10-year olds now vs 10-year olds then
When I was 10 years old I was a very happy go lucky, barefooted, outside in the mud and sun kid. I played with Barbie and My Little Ponies and I made up silly concerts with my friends, cousins, and sister. We made up silly games and ran around the block for exercise and rode our bikes to the shops or to any friend we wanted. As long as we were home at dinner time. To earn spending money we knocked on neighborhood doors and offered to collect snails in the gardens for 50c or something like that. I don’t remember the amount, it was 30 years ago. We formed a “Gang” yes it was an acceptable thing in those days and didn’t involve drugs and violence. Our gang was called “The Golden Eagles” We did good deeds around the neighborhood and played for hours in a big overgrown field right next to our house. We even had red T-Shirts my Aunt bought for us at PEP and, we fabric painted Eagles and the name onto them. There was a massive hole in the field and it felt like the size of the Big hole in Kimberly. We played there and there was never a thought of being abducted or accosted in this field, or even being buried alive by the sides of the hole where we had burrowed tunnels into it. We were just carefree and our parents let us do our own thing. They were secure in our safety and this is a childhood memory I will treasure forever.
So what prompted the title of this post and the first paragraph you may ask? Well, let me explain. I have been a mother for going on 11 years. I have three children. Two girls and a boy. We live in a suburban area of a bustling town. We are still lucky in that we are somewhat out of the city but still the safety and security of my three children is at the forefront of my mind. Each day, we hear of abductions, rapes, murders and other ghastly things happening to children and so, of course, our natural instinct is to keep them by our sides at all times where possible. We question letting them go out to stay over at friends who’s parents you don’t know well, or even to leave them at a drop and go birthday party at the Spur or waterslides. It’s even a more hair-raising thought if you work full time and they need to wait for your for an hour or two at school before they can be collected because Lord knows, they can’t ride their bikes home or walk. Still you worry that they are safe in the school grounds and when you can’t find them for a few moments at the time and place you scheduled to meet you completely lose your mind and think the worst only to find them in another obscure place after first phoning all the friends and consulting the class WhatsApp groups.
All this directly affects children’s interests and what they do when they should actually be playing outside and making up silly games with neighborhood kids. I find it extremely sad that safety and entertainment of children as they get older and more self-reliant is now tied directly to technology. Yes, parents and interaction with siblings, friends and family is still very present and a big part of their lives, so don’t get all judgey please! Before I was pregnant I said I would never let my kids watch too much TV or play on computers but I bit my tongue when I started to realize that without too much say in it, technology has become a replacement for all those wonderful things I did as a child because it is just safer that way. Computers,
Computers, I-Pads, and the TV have been part of the picture since the beginning but it is only now this Christmas when my eldest child no longer requested Crafting items or girly type gifts for herself, that I knew that things have changed drastically. This year has seen the dawn of quite a few technological additions to her life, one of which is getting my go ahead for her own YouTube Channel which I manage, but that she uses to film cute DIY’s or helpful videos for kids her age. I want to stop right here though, and tell you that all of my school going children excel at school and her average in her grade 4 year was 85% so please nobody tell me that I am being a bad parent for allowing this. She and her siblings are also extremely well adjusted and confident, well-behaved children. We do a lot of other things too, and studying and school work are a large part of my kids day after school. They also don’t sit glued to technology on weekends. We do family stuff. We also don’t have DSTV for instance and so there is no distraction from that. That all being said I was still shocked when my 10, soon to be 11-year old requested not a Jewelry making kit or nail polish and hair goodies, Oh so heavenly bath products or books for Christmas as in the past, but when paging through my Clicks Clubcard magazine and laying her eyes on a Hot pink Bluetooth Selfie Stick, Headphone and Speaker set that she belted out “Mom, I have to have this for Christmas!” I couldn’t quite believe my eyes. She has an Iphone that she inherited from her Dad at upgrade time and she uses that to film her videos, she listens to music on her
“Mom, I have to have this for Christmas!”
She has an Iphone that she inherited from her Dad at upgrade time and she uses that to film her videos, she listens to music on her iPhone so I understood the headset and speaker, but the Selfie Stick completely turned my little applecart upside down. After asking her about it because she is not one to duckface for Instagram, in fact she doesn’t have Instagram, she said that it was to help her “Vlog” OMG, when did Vlog become part of the vocab of a 10-year-old? I guess I can be grateful she is not wanting it to capture “Squad pics” of herself and friends and post them all over Social Media. I’d stop the buck right there. That is probably coming though so I will have to have a good long talk about this said Hot Pink Selfie stick. When Selfie sticks first came out I laughed so hard and couldn’t believe anybody would actually want to use it and swore I would never. Now look, my own daughter wants one. Let me also just add, she would be happy with just the Selfie stick. The headphones and speaker are just by the way. They are Hot Pink though so she still HAS to have them.
So there it is, it has come to this. 10 Year olds want Selfie Sticks and follow hair tutorials and Vloggers like Zoella and others on YouTube. They no longer spend hours lying on the lounge floor talking the hind leg off a donkey on the phone to their best friend they just left 2 hours earlier after school that they would see again at 7:45 the next morning. They Whatsapp now and send voice notes. This I know is all In the name of keeping our kids safer because sending them out in the neighborhood is just not an option. I am aware that technology still can present to be a dangerous place for young people if not monitored and handled correctly so please parents, if this is the route you also find yourself taking, please be cautious and mindful about it. Manage it yourself wherever you can and never let your kids alone and without guidance. Have access to everything and set everything up yourself. Monitor it daily and be in charge of posting anything yourself. That is the rule we have. Videos that are shot and edited by my daughter are first watched and Ok’d by me and then I do the posting and manage comments etc. Being in the blogging industry has made me aware of just how dangerous the online space can be. So be wise about it.
So how has your Christmas shopping been going? What strange requests have your kids had? If you are the parent of a pre-teen, how have you experienced a change in gifts or interests? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you.