When my son finished kindergarten, he couldn’t read anything at all yet. His teachers were screaming as if their hair was on fire because he sang the alphabet as he damn well pleased and if he didn’t know a word he just made one up. We took him to Kumon (hey, there is no problem that can’t have money thrown at it) and they gave him their standard battery of test and promptly ushered us out the door. Their worksheets started waaaaay above his level.
I bring this up because nine years and change later, my son has decent reading skills yet has largely eschewed social media. He has had a smartphone since he was nine because we wanted to be able to reach him while he went exploring with friends or alone. He frequently forgets or loses it or lets it die. He has class blogs and phone notifications to follow for homework, but he is not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. He watches YouTube without a login. He is a ghost. Apparently, to some psychologists, this means he will take over the world at 25.
Just kidding. One psychologist is calling his generation the iGeneration (or iGen) and thinks that smartphones and social media are ruining his entire generation.
One day he just blurted out that he isn’t interested in social media. I asked him why. He just shrugged and mumbled something about “all the problems” but he wouldn’t elaborate. He isn’t a very vocal guy sometimes. I think he is referring to cyber-bullying and communication problems via text medium. He is playing it safe because he often doesn’t understand things. He frequently solves problems by avoiding them in the first place.
This from the article struck me as a little weird:
But only about 56 percent of high-school seniors in 2015 went out on dates; for Boomers and Gen Xers, the number was about 85 percent.
I have mixed feelings reading this. I have always encouraged getting out and exploring and he has much face time with friends. Still, he may be isolating himself (or not). I am not pushing social media on him; it is totally up to him if he wants to brave it. He says he doesn’t talk to people at school. Maybe this is part of it. I don’t know, but I think that I am finally old enough not to understand young people. I also think that GenX’s obsession with keeping them from doing anything wrong is keeping them from doing anything at all. Then again, I also hear that suburban high schools are riddled with drugs. Surely they aren’t doing these alone?
Let’s hear it for:
- Social Misfits – Should be plenty of these. So-called “teen angst” is a feature, not a bug. the iGeneration may have it rougher than we think if they aren’t even bothering to date.
- Online Obsession – Surely, by now, there are songs about cyber addiction, selfies and people that look like anime.
- Unplugged – Acoustic guitars, banjos, mandolins, etc. Cut the cord!
Here are your dedications:
Santino – Jeremy
Thrill – Selfies
WVR – I Miss You
Zurvan – Wayfaring Stranger
Grendel – Precious Things