At some point in the past years, you have probably seen a meme on social media stating that 90s kids is the best generation thus far or how the 90s were the best years for a lot of things. While I am a part of the Y generation, I have always thought these memes were stupid. There was never any point in comparing X, Y and Z generation to each other because in my mind it was like comparing apples and bananas: each has their downfalls and each has their achievements. I never understood why my generation felt that they were the best generation to come through. That was until I became a mother.
Do I think that my generation is the best? No, but I do think that my generation had the last of the good childhood life. Generation Y was the last of all childhood innocence. We were forced to play outside until dark. Why? The simple answer is technology. Kids are staying indoors instead of riding bikes. The latest gaming system is keeping kids indoors. There are more TV channels available to everyone now than there were in say 1996. And, lastly, with the Internet being a touch of a screen away, technology is in even more demand now than when it first started.
Speaking of television, my Saturday mornings were spent watching cartoons until my parents woke up. Did you know that the days of Saturday morning cartoons are gone? Fox was the first company to pull the plug. With television having so many channels available to everyone all the time, the Saturday morning cartoon broadcast was not necessary anymore. The last Saturday morning cartoon broadcast was about a year ago. All the time slots have been replaced with infomercials other shows. No more cartoons available on those bunny ears!
The change in Saturday morning cartoons was not the only change in television. Most of the 90s shows have been replaced with educational shows. Since when did television have to be educational? It’s meant to be entertaining. Don’t get me wrong, I love having my kids learn while having fun, but I also want my kids to be kids. Ren & Stimpy, Rocko’s Modern Life and Hey Arnold! are only a few of the dozens of shows that I recall begging my parents to let me watch until dinner. They were funny, dark and a bit over our heads, but they were entertaining. The only show I can compare to from today and the 90s is Spongebob Squarepants, but that’s again like comparing apples and bananas; they’re two different things.
The last reason why I do believe that our generation was the end of the innocent generation is because of the way our education system is. Does anyone remember having to know all of their letters, being able to count to thirty, and basically being treated like an adult in kindergarten? I sure don’t. I remember learning all those things in kindergarten. We had recess, sensory corners, and we learned the basics of life in those four walls of a class room. That’s not how it is today. I can teach my child suggests that every kid should know the alphabet, can match the uppercase letter to the lowercase letter and tell you which is which. That seems a lot to me. Simply identifying every letter should be enough.
We are rushing our kids to grow up. Instead of our kids simply being kids, we are expecting them to know it all before the age of five. Technology is partly to blame. With all the information it the world available to us at our fingertips, we try push all the information we have into the minds of children. That almost seems like we are failing them. We aren’t letting them have the childhood we had. Instead of remembering playing outside until dark, they’re going to remember sitting in the living room playing flashcards or watching Sprout. So the next time that meme pops up in your news feed, think about the differences in the generations and how far we’ve come. Are we setting up our kids for success or are we failing them from the start?