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Why Are Kids Growing Up so Much Faster?

Opinion

Sun, January 28

Eight-year-olds in Sephora and middle school girls with Stanley cups are all over social media today. But when did 8 and 10-year-olds start acting like teenagers, and teenagers start dressing like they're in their mid-twenties? Don't get me wrong, it's perfectly normal to want to act grown-up when you're a kid, but this is taking it to a whole different level.

Looking back, I remember how great it was growing up without a phone, even if I didn't realize it then. Why does it feel like kids today are growing up faster today?

The Presence of Technology

@gabesco seriously pls we cant let it happen #genz #genalpha #ipadkid ♬ original sound - Gabe Escobar

The presence of technology is one of the reasons why children are growing up so much faster. Technology at a young age doesn't encourage imagination or creativity. They are exposed to social media at a younger age, which builds and fosters social expectations, which is why they grow up to want the next big thing in hopes of being relevant or fitting in with everyone else. They strive to be socially accepted by peers and friends.

I can't remember the last time I saw two girls in public who looked completely different from each other. Girls that had different styles or mannerisms. Now, guys and girls run in packs, and you can't tell anyone apart. And maybe this is just my opinion, but if you look and act exactly like everyone else, what makes you stand out and be different from every other guy or girl out there in the world?

Parental Supervision

@hopeyoufindyourdad @gabesco I am fully on board with what this creator is saying although kids having ipads is a bit inevitable at this point the real issue is regulation and parenting styles #genz #genalpha #millennial #parenting #ipadkid #greenscreenvideo #greenscreen ♬ original sound - Andra

Along with the increase in device usage is parental supervision. Children mirror adults down to the way they act and behave. I'm not saying that all Gen Alpha's parents are bad, but maybe they've loosened the reigns a bit. Growing up, my parents had to know where and who I was with.

Now, it seems like the mall is filled with unsupervised kids with no parents around. I get that children want to hang out with their friends, not be surrounded by annoying parents, and be more independent. I have no problem with kids being independent and discovering the world around them. However, there's a thin line between independence and influence.

Image Credit: Allan Mas from Pexels

If we want to change the next generation of children and not raise "iPad kids," we must change our habits. It starts with us. It doesn't matter if you're a teen or even older.

You have to break the cycle to change societal norms. Start by limiting your social media usage; by that, I mean sticking to screen time limits. Set down the phone and pick up a book. I personally love paper books, but others prefer e-books/audiobooks.

Go outside and find a colorful leaf, one that's in between seasons. Take note of the birds flying from one place to the next. Notice the cars on the streets as you drive and see that each person is living their own life.

That guy is blasting music, and the girl in the next lane is talking to her friend on the passenger side. Pet your dog or cat, talk to them, and play with them. Go to a coffee shop and order something you wouldn't normally get. Try out an escape or rage room. Sit in silence. Life is happening all around you, and it's beautiful.

A Lost Childhood

Life was just so much simpler back then without electronic devices. We played games, put on fashion shows, and made videos that we thought made us look so cool. Looking back, we miss our childhood, or at least I do.

I miss playing School, House, or Restaurant, having Nerf gun battles in the house, coloring, and letting my imagination run wild. When all we cared about was the next time, we could play at each other's houses, making up dances to persuade our parents, when the only thing that matched our outfits was our socks.

When wearing galaxy and animal printed leggings with a kitty t-shirt was our ootd every day. Playing with rocks at recess, making music videos on camera, and playing Poptropica, Starfall, and CoolMath Games are all shared experiences. And I feel bad that Gen Alpha will miss out on everything we did as kids.

All the things that set us apart from the rest of society. All the videos we deem embarrassing now, all our little quirks, and the silly poses we did in pictures are valuable memories.

The Awkward Phase

Do today's teens even experience "the awkward phase"? The voice changes, sudden acne everywhere, and raging hormones were essential parts of growing up in the 2000s. Now, it doesn't seem like teens go through that transition from child to teenager, and if they do, they hide it well. In this phase of our life, we made mistakes and poor decisions that we now regret and say embarrassing things we wish we could take back.

Image Credit: Mary Taylor from Pexels

But it was completely okay because it meant we were growing up. That one time that you doodled "Mrs. His-Last-Name" with hearts all over the back of your notebook probably happened during puberty.

When your voice cracked in the choir, and all eyes were on you, again puberty. When you went to school wearing pants only to come home with your sweater wrapped around your waist, I'll let you figure out that last one.

We look back and realize we made a big deal over things we would forget someday. The things you deem "embarrassing" are forgotten, and no one remembers them after middle or high school. And soon, when the teens and children of today grow up, they too will laugh and realize how childish it all was.

Conclusion

Image Credit: Ross Sneddon from Unsplash

Memorable moments are not captured in social status or games on iPads. Those memories don't stick, and I don't want to sound morbid, but they won't be the ones you recall at the end of your life. When we get old, we'll recall moments that made us laugh so hard we couldn't breathe and ended up peeing a little. We'll recall moments that made us smile, that made others laugh.

I want that for the next generation of children and teens. I don't want them recalling how in middle school all they wanted for Christmas was a pink Stanley cup, but instead got some Uggs that they didn't even want in the first place. Or how they spent hours trying to perfect their Tiktok dance, only to take it down because they were no longer friends with the one they recorded it with.

I got my first phone when I was 14. Prior to that I had a Nintendo DSI. Where our Instagram was Chat Room, and the classics were Mario Kart, Mario Bros., and Nintendogs.

And before that, I had Barbies and an imagination. My grandmother gave me a sewing kit when I was 10, and I sewed my own Barbie clothes. My sister and I had a spare mattress in our house and would mattress surf down the stairs with stuffed animals to cushion any impact. Point is, I had fun as a kid without technology. And I'd do it all over again if it meant that I would become the person I am today.

Samantha Ferrer
300k+ pageviews

Writer since Jul, 2020 · 26 published articles

Samantha Ferrer is a 21-year-old in California and is currently in her fourth year of college. She enjoys reading, writing, spending time with close friends, and binge-watching her favorite shows and movies. Samantha also enjoys watching Rom-Coms and John Hughes movies. In her free time, you can find Samantha thrift shopping, and enjoying/looking at nature.

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