Why Kids Who Didn't Grow Up In The 90s Missed Out

by Kendall Wood

Childhood was filled with the days of unbounded freedom and fun. They were the days marked by innocence, playing outside for hours, rolling around in the grass, giggling endlessly, without a worry in the world. New friends were made with each passing day, everyone in the class got a Valentine's Day card and drama was an unknown phenomenon. The world was our oyster and finding amusement in the littlest things came so easily.

Comparing our childhood years between 1980 and 2000, with the childhood years of the children today, you can't help but feel sympathy for these kids who seem to be robbed of the same experiences we had. The world is in constant evolution; new changes arise everyday. The one downfall to our advancing society is the lack of genuineness, it seems. In today's culture, the general population seeks to follow the latest trends, rather than set themselves apart in a unique manner. Everything and everyone seems to fit the mold laid out by rigid societal and political norms.

Technology is perpetually growing and becoming more and more relevant in the lives of the kids today. Although Generation-Y is known as being technology savvy and immune to the most traditional marketing and sales techniques used in today's society, we grew familiar with technology at an older age, when its advancements became more relevant, especially with Apple's boom around 2000.

Higher levels of technology are paving the road for a technology-reliant Generation Z. In some ways, this might be beneficial, considering the growth of our society, but what effect will it have on the children themselves? I used to be envious of my older sister's beeper, thinking that the see-through piece of plastic was the coolest thing ever. The thing is, back in the 90s -- it was the coolest thing ever. These days, every fourth-grader is a proud owner of the latest iPhone model. Many Gen-Yers haven't even hopped on the iPhone bandwagon yet.

The same goes for music-listening capabilities. Thanks to Apple, everyone and their grandmother now owns some version of the iPod. Back during Gen-Yers' childhood days, Walkmans were the sh*t! The day I finally got my yellow Walkman and popped in TLC's CrazySexyCool was one of the most memorable days of my life.

With mP3s and iPods in the picture, Gen-Zers are losing sight of the value of good music. No one listens to albums anymore, but instead, puts on the shuffle option on their iPod to shift through whatever songs are in their music library. Gen-Zers are being exposed to the pop hits of Justin Bieber and every other band that sounds just like him, rather than falling in love with bands that redefine music like Nirvana, Bruce Springsteen or Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Advancing technology is benefiting our youths in terms of educational value, in some ways. Academics are turning to more accelerated electronic methods of learning that allow for customized instruction through sophisticated computer programming and other resources being used in the classroom. Back in the childhood school days of Gen-Yers, it wasn't until the early 90s that some schools even thought about developing computer labs.

In the 90s, we were introduced to software like Oregon Trail and Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego, but we rarely used computers for their Internet researching capabilities until later years. Before Google was introduced in 1998, we would actually walk to the library and use the Dewey Decimal System to find books that pertained to the subject we were researching. Going to the library, getting to the know the librarian and engaging in a good book was a luxury.

These days, it's questionable how much longer librarians and libraries will be relevant to the era, or even in existence. The children of today are spoiled with the resources handed to them that include Internet search engines and computer software that simplifies everything, and many of these children even dread the thought of reading. Advancing technology is a benefit to our ever-growing society, but the children are losing sight of educational value because of technology's implications.

Technology is having great effects on the social norms of Generation-Y, but even greater effects on the growing population of Generation-Z. Higher levels of technology are changing the values of our society and defining our culture. The children of Generation-Z are being corrupted at too early of an age on all things exploited in the media.

While technology has a hand in introducing these kids to advancing technology that impairs their social growth, it could be the new era that's becoming increasingly racy and explicit that is robbing Generation-Z of an innocent childhood and the chance to think for themselves and determine what is of value.

The focus of the media narrows in on changing trends in superficial and materialistic things, alternating political views and opinions and graphic exposure to world issues. While the children of Generation-Z should be properly educated on relevant current events and experience the world for what it is, it seems that we're going about it in all the wrong ways.

The times are changing, but accepting them for what they're turning into is becoming more and more difficult. We need to give the kids a chance to be kids and experience the age of innocence, without corruption of their values. Generation-Y is consistently referred to as a population filled with self-indulgent, technology-crazed and attention-craving individuals.

However, it's the population that raised us who refers to our generation with such disapproval, so what does the future look like for Generation-Z? It's how we're brought up that determines much of who we will be in the future. If we have high hopes and expectations for Generation-Z, then it's up to us to provide these kids with the same genuine upbringing and positive environment that we had.