Friday, August 6, 2010

Observation: An Insight Into Today's Youth

An Insight Into Today's Youth

One weekend I had the privilege to be invited to a swimming pool and BBQ party. Privilege in ways I didn't think of until after the fact. I was asked to help with one of the most if not the most important job at the party. I was to sit by the pool and make sure the kids at the party were safe. By agreeing to help the hosting family, I would receive free food and beverages. You can say that it was more or less life guard duty but that night, I realized it was more. Through this event, I had the opportunity to observe the minds, the conversations, and acts of today's youth. I set out on a small adventure trying to discover how today's youth act and how today's world may affect their thinking process.

This group of grade school kids ranges from 5 years old all the way to their early teens. Majority of the kids knew each other since pre-school. And though some are siblings, this is a close group of friends, even amongst the parents. They also share something that no ordinary grade-school children share. They all knew a true and dear friend that lost his battle to cancer just three short years ago. And though this loss, they learned to lean on each other for comfort and at the same time, learned to share fund memories of Matthew as a way of finding comfort.

Majority of party the kids played with the water balloons, played in the pool and ate like there is no tomorrow. They laughed and joked with each other and even grouped together to "gang" up on a friend by teasing him and blocking him away from their games.

These activities I have seen before and thus no news for me. As the last few hours of the party edge closer and closer, I noticed that the older kids (mostly going to junior high school) separated themselves from the younger kids. They settled in the jacuzzi and in ways avoided the younger kids as they began conversing about their classmates and fund memories of Matthew. I listened in and slowly recognized the hurt of losing a dear friend may not always be visible but through the words, I can hear the pain from a kid I have never seen or met before.

Soon, their conversation carried from classmates to school. I grew interest and moved closer to the jacuzzi, simply because I know many things have changed since I was at their age. I was interested in how the conversation differs between me and my friends back then and now. As each of the kids voice their opinions of the new school year and grade, B suggested, or rather, informed the group that, "Did you know that if you're in a sport team in high school, you get less homework?"

I paused and wondered what could possibility be going through B's mind when he said that sentence to his friends. Have rumors and the wondering minds confuse the younger generation How does he retain his information and from whom was the sources? It was then I couldn't help myself but interrupted their conversation.

I stated, "I'd like to know which high school that is and why I didn't attend that high school."

The boy quickly responded with a random local high school name. Consequently, I graduated from that same school. So as he went on to try and justify his statement, I shook my head and told him the truth, "I graduated from that high school. And no they don't give you less homework. They give you the same amount of homework as others and you have to learn time management. If you don't, then it'll seem like you have more homework than your friends who are not playing a sport. They won't give you less homework simply because you play on the baseball team."

B stared at me and with a much delayed paused, he said, "Well I think schools in Japan are all like that or something since baseball is so big there."

The rest of the kids stared at me for a few seconds before going back conversing about school. I continued listened in while the conversation slowly carried from school to technology. It was then I realized that majority of the kids today live in a bubble. Kids may differ depending on where in the world they live in or whether or not they are civilians or military brats. But overall, majority of the kids today surely do live in a bubble. A bubble made out of technology, gadgets, and today's high tech society. Years ago, there were no such thing as cell phones. Years ago, I didn't know what the internet or the computer is. I had no clue of the technology around me, simply because there weren't that many high tech news in the world. Today, kids speak of technology daily. From iPods to computers to the internet. Today, every kid talks about technology like it's the back of their hands.

After several minutes of conversing about the technology around them. B, who I believe is going to 7th grade started again, "If you don't have e-mail, well then you're just lame."

That caught my attention. Growing up where the idea of an electronic mail sounds absurd, today's youth have qualified those without e-mails as "lame". My interest grew. I wanted to find out about youth's relationship with today's technology so listened in. Their conversations were about everything Google. From Gmail to GTalk. And with their conversation, I've discovered that they knew mostly what I knew about Gmail. Only difference was they seem to be born with such knowledge and I had to learn it myself. As the conversation carried, I wondered about each of their lives. I wondered whether or not what they truly know about technologies differs from whey are telling and sharing. I wondered how each of them would function without such technology and wondered if today's youth are truly that dependent on the technology that surrounds them.

Mostly, I wondered how much their minds would crumble at the sound and happenings of no technology around them. Simple things like looking up information by hand rather than Google just might seem "impossible" to today's generation. Simple things like finding a restaurant's information without an iPhone seems ridiculous. At my age and my knowledge of the technology past, I suddenly felt extremely old and out-of-date. I also felt some stupidity flowing through my veins because my lack of knowledge when I was the same age as the kids.

After the party, I decided to stay after and help the host family clean up the house. After inviting me to join them for dinner, I told the hosting family of my encounter with the kids. I told them of what I observed and the words that young B said about high school and technology. The hosting family agreed with me that he and a lot of the kids today live in a bubble. A bubble made out of technology and high tech gadgets. B is an exceptional example of this bubble, at his age, he already owns an iPod Touch, an iPhone, PS3, 2 computers, and 1 laptop.

I left the hosting family's house after dinner with a heavy mind. As I got home, I thought about today's youth and the observations I made that day. I then realized that the day was a privilege. I not only had free food and beverages, I learned and received much more. This party gave me the opportunity to observe the minds and today's youth ways. Surrounded by technology, I discovered that youth today are more isolated than ever before. Some may agree that technology simplifies life, but in ways, it is altering the youths like never before.

Whether not that is a good thing, we will just have to wait and see.

An Insight Into Today's Youth is © 2010 QKnckles
Contact Knuckles if you'd like to guest write something.


TheAlbrechtSquad said...

Interesting observation, but don't be so harsh on the youth of today. Don't forget you're not much older than they are and technology has been good to you.

It's not the youth that create the bubbles, it's many of the parents who use those items as babysitters.

Technology is a great thing as long as we don't get lost in it. The youth are only learning what we as adults teach them.

And in 7th grade, half the world is lame, it's the age.

Knuckles said...

Thanks for the comment! All very true points! :)

Glad my parents didn't use 'em items as babysitters!

Post a Comment