Are Our Children Entitled to Connectivity?

So here’s the situation. I have an 8-year-old step son. He has an Xbox, a Nintendo DS, a PSP, all in his room and accessible anytime provided he’s in good standing with us, the parents. Yet, he doesn’t play them. When asked why I get a series of excuses/ responses but I think the real reason is he’s already used to the experience he gets while playing his games with others online.

So I ask the question, are our children entitled to be online, all the time? My generation grew up with the Internet. We dabbled with it when it was just a fledgling service, a bunch of bulletin boards. Now it’s an all-encompassing thing that’s more like the air we breathe than it is cable TV. Take cell phones for example, we know them as a unique device that lets us have a phone or even a computer anywhere. Our children only know cell phones as phones!

Children with cell phones sitting on deck

Then with that mindset why are we so opposed to giving them cell phones? Is there an inherent danger in providing a child with a way to communicate? The biggest threat really is to your phone bill.

With smart phones on the rise is the average age of cell phone users falling? You bet it is! The Average age of a person when they get their first cell phone is now age 8. They’re going to have the Internet before you ever even had an inkling of how to use a computer. It’s going to be on their cell phones, their video games and eventually their TV shows. It makes me wonder how the parents felt for their children when the bicycle first came out, was it fraught with danger and ludicrous to consider giving one to your young naive child?

But isn’t it dangerous?! There are now and will always be things we don’t want our kids to see. On the Internet there are things we question ourselves why we ever saw them at all to begin with! So is it dangerous? No. Is it something we need to monitor and put safe guards in place on as parents? Yes.

As marketers we have a unique responsibility to these kids. Not to force a brand on them but to continue to build communities so we don’t create a new generation who hates advertisements and who feels like the whole point of marketing is to interrupt their lives.

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2 thoughts on “Are Our Children Entitled to Connectivity?

  1. At age 8 most children barely comprehend a joke let alone a complex piece of technology. Why would a child of 8 need a cell phone to begin with. They need a chance to grow up, mature, and be a kid before they understand the complications of technology. I understand that kids are learning a lot more at a younger age now, but they are only learning it because the adults pressure the child to do so. I remember as a kid I would have fun just playing in the dirt or rolling in the snow, simple and not so complicated entertainment. Why do we ask our kids to learn so much at an early age? Whatever happened to the kids and the parents interacting together, instead of just handing them a game boy or xbox? Its not fair what we have asked kids to do these days. I do agree that letting them play on the Internet isn’t dangerous, but needs some close monitoring. I don’t think the child should be allowed to play on it all day or even for 4 hours straight for that matter. Maybe for a half an hour a day. Seriously think about it. What is on that Internet that an EIGHT year old has to be on there? Games? Instant Messaging? Why does the kid have to result, nonetheless become accustomed to, playing alone. It wasn’t on your mind when you were a kid. You could always find some active entertainment, or maybe just read a book, but never did we result to constant technology entertainment.

    I believe that we are teaching the kids these days to be prideful, to be vein, to not be their own person, teaching them that over the counter drugs are good, that they can’t survive without daily technology, that running on their emotions is ok, and most of all that respect and honor means nothing. The kids are growing up selfish and dishonest, but the worst part of it is, is that it’s not their fault. The parents refuse to grow up and be the person that is needed to be for their child, and replacing family time with technology so the parents can do what they please. The kids learn all of their actions from watching the people who are suppose to love them the most.

    I think if parents would spend time with their kids, instead of throwing technology in front of their faces, then this problem would lessen. Do I think that technology should be cut out, no, but we use it so irresponsibly (letting it more or less take over every aspect of our lives) that it has resulted in many selfish, vein, disrespectful generations.

    • While I agree with you on many points I disagree with your view of kids and technology. I grew up along side the PC and the video game console and I’m not a selfish vagabond. Like you said though it’s the parents that make all the difference.

      The thing we have to learn to work with now is that instead of wanting to ride our bikes around the neighborhood, like I wanted to do, the children of today would rather interact with their friends in their favorite virtual space. Now that could be a war game or it could be something less volatile like Club Penguin.

      The Internet is a dominant force now and it’s just going to continue to be one until we grow old and die. To treat it like rock N’ roll was in the 50’s shows we didn’t learn from our parents and their parents and if we’re not learning from the previous generations mistakes then what’s this whole procreation thing for anyway?

      My biggest problem is with kids on bikes you can spot the trouble maker with the foul mouth right away. Currently our technology doesn’t allow us to make the bad kids go away. Even the most unskilled individual can figure out how to unmute someone should they really want to. So in my opinion we can only police the situation so far if the companies that create these entertainment platforms don’t give the proper tools to allow parents and guardians to keep watch properly there’s going to be mistakes.

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