“The new Normal…”
It is an astonishing and concerning trend of our current times that adolescents from pre-K to young adulthood have been conditioned to find their online presence—a normality. As technology advances, the fundamentals that shape creative cognitive function is diversified in both positive and negative forms. The crisis I find is that rather than a child learn the value of a good book, they are given valuable tech products and time consuming apps as chaos deflectors.
What will the ramifications be of this new parental norm where advisory is seemingly absentee?
Many of the greatest minds of my generation, those prior or current did not rely on optical distractions to “stimulate” their mind. This is not an anti-tech message; because we live in a world that fully thrives on online. This is rather a focus on the various Farmland–Candy Crush–app addictions that we have allowed to be the tier 1 choice of time consumption.
This all sounds like convoluted ramblings, but how often do you see toddlers glued to the screen of their parents iPhone or ten year olds exclaim they are too old to color but old enough to be on instagram.
It is a deafening trend catching speed on the tracks of our society.
This is not to disregard how young adults have also used social media as a platform for change. We see this positive impact in the March For Our Lives movement started by teenagers that just want to go to school not in fear of it being the last day of their lives.
So the issue goes back to the digital world and social media usage not being the primary fault of our crippling times, but rather its misguided overuse.
We have enabled this current generation to feel that if they don’t keep up with their favorite sudo-celebs; that this impacts their self-worth.
Studies in recent years have shown an increase in teens to young adults suffering from mental depression as a result of the communication and images they experience online. Dr. Primack M.D., Ph.D., a senior author of the research project and the director of Pitt’s Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health and the research team polled 1,787 adults in the U.S. between the ages of 19 and 32. According to the questionnaire results, the participants used social media 61 minutes per day and visited various social media accounts 30 times per week on average. What made the study alarming was that more than a quarter of the participants were classified as having “high” indicators of depression.
In a consumerist society, we will always want to keep up with the Jones’ , but what was once a luxury is, now even more so a necessity.
And what is really to be learned from carefully curated content and strategic filters? Can you really see the world around you through the lens of your iPhone 10?
Rather than giving a child a phone and the Youtube app—provide books, blocks, pillars of knowledge. Rather than allowing a teen to be consumed by validation online of their recent upload, push for them to step outside and experience the world, or experience it with them.
I grew up in the 90’s; so playing outside, having a lemonade stand and sitting with my family to watch primetime was really the only activities. But when computer games became a trend, my parents only bought educational options. When I began to act out in school, my social media had to be deleted. It was not an over exaggerated punishment; it was a necessary occurrence that shaped my perspective going into young adulthood, that relationship status’, selfies, and lavish buys and trips do not sustain or increase my value.
I increase my value by what I bring to the table when all of those materialistic items are stripped away.
It is intellect, creativity, and perspective, that is what children should be taught.
So log off and show them the world they’re missing.
*If your or someone you know suffer from mental depression, contact your doctor or reach out to a helpline. Let us start a dialogue about mental health so that no one feels alone or lost in this plugged in world.