Are kids TOO sheltered from reality?

@hvedra (1623)
March 29, 2011 11:20am CST
Last week a friend's daughter who is thirteen said one of her teachers had said something in a lesson about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and only THREE kids in the class knew anything about it. I asked my friend's daughter what the hot topic of conversation was in school that week and she said "The Friday Song" and then had to explain that to me. Isn't it a bit weird and worrying that kids know all about an internet song/abuse campaign directed at a novelty song but not about a massive event like a devastating earthquake? These are teenagers, not little children. Whilst I don't think kids should be burdened with too much of the world's troubles I do think they should be aware of them. Is there really a generation out there that is so detached from what is really going on? One that is overloaded and obsessed with trivia that there's no room for important world events in their lives?
14 people like this
28 responses
@AmbiePam (48182)
• United States
30 Mar 11
This is a good discussion, and one I'm not sure how to answer. I do think that at the age of 13 an older child/young adult should be more aware of what is going on in the world. At that age in my class we had done several current event reports. We would each be responsible for cutting out a news article from the paper and then giving an oral report on it. By thirteen we had been doing that for three years. Maybe when the children are younger they should be sheltered. When I was a child I worried about everyone and everybody. When something bad would happen in the world I would cry for people I didn't even know. In my case, a little sheltering would have been good. In other children's cases, if they show no signs of concern for the outside world, perhaps they need to have some cold water splashed in their faces. Just enough to start preparing them for what will be going on for the rest of their lives. And maybe thirteen is the perfect age to start.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (96669)
• Marion, Kansas
30 Mar 11
I think this is a perfect answer here. Why is this school not keeping the kids up to current events? I know that the school does not control how tuned out they are at home at night, and on days when there is not school, but they surely can talk about the current events in school and require that the students keep up.
2 people like this
@hvedra (1623)
30 Mar 11
I do think there needs to be a balance between the kids not being burdened with events but being aware of them. A lot of kids are so sheltered from reality that once it starts to creep up on them they try to hide from it. This is why we are looking at so many "kidults" who are in their twenties and still living like teenagers and expecting a "grown up" to make everything okay for them. Scary!
1 person likes this
@sender621 (14956)
• United States
29 Mar 11
I think that the majority o xhildren in society today are too sheltered. it can be a rude awakening for them when they see what it is to be a responsible individual in the world. Sometime too much shelter can be more harm than good.
@hvedra (1623)
30 Mar 11
I do worry what all the detachment from reality is doing to them. Because they have it easy (and a lot of teens in the developed West have it very easy), when disaster strikes be it a big thing like an earthquake or a personal disaster they might not be able to cope.
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@dainy1313 (2354)
• Leon, Mexico
5 Apr 11
Yes! I know of what are you talking about! I was too sheltered, and I try to shelter my children too. I faced life after a heartbroken relationship, and I attend since then a ministry working for poor people without salary. That makes me often face reality. I think we face life, sooner or farther. But we all face reality at once. DonĀ“t you think so? Blessings!...Dainy
• Philippines
29 Mar 11
Teens watch what they wanna watch so I guess that's why they just missed a very devastating event that had just happened in a country. Or maybe they just don't wanna give a damn. Teens wanna have fun and stuff like that is really a downer. Maybe they have watched a clip or two but didn't bother watching it all through. Teenagers have a lot to worry because, from what I remember, it's a transitional stage in life so that might be another reason. They'll realize how important it is soon enough, they just need a little nudge.
2 people like this
• Mexico
29 Mar 11
Hi front visions: I remembered when I was 14 I care about these subjects but maybe that's because I am a nerd . I agree that they are growing up but I don't like these teens that think it's all about them and their problems. There are a lot of important things happening in the world. They should care about them too. ALVARO
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Mar 11
I'm speaking for myself only here, but I can see both sides of the coin here. I can see where it would be worrying to you that only three kids in your daughter's friend's class were interested, I think kids should be allowed to be kids for as long as possible and society is forcing them to grow up far too fast. I also think that the present generation of kids thinks that adults in general don't csre about others, and sadly, in too many cases that is true. Kids learn from those around them.
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@hvedra (1623)
30 Mar 11
It's not so much about being interested, they weren't even aware. It was more like "what earthquake?" which is really worrying. I think society forces kids to grow up too fast in some ways but in others they don't seem to grow up at all. It seems that each generation gets more and more self-absorbed which is a terrifying prospect.
• United States
30 Mar 11
I bet people said the same thing when our generation was growing up as well. I'm not trying to be snarky, I do see what you're saying, it's just that I'm trying to put as positive a spin on it as I can. I have to or I'd go nuts worrying all the time.
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@celticeagle (117267)
• Boise, Idaho
30 Mar 11
They have known and just played dumb so they didn't have to participate. Alot of Kids that age don't care about what is going on in the world. They should have more teachers who assign current events. WHat happened to conversations at the dinner table too? Kids are being stimulated obviously about anything but songs and such.
