Kids These Days

Lara Jones

As another year has come and gone the only question that lingers as the new year begins is, “What has happened to kids?”

No matter how old I feel asking that question, it needs to be asked. Why is it that at the tender age of 18, I look at today’s youth and think, “Huh that’s strange.” Something has happened between the years that marked the end of my childhood and those few passing years in between. We’ve gone from Barbies to Stanleys and cheap Claires make up to $300 skincare routines.

You might think, “Why do you care? Why does this matter?” To be honest it doesn’t. Except for the fact that it does matter to me. Right now the influx of social media and hyperconsumerism has created a large mass of preteens losing out on childhood because it’s not “Trendy.”

Here’s the thing: kids aren’t supposed to be trendy, they’re kids. They are supposed to be awkward and unsure. It’s a weird point in their lives between maturity and immaturity. Why are we allowing kids to grow up so early? Why are we giving them a sense of adulthood that their brain hasn’t fully matured to?

It’s strange to see this new generation fawn over luxury leggings and Reusable cups that cost an arm and a leg, when I’m pretty sure for my Christmas at 12 we got Super Mario 3D Land. So what’s different about this generation compared to others?

To put it bluntly, this is Gen Alpha a generation that has not only grown up with the internet but is being raised by people who grew up without it; these parents haven’t experienced the full toxic environment that lurks under cute dog photos. They aren’t knowledgeable because, by the time the internet came around, they were smart enough to know what was right and wrong. Their kids however do not. The overshot into adulthood is grounded in a generational difference.

You ask any Gen Z if they will allow their child a phone and social media at a young age and do you know what they’ll say, no. Because they’ve lived through it at a young age they know the struggle. I’m not saying that it’s the Millennial’s fault for giving kids iPads and not seeing this. It’s not their fault. The internet is a new technology that changes every day. I just hope we can be different for the next generation of kids.

This may sound like a broken record every generation has seen something wrong with the previous one, and trust me I get it. As a teen or tween, anything different makes you an outsider, and when you are that age not blending into the crowd is a death sentence. This makes you want all the items that all the cool adults have.

I leave you with this final message: let’s stop making kids grow up early, and stop them from having to feel like they need to appease an audience of the world to belong. Let’s just get back to being a kid. 

Don’t focus on all the name-brand things you have. Instead, just focus on that moment when you don’t need any responsibilities. As Chucky Cheese said, let’s make this into a world where a kid can be a kid.

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