Is it just me or do modern kids have too many choices nowadays?
I see so many meme’s like this;
And the sad reality is, it’s so true! Kids nowadays have the choice to play outside with ball games and friends or they can stay indoors in the confines of their four walls, playing their xbox and on their phones. The option to stay in the comfort of your own home and still socialize via the Internet has become so much more attractive than going out, getting dirty and going on adventures.
I remember being a kid and being desperate to be outside as much as I could. I craved that independence to be with my peers and discover a new world outside of my parents watch. It was in these moments that I found out how to be my own person, how to socalise with my fellow children without having to feel like I had to behave because my parents were within earshot. I discovered comraderie, what it was like to build forts, climb trees, and dig holes convinced I could dig all the way to China like they’d have you believe in playground rumors. Even when I talk to my friend’s children, it sounds like the playground doesn’t even seem to offer that fun and mischief that we could have as a 90’s kid. It’s like with the change in society, with the great steps of technology, came the end of good old wholesome fun that was the very pinnacle of my upbringing.
I don’t mean to talk like an old timer who hates the changes the earth has faced, but it makes me cringe when I go into an Apple store, looking at a phone that I’ve been saving up for and overhear a conversation between what seems to be a 10 year old girl successfully convincing her Dad to buy her the newest iPad that she desparately needs because all of her friends got one for their half birthday or something. I was lucky to be allowed to pick up a treat for less than £1 when we went grocery shopping.
Way back when, my first phone as a Nokia 3310 and even then I was one of the last people to get one in my friendship group. Now kids are getting iPhones, laptops and tablets and are able to just upgrade them even if the old one is still working. It’s such a crazy world we live in.
It’s not even just with technology. When I was in Highschool, our only school trips were to the local pool, maybe a walk on the moors, we were lucky if we got to go to the Zoo. Now I see that kids are being given the choices to go to theme parks, residential trips and even abroad. Now I will contradict myself a little bit, I think the opportunity to travel with peers in a school trip at a younger age is yes a luxury but so beneficial as when those same kids grow up, not all of them may have that opportunity again.
Going shopping is quite a drag when school is out. Until then I can pretend that kids are still kids who have their parents pick out their outfits, but from simply walking the city and seeing the outfits some pre-teens are wearing I know this is not true. I can pop into a shop and it’s so common now to see young kids in groups shopping together, trying on skimpy outfits or wearing very expensive clothes, and I can’t help but reminisce about my own childhood when the only time I got to wear ‘age inappropriate’ clothes was during a dress up game with my sisters in our room. I think this is where my brain hurts about the whole argument about sexualizing children. How it’s wrong for kids to be sent home from school because a teacher has considered their outfit inappropriate and then theres mass hysteria about how ‘maybe the school shouldn’t hire perverts if they’re going to be tempted by a girl wearing a short skirt’ and I feel like that isn’t really the argument. It isn’t right for kids as young as 8 to be wearing micro mini skirts, I am not a pervert and would not be tempted by this, but seeing it happen would make me uncomfortable. I am all for freedom, free the nipple and what not but kids so young shouldn’t be dressing like they’ve got a story to tell with their bodies. I know we don’t live in an oppressed country but children should wear what makes them comfortable to an extent. I don’t think there are many 8 year old kids who wake up one morning and decide they want to wear a belly showing top or daisy dukes. I feel like parents can be partially blamed for this but hey I’m not a parent I have no clue.
I understand this whole idea of kids growing up way too soon has also got society to thank for this. I remember being a kid and being desparate to grow up too, but I was atleast granted my years to develop maturally both in body and in mind, before I had to live an adult life.
The choices kids are given in modern times is quite frightening. The lessons our society, the media and our peers tell us makes us want to be older, act older, feel older. What today’s kids don’t realize is that there is time for everything and that they won’t miss out just because they want to remain being kids a little bit longer.
It scares me that the power and and prestige of education has just become ‘one of the options’ now rather than a necessity. I’m not talking about super fancy private schools, a public education is just as good nowadays with so many opportunities to learn things that once upon a time was non-existent. Children nowadays can learn about coding and Italian, fishing, law. There are so many options like this that are important for children’s advancements.
I think my criticism is more with choices given to kids with things that are considered a luxury. Like dinner times, why are we giving our kids the chance to tell us what they want to have for dinner when as adults we should be telling them what is healthy and good for them? How are kids meant to discover a new pallet and explore their taste of the world if we listen to their cries and demands for chicken nuggets, chips and ice cream. Again I’m not saying they can’t have it, but it shouldn’t be a constant battle. It’s just not typical for a young child to choose veggies over junk, and whilst it’s nice to treat them occasionally, we should be instilling in their brains that eating a variation of meals is a good thing.
Then there’s their clothing, kids should be guided however they can, each child has a freedom to express their individuality but does the choice of what colour tutu, or variation of jackets need to be something that is put on them on a daily basis? I just don’t understand what is wrong with a parent laying out clothes for their child to wear. It’s not surpressing their right to be independent but it’s also making a parents job a little easier.
In saying all of this I think I’ve just realized what has bothered me so much about children having way too many options nowadays. I think kid’s have too much independence. I read a recent article about a house being burgled and an 8 year old kid being in the home alone that day. Why the hell was that 8 year old child unsupervised in the first place? I understand some parents cannot afford childcare and what have you, but I just don’t think it’s worth risking the life and safety of a child to skimp on something so important as their supervision. Schools nowadays have afterschool clubs and whilst it may not seem cool to them, it will give them a better chance at staying safe. Kid’s need to be treated less like adults and more like the young developing child that they are, whilst it’s good to encourage independence, giving them so many choices and leaving them unsupervised can have such a detrimental effect on their growth.
In my own personal opinion (and it’s completely fine if you don’t agree) but with all these choices and options for kids, I feel like it’s stopping them from having the opportunity to live the pure and simple fundamentals of being a kid. Whilst the freedom to have choices is great and I’m glad that society is coming along leaps and bounds with our technology, movement, ideas, I do feel like in an almost ironic twist it is hindering kids from just being kids.
Just do me a favour and parent your children a little more please, it’s genuinely terrifying for people like me, childless for the time being, seeing so many kids running around wild without the love and guidance of their parents.
Watch me change my stance when I have kids of my own, but I do stand by my word that my kids will be as supported as is healthy. I don’t foresee myself giving my 5-year-old an iPad just because their friend has 3, nor’ will I be letting my daughter run around in thong revealing tight jeans when she’s 13…scratch that I will not be letting my 13-year-old wear thongs.
Anyway, that’s just my observation today. No doubt that you’re probably completely indifferent to it but it did get me thinking about how our society is shaping up.
Do something to make your parents proud today, your kids proud someday but most importantly, you proud every day!
Peace and Love