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Ladue Publications

Ladue High School's student news site

Ladue Publications

Ladue High School's student news site

Ladue Publications

Kids These Days

They’re Not So Different From Us

A strong cold wind whips around your hair, your flushed pink cheeks growing redder with every stab of the sharp, icy breeze. “Just a few more steps,” you think. As you fight against the tide of the howling air, you struggle as you reach for the door handle with your clumsy gloved fingers until you finally heave it open. 

And that’s it. You’ve made it to paradise. 

To the left, you see shelf after shelf,  lined with perfect little bottles of lotion, moisturizer, and salves. To your right, displays harbor samples of various creamy lipsticks, fragrant perfumes, and shiny glosses. You take a left, and as you reach for your restock of face wash, you feel a tiny hand grab onto your coat and an arm reach above your head to grab the $38.00 Drunk Elephant bronzy drops.

“How sweet,” you think. “She’s helping out her mom.” You turn around to compliment the little girl when you see her run to a group of girls of a similar age, each with their own basket full to the brim with makeup products and skincare, testing samples of different creams. 

This demographic is known as the “Sephora 10-year-olds,” a label used by many articles and video essay creators.  A quick Google search will render headlines reading “How 10-year-olds are ruining Sephora” or videos claiming that “The Drunk Elephant kids are cringe!” This isn’t the only way Generation Alpha has been subject to media scrutiny, though. The coverage of Generation Alpha is overwhelmingly negative, with many expressing grievances about how the “iPad kids” are disrespectful, entitled, unintelligent and will ultimately ruin us all. 

While there are concerns to be had with the way this up-and-coming generation is being raised, this “doomsday mentality” is exaggerated. Ultimately, Generation Alpha and Generation Z aren’t so different. 

A look at the “kids these days” effect, which is the tendency of older people to say the youth of today are somehow worse than youth in the past, may explain why Generation Alpha is being targeted. In 2017, John Protzko, a researcher and psychologist at the University of California Santa Barbara, conducted a survey asking 260 developmental psychologists if kids were improving or deteriorating in their ability to delay gratification. A staggering 84% predicted that children were getting worse over time when in reality, studies found that children were better than previous generations at sitting tight. Even developmental psychologists, who study behavior in children, have negative biases surrounding the condition of youth. This is mostly caused by a bias in memory. Most of the time, when people make judgments about younger generations, they base these off of how kids “used to be” — back in their day. However, there is no objective way to determine how kids used to be, so we use ourselves as the yardstick by which we measure younger people. In another 2019 survey, adults were asked to share information about themselves then make judgments about younger generations. They found that adults who were more well-read typically believed that kids these days are less interested in reading and that smarter adults considered younger people to be extremely unintelligent. 

Of course, there are some concerns that should be taken seriously when it comes to the way that Generation Alpha is being raised, but many of these problems are also shared with Generation Z and previous generations. Social media usage is one of these problems. In the U.S., 36.2 million children (ages 0 to 11) are active internet users, exceeding teen (ages 12 to 17) internet users by 11.6 million. This creates mental health issues, insecurity, and a tendency towards consumerism. Today, our feeds seem to be constantly pushing products down our throats. “This product will get you glass skin! This Dyson air wrap will be the answer to all your problems!” It’s human nature to want to be accepted and liked by our peers. If influencers tout the newest Stanley Cup, Drunk Elephant retinoids, and skipping the awkward phase as the best methods to achieve this, then of course a young impressionable girl is bound to listen.

Overall, I think it’s time we cut Generation Alpha some slack. After all, hating just isn’t very sigma.

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About the Contributor
Junior Alzhraa Mahmoud is a first year staffer on Panorama. In her free time she enjoys crocheting, knitting, and rewatching the Monk series (go watch it, it's really good).

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