I think I’ve probably said this a thousand times, and I’ll say it a thousand more, I don’t envy kids growing up in today’s day and age. It is a reality that is so vastly different from mine or any of my peers. Privacy and anonymity are a thing of the past, and our children have no other reality than that. Sure some parents can keep strong boundaries and not allow social media or iPhones, but they are still there and that wealth of knowledge at our finger tips has infiltrated every being. As adults we too get sucked in, but we know better, we have memories of reading real paper books, looking for pay phones, writing letters, and being patient, because there was no other reality. It’s a whole new ball game now, and I think it’s taking it’s toll on our kids most of all.
There is so much being thrown at these kids with the fast moving internet universe surrounding them. The pressure to look a certain way and what they perceive they should look like, is not even realistic especially because anyone can alter the way the look in a picture in a flash. I can go from sloppy, haggard mom, to flawless 25 year old with a click of a snapchat filter. Amazing but actually horrible ! The difference is that I know its not reality. These young kids don’t, and they hold themselves to an impossible standard that is based on a lie. This also spreads to text threads, screen shots secretly shared, videos that can reach anyone in an instant. So much is used to throw hate and create massive insecurity and shame.
I recently overheard a mother speaking to her child. She was saying something about the child’s behavior in school. I gathered that he got in trouble from the teacher for something. The little boys response was “I have to do it to fit in.” I was taken back by his comment, and deeply saddened. Mind you this boy was twelve or thirteen years old. The pressure overrode the punishment for him.
Clearly, the pressures are on both boys and girls. With girls, a lot of it is about body image and beauty. I hear girls talking about this girl or that girl and how she is so perfect. “Oh she’s so skinny, oh her face is so pretty, she’s so cool, her pictures are amazing, she has so many followers.” The list goes on and on. The pressure, my goodness, one could explode from it if you are not rooted with good self esteem and a healthy dose of grit. Sadly, I don’t know too many teenagers who possess both. Sadly, what ends up happening is that they become depressed trying to keep up with what they think they should look like.
We can do nothing about the truth of the iPhone, media age that we all partake in and are held by, but we can measure it, we can use it for good and we can be honest in showing our humanness sometimes. After all, our kids are watching so very closely..