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Jovialis
16-11-17, 14:31
When my husband was eleven, he biked alone, on a push-bike without gears, across Yorkshire; a one hundred mile journey on roads he had never been before and without any way of contacting his parents until he reached his destination. It is no surprise that he grew up to be independent, a mountain climber, an explorer, a scientist, a lover of the wild, and even now goes off alone into the bush or on his kayak in the knowledge that he can take care of himself, and has the skill and experience to find his way out of most unforseen and possibly dangerous situations. The secret is that for him, the risks are worth it. When I was a child I was rarely driven anywhere; if I wanted to go somewhere I found a way to get there. Home was somewhere you left at eighteen and returned to at holiday time. So it is no surprise that our four children all left home when they went to university or got their first job, travelled alone or with friends to the other side of the world for two or more years as young adults, supporting themselves by working in all manner of jobs and in many countries, and are consequently self-reliant and at ease with their ability to look after themselves in situations many would find scary and daunting. Except, that is, in their more recent concerns for their own children as they become teens in this world we now live in.

In Jean M Twenge’s recent book iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood--and What That Means for the Rest of Us about the generation she has dubbed ‘iGen’ because of their attachment to their iphones, iPads and other devices, she suggests that there has been a seismic shift in their behaviors when compared with previous generations. This shift has both positive and negative consequences for our teens’ health, and for our society as a whole.

Teens of today become sexually active at a later age than their parents, and form romantic attachments and have children at a later age (or choose not to have children) in spite of signs that physical changes such as menstruation in girls is manifesting at a younger age. They experiment less with drugs and alcohol, are less likely to drive a car, or have any desire to learn to drive, remain at home for longer, often into their late twenties, and are less likely to follow a religion (although their devotion to their devices is probably even more influential than most religions ever were). They are more likely to believe in equality and find prejudice abhorrent, and they worry obsessively their future, the future of the planet, their school grades, their ability to find work and earn a living, and their physical image and achievements as compared with their real and online friends,. All this adds up to a generation who is more insecure, more anxious, and more suicidal than previous generations.

None of this is a surprise to anyone who has contact with the teens of today. None of it is a surprise when we consider the world they are being brought up in—where the daily news is a litany of war, prejudice, alternative facts, climate change and environmental degradation, and where they or their friends are targets of internet bullying. And they see themselves as helpless to change any of this. The number of warm-bodied humans they can turn to to share their good and bad times has shrunk both in number and opportunity, and their experiences connecting effectively with actual people are limited by their device addictions.

Many of these factors seem largely out of the control of parents, but there are some things you can do to increase your child’s resiliance and happiness. One of the most striking trends in the iGen generation is their obsession with safety, and their fear of taking risks in the real world even while they take risks in their digital world. Even in small town New Zealand, where one might expect kids and teens to feel freer and safer in the environment, a recent change in the school bus route that meant that five to twelve-year-olds had to walk the final 400 meters to their school across a field, across a small bridge over a stream, and across a country road, resulted in increased anxiety in the children. When asked why they didn’t want to walk this short, pleasant distance, they gave answers including ‘I might get kidnapped’, ‘run over by a car’ and so on. This in a town where no child has ever been kidnapped or run over by a car. Clearly these messages come not from their own heads but from their parents, the schools, and the media. They will carry this fear with them into aduthood and no doubt pass it onto their own children.

