In case you haven't heard, "Generation Alpha" is the name given for children born to millennials in the 21st century. Now that this generation has more access to new technology and media platforms, the basic principles of raising a baby have completely changed. It's incredible how raising a child in this generation is so different from how I was raised as a child in the late 90s to the early 2000s. Here are some reasons why I'm glad I'm not a Generation Alpha baby.
1. No food unless there's a phone involved
OK, seriously, I've literally seen these situations happen up close and personal and boy, it's really bad. All the mom wants to do is feed her child who hasn't eaten since 7 a.m. and lo and behold, she has to face her crying, food-hating baby. What does she do? She pulls out her phone, opens up the YouTube app on her phone and hands the phone to her child. Ta-da! The situation is no longer a situation and now both mom and baby are happy, right? Well, not really because now every time that the mom wants to feed her crying baby, she has to pull out her phone. The baby becomes conditioned to think that in order to eat, I have to watch YouTube and I'm going to cry until mom gives it to me because that's how it's always happened. Sooner or less, food time becomes play-on-the-phone time.
2. Playing at the park and going to the library are things of the past
When I was a kid, I used to love going to the library and the park. They were two of my favorite places and I loved going with my mom right after school. There was just something about being surrounded by all the cool books the library had to offer. I enjoyed the times when the librarian would gather all the kids in the library for story time. The park was no less because playing with other kids and making new friends was so exciting. Not only was going to the library and the park fun, but it also boosted my social life as a learning and developing child. Now, it's so sad to see more and more libraries and Barnes and Noble's close because no one is interested in reading books anymore. Everything is available on technological devices that we can access in the comfort of our own homes. Generation Alpha kids are missing out on the fun I had when I was younger.
3. Technology > social life
Continuing my last point, technology is seriously taking over our lives and our kids' lives. When I was younger, people would say that one day we would see robots take over the world. Well, it's not robots but phones that are taking over the world. In fact, many kids now prefer to stay inside and watch TV rather than going outside to interact with other kids or even just to explore outdoors. It's sad to think that millennials are raising a generation that prefers technology over a positive learning social life.
4. YouTube videos 24/7
Yup, every Generation Alpha baby's favorite app/website is (you guessed it) YouTube. Sure the famous media platform has its positive sides to it. There are so many learning videos for growing babies and toddlers to visually grasp and understand. All the videos that teach neat songs about the alphabet or numbers are actually really educational for many young children. However, there are videos and songs out there that have no educational benefits. In fact, it's the videos and songs that have really catchy and pointless beats or colorful characters who don't teach any meaningful lessons that are the most attractive to them. In my opinion, YouTube should only be used to teach children and have them learn basic lessons early before preschool or kindergarten so they have extra leverage. Watching YouTube 24/7, whenever the child is bored is not (and should not be) normal.
5. How to calm a baby 101: offer a phone (again)
I've been out in public places like the mall where families come with their young children. The child will usually start a tantrum and of course, the parents don't want to be embarrassed so they will simply calm their child with a phone or an iPad. Now I'm not saying that when I was growing up, we didn't throw tantrums. However, the way our parents dealt with public tantrums was a lot different than how millennial parents are dealing with them. We weren't offered phones in exchange for a peaceful trip to the mall. We were calmed down by playing with our favorite toys or munching on our favorite snacks. It's pretty interesting to see how different parenting styles are now compared to back then.
6. Zero creativity
As a result of offering phones and iPads to children, they start to lose their creativity. Growing up, I loved arts and crafts and making new things with my imagination. I never used a phone or a computer to watch a tutorial or watch a video of other kids creating something. I used my own creativity to create new things that I was proud of because I made it myself. Even today, I love being creative and coming up with new ideas and I believe my creativity is so strong today because of my childhood. With Generation Alpha, kids are no longer using their creativity and no longer have the motivation and ambition to create something new with their imagination.
7. More spoiled = more attitude
I'm going to say it as it is — kids with more access to technology are more spoiled and end up having more attitudes. I mean there's really no other way to say it. I know how technology and easy access to technology affects young children and how they react to certain situations that upset them in any way. It makes me think that millennials are raising a generation of kids who are way more spoiled, sassier, and just not appreciative of their lives without technology.
8. No real family time
More access to phones and living a life based solely around technology means less family time. Millennial parents are so busy working that they don't really spend as much time with their kids. This may be due to that "go-getter," boss attitude that so many millennials have when it comes to their work life. It may also be due to conditioning a child to calm down during a bad situation by offering a phone or keeping the child occupied with YouTube videos. If this is how millennials are going to raise their children, then I am fearful for the future and how these children are going to end up being when they're adults.