Do you have a child born since 2010? Experts are still waffling on what to call them - iGen? Generation Alpha? - but have identified four “rules for life” that set them apart.
2010 was - not at all coincidentally - the year the iPad was released. It was also the year Instagram debuted and the word “app” was named Word of the Year.
In the main, these are children of the Millennials - the first generation to be born into an always-connected world, where the distinctions between “online” and “offline” are increasingly meaningless.
These are kids who’ve cut their teeth on technology - figuratively and otherwise. Who learn the fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence from their favourite toys. Whose adult occupations have yet to be invented.
Some commentators have even suggested that rather than focusing on 'getting them off the bloody screen' - parents spend more time getting on the bloody screen … with their children.
According to a report on recent research by the Sunday Times (Johannesburg), here are the four things experts say this generation crave - what you might call their “Rules for Life.”
EVERYTHING ON DEMAND. From watching movies to learning a new topic, everything happens online, right now. This generation doesn't know how to wait. It's just not normal for them.
EVERYTHING CUSTOMISED. Alphas only know personalised feeds of information and entertainment suggestions. That's how it's always worked for them.
EVERYTHING SOCIAL. Alphas' social life takes place online and social media is where they are most comfortable. E-mail? What's that?EVERYTHING VIDEO. Alphas prefer video. They'll read messages but will respond with video messages rather than text.
Some commentators have even suggested that rather than focusing on “getting them off the bloody screen” - parents spend more time getting on the bloody screen … with their children.
Temple University professor Jordan Shapiro, for one, in his book The New Childhood: Raising Kids to Thrive in a Connected World, argues the case that good digital parenting is all about educating kids to live healthy, balanced lives in a connected world.
And that means mums and dads need to do less hand-wringing about screen-time, and devote more energy to learning about their children’s digital lives, playing games and using apps alongside them.
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