“You cannot catch a child’s spirit by running after it; you must stand still and for love it will soon itself return.” Arthur Miller
Remember the days when we used to go outside to climb trees, run around and play? Not much of that happens of late. I remember idyllic days spent reading books, playing tag and communing with nature. Technological advances had not grown to the extent they have today. We had TV but didn’t watch it much. We had telephones but all were landlines and endless phone chitchat was not the norm in my household. We didn’t have computers, smartphones, microwaves, the internet and instant everything… Portable and social media were not on the radar, yet we had full and productive days filled with learning opportunities.
All of that has changed; some for the better and others quite questionable. What advantages do our kids have today that differs from what we had as children? For one, the technological advantages are incomparable. Our children live in a virtual, global world that gives them access to tech toys, digital media, wireless communication and real-time news reports and learning opportunities. This is good, however, the flip side of it is that they/we are now all plugged in 24/7 to our tech tools and toys. One on one, face to face conversations seem awkward. If I can poke you on Facebook or SMS you on my smart phone, why do we need to meet outside and play? Do you spend much time wondering how all our gadgetry is impacting our quality of life?
“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.” Aldous Huxley
Another advantage our kids have is in the world of science and health. New scientific advances and health research have given us more options for care, more treatments for diseases, and the greater chance to live longer. Over the years, our life expectancy has continued to increase; especially for women. I was having a chat today at an interview, and one thing that came up was the fact that our children can and will live longer. 70 is the new 40? We are aging better, eating or learning to eat better, and habits that were once considered ubiquitous, like smoking, are no longer acceptable.
This scientific/health advantage is also a good thing… with some reservations. The flip side I see to it is that we must find ways to sustain our global economies, make healthcare affordable, do ethical medical research, contain our carbon footprint, keep our water paths clean, develop better ways to process and grow our foods organically, and do whatever it takes (without impinging on the rights of others) to ensure our children inherit a world that is viable and safe. Unless we take care of these issues, our longevity could quickly become a curse. What are your thoughts? More below.
“Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.” Henry Ward Beecher
“Too many people grow up. That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don’t remember what it’s like to be 12 years old. They patronize, they treat children as inferiors. Well I won’t do that.” Walt Disney
A third advantage is in the realm of education and learning. While many schools continue to struggle to help children meet the minimum goals for each grade level, there are wonderful advantages that have come from the technological age. We have access to online/distant learning schools. We can read a digital book and visit online library archives to do research. Our exposure to a wider global community means we get information instantly and don’t have to wait for snail-mail to deliver data to us. New fields of study related to technology and its uses have evolved, and our kids can travel around the world and learn quickly without leaving home.
The downside is that we have become increasingly anxious about internet scams, identity theft and even our ability to check the veracity of a piece of information gleaned off the ‘Net. So with all the advances and opportunities comes the requirement to be vigilant and to triple check information we gather to ensure its accuracy. With ipods, iphones, ipads, laptops and all that makes us technologically savvy, I’d still encourage our kids to pick up and read a book, meet a friend for some fun time, invite the inner child out to play, and take regular breaks from the pressure of being so plugged in… Now, if longevity matters to us, periodic breaks from being plugged in might extend our lives.
What are your thoughts? What technology was around when you were a kid? Was your childhood different from that of your kids? What three things come to your mind? Do share! Thank you.
This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Plinky: Name three advantages that kids born these days have over older generations.
*Please bear with me as I continue to catch up on your blogs and commenting… Thank you all for your patience!
Positive Motivation Tip: Invite the inner child out to play… It might surprise you.
- Golden Rules For Play Dates (leticedirect.wordpress.com)
- Reflections: Speak To Us Of Children… (eof737.wordpress.com)
- Can Smartphones Change the Way We Learn? (mycricket.com)
- ‘The Hunger Games’: your kids are angrier than you think (macleans.ca)
- Porn And Parenting: The Brave New World (techcrunch.com)
- Bridging the Gap – or Blowing it Up (breaaire.wordpress.com)
- How to Child-Proof iPAD (igamemom.com)