The issue here is how to keep our children safe without going over the top. It is necessary if sad that we must teach them how to recognise adults whose intent is to abuse them, and to know how to handle this, hopefully without scaring them into the false belief that every time they venture outside they will be approached by a potential abuser. Having taught them this, and how to check for traffic before crossing a road, surely it is much better to encourage them to take appropriate risks, thus learning that the vast majority of the time, if they are sensible, they will not be kidnapped or run over, than to wrap them in the cotton wool of our own media-fueled anxieties, and inject them with fear for the rest of their lives. Our job is to reduce the anxiety they are plagued with because of the world they have been born into, and the negative effects of the technology that is not going to go away. Make it your mission to find situations where your children and your teens can practice appropriate self-reliance without you hanging over them. Make it a practice to drop them off with one or more of their friends a ten-minute walk from their school; tell them that if they want to go to their friend’s house, or their sports practice after school, they will need to walk or bus there by themselves, or with a friend. Ensure that they have some days after school and at least one day of every weekend when they don’t have back-to-back organised activities to fill their time and exhaust them (ballet, gym, sports, etc), and on those days encourage them to spend time with their friends simply hanging out, preferably with some of that time engaged in activities that are incompatible with gazing full-time at screens (swimming, riding their bikes, climbing trees, reading a book for pure pleasure, taking a picnic to a nearby beach or park that you know is reasonably safe for their age group ninety-nine percent of the time). If their freedom and risk-taking makes you anxious, then find a positive way to distract yourself instead of worrying whether they made it to school safely. Encourage them to grow up freer, more self-reliant, and less fearful. Perhaps then their children, should they choose to have any, will not be the inheritors of this preoccupation with safety at the expense of joy.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/trouble-in-mind/201711/wean-your-kids-and-yourselves-fear

This makes perfect sense. When I was younger, I always like being outside. I had to sneak out or argue with my mother if I wanted to hang out late at night with friends. Today, it seems that teenagers are more content with staying in, because of technology addiction, and fear for their safety. They're less risk taking, and are more concerned with issues that don't directly impact their lives. Perhaps, its because it's easier to concern yourself with things you can't really do anything about; than be proactive about your own life.
Technology is certainly addictive, because we experience a sense of excitement with new notifications, and interaction. Which is why people can't seem to put their phones down. Perhaps a lack of getting those new notifications, feeds into a sense of anxiety. Basically being a tech-junkie, unable to get a fix. Just for one week, or perhaps a month, I'd like to totally disconnect from using the internet. I've already tried to, and it's pretty tough. Especially since checking my e-mail is integral to my job.

bicicleur
16-11-17, 15:53
the obsession with safety already existed before the technology addiction
when I was young everybody came to school with a bike
when my children grew up this was not considered safe any more and the large majority of the children were brought to school by their parents or others by car
I don't say safety obsession by the parents is the cause, but it certainly has enhanced technology addiction in the youth

davef
16-11-17, 17:19
I was the same as you Jovialis.

I think kids are depressed and confined to computers bc there's nothing to do due to all theee new laws that are being put into place. If you can't go out adventuring in the real world, there's always the opportunity to do it in an MMO like World of Warcraft, but what happens? They get fat, out of shape and bored.

Also contributing to depression (I would think, though not reallly sure) is not being able to do anything at school without violating any rules regarding what's appropriate, I can imagine a kid being escorted out in cuffs for drawing a gun or sent to the principal for racism for drawing a picture of his African American friend and coloring his skin. I don't expect really young kids to think abstractly and figure out what the teacher would consider racism or a threat of violence so they would either be too scared to have fun or be treated like a criminal.

I can almost imagine X-Men being cancelled due to glorification of violence or Barbie due to suppression of women. Even if they aren't, we may end up with replacements like

X-Counselors
X-Civil Rights Lawyers
X-Peace Corps

Barbie the Engineer
Barbie the Astronaut
Barbie the auto mechanic
Barbie the construction worker

Now Im all for women taking on those occupations and I am a strong supporter of equal pay and equal opportunity regardless of sex, race, etc but I can't imagine a 5 year old girl preferring a Barbie with a plaid jacket, hard hat, short brown hair, and a cigarette in her mouth over one dressed in a gown. It's not profitable.

Im aware that these substitutes seem like a bit of a stretch, so I apologize.

LeBrok
16-11-17, 18:12
This makes perfect sense, when I was younger, I had to sneak out or argue with my mother if I wanted to hang out late at night. Today, it seems that teenagers are more content with staying in, because of technology addiction, and fear for their safety. It is not technology per se, but technology allowing kids to interact with others, and play with each other, without leaving a house. In our times it was an impossible thing. We had to go outside to meet friends.


