Friday, June 22, 2012

Instant Gratification Generation

Last night I came across a video that was shared on Facebook of a bus monitor being tortured and bullied by 7th graders, and I have to say, I had mixed feelings at first. 

For the most part, I agree with what the majority of comments made on the video. I've had the feeling for a while now that the current '80s babies have a gigantic disconnect with most of the children born in the '90s. Sadly, I think a lot of the self-absorbed, entitled and materialistic attitudes connect with the fact that these kids were born into houses with personal computers, the internet, and yes, even nintendo 64. 

My theory relies generally on the fact that these children learned lose the ability to wait for something very early on. Think about it, I know when I was growing up, the only video game system we had was the original Nintendo. We had it for years. I was maybe 12 going on 13 when we were given a Nintendo 64, and that was an insane difference. Kids now have seen 5 generations of iPhones come out within the last 5 years. They've seen technology refreshed again and again. Not only have they seen the growth of technology at this rapid rate, but they also have the mentality that the newest form of technology makes the last generation obsolete. 

They've grown up with AOL profiles, Xanga's, Live Journals, Myspace, and Facebook. Platforms which all put the user at the center of their virtual universe. Children being born today are in a world where it's "normal" for people to brag about how amazing they are via the internet. There is no humility. They are learning that it's ok to not fight for a cause as long as you share a Facebook link from the safety of your own home. 

Don't get me wrong. I love the internet. I love reading new things, seeing new innovative ideas, and yes, it's also a guilty pleasure for me to sit on Facebook and watch my friend's lives from afar. But we didn't grow up surrounded by this stuff. We weren't susceptible to this environment, because the environment didn't exist then. 

Every generation is plagued with its own problems. It's always more comfortable to say something via the internet because we feel like there is less of a consequence. We have the barrier of the computer screen and we can just turn it off. The problem is the "no filter" issue is quite obviously effecting children off of the internet. 

People who grew up part of their lives without these privileges (because they ARE privileges) can see these perks for what they really are. The children who were born into this world think they are basic necessities. 

It's a parent's responsibility to raise well-rounded human beings. Other countries have internet, and most of the technology we have, so how are their children so different from American children? We have to start asking that question. As one of the most amazing countries in the world where it comes to opportunity, we need to teach the responsibility that comes with that opportunity. 

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