The Uncensored Truth about Childhood

Ever wonder why kids are in a hurry to grow up? Well here's the answer....


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2. The Future Generation: A Lost Cause

Its been a while since I last came on this site...well I had exams to write, places to go, people to kill...but HEY! I am back! Yes I know this essay probably contrasts with my views in 'The Uncensored Truth about Childhood', but thats because I GREW up, I began to see the world in a new light, and my views took a dramatic U-turn...

The Future Generation: A Lost Cause

Nothing makes you feel older than being surrounded by those younger than you. Thus being in my final school year suddenly virtually everyone else is younger than me, and I feel ancient.  Standing at the very edge of the abyss that is adulthood, I constantly find myself observing children, not as an equal, but as a curious bystander. And if I have learnt anything from this, it is that childhood is not what it once was.

To me and many others, our childhood were years were even the most impossible of dreams were very possible realities.  Remember when childhood meant going out and rolling about in the mud? Remember when childhood meant everyday was a new adventure. One day we were sailing the seas with swashbuckling pirates, the next exploring new worlds and then battling ferocious dragons with noble knights. We never wanted it to end, growing up was the last thing on our little minds. 

But today childhood seems to have taken on a new meaning and children seem to be in an anxious rush to grow up. The moment I truly realized this was when I overheard a little girl no more than eleven years old groan ‘Eww Lion King is for kids! It’s so lame, how could you watch it?’ Coincidentally just the other day I had been watching the very same movie, bawling as a young Simba tried desperately to wake a dead Mufasa up, and singing along to hakuna matata. I found myself wondering why did this little girl deem herself too old for Lion king? What made her think that she wasn’t a little kid herself? At the young age of eleven did she actually consider herself an adult, or adolescent?

The appalling truth is yes. According to a study by Netmums.com, childhood in the modern world ends at the tender age of twelve! But what is the cause behind this drastic decline in the golden age of childhood?

Personally, I blame the media. Television, magazines, posters bombard young minds with sexualized images transforming them in to a grotesque form of mini adults. A sight so radically altering, because it goes against every impression and belief we had of childhood. A perfect example of this is probably the notorious child beauty pageant show, ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’. A show that lumps make- up on the baby faces of little toddlers, squeezes them in to stripper outfits complete with false breasts and then parades them in a complete mockery of the magic of childhood. One episode even had a four year sashay about on stage with a cigarette in her mouth!

When did we sink so low as to even think of sexualizing young girls no less than 5 years old on public television? How can a mother exhibit her own daughter shamelessly in a hooker ensemble? What sort of person forces a four year old to go through the excruciating procedure of eye brow waxing? Little girls are supposed to be playing with dolls, not becoming dolls.

Let’s not even talk about Miley Cyrus. Just a few short years ago she was a sweet-faced brunette, the idol of little girls everywhere. Today she is a bleached blonde, who struts about on public television in what can only be defined as underwear, twerking like there’s no tomorrow. This was the girl who was once called a role model, but now she has been named the ‘Worst Celebrity Influence’. That’s not a shocker has Miley’s antics has influenced young girls to dance provocatively in skimpy outfits. Not exactly what you are looking for in the future generation.

Even former sex-symbol Raquel Welch lashed out at the obscene exploitation of young children as sexualized divas, saying, “Seriously, folks, if an aging sex symbol like me starts waving the red flag of caution over how low moral standards have plummeted, you know it's gotta be pretty bad.”

The fast growing modern consumer culture is another culprit of forced child growth. The business world saw a prospective market in young children and latched on to them like blood-thirsty leeches.  Youngsters are attacked by advertising and media with what is ‘cool’ and ‘acceptable’. These may come in the form of branded clothing, electronics, accessories etc. Advertisements seduce the naïve minds of children into thinking that they need this or that to ‘fit in’ and to ‘be popular’. Thus the material child is born and the boundary between childhood and adolescence has eroded, simply because it is profitable.

But it’s not just media and consumer culture that are endangering childhood. Shockingly some of the blame falls on the parents too. Parents drag their child along on a rat race, from Piano lessons, to Karate class, to Math’s tuition and then Elocution. Parents are constantly forcing their children to succeed. At the end of the day, the kids have no time for themselves. One might say, that parents do only what’s best for their children. Yet is it right to force that much responsibility on children? Remember this is an age when one must be carefree and oblivious to life’s obligations. After all there’s enough time all for that when you are older.

The threatened period of childhood is a serious issue, and one can point fingers and names as to the cause. However the damage is irrevocable. Today a nine year old main concern would be how thin they are, or if they are macho enough. Increasing numbers of children are turning to drugs and alcohol. Girls would rather twerk and the boys are Googling grinding techniques. We are not raising future responsible adults, we are raising future ruffians.

For years we envisioned the future generation as our savior. They were the embodiment of hope. The future generation was going to remedy all our errors and lead the world to greater and grander heights.  But as it turns out, the future generation has more ‘pressing concerns’ than the future of the world.

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