They're less risk taking, and are more concerned with issues that don't directly impact their lives. Perhaps, its because it's easier to concern yourself with things you can't really do anything about; than be proactive about your own life. Obviously staying home feels safe, and that reinforces our need to be safe. As safety was always important to our species and longed for. It is another positive feedback loop in action. Though, not so "positive" overall for people. ;) This will make whole new generetion less risk taking, or even risk averse.
We see one negative effect on business already. There are 1/3 fewer entrepreneurs now than was 25 years ago. Being entrepreneur is a very risk taking activity.




Technology is certainly addictive, because we experience a sense of excitement with new notifications, and interaction. Which is why people can't seem to put their phones down. Perhaps a lack of getting those new notifications, feeds into a sense of anxiety. Basically being a tech-junkie, unable to get a fix. Just for one week, or perhaps a month, I'd like to totally disconnect from using the internet. I've already tried to, and it's pretty tough. Especially since checking my e-mail is integral to my job.On a positive side, it gives you an opportunity to exercise strong/free will. :)

Jovialis
16-11-17, 18:38
It is not technology per se, but technology allowing kids to interact with others, and play with each other, without leaving a house. In our times it was an impossible thing. We had to go outside to meet friends.
Obviously staying home feels safe, and that reinforces our need to be safe. As safety was always important to our species and longed for. It is another positive feedback loop in action. Though, not so "positive" overall for people. ;) This will make whole new generetion less risk taking, or even risk averse.
We see one negative effect on business already. There are 1/3 fewer entrepreneurs now than was 25 years ago. Being entrepreneur is a very risk taking activity.
On a positive side, it gives you an opportunity to exercise strong/free will. :)
I definitely wouldn't consider myself a Luddite, but I think it would be nice to take a break eventually. I do make an effort to be outside as much as possible, and explore new places. But perhaps I should leave the phone behind sometimes. Nevertheless, I don't consider tech-addiction to be as detrimental, as say cigarettes. But rather something that should be learned to be controlled in moderation. High-technology is here to stay; and it will only become more intertwined into our daily lives. Perhaps augmented reality will eventually replace smartphones, since it would be more incorporated into our surroundings. Instead of having our noses in a phone, maybe smart-glasses will replace it. They say in the future the experience of the internet will not be a place you go to, but something that is all around us.

Instead of seeing people looking at a phone. You'll see everyone wearing glasses waving their hands around, as they open and close windows and tabs. lol

firetown
16-11-17, 18:52
I used to be quite fearless. But after motorcycle accident, spiral fracture from skiing, almost drowning and many minor injuries, I have changed into the complete opposite. Not sure how to turn it off. But missed out on a nice boat trip because of it recently. I remember nearing the boat and almost gagging as I tried to force myself to just go. It doesn't cause stress following my fear. But it does decrease QoL. But if the internet had been around when I was a kid, I think I would have stayed inside a lot. I simply tend to find people "more like me" within the variety of this global reach. And therefore they are more interesting to me. As I hope I am to them.

LeBrok
16-11-17, 20:10
I used to be quite fearless. But after motorcycle accident, spiral fracture from skiing, almost drowning and many minor injuries, I have changed into the complete opposite. Not sure how to turn it off. But missed out on a nice boat trip because of it recently. I remember nearing the boat and almost gagging as I tried to force myself to just go. It doesn't cause stress following my fear. But it does decrease QoL. But if the internet had been around when I was a kid, I think I would have stayed inside a lot. I simply tend to find people "more like me" within the variety of this global reach. And therefore they are more interesting to me. As I hope I am to them.Aside of people becoming more homebound thanks to technology, there is another risk for people becoming handicapped in social interaction. We used to interact, play, negotiate, argue, fight, compromise with and befriend all sorts of people when playing outside with whomever lived in our area. It forced us becoming more rounded emotionally and able to deal with variety of people and our stressful world. Now, when kids can find only same minded friends with same interests and alike behaviour, how are they going to relate to all the other "scary and different" people they are forced to work with when they grow up?
Stay in safety of parents basement and play computer games all day and night?


Staying in confines of only alike people, sucking up on confirmation bias day upon day, growing in misleading confidence and intolerance to others?

