I keep seeing articles all over the internet about “kids these days” and how they are entitled, constantly bored, unsocialized and misbehaved.
This “get off my lawn” attitude toward the youth of today is more than just annoying; I believe it can be damaging. While there are some children like this, I do believe they are the exception rather than the rule.
And I have a lot of experience with children. I have five of my own, have been a mother for 21 years, coached youth sports for 15+ years, have been a part of the PTO/PTA, volunteered in youth groups, and counseled teens.
I also find the way she blames technology lazy. While I fully agree with her that it’s the parents’ responsibility if your child behaves this way, I don’t agree that technology and “gadgets” are somehow the enemy.
It’s just a change in lifestyle. Every generation has it. “Quit listening to those records all day long” and “That TV will rot your brain” has been replaced by “iPads are making our kids dumb” and “Get your nose out of that phone!” but the point is still the same.
There was probably many a parent back in the Bronze Age saying, “Quit rolling that wheel around all day and help us with dinner!”
Take our time machine back even earlier and there were parents saying, “I’m getting worried… all he does is draw on those cave walls all day. He doesn’t even want to come hunting with us!”
And where is the data that shows us kids today are more “bored, entitled, impatient and with few real friends”? You’ll find thousands of articles on it on the internet, but none with statistics that support kids today are any more of these things than kids of the past.
In fact, today’s kids are changemakers who are creating a new world for future generations. It is, in part, due to technology (the very thing that is always BLAMED for kids being “rotten” these days) that they are able to do this.
Today’s kids are more in touch with the world around them than ever before. They have instant access to one another, to history, to knowledge, and communication. What I would have given as a child to be able to use a cell phone or computer to look up anything I wanted instantly!
Today’s kids include:
- Malala Yousafzai, shot in the head by the Taliban and Nobel Peace Prize recipient at the age of 17 (read her book, if you haven’t already).
- Greta Thunberg, Swedish environmental activist for climate change with international recognition. Time Magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year.
- Sophie Cruz who at just 5 years old with a handwritten note to the Pope in DC brought awareness to immigration issues in the US. In 2017 at the age of 7, she became the youngest person to speak at the Women’s March on Washington.
- Mikaila Ulmer who at the age of 4, using her great-grandmother’s flaxseed lemonade recipe, came up with an idea to save honeybees that are essential to our ecosystem. She founded “Me & The Bees Lemonade”.
-Robby Novak, known as “Kid President” gives inspiring pep talks on YouTube. He has a dream to unite the world through kindness and laughter, MLK-style. Despite having osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease) and experiencing more than 70 broken bones in his life, he’s giving back to the world in a BIG way. It wouldn’t be possible without the internet and that “evil technology”.
- Zuriel Oduwole is changing the lives and education of girls in Africa. A self-taught filmmaker, by the age of 12 she had already made four documentaries, interviewed 14 heads of state and become the youngest person to ever be profiled by Forbes. If you’re not familiar with her, check out “A Promising Africa”.
- Maya Penn had taken apart her first computer by the age of 4. She then learned to animate short films and write code for her own website. By age 8, she began sewing eco-friendly clothes and later founded the company Maya’s Ideas. She’s helping to save the environment and donates 10% of all earnings to charity. Imagine if her parents listened to the fear-mongering articles telling parents to keep their kids away from technology.
- Teagan Stedman started Shred Kids’ Cancer organization at 8 years old when a friend was diagnosed with cancer. He later came to understand how kids’ bodies were affected by chemo and started studying biology and nanotechnology. He then came up with an improved way to treat tumors and won the 2017 Youth Award presented by World of Children.
- Jazz Jennings was one of the first transgender children to come out publicly when she was interviewed by Barbara Walters on “20/20”, becoming a spokesmodel and activist for trans kids and a TV personality, paving the way for other trans kids to accept themselves and try to fit in within a world that seems to hate them.
- Nicholas Lowinger founded Gotta Have Sole, a foundation that helps homeless youth get new pairs of shoes. It began with one pair of shoes when he found out a brother and sister were alternating school attendance because they only had 1 pair of shoes to share. Today, the foundation has given over 100,000 pairs of shoes and counting.
- Yash Gupta founded Sight Learning his freshman year of high school, a charity that collects discarded eyeglasses and donates them to children in need around the world.
- Marley Dias realized in 6th grade that she rarely saw leading characters in the books she loved that looked like her. She started a book drive with the hashtag #1000BlackGirlBooks. She cataloged over 9,000 books and wrote one of her own. Check out “Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You!”
- Jaylen Arnold moved in the 2nd grade and found it difficult to transition to his new, bigger school. Suffering from anxiety due to teasing from the other kids about his diagnoses of Tourette’s Syndrome, Asperger’s and OCD, he started Jaylen Challenge Foundation, teaching more than 100,000 kids about differences in others to prevent bullying through understanding.
- Sofia Tomov was named as a finalist in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge at the age of 12. She discovered how to use code to identify certain gene mutations that make people more susceptible to drug interactions. It can identify negative responses to prescription drugs before the first pill is taken. Her algorithm speeds up the process of sifting through genes and she has coded it to run on multiple computer processers a the same time and can potentially save thousands of lives.
- Hasan Zafar, 15 at the time, and his sister Shireen, 13 at the time founded The Street School. Because of them, homeless kids in Karachi, Pakistan were able to get an education.
- Xiuhtezcati Martinez, an indigenous hip-hop artist who at the age of 12 had organized 35 different rallies and protests near his home in Boulder, CO, was a key figure in local movements to ban pesticides from city parks, implement a fee on plastic bags, and reduce pollution from coal power plants. He’s one of the leaders of Earth Guardians and spoke at the United Nations in 2015.
- Katie Stagliano grew a prized cabbage in the third grade that weighed 40 pounds. She donated it to a local soup kitchen where it helped feed 275 people. This led to her organization, Katie’s Krops, that now operates over 100 gardens, all tended by children, in 32 different states, to send fresh veggies to the needy hungry.
- Ann Makosinkski invented the Hollow Flashlight that is powered by body heat. She won top prize in the 2013 Google Science Fair when she was 15 years old.
ALL of this was made possible because of technology and amazing young people. I can go on and on.
Stop telling me today’s kids are lazy, entitled brats. Technology is not the enemy. It is our future. It is our duty to teach today’s kids to use it as a tool for a better tomorrow.