The world that our children live in today is drastically different than the one we knew when we were growing up. The rise of social media, text messaging, adult-themed media content, and commercial pressures are all mentioned by parents and some psychologists as proof that children in today’s world are simply growing up too fast. In today’s world children face many social and emotional issues which may have a detrimental effect on their childhood and how fast they grow up.
Mobile phones and social media outlets have provided us with a more convenient way of staying connected but they’ve also given rise to a whole new type of bullying. Old school bullying was mostly confined to classrooms and outside play areas, where bullies could be reprimanded by schools and parents when their acts were discovered. But now, an increasing amount of bullying — harmful jokes, insults, and threats — are taking place in the virtual realm. The NSPCC estimates that about 38% of young people are affected by cyberbullying, raising the question of how such bullying should be monitored or punished. Should teachers be responsible for tracking children’s computer activity at school? Should parents have access to passwords on social media accounts and follow their children’s online activities? Suggested advice for helping children be aware of cyberbulling and what to do if they experience it is to help your children recognise instances of cyberbullying, have them block any children who are bothering them, and keep evidence of the abuse.
* Adult-themed content.
Another major concern for parents today is their childrens’ exposure to adult-themed content. Even if you’ve put child blocks on certain television channels and websites to discourage their viewing of adult-themed content, there are always loopholes to bypass your blocks. Most YouTube videos do not set viewer age restrictions, and raunchy images can be found in a simple Google Search. Children may be stumbling across adult-themed content on accident in the form of pop-up ads and spam messages as well. Some have blamed this overexposure to adult-themed content for the rise of the sexting phenomena as a teenage “norm.” As it’s impossible to control everything your child sees in today’s technological, information age, it is suggested that it is important to have regular talks with them to set boundaries regarding behavioural expectations and to discuss sexual health.
* Psychological Issues.
Earlier this year, the BBC reported that children as young as five are being diagnosed with depression. The article reported that children were being affected by everything from household economic factors to parental substance abuse to personal anxiety, perhaps from increased pressures at school or bullying. Furthermore, BBC Health reports that at least 2% of children under 12 struggle with depression, with up to 5% of teenagers suffering from the illness.
Since child depression only recently started to be extensively studied, it’s hard to tell if we’ve seen a rise in child depression, or just in our ability to identify and understand it. What is being debated right now is to what extent a developing mind should be prescribed anti-depressants, and what we can do to make children minds’ happier and healthier.
The problems that children face today are complex; the more that the issues facing children are discussed and acknowledged will raise awareness and hopefully help children who are suffering and growing up too quickly as well as prevent some children from having issues.
Time goes too quickly; ask any parent and they will tell you that their precious child is growing up so fast and their childhood is flying by, in a blink of an eye their bundle of joy is no longer a little baby. As time flies by, try to savour the moment and spend as much quality time with your children as you can.
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