LeBrok
16-11-17, 20:15
I definitely wouldn't consider myself a Luddite, but I think it would be nice to take a break eventually. I do make an effort to be outside as much as possible, and explore new places. But perhaps I should leave the phone behind sometimes. Nevertheless, I don't consider tech-addiction to be as detrimental, as say cigarettes. But rather something that should be learned to be controlled in moderation. High-technology is here to stay; and it will only become more intertwined into our daily lives. Perhaps augmented reality will eventually replace smartphones, since it would be more incorporated into our surroundings. Instead of having our noses in a phone, maybe smart-glasses will replace it. They say in the future the experience of the internet will not be a place you go to, but something that is all around us.

Instead of seeing people looking at a phone. You'll see everyone wearing glasses waving their hands around, as they open and close windows and tabs. lol
I'm "blessed" in this department. I don't have too many job related emails, and I can resist picking up a phone if I'm busy with something else. Actually I hate when phone is ringing when I'm concentrated on something.

firetown
16-11-17, 20:37
Aside of people becoming more homebound thanks to technology, there is another risk for people becoming handicapped in social interaction. We used to interact, play, negotiate, argue, fight, compromise with and befriend all sorts of people when playing outside with whomever lived in our area. It forced us becoming more rounded emotionally and able to deal with variety of people and our stressful world. Now, when kids can find only same minded friends with same interests and alike behaviour, how are they going to relate to all the other "scary and different" people they are forced to work with when they grow up?
Stay in safety of parents basement and play computer games all day and night?


Staying in confines of only alike people, sucking up on confirmation bias day upon day, growing in misleading confidence and intolerance to others?

Everyone goes to school and has plenty of opportunity of learning from people who think differently. But what we see too much of in highschool is the "need to fit in". I am not talking video games (they bore me). I am talking interests such as this one (genetics, blood types etc.). How many people do you know "in real life" with whom you can exchange information like here? Usually people can adapt to one another. But what you have interests "more uncommon" and a hard time finding people offline to share them with?

Angela
16-11-17, 22:58
Just a few thoughts, no answers...

I stayed home a lot as a child and teenager. I may not have had the internet, but I had books. My parents told me I taught myself to read at about four and I never looked back. I was the kind of child who couldn't put the book down until I was done, so I used to do the flashlight under the covers thing. :) I damaged my eyes that way. My parents were constantly trying to get me to go outdoors. I did more of that in the earlier years in Italy, but with adults because there just weren't many children of my age in our little village at that time. I also spent a lot of time outdoors on my own, just dreaming, really, and yes, wandering on my own over our fields and village. My parents were never worried then, because no one had ever in living memory harmed a child. Everyone knew and loved me; I was quite the village pet.

Things did change in the U.S. The reading obsession remained, and I added a film obsession, but I went outdoors even less. Part of it was feeling alienated from a different culture, I think, making me cling even more to my family, but part of it was, as Firetown alluded to, that I didn't find a lot of the kids very congenial. I remember a girl down the street, maybe twelve years old, who always wanted to play either mommy, daddy and children, or Barbies. (yes, I'm dating myself; twelve year olds are nowhere as innocent as that today) The Barbies were ok (I loved fashion and beautiful clothes even then), but playing house?! I couldn't bear it when the mothers arranged for us to "play" together. I wanted to at least re-enact fairy stories or be a female pirate or a Queen, or something, although even Queens like Queen Anne in "The Three Musketeers" spent way too much time sitting around wringing their hands.

None of that has anything to do with anxiety. I think the author of that article jumbled a lot of disparate things together. Children take responsibility when they're allowed and encouraged to take responsibility. My mother had a much more difficult time learning English than I did because she was more than 20 years older. So, I can distinctly remember walking to the bank to do the bank deposits and pay the electric bill for her, and going with her to my brother's parent/teacher conferences to translate, and writing all the letters that had to go out. Until the year she died decades later I did all 300 of her Christmas cards for her. I was a very self-possessed and mature child from a very young age. Our friends always told my mother I was born old. I don't know if that's the case; perhaps I just had to grow up very early in order to help her, especially when my father would be out of town working from Monday-Friday.

