We’ve all heard our grandmothers telling us something along the lines of “Kids just aren’t the same as they used to be”. While many of us probably just brush this off, there’s much truth in that statement, regardless of grandma’s connotation.
We live in a world that is more globalized than ever, thanks to the Internet. Most people realize that the Internet has helped society grow by allowing people to stay connected, watch educational videos, among other things, but many don’t realize that it has caused tremendous problems for adolescence. The average American kid aged 8-18 spends over 7.5 hours on the Internet per day, according to the report, “Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds.” And that survey is from all the back in 2009. Not only has overall Internet usage increased dramatically, but so has cell phone usage, with the Pew Research Center at Harvard University reporting 78% of teens own a phone, and nearly half of those teens own a smartphone.
So kids use the internet more, what’s the big deal? It means that kids are spending more time trying to get likes or retweets for their new profile picture than reading Catcher in the Rye. It means that kids are spending more time trolling minecraft blogs than factoring polynomials. It means that kids are reading posts from some neo-Nazi on Reddit instead of balancing equations. It means kids are pirating The Hangover Part II instead of learning the German dative case. And the implications go even further than that. Not only does this spike in Internet usage allow kids to accidentally discover many elements of the adult world (have you seen some of the ads nowadays), it also detracts from their own self-thought. Rather than self-reflecting on something they heard that day, they instead would rather read tweets about “my fav oomf”. Even on the school bus, kids routinely put scanning their Instagrams over talking to the person sitting next to them.
Not only does this heavy Internet usage prevent social interaction and self-thought, it also has messed up their sense of morals. When scandals such Miley Cyrus’ incident at the MTV awards are released, kids are constantly learning about them on videos, posts, and articles. One very popular style of music nowadays is rap music, and not the rap music like the Sugarhill Gang. We’re talking Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa style rap ubiquitous with profane language describing sex, drugs, and violence. Thanks to the Internet, anyone can listen to this music and even watch music videos that often relate to the lyrics of the songs. Today’s kids might not have more than the opening line of the Gettysburg Address memorized, but they could recite every line of N****s in Paris.
This “hyperculturization” also correlates with a student’s performance in school. As of this year, the United States ranks 31st on an international math test. While Americans girls would rather watch YouTube videos on how to twerk over studying, girls in other countries are thankful to have the opportunity to go to school and achieve in today’s highly competitive world. No longer are the days where a high school dropout can place a job at factory and live a comfortable life. The world population has increased, the number of jobs has decreased, and thanks to globalization, job competition now extends internationally. Many American kids don’t realize this and will experience a rude awakening once they grow up.
So parents reading this, instead of parking yourself in front of a television, ask your children about school and take a sincere interest in what they are doing. Encourage them to spend free time with a musical instrument or a sports team. Read their essays and encourage them to do better. If you’re a kid reading this, hold yourself to higher standard than your peers and genuinely develop a love for learning. Whether it’s when you open your mail and see you got accepted into college or land well-paying job after college, you will appreciate all those years of hard work and studying.