Generation Alpha and the New Digital Divide


The Ridgewood Blog

Children born after 2010 and before 2024 belong to “Generation Alpha.” We’ve moved from the end of the English alphabet to the start of the Greek, but there may be more of a reset in store for these children.

The phrase “digital divide” dates back to the internet technology boom of the 1990s, a time when only wealthy parents and schools could put emerging information technology in the hands of children and hardly any downside could be envisioned.

Computing has gotten faster, smaller, lighter and cheaper, while quality child care and education has gotten more elusive and expensive.   As fear of poor children missing out on the advantages of technology have faded, a new fear is taking its place.  What if extensive computer use is bad for children?

This question is explored in two recent and very well made documentaries: The Social Dilemma “explores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.”

Childhood 2.0 shows how “the mental health of our children is statistically at an all-time low. Kids spend more time online and less engaging in real life, free play and autonomy. Childhood was more or less unchanged for a millennia, this is Childhood 2.0.”

As the dangers of extensive screen time are widely accepted, it will be families with time and resources that make it a priority to limit their children’s exposure.  This is the new, inverse digital divide.  But the division can again fade and move.  After all, it doesn’t take a lot of money to remove a computer from a child’s bedroom or replace a tablet device with a book.

Generation Z might be slaves to technology, plugging in early and often, getting hooked on likes, and trapped into echo chambers. Generation Alpha, being kept away from screens and social media during formative years can become masters. They can nullify tech censorship, media manipulation and  government propaganda.

Books by Charles Stampul