As the world continues to advance technologically, the gap between generations is shrinking rapidly. This has a significant impact on how the Church and organizations reach and connect with the younger generations. Generation Alpha, the generation born between 2010 and 2024, is growing up in a world that is vastly different from the one most of the older Gen Z kids experienced. It’s exciting to see the next generation, Gen Alpha, growing up. While there’s still a lot of research to be done to understand them fully, we can approach this as an opportunity to learn and grow together. By preparing ourselves to guide and support Gen Alpha, we can help shape a bright future for them and for all of us.
Here are four insights to know about Gen Alpha so far:
They are more than digital natives
Gen Alpha are not just digital natives; they’re the first children to be raised by digital natives. In fact, 64% of Gen Alpha would rather be a social media influencer than the president.1 Technology and the internet are ubiquitous parts of their lives. Not only is information readily available, but it’s also individually catered to them and their personalities through algorithms and artificial intelligence. As a result, they are highly comfortable with digital communication and expect seamless integration of technology in all aspects of their lives, including their faith practices. Churches need to adapt to this reality by creating digital platforms and content that cater to the needs and preferences of Gen Alpha. The S-curve of early adoption is another crucial factor that we need to consider as we prepare for the next generation. We need to be early innovators, but we also need to be cautious about using too many resources on initiatives that may not work. As my dad always says, “You get to see the 1 out of 10 that work, but you’re not seeing the other 9 that didn’t work.” This is why it’s important to test small and adapt quickly.
- 66% of Gen Alpha started using a tablet before age 5.2
- 46% of 6-11 year olds have an active social media account.3
- One MIT study says that children find artificial intelligence to be “friendly and trustworthy … smarter than themselves.”4
They value authenticity and fairness
Like Gen Z, Gen Alpha places a high value on authenticity and fairness. They expect honesty and transparency from the people and institutions they interact with, including their church. Churches need to prioritize transparency and authenticity in their messaging and interactions with Gen Alpha to establish trust and build a strong relationship. We also have the opportunity to root their sense of authenticity and fairness in the unchanging truth of God’s Word.
- 61% of Gen Alpha care about helping others.5
- 51% of Gen Alpha care about protecting others from bullying.6
- 93% of Gen Alpha believes all people should be accepted for who they are.7
Understand their hunger for community
While Gen Alpha uses technology in a very social way, it can never replace the importance of face-to-face interactions and relationships. I believe this generation will have a deep hunger for physical community that disrupts the digital social habits they’re used to. The Church has a unique opportunity to provide this sense of physical belonging and connection to Gen Alpha by creating spaces and programs that allow them to build meaningful relationships with one another and with older generations as they grow in their faith.
- 24% of Gen Alpha spend more time with their friends online than in person.8
- 49% of Gen Alpha spend their online time socializing with their friends through chat applications.9
- As Gen Alpha ages, the likelihood of preferring in-person time with friends decreases.10
Family faith formation is crucial
Gen Alpha does not need more knowledge; they need more guidance. One in three born-again parents believe Christianity is the one true faith, and only 45% of Christian Gen Alpha parents initiate faith conversations with their children on a consistent basis.11 What does this mean? Churches need to begin equipping parents on how to guide their children to and through God’s Word. There was a time when children relied on their parents for knowledge about the world, but now that this generation is overinformed, we must be prepared to provide wisdom and guidance instead.
- 15% of Christian parents say their most important parenting goal is to pass down faith to their children.12
- 51% of Christian parents read the Bible with their children.13
- 67% of U.S. parents of preteens identify as Christian, but only 2% possess a biblical worldview.14
As we prepare for Generation Alpha, let’s not forget that none of this is surprising to God. He already knows exactly what this new generation needs from His Church, we just have to be intentional about seeking His wisdom in understanding and filling that need. With intentionality and wise investment, the Church can be equipped to effectively disciple this new generation. To learn more about Gen Alpha, download the OneHope Generation Alpha report: https://onehope.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Gen-Alpha-Report_Mar-9-2023.pdf
- Big Village, “New Research from Cassandra by Big Village Dives into the Values and Identity of ‘Gen Alpha,’” July 2022.
- Kristijan Barlek, “Children Speak to Alexa More than to Their Own Grandparents,” Infobip, September 2021.
- Barlek, “Children Speak to Alexa More than to Their Own Grandparents.”
- Mark McCrindle and Ashley Fell, Generation Alpha: Understanding Our Children and Helping Them Thrive (Sydney: Hachette Australia, 2023).
- SGB Media, “Generation Alpha Emerges as Disruptors at Retail,” January 31, 2023.
- SGB Media, “Generation Alpha Emerges as Disruptors at Retail.”
- Josh Howarth, “Generation Alpha: Statistics, Data and Trends (2023),” Exploding Topics, January 13, 2023.
- Tijana Ostojic, “How Is Generation Alpha Using Technology?,” October 28, 2019.
- “Generation Alpha: What Tools to Reach Children and Teenagers of the Future,” Eminence, November 18, 2022.
- Ostojic, “How Is Generation Alpha Using Technology?”
- George Barna, “Cultural Research Center, Arizona Christian University,” American Worldview Inventory, March 2022.
- OneHope, Family Faith Matters: Understanding the Reality of Christian Parents in the United States, March 2022.
- OneHope, Family Faith Matters.
- Barna, “Cultural Research Center, Arizona Christian University.”
Rob Hoskins is the president of OneHope. Since taking leadership of OneHope in 2004, he has continued to advance the vision of God’s Word. Every Child. by partnering with local churches to help reach more than 1.8 BILLION children and youth worldwide with a contextualized presentation of God’s Word.
Read more by Rob Hoskins at goodnewsfl.org/author/rob-hoskins/