Gen Zers are starting to tease Gen Alpha tweens, saying they have a ‘blue light stare’

Gen Zers are starting to tease Gen Alpha tweens, saying they have a ‘blue light stare’

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Gen Alpha is poised to be a huge economic force (stock image).

  • Gen Zers are mocking Gen Alpha tweens, saying they are stunted when it comes to socializing.
  • They have coined the term “blue light stare” to describe their reliance on screens. 
  • Experts say these trends reflect deeper issues from the pandemic affecting young generations.

Intergenerational teasing seems inevitable. Baby boomers labeled Gen Zers as lazy. Millennials think Gen Xers are lame. And everybody seems to hate millennials.

But Gen Z has a new target: Gen Alpha.

Zoomers are starting to tease Gen Alpha tweens, saying they are stunted when it comes to socializing because of what they say is their addiction to screens.

They’ve also coined the phrase “the blue light stare” to describe a particular blank look they say is given by Gen Alpha kids, who are born from 2010 to 2024.

It references the “lead poison stare” — a blank expression that has become associated with boomers on social media, particularly when complaining or becoming aggressive with service workers.

Nicholas Drake, a content creator, described the blue light stare as a “nonchalant, just unbothered look on their face.”

“Almost like they’re starting at a screen and they’re watching a video, or they’re playing a video game,” he said. “They’re just not all there.”

Lighthearted ribbing or something more?

Generational wars are cyclical, and this may just be the latest lighthearted ribbing every cohort goes through.

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But the trend may also signify something deeper.

Criticism has long been leveled at children of millennials and Gen Zers. Some say they are hard to control, struggle at school, and are showing signs of developmental distress inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I personally want us to focus on asking why rather than judging what is,” Katya Varbanova, an internet and marketing expert, told BI. “This new generation has the world at their fingertips.”

Nonchalant and unbothered

Lyndsey Getty, a mental health researcher and author, told BI there is “no real benefit” to judging someone based on when they were born.

Often, this comes from a lack of knowledge, insecurity, or an “us vs. them mindset,” she said.

“In order to stop this destructive habit, we need to stop labeling it as inevitable and see it for what it truly is,” she said. “Unhealthy generalizations.”

But Zoomers have always seemed to target other generations.

They enjoyed mocking “millennial humor” in favor of more absurdist internet jokes while deriding the side parts and skinny jeans of the generations that came before them.

Artificial blue light from screens is the latest turn of phrase to signify bad behavior in public, and Zoomers are quick to point it out.

A TikToker called Hannah said she was recently served by a “Gen Alpha kid” and that the “blue light stare is so real.”

She imitated how the young server, who she guessed was around 13 or 14, was expressionless for most of the encounter, dismissive, and kept scrolling on their phone.

Ripples from the pandemic

Jenny Flora Wells, a licensed social worker and holistic therapist, told BI it is evident Gen Alpha “has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

These youngsters were aged 10 and under in 2020, meaning many of their formative years will have been tarnished by lockdowns, global panic, and limited socializing.

Brenda Christensen, the CEO of Stellar Public Relations, Inc., who worked on campaigns for cellphones and GameBoy, says extensive use of technology from a young age could also be influencing children’s development and learning.

While social media jabs are mostly lighthearted, they point to a deeper issue, Christensen said, as too much screen time “can affect their attention spans, critical thinking skills, and interpersonal interactions.”

“Gen Alpha is growing up with unparalleled access to information and tools that can foster creativity and innovation,” she said. “The challenge lies in balancing screen time with activities that promote holistic development.”

Feeling in control

Gen Zers may also feel a little threatened.

Gen Alpha is set to be the largest generation. They will take over the internet and become some of the biggest spenders in history.

There is a scarcity of jobs and opportunities for young people, “which is the competition and divide among generations to stay afloat in today’s world,” Wells said.

Gen Z “has also been cheated of opportunity,” she said, so it may feel inclined to pick on those younger than them as a means of self-preservation.

“There is a deeper meaning here that can be tied back to the heavy-hitting issues facing our society,” Wells said.

Varbanova told BI that technological advancements will continue to change how we communicate and live in this world, and she doesn’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

“Some skills and behaviors might become extinct,” she said, pointing to how much has already changed within our lifetimes with phones and media consumption. It’s only going to ramp up more with developments in AI, she said.

Terms such as “blue light stare,” Varbanova said, “makes people feel more in control.”

“We as a society look for signals through labels,” she said. “It’s how we survive.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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