To be fair, they get a bad rap and I do feel sorry for them when I think about it. Obviously, I don’t feel sorry for them while I hear them complain about how hard they’ve got it and how life isn’t fair. But if you think about it, it isn’t fair for the kids these days, I see you rolling your eyes, but think about it.
With so many restrictions, understandably, parents, especially single parents, sit them in front of the iPad or smartphones to distract them. It is scary when you realise children are addicted to technology at such a young age.
When I was a kid, I spend A LOT of my time watching TV. My times were divided between the cartoon network, Sky one (the Simpsons), the news and most soaps; the latter two were when my parents controlled the remote. Despite constant threats of my eyes going square (they never did) I enjoyed my time when I was at home by being distracted by the colourful box in the corner of the room. However, that being said, most of my free time was making jumps for my bike, going out on my blades, creating bases in the local woods or being chased by the farmer because we created wrestling rings out of his hay bales (sorry Mr Farmer). The point I am trying to make is that technology in the 80’s/90’s was at best a Tamagotchi which took up an hour or two of your day, well less time than that if you forgot to feed it and your beloved virtual pet died.
When we look at apps these days, people are misconstrued about life in general and if we feed this belief to children at such a young age, this misunderstood cross over between reality and perception is creating an imbalance. Tinder makes people think they’re studs because they have 100 likes, Facebook gives people a platform to pretend that their life is perfect, audiobooks gives an individual more time to do things. In contrast, they have their hands free, Skype/Zoom removes distance and creates instant video conversations.
I mean COME ON, slow down with all this fantastic, ground-breaking stuff going on – why would you want to remove your head from your arse and literally smell the roses or appreciate a sunset?
So many times I have witnessed parents taking their children to McDonalds or other fast-food restaurants. I see both parents staring at their phones then children start to play up because there is no interaction and then after a short period I see the children getting told off. It is a joke. The only way kids get attention is through ‘negative attention’- they are grateful to be told off. The only attention they will get from their parents. It is meant to be a treat for them. “Hey kids, how about your mother and I get you a McDonalds, ignore you, then tell you off for playing up, then punish you because you continuously cause a scene, make too much noise and hit your sister”. What message are we really sending our kids?
Yeah, I can sense you’re getting pissed off because you’re saying “Gareth, get off your high horse, you don’t even have children, it’s difficult to parent, and it is easy to distract children”. I tend to agree with you, but we are eager to label children as millennials. But when we give every child a medal for participating in a race, and praise the slowest one and the fastest one the same then it sends out the wrong message. “Why do I need to work hard or train? Because if I put in minimal effort, the outcome will remain the same. By taking away their drive and determination to perform better then we teach them that when they grow up their expectations will remain the same. “If I give a little attention to something I deserve more of an outcome”.
We are preparing our kids to fail by raising them to be distracted by technology, removing their time and ability for rest and recuperation, speeding up the process and teaching them to give a little but receive more. No wonder they think life isn’t fair.
We are spoon-feeding them lousy life choices, and simultaneously we get confused as to why more and more children become depressed and disillusioned.