I’ve heard people say that kids today are disrespectful, don’t have a work ethic, and expect to have things handed to them whenever they want it. Kids no longer play outside and they are stuck to their electronic devices instead of learning to socialize person to person. According to many people, kids are different now than they were fifty years ago. Well…no kidding.
What bothers me about these statements is that a 3-year-old won’t suddenly decide for themselves that they are going to grow up disrespectful, lazy, and glued to an electronic device…there are adults who help make them this way. Electronic devices are the new babysitters of this generation just like television became the babysitter of the previous generation. It frees up a parent to do whatever they think is more important if they occupy their little ones with video contraptions that suck them in. Small wonder that kids are different now.
When I was a kid (yeah, we all hate this line) us kids didn’t know what sex was until our teenage years. We were afraid to get caught saying dirty words. We were pushed out of the house to play instead of being enclosed in the house and attached to gadgets. Yes, it’s true that it’s a much more dangerous place outside than it was when I was little, but nothing stops us from setting rules to keep our kids safe. Yes, there are dangerous adults who would love to steal our kids, but here’s a news flash…they’re everywhere and they love electronic gadgets. They might even have a better chance luring your kid through the internet than they would luring your kid from the backyard.
When I was a kid, we were more innocent and naïve than the kids of today. We didn’t have access to all the bad stuff that’s only a mouse-click away for today’s kids. Some parents control their kids access to dangerous sites and chatrooms and some even keep the time allotted for electronic devices to an hour or so after homework or something like that. It doesn’t always work, but I applaud the effort.
It’s not just the internet that’s destroying our kids innocence, but television as well. Gone are the days of The Munsters, Leave it to Beaver, and Happy Days. Welcome to the days of smut, death, and brutality. The kids of today are bombarded with this stuff. The worst part is, many adults are not bothered by this nor think it harms kids in any way.
I remember talking to a young parent and they were telling me how “Game of Thrones” was part of their Family Night. I understand Family Night. It used to be a night where the whole family could sit down and watch something good for everybody, like Disney. I was confused how watching “Game of Thrones” could even be remotely good for kids.
ME: Isn’t that a little too mature for your kids?
YOUNG PARENT: Oh, we cover their eyes during the sex scenes.
ME: Do you also shut off the volume?
YOUNG PARENT: Oh, we don’t worry about that! The kids are way too young to know what’s going on.
ME: Hmm, the couple of times I saw that show they were pretty verbal about it.
YOUNG PARENT (now getting annoyed with me): Well, I’m pretty sure I’m more of an expert of my kids than you are.
ME: That’s true. You’re also the most influential person in their lives. If you think rape is ok, so will they.
YOUNG PARENT: Who said anything about rape?
ME: Game of Thrones.
Please don’t think I’m condemning that show. I really don’t have an opinion about it either way. What I do know is that if I had been exposed to that kind of stuff when I was a little boy, I may have turned out a little differently. I may have decided to become disrespectful to women (other than a few female characters, the rest were used for one thing by the male characters), I may have lost my work ethic because it appears you can get so much more by using brutality, and finally, I may have learned to place less value on life, not just my own, but other lives as well.
I am not an expert at parenting. I am not Doctor Spock and I am not an expert on human behavior. I winged it just like everybody else does. Where I find the difference is that I did my best to prolong my kids’ innocence for as long as I could. I figured they would deal with adult issues soon enough. I also figured it was my job to prepare them for these issues, rather than let them learn from an electronic babysitter.
Obviously, this blog post is just my opinion. That’s why it’s a blog post.