I was listening to the radio this morning and on the morning show I usually listen to, they were discussing the “Generation Text”, a new generation of adults.
I am a Generation X’er (people born from 1965 to 1980), and we were the ignored generation, but we were innovative. The Generation Y’ers (or millenials-born 1981 to 1994) were the overpopulated generation who were typically more childish and pampered than previous generations. The 1995 to 2010 generation is something still in the making, but it’s already been coined “Generation Text”. These children typically have minimal social skills, can’t hold a conversation, don’t interview well, and prefer to use mass media methods (internet or things like that) to communicate, rather than one on one.
I listened to this and heard a story about someone’s 9 year old that has a boyfriend (and has kissed him) and has a cell phone with texting plan and I was shocked. Now, generation X’ers are having babies and those children are basically being spoon-fed technology from the start? What happened to letting kids be kids? Why the hell does a 9 year old need a boyfriend..or cell phone?
I got my first video game system around the age of 10 and it was a quick decline into social peril. Instead of getting outside to play with friends, I spent 3-5 hours a day (3-4 days a week) playing video games. Sure, I’d get out once in awhile, but I spent TONS of time in front of that TV. I feel it damaged my social skills to an extent, and I feel it damaged the social skills of many of the people in my generation. Now we’re raising kids and teaching them the same thing.
As a result, Olivia doesn’t have any video games. She watches TV (we don’t have cable) sometimes, but mainly plays, does her schoolwork, and gets outside to do stuff. She IS into shopping, art, writing, fashion, and that Jacob guy from Twilight, but I think that’s ok..he isn’t going to be flirting with her any time soon. She won’t have a cell phone to take out and about. She may have a home phone (with no texting) for her to call her friends, but the person to person communication is what I am focusing on. In a world today where kids are growing up with a declining value on face to face communication, I’d like my children to grow up knowing that there are two sides. Technology is easy. My mom even learned how to text and she still couldn’t set the timer on the VCR or the clock on the microwave without a manual. Technology is like learning the alphabet-a few times of singing the alphabet song and you’ve basically got it. Social skills are hard..they’re like writing beautiful calligraphy or creating fine art. It takes work, emotion, concentration, education, and finesse.
When my daughter enters college, I don’t care if she knows how to find the root code for her cell phone and alter it. I don’t even care if she can set the timer on her coffee pot..because I know I’ll get a phone CALL from her or a beautifully written email asking me how.
Communication is important and it’s time we all made sure our kids had those skills again.