@hvedra (1623)
30 Mar 11
I'm not sure they played dumb, having seen some of the kids they seem to live in a "bubble". I also wonder of them ever sit down at the dinner table at all, let alone have a conversation. Too many dinners on their laps in front of the TV and that kind of thing. I can understand why they don't want to focus on the real world but parents and schools seem to be failing to keep them informed or to prepare them for life.
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (117267)
• Boise, Idaho
30 Mar 11
This is true. Scarey.
• Philippines
30 Mar 11
You're right you have a definitive point too, these young people should never be sheltered by what is happening to the world they should be informed and get inspired to make reviews and comment about the current events especially one that happend recently in Japan. As a teacher by profession I always inculcate to students the price of being informed and knowlegeable about things that affect our modern time the personification of events that will help them to navigate the commonalities of life, the pain that a lot of people have been going on to,but this does not mean we are exposinhg them to harsh realities of life but this will promote better thinking and concern, a good training to direct critical thinking to the young thus it will enrich their philosophy in life. They will be mindful to their environment and be objective in their views about the intricacies of life, the younger they are made aware the better they are protected and prepapred.
@hvedra (1623)
30 Mar 11
It's good that you are teaching the kids to take an interest and to analyse what is going on. One of the things that worries me is that if they think the world and life is all fluff and fun when the brown stuff hits the fan in their own lives they won't be able to cope. Everybody goes through some kind of disaster in their lives - usually personal - but knowing how the world really is would prepare kids for it and might even help with some damage limitation.
@skydancer (1875)
• United States
29 Mar 11
I do believe today's children are very sheltered from reality. Back in 2004, when I was in college, one of my professors said she saw me working for college Republicans. I thought, "Oh no, here comes a political debate!" Instead, she said, "That's good. You know what's going on and where you stand on issues. I just taught a class full of students who didn't even know who was running for president!" Unfortunately, it's not just the younger generation. Have you ever seen those "Jaywalking" segments where nobody can get passed the first line of the national anthem or where they don't know what the "DC" in Washington DC stands for? There was even a girl at my high school who did not know who won the Revolutionary War. It pains me that these people don't know anything about their country and yet fancy themselves qualified to make decisions about its future. When I was in school, my social studies/history teachers always took the first five to ten minutes of class to discuss current events. Sometimes, we even had to apply the concepts we learned in class to current events (esp. when we class sessions consisted of economic, legal, and political systems). Even science class dealt with current events occasionally. I do think it is important that kids, once they hit adolescence, know what is going on in the world. They are approaching voting age, for one thing, and if you're going to lend your voice to the future of your country you'd best be a well-informed citizen. Other important decisions they make in later life might also require them to know what is going on. I am not for burdening them with such problems. But they should at least have a general idea.
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@hvedra (1623)
30 Mar 11
I've never seen Jaywalking but that kind of thing doesn't surprise me, there are similar horrors here in the UK.
• United States
29 Mar 11
YES! I think that children these days are highly sheltered from reality, and I don't think that they should be because it makes them fearful as adults, and lately, now is not a time to be fearful, now is a time to prepare and get ready in case anymore problems occur. My mother and I are already ready for the big one when it hits us (we live in California in case anyone didn't know). Children worry about trivial garbage like Justin Bieber and Rebecca Black, when they should know about what is going on in the world. Even at my university, many professors are worried that children and teens know more about media, but know little about literature, history, and foreign affairs, things that are important in an ever changing world.
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@hvedra (1623)
30 Mar 11
I think teens will always be interested in pop music, fashion and so on but these days it seems there is no room for anything else. Because they can access the fluffy media 24/7 that is all they know.
@cream97 (29169)
• United States
29 Mar 11
Hi. hvedra. Yes, in a way, they are too sheltered. And in another way, they are just tuning out of these bad events. They could also be scared as well. Many teenagers are more into the worldly things and not what is happening in the world. It is only when they get a taste of life for themselves that they will soon realize that they are truly missing out on what is actually going on in this world. Teenagers will be teenagers and as they mature then they will understand and be more sympathetic to what is really taking place in this world.
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@hvedra (1623)
30 Mar 11
My only fear is that some of them may not mature until they hit their thirties. There are a lot of twenty somethings out there who are living the lifestyle of teenagers - I don't blame them in many ways, who wants responsibility when you can just have fun? What does worry me is that they aren't a tiny minority of molly-coddled kidults but it seems to be becoming the norm.
@MsTickle (24991)
• Australia
1 Apr 11
I don't have a problem with young people not being aware of the calamities and horrors of the world. I do have a problem with kids being left in front of cable TV and the internet watching and playing with all kinds of unrealistic rubbish. What happened to families doing together including discussing what is happening in the world in age appropriate fashion?
• India
31 Mar 11
Hello! After going through your topic of discussion would like to add that for children being neglectant about current affairs, even parents are to be blamed. Parents should make sure that along with cartoons and other channels children should be forced to watch daily news on TV. In our home me and my husband make it a point to watch news channels at night after dinner. At that time our son sits with us and keeps on asking questions about things and events which are beyond his understanding. Now that my son is going to be eleven, during current holidays, I have instructed him to go through newspaper head lines. To make sure that he goes through this, in the evening while he is helping me in the kitchen I ask him about what he had read in the paper. It is my personal opinion that in todays' competitive world it is must for a child to be aware of everything that is happening around him.
