As a child who grew up in the seventies, I’m flabbergasted at the degree of generational differences in health, medicine, food, safety, and general well-being of children. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and all the advancements we’ve made in several areas, but at the same time when you break it down to the simplest ways of managing human lives, we’ve taken one step forward and three steps back. The level of fear we currently exhibit as parents and as a society towards children is at an unprecedented level. When comparing the two time periods, an element of certainty exists where we have now immersed our most precious assets into an toxic, overly hygienic, medicalized, obsessive compulsive, paranoid, anxious and at the very least, a “cowardice culture” where children are being trained and almost indoctrinated into a world where “the norm” is to fear everything and everyone.
1. Our Entertainment Was Each Other
We had no internet, cell phones, computers or video games. Not only were our lives free of close proximity electronic devices and their constant electromagnetic radiation, but this allowed us to entertain ourselves through peer interaction and physical activity. You’re talking about a dramatic decrease in the level of physical activity from just 40-50 years ago and it’s manifesting itself in obesity, insulin resistance, and precursors to diabetes in children as young as ten years old. We didn’t have these distractions taking us away from each other’s presence, which allowed us to interact, manage and entertain our emotional states with friends. Texting, instagraming and facebooking has turned our children into a generation of mindless drones who can only interact when they’re behind a keyboard, earpiece, speaker or headset–anything else is just too scary.
2. Playing Outside Was Normal, Not Prohibited
Most people who pass by a park today and see 10-year old children playing alone, think “why” as fear strikes a chord. Why are they without their parents? Why are they playing alone without supervision? This was normal and just a way of life in the 70s. We stayed outside until the lights turned off in the summer or heard our parents screaming to come inside. Nobody called the police because a group of kids were playing alone on their street or in the park. When parents had people over, we were expected to go outdoors. We didn’t live in nanny state where unsupervised children were seen as having negligent parents. We should all be ashamed of creating a society where children are prohibited from playing outside with their friends after 6pm or chastising parents for allowing them to. And yes, we had child murderers, molesters, kidnappers back then too. We just didn’t freak out about the “what ifs” at the expense of our children’s freedom and expression of who they are. Now we have them cooped up in front of iPods, iPads, playstation, xbox and any other device that can lock their attention to a screen as long as they’re at home and our perception of security is at ease. Some people call that technological progress, but it’s nothing more than a safety net to ease our conscience and societal expectations gone adrift.
3. Children Were Not Labeled As ADHD, ADD, or Hyperactive. They Were Just Kids Being Kids
Children today are being medicated at alarming rates for what appears to be normal childhood behavior. Yes, there are some children with legitimate behavioral issues but they are an extreme minority and none of these issues are solved by medication. The big problem is that we’re diagnosing and labeling common temper outbursts and other disruptive behavior in millions of children as attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). If you took a subset of 3-year old children from 1970 and transported them to our current timeline, you would see that not much has changed , however the way we deal with them has. We are putting kids on long-term stimulants as if it was candy. A nationwide CDC survey found that 11 percent of children ages 4 to 17 have received a diagnosis of ADHD, and about one in five boys. A vast majority are put on medications such as methylphenidate (commonly known as Ritalin) or amphetamines like Adderall which cause growth suppression, insomnia and hallucinations. About half a trillion US dollars is being wasted on unnecessary medication of young children for ADHD, of which almost 100 million is funded by Medicaid. The youngest kindergarten kids are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than the oldest in the same grade, and also, by the time those groups reached the fifth and eighth grades, the youngest are more than twice as likely to be on prescription stimulants. We’ve taken all “hard to control” kids and lumped them into a couple of diagnostic categories of what we perceive as mental illness. That’s ridiculous. Let’s stop targeting children and start being present with them with new activities, adventure, and change. They need balance with activities that are calming, relaxing, and nurturing. Only then will these children respond to a support system that cares about their development rather than a pill to suppress the symptoms.
Read the rest at: More 70s kids challenge