Made of glass

I read an article this weekend called “Are We Raising a Generation of Helpless Kids?”

In it, the author states several not-so-surprising facts about kids growing up in a world of immediate gratification. He also interviews Tim Elmore, the founder and president of a non-profit called Growing Leaders, who says:

Gen Y (and iY) kids born between 1984 and 2002 have grown up in an age of instant gratification. iPhones, iPads, instant messaging and immediate access to data is at their fingertips. Their grades in school are often negotiated by parents rather than earned and they are praised for accomplishing little. They have hundreds of Facebook and Twitter ‘friends,’ but often few real connections.

When I read the last sentence, I paused. It’s something that I’ve written about before. In our ever-so-digital world, we are more and more plugged in — yet still so disconnected. We have the knowledge of the world at our googling fingertips, yet are more confused about the purpose of life.

The article continues:

We gave our kids every comfort – and now they can’t delay gratification. And we heard the message loud and clear. We, too, pace in front of the microwave, become angry when things don’t go our way at work, rage at traffic. Now it’s time to relay the importance of waiting for the things we want, deferring to the wishes of others and surrendering personal desires in the pursuit of something bigger than ‘me.

And something “bigger than me” is right. This same young generation is often called “Generation Me” as reality TV and Social profiles – and yes, even blogs (hi!) – allow anyone to have their own personal platform. This is not all bad, of course. Media can do a lot of wonderful things to put positive change in the world — as long as the focus of the Media is not only on the first two letters: M.E.

I read this article the day before watching this video — a video that marketers and digital-connoisseurs have been raving about, with excitement and anticipation.

And yeah, the video is definitely cool. All those technologies would be awesome.

But, I couldn’t help but wonder: if our world becomes more “made of glass” — will we just become more fragile?

I remember the way my Alice in Wonderland book smelled in 4th grade. It was bound with leather and had over-sized, glossy pages full of bold, color photography. I remember my first phone. I would wrap the cord around my finger and sit in one spot and focus on nothing else but the conversation.

I want my kids to have that. I want them to create memories that are grounded in tactile, meaningful interactions. I want them to never lose the awe of nature to the dazzle of technology.

So that no matter how wireless and “in the cloud” the world becomes, they will always have their feet on the ground.

2 Comments

  1. I agree wholeheartedly! We have refrained from buying our kids (namely our 3 year old) electronic games that are popular for his age group. He has never played any games on our computer or iPhones.

    I feel so disconnected (and extremely put out) when I’m with friends and they are constantly looking at their phones/texting with others. I do not want my children to grow up that way or think that is anything less than rude

    I’m not saying they won’t be exposed to technology because that would just be naive, but they will have a solid balance of both worlds. I want my kids to remember running around outside as their culminating childhood experience- not sitting inside playing games on some sort of computer device!

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