1 person likes this
@daeckardt (6245)
• United States
31 Mar 11
It is pretty bad when kids don't know what is going on in the world. While I don't think exposing them endlessly to the media is a good thing, major events should be known. I avoid watching the news myself because most of it is garbage, but when I hear about something like what happened in Japan I will check out at least the headlines in yahoo news or whatever people share in here. There should be some emphasis on world events in schools, but it shouldn't be all over the place like the news stations like to make it where stories are repeated constantly throughout a disaster. I think that was the biggest thing that turned me off to the news after tragedies like 9/11 and various natural disasters both before and after that time.
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@cerebellum (3871)
• United States
30 Mar 11
Some parents shelter their children too much. I am sure they don't watch the news. The things that happened in Japan would have been hard not to hear about though. I don't watch the news often, but I heard about it. It was all over the internet and even some discussions here. Even if their parents NEVER discuss what is going on in the world it is hard to believe they are as ignorant of the real world as they are. I am not a parent, but I see kids all the time that have never experienced disapointing things in life. An example is all kids in a competition getting a trophy. Yes it could hurt your self-esteem to realize you lost, but life is like that.
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@jdyrj777 (6558)
• United States
30 Mar 11
I dont think its about being sheltered or not. Sheltered would be more like the parents keep things from them. But this is about teenagers. Most of which go online to facebook and such. The opening page of yahoo has all the news. Im assuming other homepages are too. When said teen is opening up the internet to get to their facebook they first will see the homepage of the computer. Which is covered with all kinds of world news. I think the case may be that they are most self centered and only interested in their own little world. And not whats going on around the world.
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@aeiou78 (3457)
• Malaysia
30 Mar 11
This is the problem of their age, Hvedra. I don't think every kids will understand the realities. After growing up older, I am sure they will concern the realities soon. Be patient and let them have some times to grow, to learn and to be mature. For me, kids are the most innocent people.
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@deebomb (15323)
• United States
30 Mar 11
Some of the lack of interest can be blamed on the parents. My daughter and son-in-law do not often watch the news let alone discuss it with the teenagers or even with each other. By the time kids are thirteen they should start to get interested in what is going on in the world around them. It should start at home but since some parents are not interested it can start at school. After all these kids will be taking care of our future. I have two grandkids that when they were in school did have teachers that encouraged them to know what was going on around them. but at the same time teachers should not try to influence how the kids think. Teach them only the facts but not give a slant on the news. The media dose that already. At my granddaughters school they don't even broadcast the "Pledge of allegiance" any more and the law says they are supposed to every morning.
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@writersedge (22579)
• United States
30 Mar 11
13, I don't really think of as teenagers. We call them tweens here. Between child and a real teenager like 16. I used to watch the news with my parents starting at a young age. So I knew what was going on in the world. One tv, two tv stations and either after or during supper (depending on when you had it), you had the news on both stations. Most kids now are doing homework during the news or watching MTV or something. Some of the blood and gore now on the news, I don't know if I'd have a 13 year old watch it. But I would at least have them read headlines in the newspaper. That was the other thing. Every morning my parents got the newspaper and read the headlines outloud to us. So we got the world news on TV and then again from at least the headlines in the newspaper. I think most kids are busy texting, on computer doing facebook, etc. I think they're detached from everything. We saw two kids holding hands at the Mall and their other hand was to their ear with a cell phone. I've seen people texting and walk out in front of cars. Detached from the world's troubles? Some people aren't even in the world with us any more. They're in cyberspace all the time. Over here, they're worried that we're bringing up kids who can't relate to other people, like talking to them in real life. Understanding real problmes, helping others, etc.
1 person likes this
• Oman
30 Mar 11
As an educator and an educational manager for close to a decade now, I strongly suggest that we do away with what is ideal within the four walls of the classroom or even outside. We must instead embrace what is real and pragmatic. As teachers, we must always have the hang of infusing current events in our lessons so as for students to have a link of what is discussed inside the classroom up to the moment they reach home for follow up and interaction among members of his family. As a parent, I would appreciate the effort of the teachers who exemplify this kind of behavior for my child is a well-rounded one! Not only is he academically proficient but also socially aware and excellent! Im sure parents out there (both biological and secondary) would agree with me. =)
• United States
30 Mar 11
I agree that they should be more aware. When the twin towers hit I was only a kid and I could not understand at all but I still was somewhat aware of it and told about it. I have to say though, in my household the Friday song is a huge trending topic as well lol, and even amongst my internet friends from different parts of the world. In England they know about it. It's being called the worst song/video and sadly enough there is worse crap on the radio these days. It's laughable it's so bad though, I enjoy it. Anyway, back to topic, I do believe in school they should be made aware of these types of incidents.
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@GardenGerty (96669)
• Marion, Kansas
30 Mar 11
That is so sad, but I know that I was very unaware of many things. I think I knew about natural disasters, though, and the cold war, because I was scared to sleep at night for fear a tornado would get me, or the Russians would bomb the Air Force Base not two miles from me.I think there needs to be balance, but it sounds like that classroom is way off.
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