What is wrong with the kids today?

you know, i never thought i’d ever speak that phrase…and i certainly never expected i’d be talking about “those crazy kids”…but here i am.

listen…i’m not old, at least not what i call old…i’m 35, so i’m not young either. however, i’m still young enough that i like new and exciting music, i know how to operate a computer and listen to an ipod…but i also know how to draw water from a well.

generation X…that is what we are labeled…those around my age. growing up, i really thought my generation was going to be able to make some changes in this world. i guess it may still be a little early to say whether that is going to come to pass or not, but the early indications are not encouraging. i don’t think all of the blame can be laid at our feet, however. the “baby boomers” need to step forward and shoulder some of this load, as well.

specifically, i want to focus on 2 things: censorship and what i like to call the “softening of america” (and i’m not talking about our obesity problem)

if the 60’s was the time of peace, love and freedom, the 2000’s are a complete 180 from that. there is no peace, people seem to hate each other, and while we are currently engaged in a war that is somehow being billed as a fight for our freedom, our precious freedoms right here in this country are under attack. i’m not sure when it happened, but people have become very intolerant of anything that they don’t agree with. i know that sort of attitude has always been around…it is nothing new, really. but it seems to me that those folks have become very adept at forcing their opinions upon a much wider group of people than ever before.

we haven’t quite reached the stage of burning books just yet, but God forbid you say curse word on the TV or the radio these days.  video games seem to be getting a lot of heat, as well.  i recently heard a story about one group’s attempt to get a video game called Graffiti banned.  in the game, you run around spray painting graffiti on walls and such.  seems pretty harmless, no?  well, this group didn’t think so.  they claimed that the game would excite children’s senses to the point where simply tagging items in the video game would be insufficient, and they would then head out and start going crazy with paint cans in our cities.  when i hear people talking about how video games contribute to bad behavior and are to blame for a moral decline in this country, i always have to stop and wonder about what video games it was that Hitler was playing?  or how about those folks in the KKK who were responsible for killing so many African Americans in the 60’s?

can music, movies, or video games influence people?  certainly they can…but to lay the blame on them and call for bans and boycotts won’t solve anything.  i mean, i wouldn’t think that it would be a stretch to say that more people are killed in this country every year as a result of bad roads than are killed by someone claiming a song/movie/video game was their inspiration.

there seems to be a very strong movement underway by people who want to protect us from ourselves…smoking bans, FCC regulations, seat belt laws…apparently, we don’t know how to take care of ourselves any longer, so we need laws to help make sure we survive and grow stronger.  i think that just the opposite is happening, which brings me to my second point…

the softening of america…

those same folks who believe we all need to be protected from ourselves also seem to feel very strongly about how fragile the children of this country are today.   they can’t be let outside to play without wrapping them in full-body-padding…we can’t let them see any cartoons that might feature an anvil falling on someone’s head…and no WAY should we ever expose them to any sort of negativity or criticism.  they are tiny little vessels of hope and we have to protect them from the mean, cruel world.

listen…children are precious and they do need our protection, but this is the real world.  not everything is peaches and cream and sunshine and roses…it is rough at times, and they need to be prepared for it.  instead, they get sent to counseling, placed on medication, and locked away from their emotions…that way, their parents don’t have to deal with them.  so, when they do have to finally face adversity, since they don’t know how to handle it, they resort to bringing a gun to school or building a bomb to put in the principal’s tailpipe.

it is just my belief that in an attempt to protect them and make sure they grow up healthy and strong, they have not been exposed to the reality of hardships in this world…and how can that be good for them?

i don’t propose to have any real groundbreaking solutions to these problems, but i think we need to recognize that there are a lot more important things in this world today than whether or not a comedian tells a dirty joke on the radio, and whether or not our kids hear it.

  • http://www.nowebsightvisable.info TechKnomen

    “teenagers” as a group did not really exist until the babyboomers.
    A lot of children went to work or were “married off” after the 8th grade until
    High Schools were widely available and the family farm was squashed.
    “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” was the concept that motivated
    the adults to keep themselves and the young en’s busy but
    now it is more important to entertain an hope they learn than
    to teach and hope they are entertained.

    I say the trend to bigger centralized schools is at the root of
    what is wrong with the children.

    We need smaller more local schools, a modern one room
    multilevel grade school and 2or 3 high schools per county
    not all the schools in one community.

    “All your eggs in one basket” comes to mind.

  • woodsbendgirl

    the problem lies not w/the schools and not w/themedia but at home. if you want to find out where the problems lie…you have to start at home. we have more drugs, violence, and wrong doing in our society than ever before but yet we have more counseling, programs, and rehabs than ever before. apparently something is not working. these will not work until you start changing the “family” in society. parents need to step up and take responsiblity for their kids…teach them values and morals and what is expected of them…grandparents need to to step up and be a grandparent not a parent., and parents need to get their priorities in line. as parents…their first priority is not of themself but of their children and what is best for them to become a beneficial member of society. and lastly…parents do not need to be friends to their children but PARENTS who guide them the RIGHT way and not worry about their child being mad at them. that is what parenting is all about.

    in conclusion…you can change society all you want but until you change the “family”…nothing will change.

  • MJ

    I agree with woodsbendgirl completely. Look at what a disaster Lindsay Lohan is, for instance. Her mother participated in a lot of that Hollywood partying along side Lindsay and never really tried to help her. There are more and more parents these days who would rather be “cool” than concerned. I think that is a lot of what’s wrong with kids today. I guess that’s a pretty old fashioned, unhip thing for a young person like myself to say, but so be it…

  • dave

    actually, MJ, i think that is a very wise and educated thing for someone to say, regardless of age. you and woodsbendgirl are absolutely correct. many parents, for whatever reason, are just not as involved in their child’s life as they probably should be, and they worry more about being a “friend” to their child instead of a parent.

    there are any number of reasons for this…i’m sure the way that THEY were brought up themselves has something to do with it…or maybe it is that parents have to work longer hours these days…or maybe BOTH parents now have to work to support the family, when it used to be more possible to support a family on one income.

    whatever the reasons, kids today ARE much different than they used to be…parents are much different than they used to be…

    it just seems to me that in an attempt to shield the kids from all of the “bad things” about and in life, that maybe we are depriving them of essential coping skills, which means it is definitely going to be on the shoulders of the parents to make sure their kids grow up into well-rounded people…i just don’t know if a lot of parents today are ready or have even been adequately prepared themselves for that responsibility.