Major Study By Beano For Brands Shows Today’s Under 10s Look Set To Change The World
FIVE TRENDS OF GEN ALPHA KIDS:
Digital Masters | The New Old Fashioneds | Creative Entrepreneurs |Activists in the Home | Post-Stereotypes
They are masters of digital yet believe in old family values and want to save the planet
Global content business Beano Studios today launched a new in-depth study into the behaviour, goals and attitudes of Generation Alpha.
To download the full white paper goto beanoforbrands.com/gen-alpha-white-paper/
Gen Alpha kids have been arriving since 2010, the year the iPad launched, and they are the children of the much-maligned millennials. We will hit peak Gen Alpha in 2025 - by which time there will be 2 billion around the globe – and it’s looking like they will be world changers with a progressive and compassionate outlook, with a touch of conservatism.
The study, carried out by Beano Studios’ in-house kid first consultancy Beano for Brands, comprises UK-wide semiotic and quantitative research and a survey of 2,000 kids and their parents. It reveals a generation already exerting influence on the world around them through positive pester power, tech-enabled creativity and progressive attitudes to gender, sexuality and social identity.
Amongst the many findings of the Beano for Brands report, are Five Trends of Gen Alpha that are set to define the upcoming generation:
FIVE TRENDS OF GEN ALPHA KIDS:
Digital Masters: When it comes to all things online and digital, Gen Alpha are streets ahead of their digital native millennial parents.
The New Old Fashioneds: Despite their digital mastery, and almost being born with a mobile device in their hands, Gen Alpha are nonetheless showing signs of being the ‘new old fashioneds’ with a return to ‘playing out’ and valuing family time.
Creative Entrepreneurs: Gen Alpha look set to be the ‘architechs‘ of a new found tech-enabled creativity.
Activists in the Home: From school strikes to protesting against single use plastics, Gen Alpha kids are the activists in the home. They question everything from stereotypes on gender to climate change denial.
Post-Stereotypes: Gen Alpha is the first generation to judge people by who they are, not what they are.
Emma Scott, CEO at Beano Studios, said: “Gen Alpha is the generation that will seek to bend the digital world to their needs and ambitions and not be defined or consumed by it; they will set aside our current worldview stereotypes of identity and difference, and their love for cherishing and saving the physical world around them will literally change the face of our planet.
“Beano for Brands’ Generation Alpha report is just the beginning. We’ve only just started to scratch the surface of this exciting, impassioned generation. With the oldest of Gen Alpha yet to reach secondary school, Beano for Brands will continue to monitor their progress and educate the world on who they are and what we as parents, educators, legislators and businesses need to do to keep up with them.”
Trend One: DIGITAL MASTERS:
When it comes to all things online and digital, Gen Alpha are streets ahead of their digital native millennial parents.
Parents Behaving Badly
Gen Alpha is the first generation of digital masters, and it’s their digital native millennial parents who are lagging behind their children’s tech-spectations.
Even though they are still aged under 10, nearly half of Gen Alpha kids (45%) are anti-‘sharenting’ and want their parents to ask their permission before posting their photograph online, while the majority of parents (60%) disagree and would post without asking.
Bad Influencer(s) and Cancel Culture
Gen Alpha has a strong moral compass and are outspoken critics of the attitudes, ideologies and behaviours of some social media influencers.
The report shows that two thirds (62%) of Gen Alpha frequently see YouTubers behaving in ways with which they don’t agree.
And they don’t passively accept it. Cancel Culture is alive and well for Gen Alpha.
Take YouTube megastar James Charles, who lost 3 million subscribers to his YouTube channel in just days as a reaction to what young followers saw as brattish and ungrateful behaviour.
Fake News spotters
Parents also greatly underestimate their children’s confidence online, with 73% of Gen Alpha saying they’re confident using the internet and know what to do if they see something upsetting. Only 58% of their parents thought this was the case.
Compared to the kids’ point of view, it appears that parents underestimate Gen Alpha’s confidence online and their propensity for discovery, while overestimating the skills of Gen Z children (58% and 85% respectively).
Gen Alpha are inquisitive and don’t take information at face value. Some 73% think it’s important to question what’s online and, despite ‘fake news’ only entering mass consciousness in January 2017 through Donald Trump, three in 10 (31%) already feel they know how to spot it.
Trend Two: THE NEW ‘OLD FASHIONEDS’
Despite their digital mastery, and almost being born with a mobile device in their hands, Gen Alpha are nonetheless showing signs of being the ‘new old fashioneds’ with a return to ‘playing out’ and valuing family time.
Rather than being hooked to a screen in their bedrooms, Gen Alpha has a new tech-enabled freedom which empowers them to get out and about, channeling their natural curiosity and using screens to learn about good old fashioned playing out.
They are being encouraged to get back to nature by their millennial parents - perhaps as a reaction against their own more cosseted upbringing.
