I was born in the late 80s and grew up as a 90s kid. I played with Pokemon cards, went skateboarding, climbed trees and swam in the sea. It was good to be a child back then, no online bullying, no pressure to grow up, plus only 4 TV channels. Life was simpler before tech came and stripped away everyone's innocence.
Instead of Netflix, I had Blockbuster. There was no Spotify, instead, there was Top of the pops! I'd spend quality time with my friends outside. No distractions and no loud, intrusive notifications, just us and nature. It was fun to be a child in the 90s.
In modern times children have to deal with the stress of being available 24/7. Social anxiety and depression have shot through the roof. Children rarely speak to people face to face. They stay safe tucked behind their screens, ordering food, clothes and groceries.
Everything is digital.
Growing up without social media was a very different experience. We couldn't easily stay in touch with friends and family members who lived far away. Instead, we had to pick up the phone or write a letter to stay connected. It made moments of contact better, these moments were special. It wasn't like the instant world we live in now. Where everyone is constantly available.
Kids in the 90s spent a lot more time outside, a lot. There was no problem trying to get me out of the house. I would finish school, run home, get changed and head straight down to the skatepark. I would go on walks, play board games, and explore our neighbourhoods without worrying about getting lost. Many kids today don't even know what it's like to play outside without using some type of electronic device. I find that incredibly sad, they have to be present in the online world to be relevant. The outside world has lost its charm to the online world.
You could escape bullying before social media came to fruition.
The acts of bullying were easier to handle, if you had a bully you had to weather the storm through the school day, until you could go home and forget about them. Then the internet came along there was virtually no escape. A difference between traditional bullying that happens in person versus cyberbullying is the frequency with which they occur. Technology is facilitating 24–7 access to pain and humiliation. Children and teens can be cyberbullied 24–7, through different online platforms such as email, IMs, social media, text messaging and calls. Cyberbullying can happen all day, every day and you cannot avoid the notifications and alerts.
It's heartbreaking to see. Being young in a digital world must be hard.
Ridicule and judgement
I am so happy that I grew up in time when we didn't have to worry about being judged or ridiculed on social media. I cannot imagine how that would have impacted my emotional and physical well-being.
Children and teens are very susceptible to the opinions of their peers and do not need the pressure of being ridiculed online. Now social media has escalated this 1000X. There is so much pressure to be "perfect," you need to have thousands of followers to be relevant, alongside having the perfect body and lots of money.
If you don't have these things you will be ridiculed and judged.
Art has now been reduced to something fickle and uncreative. Everything is now "content." there is no longer art, everything has to be shared online and profited from. this has ruined art for myself and many other creatives. Although it is easier for us to broadcast our art online, the pressure to churn out content has stripped us of our creativity. Forcing us to feed the algorithm with half-finished, half-assed, pieces of art.
All in the name of content.
Social media VS the world
The internet has changed the world, and there's no going back. Social media has many drawbacks, yet, it has made it easier to stay in contact with lost friends and family. Our attention spans are becoming worse, and anxiety is rising. Before the internet we would read a book or play outside to alleviate boredom.
The world is forgetting the art of being bored. Everything is a distraction, your phone is sucking your life away. It is time to put your phone away and relive those wonderful times before tech stripped us of life. Remember a simpler time when life was more meaningful.
A time when childhood was easy. You didn't have to battle with algorithms or be jealous of strangers. There wasn't so much pressure to be perfect. It was easy, no time was wasted scrolling. Just staring up at the sky imagining weird shapes in the clouds.
I want my children to experience life outside of the digital world.
This was originally published on my Medium