I am sorry I took you with me on my trek down memory lane last week. For those who remember, it was fun wasn’t it?
By the time I started writing this week’s column - I know some of you will appreciate this - I forgot what point was I was trying to make. It was likely something about kids these days. I am sure it wasn’t about how easy they have it because I don’t think they do. I am sure our simplistic life was much easier in so many ways.
As I said being a kid back then was rough, but we didn’t know it. We played hard and worked hard; we spent more time outside than inside; we likely ate enough dirt to make a country; we had tons of friends and we used our imaginations. We learned - from our parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers and neighbours - how to live in the real world with all kinds of people, to be strong and accountable for ourselves.
Kids today do not have the opportunities we had. We sure didn’t have all the advantages or technology they have but because of it they miss out on a lot of the good things life has to offer. They are less sociable, less connected to other people, less active. I don’t think that’s a good thing. They don’t seem to be near as friendly or as happy. Maybe that is just because we only see the top of their heads most of the time.
This was all brought to my mind when I heard about some recent studies being done on today’s young people. Did you know the rate of cancer in young people is on the rise? The numbers of testicular cancer are significantly higher in young boys and men than ever before. Breast cancer rates in young girls and women is also much higher than before. A reason for this is the cell phone. The device, if not attached to their hand, must be easily accessible at all times so males carry the cell phone in their front pocket and many females will tuck it into their bra. You would think that would be enough to scare them into putting it away occasionally, but it doesn’t.
Another study I was recently hearing about was the correlation between the ominously high increase in mental illness and the advancement of said technology. The study shows young people born since 1995 have increasingly developed higher rates of depression, anxiety and many other mental illnesses than those born before that time and the numbers continue to rise as the technology expands.
The study shows young people have fewer direct and extended conversations, spend less time outside and participate in fewer social activities. They don’t go to bars, dancing or parties as much and are not having sex. This isolation is a trigger for a whole host of mental illnesses, syndromes, disorders and conditions.
I know this is a general statement and not all kids live or behave like what has been described here, but there are enough who do that studies are being done and associations, links, parallels are being determined.
It’s enough to make you just a bit worried, isn’t it?