They like to play outdoors rather than inside and are encouraged to play independently and ‘go their own way’ while developing interests in ‘old fashioned’ activities like foraging, bushcraft, treehouse-making and den-building.
Gen Alpha still enjoys playing outside often (47%) with nearly a third preferring to play outside ‘all the time’ rather than watching other kids playing with toys on YouTube (29% vs 19%).
Gen Alpha is tech-empowered, not tech-dependent. Unlike selfie and app-addicted millennials, almost half (48%) of Gen Alpha kids often spend time away from devices and tech, compared with just 29% of their older siblings Gen Z. The activities they’re interested in are more reminiscent of their grandparents than their parents, with more Gen Alpha kids (42%) enjoying handicraft activities like knitting and crochet than Gen Z kids (32%).
Parents’ concern about kids spending too long on screens is understandable, but the research shows 98% are still playing outside, and nearly three quarters (72%) are still climbing trees.
Gen Alpha very comfortably straddles the online and the natural world and more highly value time spent with the family and the older generations than their older siblings - reconnecting generations in a way that was recently less common. Sixty-two per cent of Gen Alphas are spending time with older people (i.e. grandparents) every week.
Trend Three: CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURS
Gen Alpha look set to be the ‘architechs’ of a new found tech-enabled creativity.
The study found that 86% of Gen Alpha kids enjoy designing, making and building things and their specific interests are encouraging reading for creative and tech industries:
- Over half (55%) enjoy making creative videos
- 47% of Gen Alpha enjoy tinkering with electronics
- Two thirds like creating new worlds digitally
- Four in ten (43%) enjoy robotics
- Over a third (36%) enjoy computer coding
Gen Alpha has the potential to be creative entrepreneurs, valuing talent and skills and having the vision to translate creativity into business realities. Over half of Gen Alphas believe they could make a career out of their hobby, and 60% of their parents agree. Amazingly, a fifth are already making money from their hobbies.
With unfettered access to information, and a natural interest in this tech-empowered creativity, this will potentially be the generation which spawns the next Elon Musks before they even leave school - which businesses and universities should be thinking about how to harness.
Trend Four: ACTIVISTS IN THE HOME
From school strikes to protesting against single use plastics, Gen Alpha kids are the new activists in the home. They question everything from stereotypes on gender to climate change denial.
Kids are known for pester power – but their influence is no longer defined by the scream for a chocolate bar at the supermarket checkout. The recent kids’ protests over the environment shows the direction Gen Alpha seems to be heading, and one in five of those aged between 5-9 have already been on a march or protest for something they care about. No doubt supported by their parents, almost half of whom support their children speaking out.
Kids are significant influencers in their own homes – across everything from choice of car to holiday destination to the weekly shop. And increasingly, Gen Alpha kids are being guided by their moral compass to focus on ‘pestering’ for good. Beano for Brands’ previous research showed that 40% of 6-14 year olds visiting Beano.com feel it’s their responsibility to save the planet.
Trend Five: POST-STEREOTYPES
Gen Alpha are the first generation to judge people by who they are, not what they are.
Gen Alpha girls are encouraged to reject narrow gender stereotypes of themselves as ‘princesses’ and ‘dreamers’ – to take inspiration instead from rebellious and capable women across cultures and history, to aspire towards athleticism and STEM accomplishments, and to reimagine girlhood as something empowering and liberating.
Gen Alpha has moved on from a binary rejection of pink for girls into a post-stereotype mindset – perhaps summed up best by the attitude ‘I can wear pink AND play football’. This is supported by their parents, 6 in 10 of whom agree that inclusive product ranges are important. Yet there’s a distinct gap in attitude towards gender itself between parents and their Gen Alpha kids, with 32% of parents feeling their child’s gender doesn’t matter, compared to 58% of kids.
Will Gen Alpha be the generation of Rebel Girls and Lost Boys?
While parents of girls are more likely to agree they don’t want their child limited by their gender, parents of boys are showing a generational difference from Gen Z boys to Gen Alpha, with a +8% shift, suggesting parents are becoming increasingly keen boys aren’t left behind.
This concern is reflected by the children themselves, with 66% of girls agreeing their gender is not important, but only half of boys, indicating that gender does matter to boys more and reflecting a wider debate about the role of boys in today’s society.
Finally, the study suggests Gen Alpha will form, project and take pride in social identities based on their own individual feelings, thoughts and interests as opposed to those dictated to them by external forces.
Already, older Gen Alphas are using social engagement and activism to critique the political status quo. The report shows that 19% of Gen Alpha have taken part in a march or protest on an issue they care about.
This activism is inspired in part by Gen Alpha and Gen Z parents, who believe it is important that children are encouraged to speak out and stand up for what they believe in.
The full report is available to purchase from beanoforbrands.com