Gen Z vs Gen Alpha: who’s the most annoying?

Look out, Gen Z. Gen Alpha’s arrived, slathered in Sephora products and vaping like there’s no tomorrow. We gathered siblings from both warring cohorts and asked – from a safe distance – the pressing question du jour.

Taken from the new print issue of THE FACE. Get your copy here.

Not too long ago, Gen Z were the new kids on the block, at the centre of every trend and moral panic, praised for their activism, analysed for their alleged aversion to alcohol and sex, and blamed for their, let’s say, part-time approach to work. The zeitgeist revolved around their tastes and TikTok dances. They were the future.

But recently, something’s changed. Those kids are, slowly but surely, becoming adults. And they – that is, you and us, or some of us at least – are showing their years by engaging in an age-old old-person pastime: complaining about the next generation.

Enter: Gen Alpha. The oldest among them have just turned 13 and, according to their elders, they’re addicted to screens (yes, more so than Zoomers), never go outside, have short attention spans and enjoy even more brainless meme humour than their predecessors. And don’t get Gen Zers started on those skincare-obsessed, Sephora-rampaging, secretly vaping pre-teens who got retinol for their birthdays.

But is Gen Alpha really that out of control? Or are Gen Z just (whisper it) past it? These generationally divided sets of London siblings have a few thoughts.

Khadim, 13 and Babakar, 19

How would you describe your generation?

BABAKAR:I think people think Gen Z is rowdy and uncontrollable.

Do you agree?

B: Not gonna lie, I do. I see Gen Zers do a lot of stupid stuff on social media. And people are worried about the future because our generation is gonna take over.

What about Gen Alpha, Khadim?

KHADIM: Gen Alpha just follows stupid [social media] trends. There are ones that hurt you. Bad stuff.

Who uses social media more?

B: We’re both on it every day. I think probably Gen Z, because Gen Alpha is more into games – PlayStation and stuff. But when I was in secondary school, TikTok wasn’t really a thing, so that’s one big difference. They’re scrolling through TikTok all day and it’s making their attention span worse. It’s increasing ADHD in their generation. Our generation used to be outside more.

What will the world be like when your generations are in charge?

B: I don’t think too much is gonna change, but I think we’re gonna be more open to new stuff.

K: Gen Alpha? It will be chaos.

Miro, 13, Eros, 11, and Sebastiano, 17

What are the biggest differences between Gen Z and Gen Alpha?

SEBASTIANO: I would say it’s technology. I didn’t have it straight away growing up, it was a bit less accessible. When I turned 15 during Covid, that was when it was more embraced. I wouldn’t really touch a phone or computer before that.

EROS: Now, at modern-day schools, they have touch-screen whiteboards, TVs, that kind of thing. And at home I go on Snapchat.

S: When I was 11 years old, it would be cool if you had the newest pair of shoes. But now it’s more like, Oh, I’ve got the iPhone 15 or the iPad Pro Max” or whatever.

What would you like to change about the world?

S: I would say lower prices and no shouting.

MIRO: Then you would be arrested straight away! My rule would be that you can’t be aggressive.

Maliha, 17, and Zainah, 12

Have you guys noticed any differences between your two generations?.

ZAINAH: I think there is a big difference. I’m very organised, I keep everything neat and tidy, and… I love skincare.
MALIHA: I used to think that my sister’s obsession with Sephora and skincare was just her, but then I realised [through social media that] it’s collectively 12- and 11-year-olds who are obsessed with that stuff. When I was 12 I used to obsess over toy shops. I feel like the younger generation has grown up way too quickly.

What got you into skincare, Zainah?

Z: I don’t really know. There were just these popular brands that I thought I should try. I started out with some Glow Recipe stuff, then I was like, I need to get more.” Then a Sephora opened up in Westfield…

M: She’s constantly shopping. I’m being so serious. Every time we go out [she spends] hundreds of pounds in that place. It’s mad.

Sephora kids” are getting a lot of flak on social media. Do you think that’s fair?

Z: To be honest, it is. I’m not the problem, but in America there are, like, 10-year-olds coming in and they ruin the stuff – there are samples everywhere and they open up boxes that are supposed to be purchased. I would never do that.

Kaiya, 10, and Caellum, 16

What are the biggest stereotypes older people have about your generations?

CAELLUM: That we’re obsessed with pronouns, activism, and we’re easily offended. That sort of thing. But I would say we’re better, smarter. I wouldn’t say we get easily offended – we want change.


It’s a hard question! What are you and your friends into right now?

K: TikTok, Snapchat…

Have you noticed any generational differences from watching Kaiya grow up, Caellum?

C: A big thing is the humour. I’ve seen them grow up with [animated YouTube series] Skibidi Toilet, which I resent with every fibre of my being. But we had that sort of brain-rotting humour as well. So there are similarities, I just don’t see them as similarities because of how much more ridiculous they are [for Gen Alpha].

What will the world be like when you guys are in charge?

C: Much better. The older generation that’s in charge right now is getting older, they’re getting stupider, they’re going to die at some point. And we will come in and hopefully try to reverse the madness they’ve unleashed in the world.

K: I would just like people to look after their animals more.

Che, 21, and Kree, 10

Che, does it make you feel like an old codger watching Kree grow up?

CHE: Yes, it does! The other day she was, like, three years old, pushing me around in a pink car that she had as a baby. And now she has her own interests, she comes to me [for advice], we go shopping together. I feel like a proper grandad.

It’s early days, but what do you think Kree’s generation will be like when they grow up?

C: They’re gonna shake things up! Even just watching Kree and her friends – they’ve got their little clique. Wait, what’s your clique’s name?

KREE: Kreestiano Ronaldo.

C: [Laughs] That’s your clique’s name? They’ll all be playing Roblox and doing fashion games together. I admire her for going out and doing what she wants. When I was younger I had a fear of trying new things, but Kree is like, Yeah I’ll do it!” It might take her a little while to warm up, but she’s like, I wanna do makeup, I’m gonna go do makeup.” I promise you right now, [her shyness] is an act. She is louder than I am – and that’s hard!

[Kree commits to the bit by staying silent]


CASTING Lisa Dymph Megens PHOTOGRAPHER’S ASSISTANTS Tom Porter and Will Edgecombe STYLIST’S ASSISTANT Tayo House ON-SET PRODUCER Chloe Slattery

Thanks to Gen X for signing the parental consent forms

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