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Which aspects of modern childhood may lack the enriching experiences that previous generations were fortunate enough to enjoy?
Most of us have some sweet memories that come with a mix of nostalgia and the realization of how much has changed in the past few decades. Plus, many things kids did decades ago are no longer a part of today’s culture.
1. More Privacy
Whether kids should be on social media is always a hot topic, especially for little kids that don’t have consent (babies and toddlers).
One user says what kids these days need most: “Privacy..from the moment they’re all born their pics, good, bad and embarrassing moments are put on socials – it’s insane to me.”
2. More Attention, Less Photo Taking
Speaking of social media, many folks mentioned that many adults are concerned with “Instagram” worthy photos, rather than giving in the moment with their kids. This goes for happy, dramatic, and sad moments.
One user tells a story: “One day [an old classmate] posted a pic of her toddler aged boy where you could see some kind of fresh wound on his arm and a pretty sad face with his eyes full of tears. I’d had it, it’s not like I’d seen her in the last 20 years. So I commented something to the effect that he looked like he needed his wound cleaned, bandaged, and a hug a lot more than he needed his pic taken and posted to Facebook. She deleted me. No regrets.”
3. Less Globalization
It’s normal for kids to want to fit in with their peers. But what happens when they have access to kids across the world? These shallow connections can’t compare to building relationships with those at school, in the neighborhood, etc.
One user says, “[Kids need] less influence from people they do not know personally.”
4. Being Held Accountable by All Adults
These days, parents (and other adults) must tread carefully when scolding or reprimanding other people’s kids. Somehow, it’s become a norm that only parents can discipline their own kids- which is ridiculous since they aren’t always around.
Forum users ask what happened to the “tribe” feel with parenting? One user says when he was a kid, “strangers could discipline you and no one thought it was weird.”
5. Space to Just Be Kids
“Freedom to be silly, goofy, dumb and cringe without it being broadcast to, or injected into us from, the internet, 24/7. They could use some alone time to be cringe and goofy together without being watched by the entire planet all the time.”
6. The Freedom to Make Mistakes and Learn from Them
“I’m so glad I could enjoy being irresponsible before social media was a thing. Being carefree was probably a lot easier back then.”
7. Living in a Close-Knit Neighborhood
“I think the lack of community in most neighborhoods is one reason why kids have lost that freedom – my dad lived in a small town in a close knit neighborhood, so he knew everyone in the vicinity and trusted them; if something happened, they’d say something.
Everyone is so disconnected/isolated now that a lot of people don’t even know their neighbors, and definitely don’t trust them to help protect their kids. It’s sad.”
8. Getting Outside to Explore
Kids spend much more time indoors on their electronics than outside exploring.
“Parents are afraid to let kids play outside the house, and busybodies will report kids playing unsupervised even in their own yards. Playgrounds feel like an extension of the urban jungle: sanitized, “safe” and… not so much fun.”
9. Unstructured Imaginative Play
“Unstructured time at all! So many of my friend’s kids are scheduled from the minute they get up til bed every night, there’s always an activity or a play date (which of course has structured enrichment activities). Then the kids become tweens and the same parents are miserable because the kids can’t entertain themselves.”
10. Flashlight Tag After Dark
A few users recall the fun times they played outside with the neighbor kids after dark, playing games like flashlight tag. That’s unheard of these days.
11. Being Bored
Learning to deal with boredom can lead to creativity. Yet, many of today’s kids don’t get the chance.
“I second this. Tablets and phones are easy ways to fill boredom with dopamine pleasure hits. Prior to these, boredom meant you had to think of something to do, be creative, expend energy.”
12. Use of Problem-Solving Skills
“Today’s kids are so scheduled with activities and online all of the time. Getting out in the world without an agenda would be helpful. I’m now seeing college graduates who have a hard time doing anything other than following explicit instructions from their boss. They don’t problem-solve. They don’t innovate on their own.”
13. Access to Nature and Real Food
Today’s kids have lost touch with nature. “They need access to actual food. Vegetable gardens, rabbit pens, etc. Helping others. Time to just be kids, make mistakes and get messy without it being filmed. We all f*** up that doesn’t mean it needs to be filmed and posted or shamed for it.”
14. Holding Kids Accountable
“Accountability! Especially in schools. In my district they think it’s unfair to the children and can hurt a child’s self esteem if they’re held back in school. So, even if they never do a single assignment, flunk every class, and learn nothing they advance to the next grade.”
15. Endless Optimism
It seems kids are inundated with constant doom and gloom these days. Gen Z’ers agree with comments like this one: “I see older people being a lot more optimistic. If something fails, they try something else. A lot of young people are so fed up with life (me included) they can barely function, and they either isolate themselves or indulge in obscene hedonism.”
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