Friday, 6 January 2012

Comment: Have Kids Today Really Got It Easy?

There is an interesting article on the BBC News Website, authored by Paul Flatters, which goes hand in hand with his Radio 4 article on how he believes kids today in the UK have it much easier than we ever did.

The comments alone- so many the BBC website shut the forum- agree in the most part with the article, with many blaming old people (so old apparently they have forgotten how hard everyone had it prior to the 21st century) and hip twenty somethings who shouldn't comment as they don't yet have children.

In my view, children do have it much harder than my generation ever did.

One only has to look at the riots of last summer to see how disaffected the youth have become.In London alone, of all those arrested on night two, only 8 people arrested were born between 1960 and 1980. 49 of those arrested were born in the same era as me, the 1980s. But a staggering 98 were born in the 90's, most of whom were teenagers when they went out looting.

Can you imagine our generation doing something like that- over the possibility of a pair or twelve of new trainers? 

There is so much pressure on children from a young age to perform- SATS exams at a tender age when most are still watching the 24 hour dedicated TV for their age group, and even more have only just learnt how to write their own name.

The media constantly tells us how the youth of today are overweight, game obsessives who would rather eat fast food than something healthy. Yet the same media then pumps out adverts for the new "must have" console, phone or clothing range.

The old adage kids will be kids to my mind no longer stands for what it did when I was a child. The little bit cheeky climbing of trees, going to the park with friends. Now, if a group of kids hang around their local park, they are not, as we were, there to meet friends in a public place. They are loitering, in a gang. 

Its almost as if we goad the youth of today into being thugs- if we make the accusations often enough that the young are all nothing but trouble and one fizzy drink away from a sugar induced mugging, what hope have they got of proving otherwise.

Even those who do well at school might feel as if it was pointless- university fees mean that many will have the option of furthering their education denied. Then there is the same headline every year regarding how exams have got easier, how they have been dumbed down. No credit is given that perhaps, just maybe, kids are smarter than generations before-after all, whereas we had to read through Library catalogues to find the subject we were studying. It now takes 5 minutes and a basic knowledge of Google to gain the same information for today's young people.

They cannot go out in the same way and play "out" like we did. They sadly live within a culture of fear of paedophiles on every street, and traffic, and drug dealers, and every other reason why they are now relegated to sitting indoors on a games console for fun, rather than when we were allowed out until tea time as kids, your parent's safe in the knowledge that so and so's Mum's were looking out their windows watching everyones kids whilst they watched their own. Our parent's knew our neighbours. 

Its not even just the culture of living in estates- Elder remembers vividly playing out with all the kids on his block- the older ones looking out for the younger ones, all the Mum's knew all the other Mums. He recalls that you knew your Mum wanted you indoors as you'd hear your Mum's voice echo round the block. There were no mobile phones back then. You did what you were told. In the most part! You had respect for elders, 100%. You had to- all the parent's knew who you were and who your parent was. 

Its not like that now. I know very few of my neighbours, I knew even fewer of the parent's in my daughter's play ground. We don't look out for each others kids as we were looked out for. Its not our job, none of our business and, more importantly, we haven't been CRB checked to make sure we are safe.

Never had it so good? Never had it so miserable, more like.


  1. Interesting view - I enjoyed reading it. What do you think about the role parents have to play in assuming responsibility for our children's behaviour? I'm not sure that being 'disaffected' is any excuse for bad behaviour. Just a thought.

  2. No I on't think being disaffected is an excuse for bad behaviour. I don't think though that the widespread demonising of all young people, due to the actions of a few, is justified. There has always been, and will continue to be, good kids and bad. To accuse them all of being morally or behaviourally corrupt is unfair and unjust.
    Parent's do have a responsibility towards their children, true, I agree with that sentiment. But I do also find that school teachers hands are tied to deal with bad behaviour within the classroom environment, and they spend quite a number of hours with these children, so surely the need is there for the old style of a good telling off, rather than the attitude that they should be mollycoddled?

  3. i love the post agree with the old style of a good telling off,kids do have so much pressure to succeed, and with both parents in some cases working, who parents the kids, teachers, and they can only do so much

  4. Really interesting point you make and I think I'll have to agree with you. I was one of those kids playing outside until the street lights went out, then I knew it was time to go home. It's so sad and such a shame I am to scared to let my kids out the front door now, as god knows what could happen to him.

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