Generation Z or Alpha? The Alpha generation are the children of millennials who have witnessed technological advances. They say that the way they play is especially different. Shall we find out how they play? ..............................................................................................................Ed
Generation MZ is the compound word for Generation Millennial and Generation Z. It hasn’t been a long time we started using the term. However, the term for a new generation came up again: the Generation Alpha, referring to those born after 2010. Although the definition of a clear period has not yet been given, it is the first generation to experience only the digital age. Moreover, it is a generation that actively utilizes metaverse in everyday life, such as ‘Role-playing with Berenguer’ and ‘Roblox.’ Demographer Mike McCrindle has been analyzing the Gen Alpha, which is only 10 years old, since the early 2000s and describes them as an “unexpected global experiment.” Furthermore, McCrindle explained that the Generation Alpha “experienced only the digital age.” They enjoy the same technology with the previous generation, but “the way they are used is very different.” It is the first global generation to experience cultural diversity widely with the development of technology and mobility. ST covered the playing method of Gen Alpha.
Berenguer is one of the play cultures that are now popular with the Alpha generation. It is called ‘reborn doll,’ which looks like a real baby. Gen Alpha members who like Berenguer upload fashion hauls, childcare Vlogs, etc. by using dolls on YouTube. They also make friends, and consider YouTube as a kind of community like Cyworld. Among the Gen Z, it was popular to upload slime (liquid monster) videos to YouTube, but with the Gen Alpha, there was an atmosphere in which parents actively helped YouTube operate. The atmosphere that encourages the use of digital technology is one of the reasons why the Gen Alpha is called ‘digital native.’
The most popular ‘Metaverse’ is a combination of ‘Universe’ and ‘Meta,’ which means transcendence. It refers to a three-dimensional expansion virtual world that surpasses VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality), and MR (Mixed Reality). Roblox, the representative of Metaverse, was released in 2006, but now it is another reality that the world’s most active Gen Alpha members are looking for. It is no exaggeration to say that Roblox opened a new era of metaverse with an online game platform and a game production system that allows users to program and enjoy games created by other users. CNBC reported that “Roblox has become a new venue for young people,” and that “We should pay attention to future movements of Roblox.” Most games are run by playing a Lego-like avatar in a threedimensional, stereoscopic, virtual world. It has crude graphics and a simple game composition, but this primitive source of fun is capturing the Gen Alpha. Like SNS, the user can communicate with other users through in-game messages. However, the side effects of SNS are reduced as personal information, such as name and e-mail address, and cannot be disclosed. For the Gen Alpha, Roblox acts as a space where users can communicate with acquaintances beyond a simple game platform.
Gen Alpha experiences and accepts AI (Artificial Intelligence) as a type of play since childhood. Content for kids is also the most active service on AI speakers. Children who have yet to learn about letters are accustomed to searching for the content they want by asking and using answering machines with only voice. Since childhood, AI has played a larger role than being a child care assistant to the Gen Alpha, who grew up shouting “Hey Siri” and listening to fairy tales by GIGA Genie. Gen Alpha members who experience and accept robot toys that respond to commands and express emotions, assembly blocks that can be moved by direct coding, and virtual augmented reality as a form of play from an early age can actively use voice and images to communicate.
McCrindle explained that the Gen Alpha has ‘the qualities of a great leader.’ “Emotional intelligence, the sociality of each generation, and understanding and cooperation toward cultural diversity are excellent,” he noted and continued that “we will grow into the most educated generation with the connection between past technology and global units.” He suggested an optimistic outlook for the future in which the Gen Alpha will lead.
Park Jun-young (ST Reporter)