Is it my imagination or are we starting to go too easy on kids, having lower expectations of their abilities than we should and generally making things easier for them to the point that this could be a page out of a Where’s Wally book?
In my day (yep, I’ve reached that age) when a kid’s television programme, book or magazine mentioned a concept or word I was unfamiliar with I looked it up. Now this was in the days before we had the internet coming out of every orifice, before smartphones provided us with 24/7 web access wherever we were, before it’d take five minutes at most to get a general idea of something from a wiki. In those darkened days we were expected to read a book after scouring a library for hours on end to find the right one if we wanted to learn something new. And we did so. Sure, we could take shortcuts by using the Google of that day and asking someone older but we still were expected to form the question and they were expected to know enough to point us in the right direction.
This is in stark contrast to today where children have so many more ways to find this information yet are denied the opportunity. Kids television programmes, comics and magazines (and websites these days) are consistently devoid of any reference that a bunch of thirty year old editors don’t think they’ll get in the mistaken idea that if they don’t understand something straight away they’ll take their market presence somewhere else rather than doing what kids have been doing for centuries and using those references as a springboard to improve their own minds. As such these children are growing up not only with less information about the world than they would have had, but with less conscious desire to learn that information, and with more of an attitude that they know everything there is to know (because how else would you explain a world that constantly surrounds you with the things you already know about?).
Not only is this attitude to the children of the world a disservice to those parents who rely on media to help them form their children’s growing minds (pretty much all of you in some way or form if you’re any good) but it’s a disservice to the children themselves. With so many ways for them to find information these days, why would anyone deny the children the questions they so need to ask? Why would anyone stop these children from developing a natural desire to learn?
More importantly, if this continues, what will this ill-educated bunch of children these days see fit to teach their own kids?