To the Editor:
What does being a kid stand for, or even really mean in today’s world? When I was a kid (born in 1990) it meant going outside for fresh air and friends. As soon as the school bus would drop my sister and I off at home our backpacks hit the floor, our outside shoes went on, and outside to play we’d head. There was just always something to do outside, though we had Super Nintendo and Sega. When we were kids it was much different from now and it wasn’t that long ago – or maybe it was and I’m holding onto memories that never even existed for most youths today – and I find that to be quite a shame.
When I was young (I’m only 29) we had cuts and scrapes from head to toe from the games we’d play with our neighbors while simply enjoying life. I’d return home many summer nights with my bare feet bottoms blackened from the back yard, or barefoot running races at the baseball fields with friends. We’d play dodgeball, kickball, long toss or, get this, we’d actually ride our bikes – they didn’t just sit in the garage looking pretty. Occasionally we’d argue with one another, there may have even been an old-fashioned fist fight between boys over a girl, yet we moved on and shook hands after. We measured time with the sun and the street lights without a care in the world the days just flew by with lessons learned and wisdom earned.
I’d like to just simply shed light on the idea that kids today are essentially growing up not knowing the outside world, physically connecting with one another and it’s showing, at least to me it is anyway. Kids today are growing up in a world full or tablets, iPhones and social media networks, yet, I ask myself or any of you that reads this – how has it brought any of them closer? Closer to the outside world where there are values, integrity, independence, self-courage/esteem. We’re allowing today’s youth to totally disaffiliate and disconnect from reality for acceptance of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Today’s generation fuels their self-esteem from likes, pokes and shares. Bullying also went on when I was kid (yes, Mario I remember you) but there wasn’t any social media platforms to keep it going constantly after school got out.
Children and kids today need the current generation of teachers and adults to stop being lazy, and teach them that there’s much more to life than just the new found “norm” of being online all day. This generation truly fell more victim to social media platforms and it certainly isn’t fair to them nor us and soon enough, they’ll be out in the real world among us all.
Going all the way back to MySpace and “Tom,” why didn’t we see the harm this was going to cause our children and society as a whole, and all over the globe, in the long run? Kids today are committing suicide at record rates. With all the technology to make life easier at their fingertips, it has in fact caused the exact opposite to happen. Life has become tougher without any problem solving, real world scenarios, and lessons few and far between. What happened to kids playing baseball or football for the local neighborhood teams getting to know one another through problem solving, and growing together? Kids that actually want to get outside, be apart of a team and break a sweat are alienated because they’re not inside online with a green icon illuminated all summer long.
I believe it’s time for us to teach today’s youth that’s its okay to get outside and get dirty. It’s acceptable to turn the computer off. You’ll make it through this – my generation did and came out on top with life experiences one cannot simply find online. We need to bring back the norm of knocking on your friends’ doors with a pair of roller blades, a stick, and a helmet ready to go exploring. Life’s lessons can’t simply be taught hiding inside the house all day sitting behind a keyboard or playing Call of Duty all night. Values, integrity, and self-esteem are not something that can be taught on Xbox, they all have to be earned from day in and day out struggles or routines with friends, actual people and physical connections.
Now, I’m no psychologist, nor do I hold a degree in any type of behavioral health field. I’m simply a man, a young man who grew up outside and I’ve observed today’s youth is clearly severally troubled. Today’s kids just simply aren’t kids anymore they’re almost automated. We must ask ourselves how much good has technology and social media really brought to our children and world today? #Disconnectfromsocialmedia #Kidsitstimetobekidsagain
Jordan M. Fratus