UK kids choose problem-solving over panic in lockdown

While adults try to figure out what happens next, it is Generation Alpha who may find that this experience defines their lives, both in the immediate and more long-term future, as new research from Beano Brain explores.

Izzy Ashton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


Resilience is a key talking point as consumers navigate their way through extraordinary times. For adults juggling working from home with anxiety about the state of the world, new research suggests that children are taking a more pragmatic approach. According to new research from Beano Brain suggests, children are looking to solve problems, rather than dissolve into panic.

The research, conducted by the insight consultancy from Beano Studios, has examined Generation Alpha, those born after 2010, to see how they are reacting to and coping with the ongoing crisis. From children in the UK wanting schools to close to those in the US citing the need for a vaccine, this generation are of an activist nature, according to the Generation Alpha: The Rebirth of Resilience report.

Beano Brain has been tracking children and their families since both the UK and US went into lockdown in March. The research spans Generation Alpha, their Generation Z siblings and Millennial parents, engaging with 3.5 million 7-14-year-olds.

The study highlights three main trends. The first focuses on Generation Alpha’s need for action not words, on moving to solutions rather than panic. Prior to lockdown, the number one priority for UK kids was for schools to shut (57%) whereas the majority of US kids cited their desire for a vaccine to make them feel better (57%).

The second trend is around virtual playgrounds, and this generation’s desire to stay in touch with their friends on platforms spanning FaceTime to Xbox Live and gaming app Roblox. In terms of their social activity, after chatting (58%), gaming on a video call is the most common activity for both UK and US kids (48%).

3.5 million
kids engaged with
of UK kids said schools shutting was their number one priority
of kids want to watch shows as a family

Notably almost half (46%) of kids revealed that they did not want to go back to school, enjoying instead the freedom of working and taking breaks when it suited them rather than being confined to the rigidity of classroom routines.

The third trend highlights this generation’s need for new routines to help them navigate their way through their new normal. A huge part of this trend involved coming together as a family. Despite being together all day, the value placed on spending time as a family remains a priority, with almost half of kids (44%) wanting to watch shows altogether.

What the research also reveals however is that this generation are now bored, despite access to more free content than ever before; 1 in 4 kids in the UK (23%) and the US (26%) chose ‘bored’ to describe how they felt on the 4th May. This creates a huge opportunity for brands who perhaps haven’t been engaging with or involving this particular audience up to this point.

Pete Maginn, Director of Insight at Beano Brain, explained, “The COVID-19 lockdown will be the defining moment of so many young lives but all too often Gen Alpha are underestimated and overlooked. Actually, their key traits and behaviours have equipped them to adapt to this pandemic quickly and possibly better than their Millennial parents.”

While the adults try to figure out what happens next, it is Generation Alpha who may find that this experience defines their lives, both in the immediate and more long-term future. The resilience they develop over this lockdown period will be essential to how they navigate a future world which looks decidedly uncertain right now.

Related Tags

Children Gen Alpha Research