Photo courtesy of parentpalace.com
After concluding my sixth year as a summer camp counselor, I can now fully comprehend one thing: I am fearful for future generations.
Let me preface this by saying that for the first five years of working at my local town summer camp, I was a camp counselor for junior camp, which has kids ages 8-11. This year, however, I assumed a leadership position, being promoted to the athletic director of senior camp, which has kids ages 12-14.
Having a bigger role at the camp allowed me to interact with the kids more as opposed to previous years when I was assigned to a group. That wasn’t a bad thing by any means, it just meant that I was more exposed to the new fledgling teen culture that even to me, only being 19, is somehow nothing like when I was the same age as the campers. What I discovered is that I am quite appalled and frightened by the outlook of this generation and for generations to come.
The reason I thought about this topic in the first place is because of an almost daily exchange between me, an experienced counselor, and a group of soon-to-be eighth graders. Some of the things I heard/saw from them are just utterly distasteful. Even with me being within earshot, I heard them almost purposefully holler out vulgarities and other crude remarks that were certainly not appropriate for camp by any means. Some of these comments were even directed at me, especially when I asked them to be a part of my athletic activities, which was the main duty of my position. The only power I really had in stopping this sort of behavior was to simply tell them repeatedly to not use that type of language at camp, but against my wishes, they continued to anyway.
Even now, I am still trying to wrap my mind around why some of the campers acted so brashly, but I was able to determine a few possible reasons. Maybe they were seeking attention for themselves? Possibly, but a more likely scenario is that kids at the age they are at my camp (12-14) are encountering their first tastes of independence. Perhaps that is the reason they acted out the way they did. Those are all potential conclusions, but for me the proof is in the pudding, and that pudding is technology.
What I’ve come to finally understand is that despite these kids being only a few years younger than I am, they grew up in a much more technologically advanced time than I did. For instance, many of the campers walked around fidgeting with their iPhones. When I was their age, I was lucky to even have a cell phone. I had one of those flip phones that to text, you had to hit the button multiple times for the letter to change. There was one day when, no joke, I turned around in the cafeteria, and every single camper was looking down doing something on a smartphone.
While I have to admit myself, technology is great, it is corrupting our youth. With the seemingly endless 24/7 plugged-in atmosphere that technology like smartphones create, kids nowadays won’t let it leave their fingertips. It exposes kids to nearly unlimited Internet access that for the most part is left harmfully uncensored. That is the chief reason why I think kids tend to use such foul language and lash out against superiors today. That’s what they have become accustomed to, and if this trend is happening to kids not even a decade younger than me, what’s going to happen to the next generation? And the generation after that?
My biggest fear is that they are going to rely solely upon technology, which would inhibit growth and maturity in areas like social interaction, something that is crucial to development. Don’t get me wrong, technology is wonderful and useful, but until kids, and adults, for that matter, can understand that there should be a limit to its use, future generations are doomed. Yes, by all means should technology be utilized, but it should be employed for meaningful reasons.
Instead of watching some mainstream YouTube video, or some useless viral Twitter video, get some fresh air and do something productive. Play a game, try something new, explore. Whatever the case, there seems to be a problem we all need to fix and that only starts with teaching our youth the right way to act and think.
With the dawn of some highly sophisticated technological advances set to take place over the next few years, the problem might only be exacerbated. The fact of the matter is that until we can finally learn to disconnect from such an overbearing technological age, our future generations are in for a real digital dilemma.
By: Luke Feliciano ~Sports Editor~