, how exactly do you bring the topic of money up in the early stages of dating without making things feel… awkward?

Partnering with Alice Tapper, the financial expert behind popular social media platform Go Fund Yourself, here are some tips Bumble has sketched about navigating cash-candid dating like a true pro:

1. How to suggest a low-key first date

“Being ten minutes into a three-course dinner and realising there is zero vibe is an expensive but avoidable situation,” Tapper said. “Save yourself the pain of having to think up an elaborate excuse in the loo—your mate suddenly contracting a tropical virus is not compelling—and kick things off with a short and simple low-key date.” Think a breezy walk in the park during the weekends or a quick morning coffee run. You get the idea.

@withlovewick

Reply to @ahohnmhoe 🤑 3 budget-friendly ideas (+great for long distance couples if you’re creative with video chat!) #freedateideas #datenight #ldr #relationshiptips #withlovewick #couples

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2. How to suggest splitting the bill

Given how the subject is a controversial one, Tapper believes nobody should be picking up the full tab unless they really, really want to. “Times are tough and, thankfully, we’re moving beyond gendered expectations of who pays for what,” she said. “While paying can be a kind gesture, it often creates unhelpful expectations and pressure. On the first date, in particular, there’s no shame in confidently asking ‘Shall we split?’.”

In fact, research from Bumble shows a quarter (25 per cent) of gen Z and millennials believe that you should split costs of the date even if you and your match have different salaries.

3. How to figure out if you’re on the same page about finances

Now, onto the elephant in the room: how do you work out someone’s values when it comes to finances in the first place? According to Tapper, having open conversations about money and earnings with your date (the concept of cash-candid dating in its true essence) are good places to start.

“On a first date, you can kick things off with questions like ‘Is work important to you or a means to an end?’ Down the line, you might move on to bigger conversations like whether they prioritise saving and paying off debt. Remember, there are no right answers—it’s just about what your values are and whether they align.”

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4. Value over wealth

Lastly, while we’ve all heard the advice that it’s important to ‘find someone who has the same values as you’, remember that financial values are an important standard to consider as well. That being said, it’s also recommended to avoid basing your entire relationship on this factor altogether.

“We’re all guilty of making assessments about a date, but what someone earns is only half the story,” Tapper said. “While it’s okay to want financial stability, someone’s behaviour and values around money are more important than what they earn.”

At the end of the day, while it’s totally fair to know about your potential partner’s financial health, remember to tread with patience and make sure your match is comfortable discussing the same. This will not only encourage a more transparent relationship but, ultimately, you’ll come out as a stronger unit than ever before.