Filter out childhood distractions

Listen along here if you care to...

It's your responsibility to eliminate childhood distractions. What's that, you say... a little pushy? Parents need a little push... no, a big push. The array of childhood distractions kids are exposed to today is not just a natural progression, as though everything will just 'work out in the end'. It is a technologically-enabled marketing attack on our youth, and we have no evidence as to what its effects will ultimately become.

Kids will not be able to apply themselves to activities like writing or even challenging hobbies with so many tantalizing toys in their face day to day.

Children see a new product on television or on a store shelf. Some friends at school have one, and the next thing you know your child is saying he or she needs one. Some parents relent immediately, or so it would seem, while others may try to resist the childhood distraction... maybe once. "No, you don't need that." "Yes mom, all the kids have them." "Maybe for your birthday then." "Nah, that's too far away." "Fine, we'll see what we can do." What the heck was that? Who's the parent here?

You've just been played. And I'm not saying the child did it. The industry did! Look at it this way. The high tech industries, as a prime example, are driven to produce better, faster, cheaper and more capable products. That's what business has become since machines became fueled by oil and since the invention of the computer chip. When you apply the monstrous marketing engine to promote such products, can you really remain in control? It takes courage and discipline to deal with these childhood distractions.

When you have kids, you cannot pass on something you don't have. And I've seen time and again that even many adults have little or no concept of needs versus wants. Bluntly put, things you need... keep you alive and spared from the elements. Those you want... should be identified as goals to be achieved. Goals demand planning, investment, motivation and often, substantial time. In this fast paced world, if that time factor exceeds the lifespan, or popularity, of the product... then it wasn't all that anyway. It was a childhood distraction. Don't tell me you need a new pair of shoes when there are 30 adequate pairs in the closet.

If parents are incapable of instilling such control on themselves, their children will surely become the source of a type of pollution we can't even imagine. We already have environmental problems disposing of computers and cell phones... and we've just begun. OK, back to childhood distractions.

Here is a short list that you can review through my eyes:

Cell phone. Extremely busy adults and select business people may be able to justify the use and cost of one. If you allowed your child to have one, for whatever reason... 'cause we didn't have cell phones 30 years ago... then score one duh for mom and dad. Text messaging someone at the end of the hall is kind of lame.

Notebook computer. These are certainly luxuries and again should be justified for use, location, cost and skill level. Score two duhs if your teen wangled one of these out of you. Instead, suggest that you invest $20 a month into his or her college fund.

Ipod. Closer to home, but still a device that never existed before. The prices dropped very quickly making a parent's decision sooooo much easier. But wait... now they need a computer so they can download music! Add one more duh. Heaven forbid your child gets hit crossing the street because he or she was listening to music when they should be paying attention.

15 speed bicycle. I used to race 10 speed's and I can guarantee you that most adults, kids and in-store help don't know how the gears work and why. 15 is not better than 10 if you don't know what to do with it. Most good bikes get stolen now so why go there.

Faded jeans. Crotches to the knees, torn pants, studs and designs. If you caved to pressure for any of these you won't like this site very much.

Tattoos. These are forms of mutilation and may indicate psychological problems or at best, extreme weakness and low self esteem. Where did they get that from... ya gotta wonder.

Bluetooth headset. It used to be that if you heard someone talking to themselves in line at the cash, they were crazy. Now they're talking to their kids waiting out in the car. Add a little water to convenience and it grows into laziness and stupidity.

Motor bike. Yes... every kid under the age of 16 deserves one of these. You know the expression, "more money than brains"? You might want to apply as the poster-parent for this cause. Five duhs.

Go-kart. If your child actually made it himself, great, shows initiative and patience. If daddy bought it for him... three duhs here please.

TV in the bedroom. Ah yes, the fat American childhood distraction! Really helps you monitor what they watch doesn't it. Take it out and watch TV together if you must. Just try to find suitable shows that aren't on public broadcasting or Discovery.

Phone-line or number. Another two duhs for this winner. When did you stop caring about who your child communicated with? It's never too late. Rip it out too.

Don't say "What am I to do with him. He's uncontrollable". Sometimes it's too late to correct bad behaviour. Look to yourself first and examine if your value system is or was suitable enough to be passed on. Were you allowed to be swayed and to indulge in childhood distractions?

Return from Childhood Distractions to Short Stories Help Children

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