In my marriage and family class a couple days ago, we talked about parenting children. I love children! I want my own someday in the near future once I am done with college. What got not only me but my class thinking was this question from my professor: “Do you think that parents are becoming lazy when it comes to handling their own children?” My following question was: Are they really?
It turns out I am in the Generation Z (AKA the iGen), a group of children born 1996 to the present year. It turns out we are also called the iGen since we are considered “digital natives.” The truth is I don’t remember having any technology in my hand until I started middle school. I was born in 1999 and was kicked outside with my sister to play outside. My sister and I were never watched over and had our imaginations to play with. My family couldn’t afford a playset or a tire swing.
The only entertainment our family had inside our home that was a digital technology was the TV. My sister and I had a limited amount of time to watch the TV and every Friday was the day that our family sat down at the dinner table and watched a family game show. I would like to think that my family was never really into the new digital technology that was coming out until they had to adapt to the changing world of technology. My family didn’t get a desktop computer until I was in middle school since I had to do homework on a computer. Looking back at my past I could not help but think, “Is my generation that technological from growing up?”
The answer to my question became true as I decided to do some research on my own second cousins. The iGen is considered to not remember a time before technology became a part of everyday life, spending their childhood with technology. It was this past Christmas when I was at my dad’s side of the family. My family was to converse with other relatives, taking time to eat the handmade food from everyone, and to embrace one another. I saw my second cousins were either watching the football game that was on or on their own phones they received as gifts from the previous Christmas. Keep this in mind that one second cousin is 12-years-old, while the other second cousin is 6-years-old.
I used to play outside in the snow with my cousins every year when we came over for Christmas. We would make snow angels, snowmen, and have an epic snowball fight! My second cousins were inside hogging up space in the living room for the adults watching some YouTube video. I didn’t quite understand why my second cousins were wrapped up in their phones. I didn’t receive a phone until the beginning of middle school since we had to walk a mile to the nearest bus stop for school and it was only text and phone calls. No internet, no games, no apps, only texting and calls.
Is the iGen going to be a problem in the future? I personally believe that the technology is a problem, but an easy solution to fix! My cousin’s baby was wailing as he wanted attention, so she gave him a tablet. I said, “Do you have any toys for him to play with?” My cousin said she did bring some but they were in the bedroom. I volunteered to replace the tablet with a toy to keep him entertained. Not only was my cousin saving the time and battery on the tablet, but also keeping my second cousin away from technology that could make my second cousin addicted to technology. I hope that the next generation can learn from the iGen that technology doesn’t have to be an easy out for taking care of their child.