Life was better then….
Here I was, driving down the street one afternoon. It was in a residential area, so luckily, the street wasn’t extremely busy at the time. Suddenly and without warning, a teenager jumped off the curb to cross the street without stopping to check for oncoming vehicles, and no, there was no cross walk either. Lucky for me, I was quick to react and hit my brakes in time. The youth didn’t even look up but kept on walking. He didn’t even twitch a muscle. Why was this such a strange event? Well, that’s because he had his smartphone glued to the front of his nose and nothing was going to interrupt him from reading whatever was so interesting that he forgot to pay attention to basic pedestrian safety. Uhummm….
In today’s day and age, owning a smartphone, texting, chatting, taking pictures and sharing everything about your day-to-day is considered normal. Let’s face it, even the president sends tweets! But then I experience the negative issues involved in all of this. I watch my own kids show the same behaviors; always reaching for their smartphone and wanting to read who wrote what about whom so they can reply or comment immediately. Not to mention all the cyberbullying going on resulting in depression and self-harm and suicide. Parents are overwhelmed, not knowing how to deal with these serious situations. I come across articles about this topic every day, in magazines, newspapers and the internet. The increased need for child and teen psychiatrists has exploded because of all the mental abuse and cyberbullying taking place all over the world. It does not, in my opinion, make this a very safe and joyful time for our children to grow up in. Nothing is private anymore. Children, teens, and of course, also adults, prefer to pass their time in a cyber world with that little screen stuck to their noses. I always joke with my daughter, telling her it would be less strenuous for her arm and hand if she just glued that thing to her nose! She always replies, “Oh, mom.”
Growing up in the 80’s was so much more fun, carefree and interesting. We spent our free time doing sports, hobbies, playing instruments and just being outdoors. We’d go roller-skating or just ride our bicycles and hang out and meet with friends. Generally speaking, children and teens were under less stress at school and could concentrate totally on their studies. We didn’t need hundreds of tutoring institutes in our city, because we really paid attention at school and weren’t distracted by the ever-present “pinging” of incoming messages or the ever-present fear of what the “pinging” was about. When we got home from school we had peace and quiet. It was a real treat to go to the movies maybe once a month, or watch TV in the evening with our parents. Sadly, a lot of this doesn’t seem to happen anymore. Family life is not what it used to be.
I miss the 80’s. The music was better. Growing up was easier. Life was better without all that “pinging,” stress and lack of privacy. In those days, high school was very much just like the musical – and even in that movie they didn’t have smartphones glued to their noses!
But we had fun anyway.