I live in a very populated area. To give you an idea, my high school has almost 7,000 students, there are five middle schools that feed into it, and ten elementary schools. As you can see, that’s quite a bit of kids. With this many people, I’ve noticed that it is easy to see the differences from generation to generation. My focus for this post will be on current middle school students.
I have a younger brother in eighth grade. He is your average sort-of teenage boy: he has a large group of friends, he is starting to have those awkward “I like you,” talks with girls, and he likes to spend his time playing sports or long boarding outside. Although that all sounds fairly normal, I can still very easily spot the difference between his generation and mine.
First off, the technology. My oh my do they have much more that I did. His friends and him are constantly on their phones, they are all connected through social media, and they never once had to deal with phones without a touch screen. I know what you’re thinking – technology is a great thing. I completely agree with you, considering I’m sitting in a coffee shop on my Macbook typing this right now. However, with this technology young kids have constant access to the internet – which is not always a good thing. I hear kids use more foul language than I do at the ages of eleven and twelve. They see pictures and videos of things I didn’t even know about at their age. They are being influenced by entities that were never available to me at that age.
With those influences, I have heard so many awful stories of middle school students getting involved with drugs and alcohol. I remember middle school vividly and having no idea what drugs were. When I was with my friends, the thought of stealing my parents liquor never crossed my mind. I knew that those things were not acceptable and I knew that they weren’t going to lead me down a successful path in life. I was fully aware that those substances were not good for me physically and that they would have horrible effects on my life in the long run.
I do have to admit that young kids have a lot more pressure on them than I did at their age. I see girls with full face makeup on in sixth grade – I don’t remember owning a bottle of foundation until late into my freshman year of high school. Girls are wearing short shorts and crop tops, looking skimpy as ever, and I have to wonder how parents are allowing this to happen. Even today, if I walked downstairs with a shirt that hardly covered my chest I know that my mother would spin me around and send me right back up to change. I don’t think I will ever understand who an eleven year old girl is dressing like that for – and if it’s for the same reason girls my age are doing it, then we have a much more serious problem on our hands.
With this new generation, we have to be more cautious than ever. It is up to us to be role models for these kids. We must pave the paths of right and wrong and lead them down the correct one. Parents need be sure that their kids are not being influenced negatively by technology and they need to be aware of current trends in society. Older brothers and sisters need to take responsibility and teach their siblings to learn from their mistakes or their peers. We must learn to adapt and to grow positively from this change.