Monday, May 19, 2014

The Lost Ones

When I look at today’s youth, I am appalled at what I see. Granted, I’m not old in any sense, but I am still in awe at the world we have created for our youngsters. The shift from innocence to experience is starting at a younger age year after year. A child is hardly able to say their name when they are bombarded with all the negative images that media has created in this era. I find that maturity is also becoming a rare thing. You hardly find young people, particularly in high school, with maturity that overrides that of their peers. And of course, I must mention self-consciousness. I just recently heard a girl in grade three saying she will kill herself because she couldn’t complete her goal. After I talked to her about it, I wondered where she picked up that notion. Tying that to self-consciousness, I wonder how young kids are able to look at themselves and hate what they see before they get a chance to discover who they are, and what gifts besides looks they have to offer the world.

Arthur is a show that took up my childhood.
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I was inspired on the shift from innocence to experience from a lecture my English prof was doing on William Blake’s Songs of Experience and Songs of Innocence (beautiful poetry if you ever get a chance to read it). Back in old time London England, children had to grow up fast based on the economic circumstances. Nowadays, children in first world countries have it easy. Things are practically handed to them. They hardly need to work, and they have more time to do children’s things. But they are not. These children are plopped down in front of a TV whenever they get a chance. They waste their days on the computer and playing video games. As much as we all roll our eyes at the parental “when I was a kid, we used to play outside until the streetlights came on” speeches, our parents do have a point. What are children really getting out of watching hours and hours of television? Sure, there are some fantastic educational things on there, but I don’t think children really understand it all. There are more and more mindless shows where comedy is young teens dealing with not so real life problems, and they make dumb seem cool. No wonder girls think being dumb is the way to get guys.

We can’t talk about TV without talking about the breaks in the show. Yes, the commercials. I have been analyzing ads for quite some time now, and it has become apparent to me just how preposterous those things can be. It affects women and men alike, but what about the children? If their eyes and brains are taking in these images at a young age, then that means that self-consciousness comes into play at an early stage. That is so sad. I have heard stories of little girls truly believing that they are fat. Not to mention the girl I mentioned above. Where are they coming up with this stuff? It hurts me to think about the corruption of the minds of our little ones. And I believe that comes from the things they are viewing on TV or the internet.

As for the maturity issue, I believe this stems from the young age at which they are experiencing corruption. If children are not able to have fun and be youthful when they can, then how can they develop maturity? Maturity comes from living life and learning from all of your experiences. The media has a way of shooting them down before they get up, so to speak. How can they figure out a sense of self if the media is trying to tell them who to be? Children don’t know how to fight against them. Are we really a source of safety and comfort for our youth, or are we creating generations of lost little ones?
A classic quote from a classic book.
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Do I have a solution for this? Not really. I’ll have to wait until I have kids to determine the best way to instill their sense of self-importance before the media gets to them. This is simply an issue I am heavy hearted about. I don’t want kids to develop eating disorders, or feel embarrassed about the way they look, or even the have the No-No commercial memorized (true story). I want kids to accept and love themselves as well as others. I want them to smile and have fun and PLAY their days away. I want kids to enjoy their golden years, before these years turn black. 

-Daniella