By Valentina Donado

Today’s kids, those that society tends to call tomorrow’s future, will never know what it was like to be a child half a century ago. However, we still say “those who do not learn from their history are doomed to repeat it”. If the plan is to give future generations the fun and courageous childhood our parents had, then we are definitely going in the wrong direction.

All through the 70s and 80s, children were used to going out and playing with their neighbors, learning to ride a bike on their own, and playing hide and seek for hours. They left home every afternoon with their only concern being the 8pm curfew. They were not afraid of the danger that roamed around the streets, they were foolish and careless. Everyone had their friends from the block with whom they met at the same place to play the same old games. These kids came home every day with dirty sneakers and sweaty foreheads. These kids grew up with house manners but street guts. These kids are now our parents. Grown people who learned to defend themselves from a really young age. This is the product of all their childhood adventures and stories. Our parents had the opportunity to live through a development period, they got to see the creation of the overpowering social media.

The following generation, us, was raised with something I like to call trial and error. Our parents could not specifically apply all the parenting they received from their own parents because it would not work on us. Nowadays, they don’t let kids roam around the streets without supervision, they cannot leave the house without a phone, let alone without letting mom know where and who they are going out with. We are the toy generation. We grew up playing with playdough, barbies and hot wheels. Girls grew up wanting to be princesses and boys aspiring superheroes. We played with every single Lego and stuffed animal. We created forts out of pillows and spent afternoons watching Disney channel. Some of us spoke to imaginary friends and others imitated different voices for every different toy. We spent hours on the phone talking to our friends and the fact of joining the first social platform was something of another world. We used to play outside but technology began dragging us to our sofas and screens so we started to care about fitting in and looking good. We will never know what it is like to leave the house whenever we want to, we will never know what it is like to meet up with friends without texting them first, we will never know who really lives down the street because we were never given the chance to go out and see the world by ourselves.

Now picture tomorrow’s kids. Will they be given a screen before a toy? Will they meet each other virtually? Will they ever pick an outdoors match over a FIFA match? These things already happen so imagining how kids will grow up in the next fifty years is mind blowing. It is really hard to say that we can stop it by giving our own kids a similar childhood to ours, but once they enter the ages of 5 and 6, society itself will drag them into what “everyone is doing” which just becomes addictive. They will never know what it was like to go out and play in the streets, to play board games or color on the walls. They will probably be stuck playing video games, chatting online, and using the latest version of virtual learning. They will have to learn to confront the world and grow some guts in their own way.

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