By Eliza McDow
A topic that I could rant about for hours on end is the epidemic of media integration and technology use in today’s youth. I feel as though everywhere I turn, I am looking at a young child being silenced at the dinner table by an iPad game, or a middle-schooler taking selfies at the pool when they should be playing in the water.
This is a painful realization for me, as one of the most valuable things about my childhood was the lack of media and technology. I watched “Barney” and “Teletubbies” every now and then, and especially loved to dance to the “’80s at 8” on the radio every Saturday night in my kitchen while my dad washed the dishes. That is the extent of media involved in my childhood.
Kids today are seen playing iPad games when they should be paying attention at the dinner table. It is an understood rule that we do not use cell phones at the dinner table, and I will stick to this rule for as long as I live. My parents never even had to tell us this; it was just something that was understood because they didn’t grow up doing it. It’s rude to check Instagram when you’ve just sat down with your family for the first time all day in front of a meal your mother prepared with love. I see the problem with this, and so do my parents.
I was lucky enough to experience a childhood spent playing outside and making up games to entertain myself, and eventually, as I got older and more media became available, my little brother and I became too attached. We even got rid of cable one year when I was in middle school because we were watching too much TV.
I absolutely hate that this will be a problem for generations to come. What happened to playing outside all summer long? Making your own fun? It is terrifying to me that 12-year-olds are able to surf the internet at their own risk, exposing themselves to whatever they may stumble upon without their parents’ knowing. Exposure to the media today is vastly different than it was 20 years ago, and especially different than it was 50 years ago during my parents’ generation.