Tag Archives: cell phones

Generation Homelander: Something Needs to Change!

homelandersHomelanders.

That’s what this generation of students is known as. That was the big lesson I learned at yearbook camp this summer.

They’ve never lived without security cameras everywhere. They’ve never known life without a cell phone. Their parents know where they are at all times. Their lives are orchestrated with calendars, every hour planned. Instead of play, they take classes. Even their time at the park is scheduled with play dates. They fear being alone and believe absolutely that evil is out there, and could strike at any minute in school, at the mall, at the movies, while they’re out for a morning run.

They grew up in the US after 9-11. After everything changed. And in an effort to keep them safe, I wonder if we’re not actually making the world a more dangerous place.

One common denominator I’ve heard time and again in discussions with other educators this summer is how many teenagers are on anti-anxiety meds. I’ve taught relaxation techniques to students for years. We can do the 13th floor like nobody’s business and Pilates deep breathing is a must. But this is different. This anxiety can’t be visualized or breathed away.

When we bought my daughter her first cell phone, I was excited. I remembered being a teenager AND I remembered the whole “we’re staying the night with… switcheroo.” With the cell phone that was over. Sort of. With today’s cell phones parents can just look at the GPS to see where their kids are. And they do. Constantly.

A couple of my former foreign exchange students recently posted pictures of their summer European trip. They’re not 18 yet, but they were traveling across the world without a guide or chaperone, just having fun, making memories, learning. When I saw the photos, I was shocked at first. I had a hard time letting my 18-yr-old daughter drive to Dallas. No way would she have gone on holiday around Europe without a parent present. No way. I’ve seen the movie Taken, complete fiction. I’ve watched the Natalee Holloway story again and again on the news, awful truth.

9-11 changed everything. We knew it when it happened, but I don’t think we truly understood. I hope we can change this overarching feeling that the world is evil, that the “bad people, terrorists, killers,” are out to get us. I hope we can find a way to give our kids time to breathe.

We have to. Our kids need a chance to have a new name. Something closer to Generation X and Y. Homelanders can’t be our future. It just can’t.

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The Digital Revolution

New year, new semester, fresh starts, blank slates.
I love new semesters and I can’t wait to see what this one has in store.
Advising publications has changed significantly over the last 15 years. The digital revolution has made everything easier, but the sheer amount of information makes it more difficult, too.
Kids are far more comfortable IM’ing, chatting, texting than they are talking. Interview electronically and you get great quotes. But you lose the body language, the setting, the intensity.
You also lose a bit of the reality. Because people will write things in an e-mail or in a chat they’d never say in real life.
I wonder where we’re headed with communication. Five years ago I would’ve never imagined students telling me they’d rather text than talk on the phone. This year most of my kids told me that was the case.
And it’s contagious, I guess. The other day I was trying to text on my old non-backlit phone while DH and I were running errands, and I couldn’t see the text. Instead of calling the friends I was trying to reach, I closed the phone and decided I’d try later.
I never tried. No telling what I missed out on. All because I didn’t want to talk.
When I first started teaching, we’d read the book 1984 and my kids would say that would never happen. These days we worry about WHEN it will happen.
I love the movie Wall-E. But it’s disturbing that the whole time I watched it, I wondered if that’s where we’re headed.
I hope not.
I love words. Explicate is my favorite word because of the way it feels to say it. That just doesn’t work in text speak.
I love the digital revolution, but I hope it doesn’t destroy us.

One of the kids in the newsroom on her iPhone. You can't see it because she wasn't supposed to be doing it, but I know. I never saw her talk on the phone. Not once in the whole time I had her in class, but I saw her text and play games all the time.