It took less than a day from our September 5th announcement to receive five winners for our book giveaway. Each of these individuals is being sent a hardcover copy of iGen by Jean Twenge to read and share with their co-workers, families, and friends. Everyone has kids in their lives, one way or another- and all of us need to try and understand and look out for the next generation.
We enjoyed reading the responses, which went from pithy to the deeply concerned. We thank each of them for responding. Their books are on their way!
Randy and Teresa Hanle own and operate Blackhawk Cabins in Estes Park, Colorado. In our opinion, they are quintessential salt of the earth: reliable, trustworthy, straightforward; and capable of fiercely facing the most difficult challenges. In classic Texas style, Randy wrote the following:
Seems to me like it’s the parents fault. They are not paying attention to what their children are doing. They are too busy being cool and not busy enough being observant parents. Just keeping up with the Joneses.
PJ requested us to use her initials since she is active in local school and sports activities. Here are her observations:
I’ll be honest and tell you that I could pull my hair out after dealing with some of the kids and parents at school. Even in Loveland, there is a perverse culture of hovering parental-involvement and everybody- I mean everybody- is always on their smartphones. Most of the kids I meet are so insecure and uncomfortable with face-to-face communication they act like zombies. I’ve had teens text me when they are within 10 feet of physical proximity! Yes, there are some great teens out there, but there are way too many that appear depressed and have these false and unrealistic expectations of their futures. They speak as if they will automatically have good jobs and money when they get older and it is hard to not laugh at them with they express their exaggerated opinions of themselves. I am going to get the iGen book regardless – I need to figure out how to deal with this better than I am doing so now. In my opinion, we have a real problem.
Don Custis and his wife Becky have been together for over 50 years and have a rich history between them. Don was the CEO of United Way of Northeast Florida and has been a lifelong student of history, theology, and urban studies. Don’s response was, well- perfect:
My wife thinks I spend too much time on the computer and the cell phone. I am 80. My grandchildren probably spend way too much time also but are doing great in school. They are advanced over me in most subjects including technology. Generally, I think I agree with the theses of this book but so far do not see those outcomes in our grandchildren.
Greta von Bernuth is a parent and educator. We have had the privilege of meeting and working with three generations of her family over the years. We are sure that Greta will read iGen and share it with her fellow teachers and friends.
I found this brief recap intriguing and pertinent. I teach high school, and this resonated with me. I would say that the 2.25 hours spent texting is actually a low number. Today’s teens have a phone in their hand literally all the time, whether is it permitted or not. They will sneak a text in to almost every minute of the day. I also over hear students talking about how they spend their evening hours. For some, certainly, academics and homework are still important. But I hear MANY students talk about how they are texting / snapchatting/ you-tube surfing into the wee hours of the morning. Then they wake up and come to school early, creating an inherent inability to concentrate on academics. This addiction to media is truly a compulsion; taking a phone away from a student is a true emotional battle. There is certainly a parental component here, but no parent can monitor a teen every moment. And every teen has a phone. I do registration for summer school, where the majority of the students receive free and reduced lunch subsidy, and yet even thought these students are low income, they all have a smart phone. All of them.
LHH: I am a licensed clinical psychologist and have worked with families for years. In my career, I’ve never seen a lonelier bunch of teenagers, but I don’t think we can blame it all on technology. Kids are no different than adults, we all need mutual protection and aid and a trust that people can accomplish more together than alone. I think we all need to take responsibility for a rather big mess we’ve made of the world. The incivility, the willingness to negate the humaneness of others, the unwillingness to take risks and stretch into areas of discomfort, the ability to hide behind technology, our collective slide into willful ignorance- all of this and more is bound to create problems. I think we are all afraid of ‘real life’ on some level. How many of us still get our pleasure from the personal reward of mental and physical hard work or the interchange that occurs in intimate and meaningful conversation? Instead, we get our mental kicks from the ‘Likes” we get on social media. I haven’t read Prof. Twenge’s book yet, but I am looking forward to seeing her take on things from her research. Thank you for keeping your clients in a conversation.