Growing Up Too Fast [Teen Article]

Shannon is a 17-year-old from Maryland. She enjoys writing, is pro-recycling, and loveloveloves the Jonas Brothers.

Growing up Too FastI wish today’s youth would just slow down.

Everything is about Faster these days—faster Internet, faster downloads; more privileges, more gadgets.

Faster. Sooner. More. Now. Now. NOW.

What happened to just being a kid?

What happened to free entertainment that came from within the folds of your own brain?

When I was a kid, the world was my kingdom and imagination its keys. I admit, we did watch some television and when GameBoy came out and AIM was discovered, they were “like, totally the coolest thing ever!” But for the most part, we were just sent outside and left to fend for ourselves. We made up all kinds of games, using whatever we had on hand—bikes, balls, jump rope, etc. We talked and talked until we were blue in the face; we wrote notes, played cards, told fortunes.

We certainly did more than sit in front of a television all day with our eyes glued to the screen, scanning through age-inappropriate channels or playing video games, or sit in front of a computer all day, watching random YouTube clips until our eyes were bloodshot and our fingers were numb.

Kids aren’t self-motivated anymore. They don’t know how to entertain themselves, by themselves. The minute their parents turn off the television or shut down the computer or confiscate their phones and iPpods, it’s all “I’m bored” and “I don’t know what to do.”

Get up and move! Stimulate your brain! Use it so you won’t lose it!

What happened to more privileges = more responsibilities?

My first cell phone was a brick. It was huge and blocky and only capable of making phone calls. No texting, no television-watching, no music-downloading—just phone calls. And I was totally okay with that. It was a big deal for my mom to think I was old enough, and responsible enough, to handle having a cellphone. Besides, I mean really, at age thirteen, what else did I need a phone for? I saw my friends every day at school; I rarely went out without an adult who was carrying a cellphone of their own. So…?

Well, apparently, kids today have convinced their parents that they desperately need cellphones. And not just any cellphones. Unlimited texting, internet access, mp3 downloading capabilities—with today’s cellphones, kids have all that at their fingertips. They’re so overwhelmed with links to the outside world, they can’t even decide what to expose themselves to first!

Knowledge is powerful, especially when it’s being absorbed by the mind of a tween—uncut, uncensored. Granting kids free access to too much information at once can be harmful; I think that if they can’t process the information and handle it responsibly, they shouldn’t be accessing it in the first place.

And the thing that really baffles me, is that kids don’t just like growing up fast, THEY CRAVE IT. It’s what they want most! They’re constantly looking for ways to appear to be older than they are—their clothes, their hairstyles, their word choice.

I guess they just don’t realize how great they have it. Youth comes with an innocence you can’t manufacture. The simplistic view of the world only lasts a short time; soon enough you’re exposed to the harsh realities that exist in society, and once lost, that innocence is lost forever.

I just think it’s important for parents AND kids to really recognize how valuable their youth really is. Haven’t any of them ever watched Peter Pan? Growing up is inevitable, so you have to savor your youth; blink your eyes and it’s over.

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2 Responses to “Growing Up Too Fast [Teen Article]”

  1. mill
    October 20, 2009 at 12:44 pm #

    nice story.

  2. Vanessa Van Petten
    October 21, 2009 at 8:49 am #

    thank you!

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