It really is different being a kid right now than in previous generations.
My grandson turned five on New Year’s Eve and it makes me think about what’s ahead for him in his life. He’s still so innocent.
But there is a darker side looming over innocence for today’s children. Experts indicate that the last time childhood and adolescence were this challenging was in the 1930s, during the great depression. Those of us who are the parents and grandparents of today have no experience from that decade.
Kids who belong to Generation Alpha, those born since 2010, plus those in the last half of Generation Z born between 2005 and 2010, are the potential innocent casualties of a world that is engulfed in turmoil, outrage, disagreement, intolerance, violence and unlawfulness being passed onto them.
Kids are increasingly being put in jeopardy in all kinds of ways and in all parts of their lives.
More than 10.5 million children in the world lost parents or grandparents in the past two years to Covid-19. Many even became high risk of losing the security of a home and food because of the pandemic. When it comes to the pandemic, children will have the biggest long-term effect.
School age children are paying the price for decisions made by adults in the pandemic. Latest statistics show how the shutting down of schools in the U.S. during the pandemic has been harmful, both intellectually and emotionally.
Math test scores for students in 4th to 8th grades have plummeted. Almost 40% of 8th graders are failing at basic math concepts. Reading scores are the lowest they’ve been since 1992 and that includes college students. Remote teaching was pretty much a disaster!
A study of kids age 4 to 10 during the pandemic shows that lockdowns and lack of socialization created a rise in depression and mental health issues. That’s on top of the grief issues due to loss of loved ones.
The number of suicides for adolescents increased during covid. Emergency room visits from attempted suicides by teens increased by 6.5% during covid. Mental health professionals were overwhelmed with requests to treat teens and there literally were not enough professional counselors and mental health workers to meet the demand.
Lockdown lifestyles contributed to weight gain in kids, increasing potential health problems like childhood diabetes. Their lives became more sedentary and eating was a way of coping that has now turned into unhealthy eating habits.
Child abductions are at a catastrophic level. The FBI projects that a child is abducted every 40 seconds
in the U.S. 2,300 children go missing every day. 840,000 go missing every year. That’s so frightening, it is scary to ever let children out of your sight. Most abductions occur on streets near their homes. It’s no longer safe for kids to be outside playing, riding bikes, or walking to a friend’s house without adult supervision.
Kids today face a world full of violence that has nothing to do with countries being at war. Firearms are now, for the first time, the number one cause of death for children in the U.S., surpassing motor vehicle deaths and deaths by injury or disease.
There were 257 school and campus shootings in 2022 … surpassing the numbers from 2021. That’s almost five every week. Kids can no longer feel safe … not even in school!
Kids are being shot down on city streets and playgrounds. As just one example, last year in Philadelphia – the City of Brotherly Love – 200 children under the age of 18 were killed by gun violence. One 14 year-old was shot after leaving football practice at Roxborough High School. Shot by a 16 year-old.
Violence surrounds our children, especially the tweens and teens, in the form of entertainment. In movies, on TV, and especially in digital games, the constant exposure to violence desensitizes kids. Bullying in schools has increased 35% during the last several years. Cyber bullying is out of control because so many teens are on social networks. The social networks where bullying happens most often are SnapChat (69%), TikTok (64%), and Facebook (49%).
Other ways children today are being put in jeopardy is with complex messages and topics of sexuality being forced on them at increasingly young ages, even Pre-K! Their brains aren’t even close to being developed enough to comprehend the nuances of serious decisions, actions and outcomes about sexual behaviors and gender identity.
A third grader was suspended from his school in Oregon for using the wrong pronoun! Actually, third grade is when kids are just beginning to be taught the different parts of speech, starting with nouns and verbs. Punishing that 8-year old for not using a plural pronoun (they) for a single person (he) when he is just beginning to learn the parts of speed is absurd. And honestly, using “they” to refer to a singular person doesn’t even make sense to me as an adult!
In Wisconsin three eighth graders were charged with sexual harassment for using the wrong pronoun. Does an eighth grader really comprehend what sexual harassment is? What is going on in our schools?
The woke gender identity movement has moved far beyond the sensitivity they claim to want. Sensitivity has to be shown to everyone. There’s a vast difference between education and indoctrination. Have we already gone too far … gone to an extreme that can ruin lives?
It’s a treacherous world for kids right now. We have to do better. The future depends on it.
As we enter a new year, let’s use some common sense. Kids need nurturing, not punishment and ridicule. They need love, belonging, encouragement, imagination, creativity, security, understanding, and acceptance. Let’s give them those things so they can grow up and change our world for the better.
“The greatest gift a parent can give a child is self confidence.”Stewart Stafford
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It is mind-blowing to say the least. We know so much today about child development and brain development at this point in time. We know what children need to grow, learn and thrive in a healthy environment and yet, as a society, we seem content to toss what we know out the window and put our precious children in such high stress situations that even we as adults cannot comprehend.
My grandchildren are all currently being homeschooled and even though Tom and I are retired teachers, I am good with that.
Excellent Blog…even though it is depressing to read and even harder to see a path forward in our current culture.
Outstanding blog this week, Carol, although I must echo Micki’s sentiments that the situation is depressing. I know I, for one, am stymied about what to do about it. Our grandkids go to good schools (for now) but we also work hard to set the example with them and correct them when they are wrong. I think part of the problem is the constant use of devices. In some ways it is an excellent avenue to learn (google vs World Book, but most of the time kids are doing “social” things or gaming. Another problem is the lack of father participation and the proliferation of gangs. Gang activity is on the rise even here in Idaho, especially with boys in the 5 – 20 range. I sure wish there was an easy solution. Our lawmakers and school administrators must take a more sensible role. The pronoun problem and having multi-sex bathrooms should not be issues. I want our kids to learn math, history, science, etc. (did I forget manners?) I could ramble for hours …
When leadership at the highest levels of our government, of our culture, of industry, et al. are corrupted by evil, should it come as a surprise that evil relentlessly waxes as it trickles down throughout our society and culture? That even defenseless children become targeted victims? Here are some characteristics of evil extracted directly from the Bible – lies, malice, violence, destruction, oppression, greed, power, lust, theft, slander, deception, hatred of God, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, corruption, reprobate, impurity, cruelty, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, ingratitude, lovers of self, perverse, crooked, obstinate, shameless, wicked, intemperate, irreligious, hardhearted. The practice of some of these are profoundly obvious (unless of course our eyes cannot see and our ears cannot hear). What you described so effectively in your blog are very focused consequences in one domain of our sheeplike tolerance of unacceptable behaviors emanating from the very top. It will only get worse until we stop tolerating evil. A good place to start is with cultural eradication of situational ethics (of course, one must first HAVE ethics.