Yes, I Am Generation Bubble Wrap

Generation-Bubble-Wrap-Parenting

No, I’m not a ‘helicopter’ parent, but as Elliott gets older and I think more and more about the world we live in, I hear about it, I read about it and I worry, I’m of the bubble wrap generation and I just might be bubble wrapping my child to a degree but for good reason.

I went through primary school in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I walked or rode a couple of kilometers to and from primary school with my two younger sisters. I used to ride a kilometer or so to one my friend’s house by myself. We used to sell our handmade items on the side of the road to strangers with a blackboard sign advertising our wares. We climbed tall trees and fell out of them often. We played and rode our bikes in the streets.
The video games back then were amazing to us; it was either Atari or Nintendo Mario Brothers. I can remember loving being babysat by our next door neighbours, they had a Nintendo, and we would sit all night and play Mario Brothers. We had a Commodore computer which was very basic, and when the internet came out in the 90’s, it was amazing but nothing like what we know now.I remember sitting in my bedroom for hours recording songs from the radio onto a tape and making numerous mixed tapes, I read books. There were no mobile phones, surround sound, iPods, Facebook or Twitter and we didn’t have flat screen TV’s, instead of a TV where you had to tune it to the station and battle the ‘black and white ants’ and white noise. For most of my schooling life until year 12 when I got my driver’s license, we had 40c to make a phone call or we used reverse charges. I got a mobile phone when I started driving; all it could do was make phone calls and receive SMS. It’s all I needed.

I’m happy to say that during my childhood I used my imagination, I developed social skills, I got outdoors and it was OK to walk distances by ourselves.

But now, as a parent, I don’t believe anyone that says we can still let our children play on the streets, walk or ride somewhere alone without worry, or that using the internet, having smart phones at a young age and computers will not have an effect on their safety and socialisation. To me, this idea is simply not with the times. Sir Richard Branson in his book ‘Losing My Virginity’ spoke about how as a child he walked 10 miles alone and had to find his own water on the way because his mother thought it was good for his resilience. Yet these days, a child will be lucky to be allowed to walk 300 metres on their own, and I say fair enough, there are other ways to build resilience in children.

Yes, there were bad people back 20 -30 years ago, but the world has changed. These people are brash, they too are sly. I read about them almost daily, stories of children being followed walking home and asked to get in cars. The technology these days means predators can come from different angles too, something that is all too common.

Parents are busier and young people bear the brunt. There starts a vicious cycle, with the young ones growing up to be less respectful, and with ‘problems’. People (including children and teenagers) these days hide behind technology, they are becoming lazier, they are not enjoying the real world, they converse over the net and have lost the ability of conversation, they aren’t exposing themselves to real socialisation and therefore do not know how to socialise as we know it. Technology and more specifically, Social Media, gives people the confidence to say things they wouldn’t normally say to someone’s face, people hide behind their screens and let off steam, we now have the internet full of trolls or bullies, we didn’t have them in the 80’s and 90’s because there were no computers for them to hide behind. Children were protected somewhat a couple of decades ago because they didn’t have access to the internet, now they can be exposed to a myriad of horrors at an early age, including those on the streets, shopping centers, you name it. It makes me sick to my stomach. No wonder children seem to be growing up so fast and no wonder children lack creativity and imagination, they’re not getting outside to appreciate the real world.

I’m in the generation that’s seen the drastic change over the past decades, changes in crime, changes in technology, and changes in society itself. I value my childhood and am so happy with the fact that I grew up with a simpler life because I know how to appreciate the simple things and this is what I want to teach my son. Knowing what life is now, I will be protecting my child, because what I’ve seen warrants it and I do not want to regret not being protective because of being accused of ‘bubble wrapping’ my kids. Of course I will let my children make their own decisions and experience things for themselves, I will help them connect with their community, build resilience, get to know their landscape, help them learn time management and take personal responsibility, but I’m pretty sure that as a parent I can do this via safer and more responsible ways that don’t expose my child. On the positive side of technology, having mobile phones adds a bit more safety and peace of mind, but that’s it, a phone to a child should be for security. I don’t want my children to miss their childhood and develop poor social skills because they’re stuck behind a screen.

In terms of the internet, I’m still undecided on how I’m going to handle that, by the time my children are old enough to use it, it would have probably changed again and probably become even more of a breeding ground of the crazy, but it’s our way of life now and so it’s up to me to teach my kids responsible internet use and safety.

As a parent, I see myself as a teacher, protector and role model and someone my children will rely on to guide them through life. They too will learn for themselves along the way, but it is through my life experience, my knowledge, and understanding of the current world that I will fulfill these roles and do what I can to keep them safe.

How do you feel about your kids and the current world we live in?

 

Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman - a lifestyle and parenting blog.She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a Mum to her 4-year-old son, 2 month old daughter, two chickens, one dog and a fish called Bob and a wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little cottage on the outskirts of Brisbane.

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7 Comments

  1. March 4, 2014 / 12:13 am

    I really want to be the parent who can let her kid run and climb and get stuck/fall down/hurt himself etc but I don’t think I can. I panic when he is out of my sight. I think it’s that protective mothering instinct, but on the other hand, I know that by not letting him fall/fail/explore I’m setting him up for failure. So what do you do? I feel like I’m getting a bit better as he gets older and letting go that little bit more. By the time he’s 25 I should be ready to let go completely 😉

  2. March 4, 2014 / 12:47 am

    I know what you are saying and agree completely. Unfortunately from the moment they step through the doors of primary school, they are expected to become internet ‘connected.’ Then there’s the added pressures from other kids whose parents allow them ridiculous things such as mobiles and Facebook accounts. Worse again, is high school. My daughter is required to have an Ipad for school which is seriously the worst thing we have ever purchased for her to date. Her entire life at school is attached to it and I never know when she’s working or playing on it at home because as a teen, they try to con you!
    My Mother was a policewoman – one of the first 30 women ever employed in the force in Victoria. She imbued me with much wariness which has been both a blessing and a curse! I am rambling! I have no solution, but if you work it out let me know!! 😀

  3. March 4, 2014 / 3:58 am

    It’s really hard to not to ‘bubble wrap’ your kids, isn’t it? I think I’m probably totally inconsistent and all over the place. I’m over protective with some things and not with others. Plus I’m sure I’m not setting a very good example by being addicted to computers and social media myself. Sigh.

    I remember making those mix tapes, though. Those were the days!

  4. March 5, 2014 / 2:24 am

    It is a hard one to come up with. My husband grew up in the bush and really struggles to come to terms with the fact that kids just can’t experience the same freedoms that he did as a child. As much as possible we encourage the kids to find entertainment without the assistance of electronic devices but they are such a part of life now that it is easier said than done.

    Leaving some belated fairy wishes and butterfly kisses from #teamIBOT

  5. March 6, 2014 / 3:03 am

    Yeah it’s a hard one. At our old house I would let my older girls walk up to the shops on their own, but I knew the store owner would be keeping an eye out and if anyone untoward was around, he wouldn’t let them go. That sort of community atmosphere is what made us safe as kids, and it’s still necessary now.
    I think the hardest thing is trust. We just don’t trust anyone these days, and that’s changed so much. That’s probably the saddest thing of our times I reckon.

    And also, how hard was it to get those recordings from the radio just right? Someone would always talk during it! 🙂

  6. Anthony
    December 5, 2016 / 10:00 pm

    Great