One of my best friends recently had a baby. Her child is beautiful, pure, and innocent. Before he was born, I was asked if he could call me his aunt. I was (and still am) so honored to be an aunt to this amazing little boy. However, upon holding him, my world changed. I will do anything to protect my pure and innocent little nephew from the world. I know, however, that in the blink of an eye, he will be grown and experiencing all sorts of new things- both good and bad.
I have noticed more and more the differences from when I was a child. I enjoyed dressing up as a princess, playing fashion designer using my sister as my model, and having tea parties. Crayola was one of my favorite tools that was used to feed my creativity. When I was a little older, I used all my Christmas money to buy a laptop. Crayola was still my friend, but there were many car rides and goofy afternoons spent with my siblings using the camera filters on the computer. We could take pictures with our faces distorted, or see our faces on a big screen in the city. Those pictures and silly videos remain on that laptop and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. They weren’t sent to friends or posted all over social media, they were innocent, goofy fun with my siblings.
This world has changed and not for the better.
More and more I see elementary and middle school-aged kids with phones, hear them talk about shows and movies I’m not even sure I would watch, and say and do things that shouldn’t even be a thought in their young minds. Snapchats and selfies have taken over Crayola and creativity. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with Snapchat and selfies when used properly and in moderation. Unfortunately, more and more kids have social media, iPhones, and tablets, and are allowed to watch and play things that have ratings many years above their age. A simple snap can turn from innocent to inappropriate in a heartbeat. In a moment, a child's innocence can be tarnished.
I was recently at a child’s play and the young boys in front of me caught my eye. At one point, one of the boys made a gun with his hand and shot his friend. At another point, one of the kids pretended to break the other’s neck. We all know I am a firm supporter of the second amendment, and I love a good action movie, however, I am nineteen years old. Seeing kids pretend to shoot and kill one another for fun was slightly disturbing. I know that they are young boys and that kind of thing is normal behavior at that age, but I can’t help but think that the things kids these days watch and play can escalate that behavior and take it from innocent to more serious.I have been teased and laughed at for not knowing what certain words are, for not hearing certain songs, or seeing certain movies. In a lot of those instances, it was good I had not experienced the songs or movies. At the ages those times took place, I was too young to experience those things. Today, if you don’t know the latest curse word, name of a drug, or haven’t seen the newest rated R movie, you are mocked for being “innocent or sheltered.” When did being innocent as a child become a bad thing? Children need to be sheltered and kept from things that can tarnish their young mind. When they are older they can understand more what is going on and what is right and wrong. At a young age, however, I believe children need to be protected, cherished, and guarded. They will have plenty of time to grow up, but when they're young, I say we keep them pure, sheltered, and innocent.