I think a certain amount of anxiety is transmitted from parent to child. My mother was anxious by nature (I do think a big part of it is genetic, and so the studies say), but her anxiety level was much higher once we moved here, as makes sense, because she didn't know the language at all, the culture was so different, there were very few Italians of any stripe around, and my father was so often absent in the "bad" years. She also learned of things happening here that never, ever, happened at home. For a while she gave me the same kind of freedom I had at home. For example, I walked back and forth to school, sometimes four times a day when the school was closer (for lunch). However, that stopped after one horrendous event. I used to stop every day at a news stand because they sold licorice, which I like very much. One day I noticed that this old man was following me quite closely. I took a lot of turns but he stayed close behind. I started panicking, although I didn't consciously even know what I was afraid of, and ran to the church that was also on the way home. He followed me in but I went out through a side entrance, may a few quick turns and lost him. That was the end of walking to school. I have to admit that the memory never left me, and I never, ever, allowed my children to walk to and from school.

In this day and age of mass media 24/7 parents read horror stories about what can happen to children, and restrict their movements more. The reality, of course, is that they would do better to worry about uncles, cousins, teachers and coaches if the statistics are correct. I don't get some of the things the author said. Anyone who would let a seven or eight year old cross a street with major traffic is guilty of child neglect, imo.

She was also anxious about certain things like water, etc., but she handled it very well, I think, making sure I got swimming lessons even if she had to walk more than a mile to bring me to a public pool to get lessons. My father also encouraged me to ride my bike, learn to skate, etc. teaching me himself.

One anxiety she had to her dying day, and I'm just the same, and that's about our children being out with the car, especially late at night and after a certain amount of alcohol, or in bad weather. As long as I lived at home, I know she never really slept until we came in, and I'm the same. That's why it's almost a relief when children move away.

That brings me to the author's assumption that it's great for kids to move away from home at 18, and if they don't they won't be able to be independent. It's no doubt my "Italian" showing, but I absolutely refute that. I spent my first year at university in a college dorm and loathed it. I couldn't stand the partying and noise when I was trying to study (which meant I spent the majority of my time in the library on uncomfortable chairs), the constant fog of weed, even in the morning before school, the disgusting cafeteria food, how filthy most of them were in their personal space and even hygiene at times, the promiscuity that was right in my face etc. My suite mate casually announced at the beginning of the year that she had picked up not one, but two STDS, including gonorrhea, when she backpacked through Europe, and was just starting antibiotics for the latter. I backpacked too, but I certainly never picked up an STD. This girl was handling my food and taking sips from my drinks! God knows what else she had picked up. The last straw was when I stretched out one morning and my hand landed in the chest hair of my roommate's current boyfriend, who slept practically nude. Thank goodness it wasn't somewhere further south. I was an 18 year old, strictly raised, convent trained girl. I had told her clearly that there were to be no boys sleeping over in our tiny room. They could sleep outside in the study area or the lounge. Who she slept with was her business, but I didn't want some strange man practically in my bed. The constant invitations to "group" activities was also part of every week-end. There is nothing my children encountered that shocked me.

So, I moved back home and was thrilled.

That doesn't mean I couldn't be independent. Right after graduation I married, moved to New York, set up an apartment in an area where I knew absolutely no one, learned to navigate the subway and bus system, and embarked on a career in a cut-throat industry. That doesn't mean that I didn't wish they lived nearby; I missed them desperately. In later years, I've taken the two kids to Europe on my own, planning all the stays, driving all over, even in places where I didn't speak the language. My anxieties are all about harm coming to the people I love, whether it's from disease, a car accident, etc. I have no fear of new places, new experiences, and very few people in my life have ever intimidated me, even if I'm very quiet and reserved in a manner usually.

LeBrok
16-11-17, 23:54
Everyone goes to school and has plenty of opportunity of learning from people who think differently. But what we see too much of in highschool is the "need to fit in". I am not talking video games (they bore me). I am talking interests such as this one (genetics, blood types etc.). How many people do you know "in real life" with whom you can exchange information like here? Usually people can adapt to one another. But what you have interests "more uncommon" and a hard time finding people offline to share them with?It is not black or white issue, it is about a scale of the problem and new trends that will enhance many kinds of anxiety and social phobias in kids. Should we mention helicopter mamas lending a "helping" hand to the problem?

