Topless Robot recently posted an item detailing 5 Reasons Why it Sucks to Be a Kid Today, by Rebecca Kelley.
Although I'm not willing to name or describe the generational characteristics of those Americans born between 1994 and 2003, I can't help but agree with Kelley's description of the domestic environment in which middle-class children are raised today...
1) Food is No Fun. When we were kids we had lunches packed with Fruit By the Foot, Teddy Grahams, and Squeeze Its. Now kids get organic [EXPLETIVE] like fruit leathers, vegetable-flavored "chips" that have the texture of packing cellophane, and sugar-free, 100% juice. What ever happened to "3% juice" juice that you could squeeze out of a cartoon face? Sure, some kids nowadays still have gloriously unhealthy lunches, but yuppie parents regard these children as contagious chunksters who could pass the "fat virus" onto their precious kids via direct, sticky-handed contact.
2) Clothing Has Gotten Ridiculous. Young girls have belly-baring shirts, kid-sized halter tops, and rhinestones on [EXPLETIVE] everything, while young boys look like mini [EXPLETIVE] with their youth-sized rugby shirts and cargo shorts. Pre-teens are just as bad: girls are pairing leggings with everything and boys are popping every collar they can get their hands on. What happened to Osh Kosh overalls and cute [EXPLETIVE] like duckies and froggies on little kids'' shirts? Why the hell would you want your 7-year-old to go to school wearing a t-shirt that says "spoiled brat" and hot pants that have the word "princess" emblazoned on the ass?
3) Parents are Too Paranoid. In the good ol' days, we could go exploring in the woods behind our house, climb the tallest tree in our yard, and sled down the stairs in our house using a blanket or a laundry basket. Our parents didn't care as long as we came for dinner when they shouted. Now everything in the house is childproof, kids are on leashes so they don't stroll more than two feet away from their parents, and parents go [EXPLETIVE] if their kid gets a single scratch or bump. Cuts and bruises gave us character, and they taught us valuable lessons that we were able to learn for ourselves (e.g., stoves are hot, roofs are high, table corners are pointy).
4) They Have to Schedule "Play Dates" in Order to Hang Out with Their Friends. When did play time become so formal? Back in the day, if we wanted to play with a neighborhood buddy or a friend, we'd hop on our bike and head on over. Now kids' parents do this bullshit scheduling and pencil "dates" into their planners on their children's behalf. No wonder more and more kids are overweight -- if you have to schedule fun time with your friends instead of just being able to do it, you'd become a lethargic fatty, too.
5) Parental Control Has Gotten Out of Hand. Back in the day, we were able to sneak the occasional R-rated/Skinamax/boobalicious feature on late night cable, and it was awesome. Getting away with seeing a movie you weren't supposed to made you feel like you were James Bond. Now, however, kids have the burden of channel locks. Bye bye, T&A. Going to the movies or buying music is even worse. When we were kids, ushers didn't give a damn that you were *gasp* under 17 and strolling in to see "Freddy's Dead" (don't judge -- it was in 3D), and cashiers couldn't care less that you were buying N.W.A (on cassette, no less). Now you practically get tased if you dare attempt to step foot in a movie theater showing an R-rated movie, pick up a "Rated M for Mature" video game, or try to purchase a CD that contains "explicit lyrics." What happened to good ol' parental apathy?
Click here to read about how overly realistic videogames, text messaging, cell phones, and iPods have "Ruined Their Imagination, Made Them Stupider, and Turned Them Into Little [EXPLETIVE]s."
BRAINIAC'S GUIDE TO AMERICA'S RECENT GENERATIONS
Lost Generation The New Kids
Lost Generation Hardboiled Generation
The Greatest Generation Partisans
The Greatest Generation The New Gods
The Silent Generation Postmodernist Generation
The Silent Generation Anti-Anti-Utopian Generation
1944-53: Baby Boomers
Baby Boomers OGX (Original Generation X)
Generation X PC Generation
Generations X/Y Net Generation
Please credit Brainiac/Joshua Glenn whenever you use this guide. Got a beef with my periodization, or different generational name suggestions? Leave a comment on this post or email me. Born between 1954 and 1993 and still unsure about whether you're a Boomer, Xer, Yer, or Millennial? Here's a handy guide.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.
Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.
Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.
Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.