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Today's youth growing up too fast

On March 31, 2014

From generation to generation there have been extreme differences in how each generation was raised. My mother’s generation, for example, would be considered the generation that was more involved with spending their free time outdoors. Growing up in the early 90s, my childhood was a mix between playing outdoors, like my parents, and being introduced to the new world of technology – which involved cell phones and more advanced televisions. Today’s generation however, is the opposite. Instead of having outdoor games be the first activity on a child’s mind, it’s now video games, watching TV or texting. Children today are growing up faster than generations before them due to the influence of technology at a younger age.

Nowadays, it’s common to see children with their own cell phone or computer – maybe even both. Walking through the grocery store, I noticed a four-year-old playing with apps on his mother’s iPhone while she shopped. This shocked me because not only was the child able to figure out how an iPhone app worked, but he was playing the game better than I could! If that kid can play Angry Birds better than a 19-year-old college student, he must spend too much time in front of the screen.

Today, there’s a disconnection between having the “classic” childhood (quality time outdoors) and what’s considered the “average” childhood (technology to keep children entertained). Some agree that technology has had a large impact on how fast children are growing up today but that “It’s just the way that things are now,” writes Laura from the California University of Pennsylvania in her 2014 article titled Growing up Without Technology. Laura explains what her childhood was like growing up without technology and how it compares to today. Like Laura, I didn’t have my own cell phone until I was much older, so there wasn’t a large technological distraction in the war we grew up. Today however, more children are getting their own cell phones and due to this children are getting extra experience in technology that Laura or I wouldn’t have achieved until later in our lives.

A 2012 academic journal by Susan McDonald and Jennifer Howel from the Australian Catholic University titled Creative Technologies as a Conduit for Learning in the Early Years, explains how a program called Early Years can help the classroom development of young children. It’s being run in some Australian schools as a six-week long program. It focuses on two subject areas: numeracy and literacy. Once a basic understanding is achieved, introducing the children to use technology is next. The purpose was to test if teaching children to use technology in the classroom at a young age would allow them to excel in their academics quicker. Based on the results, teaching children to use technology in a school setting can be very helpful for their learning.

Children nowadays are using technology more and more everyday, both within the classroom and at home. Due to the extreme use of technology, children are learning more, forcing them to grow up and take on more than their parents’ generation did. Technology is consistently evolving and enhancing our society and it’s affecting our children. Not only do children play video games and watch TV more, but they also don’t go outside as much as kids use to – kids nowadays are becoming miniature versions of us adults!

Kendahl-Faith Duckett, 19, lives in Midland, Michigan. She is currently attending Delta College to obtain her MACRO and plans on transferring in the fall.

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