Friday, 30 April 2021

Pojok PINTAR #4: What Millennials Parents Need To Know About Generation Alpha

In recent years, we have started to hear the term Generation Alpha to identify those who were born from 2010 onwards, a demographic cohort succeeding Generation-Z. 

Named after the first letter in the Greek alphabet, Generation Alpha is said to be the first group who will be fully immersed in technology in their entire lives. In fact as many of Generation Alpha’s parents are millennials – themselves digital natives – many of them will have digital footprints before they’re even born.

So what do parents need to know about this radically different group of people?

In the sixth episode of Pojok PINTAR, our host Jerry Arvino sits with Diena Haryana, founder of Yayasan Sejiwa, and millennial parent-slash-podcaster Rizky Adi Nugroho to discuss how to raise this tech-savvy generation. 

This episode covers: 

a. The characteristics of Generation Alpha
b. Millennials’ parenting styles
c. Parenting tips for millennial parents to raise Generation Alpha 

Born since the year 2010 – the year when Instagram was first launched and the beginning of the decade when artificial intelligence went mainstream – Generation Alpha has gotten access to technology since they were little, making them natural at finding information quickly using the internet. 

However, technology also influences their behaviors, resulting in more challenges for parents. 

Millennial parents, such as Rizky, who has two girls aged eight and four, are afraid that heavy use of the internet will create bad impacts on the child’s development and growth. Moreover, some parents are also scared that their children will access negative information on the internet. 

Since parenting is a never-ending journey, millennials parents can do the following to deal with the challenges. 

Accompany your children on the internet

As digital natives, most millennial parents know how to use technological devices. However, not all of them can educate their children about the correct ways of using gadgets. 

Diena said that there are three types of millennial parents, parents with low digital literacy who allow children to access the internet with little or no supervision, tech savvy parents who let children use gadgets without supervision and, lastly, tech savvy parents who accompany their children in their use of the internet. 

Among the three, Diena said that the best parenting-style is those who accompany their children while using the internet. By accompanying your children online, you can educate them about the dos and don’ts of the internet. Diena said that it will help them to navigate the internet better when they are older.  

Moreover, parents will also be able to find out their child’s interests and how they use their gadgets to support them. Lastly, parents can also educate children about internet safety and protect them from numerous online threats. 

Support their interests, with limitations 

Both speakers agreed that persistence is among the characteristics of Generation Alpha.

Rizky shared his older daughter is currently into sketching and will spend hours watching tutorial videos online.

“My daughter knows what she wants and she will pursue it,” he said. 

As a father, he doesn’t want to stop his daughter from learning, but sometimes, he feels worried if she spends too much time on her gadgets.

For this kind of situation, parents can actually allow their children to use the internet to nurture their interests, but with restrictions. 

One of the ways is by limiting screen time. 

Diena suggested parents set a rule and give them a maximum of two hours screen time daily to prevent children from spending too much time online. 

However, it is also important to explain the reasons behind the rules, such as the impact of blue light, to make children understand why parents set this restriction. 

Encourage children to engage in real world activities 

One of the characteristics of Generation Alpha is they are more likely to be dependent on technology. Therefore, it is important for parents to help them engage with real world activities. 

“We don’t want them to feel too comfortable in the digital world … which makes them feel like they don’t need the real world anymore,”said Diena. 

One of the ways to help them is by introducing them to various activities that involve body movement, such as any kind of sports.

Moreover, parents are also suggested to make a comfortable atmosphere in the real world, so children do not always linger in the digital world.

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