We live in a fast-paced world where trends come and go, movies are downloaded in a matter of minutes, and pictures travel on opposite sides of the globe in a matter of seconds. Kids depend so much on their gadgets (and having only one gadget is never enough) and, sadly, some don’t even play traditional outdoor games anymore because they would rather sit in their rooms in front of the computer.

Those who were born in the past two decades undoubtedly see the vast differences between the childhood life of yesterday and today. Things change with each passing year, and a decade’s worth of change is evident especially for those who passed through both worlds.

Let’s take a look at what has changed between the two generations:

  • Kids used to play with their imagination. Household items such as coat hangers are turned into guns, a pile of pillows become a fortress, and a drinking straw is a cigarette. Outdoor games such as hide-and-seek, tag, treasure hunting, and imaginative adventures were a staple on a kid’s Saturday after watching the early morning cartoons. Nowadays, kids still play outdoor games but not as many of them as before. For many, the closest to “outdoor” they can get is by playing in a computer shop or sitting in their front lawn playing Candy Crush on iPads.
  • Gadgets weren’t as widespread before compared to now. Back then, it was rare for a kid to have a mobile phone. They relied on Sony Discmans and Walkmans for music, Game Boy and handheld LCD games for gaming, and electronic organizers for storing information. And who could ever forget that Tamagotchis were very famous back then?

Today, having a smartphone is becoming a norm and having only one isn’t always enough for some. Even fourth graders brag their iPhone to their classmates, who eventually will have one of their own. Sure, gadgets are very much beneficial, but let’s not overlook certain negative factors in prolonged use at an early age especially in terms of eyesight.

  • Kids made friends with others by talking to other kids, playing with them, sharing toys, and eating snacks together. Now, a click of a mouse on the “add friend” button is equivalent to a newfound buddy. Social media sure has made communication easier compared to writing snail mail or putting up your name on the pen-pal section of a magazine, but kids sometimes rely on it too much that their face-to-face social skills start to deterioriate.
  • Television shows were more family oriented and clean, and cartoons usually are bundled with thrilling adventures and moral lessons. A lot of today’s television shows hav violence and marital infidelity reigning supreme in the local airwaves, but of course there are still shows that are good for kids.

Same goes for music. Nowadays some songs freely use foul language and provocative music videos and they can be easily heard / viewed thanks to the radio and the internet.

  • Speaking of the internet, it wasn’t accessible before compared to today. The internet was slow and connecting isn’t that easy. Today, anyone with a smartphone and wifi connection can easily open up any website, search for anything in Google, and discover a collection of material ranging from educational to dangerous. The internet is a wide open field of possibilities that, when unsupervised, can corrupt young minds.
  • Google was introduced in 1998 and it didn’t enter our country’s cyberspace not until the early 2000’s. Back then, kids visit libraries and read books regarding the subject they were researching or to read a good fiction book. Kids still visit libraries today, but not everyone is there to do research since a quick copy-paste from a website is enough for an assignment. Resources are easily handed to kids in this generation, technology has simplified a lot of things, and it is sad to think that there are kids who actually despise reading.

Advancements in technology and lifestyle make tasks more simpler and life a lot more easier. Computers greatly help us in the things we need to do, communication via the internet and mobile phones are extremely valuable especially in emergency situations. The kids in the past didn’t have the modern conveniences present in today’s generation, but that doesn’t mean that life back then was very difficult. They just learned how to do things in their own way, played games, made friends, and had fun without the need of so many gadgets.

Some kids who live and breathe gadgets and technology might not get to experience the rush of riding a bike, playing basketball, running with their friends, and rubbing off the sweat from their forehead. Countless hours are wasted in front of a glowing screen, and time flies so fast that kids don’t even notice it.

Kids nowadays should be given the chance to experience how it is to play outside and live the life of innocence without drowning so much in the waters of cyberspace.