I can’t imagine having grown up with all of the social media access and apps that children have today. When I was growing up, the most we had was AOL Chat. Remember that? You’d have your little list of friends who were on, and it would make a door opening or door closing noise as they signed on and off? You’d rush home after school, turn on your computer, wait for your dial-up internet to take forever to kick in and got, maybe, if you were lucky, an hour on there before your parents called you to dinner or told you to start your homework. That was it.
Any opportunity I had to use the Internet to communicate with the outside world was limited to A) at home B) a computer (and a bulky one at that) and C) for a very limited time. Now, children have WiFi on their smartphones, that they carry with them everywhere, and can share, post, chat, go live, update, like, comment, etc., any time they want. With or without the presence and supervision of an adult. As often as they want. Anywhere they are. Woah. Really, I don’t know how parents handle it today.
Aside from cyber risks, I think that all of this social media access that kids and teens have today is changing the very nature of childhood as we know it. There are elements of childhood that to me are so nostalgic and so what it means to be a kid that I think are gone for children today. I even think that perhaps, some of those elements that I experienced were important to my growing up well adjusted, respectful of my elders, patient…a lot of qualities I may or may not find lacking in kids and teens today. I know parents are expected to give kids access to technology today, but I still think these are ways social media is changing the experience of childhood.
Boredom is a thing of the past
Do you remember boredom? As a working adult, boredom probably seems like such a luxury now. If you’re bored, it means that you have free time, and who has that? Well, kids do. Or, they did. As I child, I remember so often being totally bored, and feeling like I was waiting for life to begin. It was just me, hanging in my backyard or in my room on a Saturday. Sure, I had friends, but we weren’t always together and when we weren’t, I was…bored.