Many kids has to be pushed out into the world to learn how to deal with stress. But not only kids, we all need to push ourselves outside our comfort zones too. It is good and healthy for us. This is how we grow and find new friend and interesting people. Otherwise, giveing a chance, we will start cocooning ourselves physically in our homes and mentally, and avoid the outside world more and more every day. This is how we lose the fight with this dark side.

Milan.M
17-11-17, 00:34
Obsession with anything create anxiety,exsessive thoughts.
There's the diagnosis "obsessive disorder".

firetown
17-11-17, 12:52
Just a few thoughts, no answers...

I stayed home a lot as a child and teenager. I may not have had the internet, but I had books. My parents told me I taught myself to read at about four and I never looked back. I was the kind of child who couldn't put the book down until I was done, so I used to do the flashlight under the covers thing. :) I damaged my eyes that way. My parents were constantly trying to get me to go outdoors. I did more of that in the earlier years in Italy, but with adults because there just weren't many children of my age in our little village at that time. I also spent a lot of time outdoors on my own, just dreaming, really, and yes, wandering on my own over our fields and village. My parents were never worried then, because no one had ever in living memory harmed a child. Everyone knew and loved me; I was quite the village pet.

Things did change in the U.S. The reading obsession remained, and I added a film obsession, but I went outdoors even less. Part of it was feeling alienated from a different culture, I think, making me cling even more to my family, but part of it was, as Firetown alluded to, that I didn't find a lot of the kids very congenial. I remember a girl down the street, maybe twelve years old, who always wanted to play either mommy, daddy and children, or Barbies. (yes, I'm dating myself; twelve year olds are nowhere as innocent as that today) The Barbies were ok (I loved fashion and beautiful clothes even then), but playing house?! I couldn't bear it when the mothers arranged for us to "play" together. I wanted to at least re-enact fairy stories or be a female pirate or a Queen, or something, although even Queens like Queen Anne in "The Three Musketeers" spent way too much time sitting around wringing their hands.


It was similar in terms of me spending my first years in Germany and being bored with the boys talking about soccer all the time. I liked playing sports, but we went home, watched TV and I remember sitting there wanting to go home and read my books about dinosaurs.

It was silly when some parents asked mine if I was ok stating they were worried about me when many times I didn't want to meet other boys. But I was never bored. I lost myself in books. Not fiction, but whatever there was to know about ancient times and animals. I did begin meeting people more like me though when moving to California. And I realized you can be yourself and still accepted. There seems to be more true individualism there. Maybe not even amongst most but at least some people. There simply was an energy there I could go with the flow with.

I recall my earliest years other kids coming by sitting in front of our house waiting and me thinking "omg, not again". Then I asked what's going on and the reply was something like "nothing really, just bored". I do not remember that feeling and I felt overly drained by kids who didn't seem to know what to do with themselves waiting for me to guide them to excitement. And it wasn't anxiety I felt amongst others. I simply didn't get much out of it most of the time and was perfectly fine following my inner compass rather than whatever the crowd decided to do.

Angela
17-11-17, 18:32
It was similar in terms of me spending my first years in Germany and being bored with the boys talking about soccer all the time. I liked playing sports, but we went home, watched TV and I remember sitting there wanting to go home and read my books about dinosaurs.

It was silly when some parents asked mine if I was ok stating they were worried about me when many times I didn't want to meet other boys. But I was never bored. I lost myself in books. Not fiction, but whatever there was to know about ancient times and animals. I did begin meeting people more like me though when moving to California. And I realized you can be yourself and still accepted. There seems to be more true individualism there. Maybe not even amongst most but at least some people. There simply was an energy there I could go with the flow with.

I recall my earliest years other kids coming by sitting in front of our house waiting and me thinking "omg, not again". Then I asked what's going on and the reply was something like "nothing really, just bored". I do not remember that feeling and I felt overly drained by kids who didn't seem to know what to do with themselves waiting for me to guide them to excitement. And it wasn't anxiety I felt amongst others. I simply didn't get much out of it most of the time and was perfectly fine following my inner compass rather than whatever the crowd decided to do.

It sounds as if you're comfortable walking to the beat of your own drummer. Me too. :)