As I mindlessly browse trough the televisions channels, I release my index finger from the up button due to the picture that caught my attention. I come to a stop in the nickelodeon channel and for a little while, I watch the popular kids show iCarly. I am mesmerized by all the shiny and expensive gadgets this middle schoolers carry around with them in order to promote their online blog called like the show iCarly. Also I cannot help but to notice that trough out the whole 30 minutes the show lasts, the main character Carly is never reprimanded by any type of parental individuals; she lives in a vast apartment with only her puerile older brother.
I cannot help but to wonder if this is what kids this days watch on a daily basis, is this educational or enabling for kids. More often than not sending the wrong message, that kids do not need parental guidance because there is something called Google or Bing, a place where one can find all the answers, allegedly. Seems that with the vast advancement of technology, everyone is extremely preoccupied with sporting the latest, shiniest, and most complicated gadgets. But what about when it comes to buying these shiny and expensive gadgets for children, do kids really need an iPod, iPhone, tablet, and laptop to be successful in school and life in general? In my opinion, kids today are extremely overindulged with shiny gadgets and technology for their own benefit, this overindulgence only creates more behavioral problems, materialism and lack of appreciation.
In todays world everything is a lot more efficient, we live in the now with a push of a button one can control almost anything. With all this enablement kids today seem to forget important lessons learned in life: how to work hard for what you want. It seems that parents just hand everything their children’s hearts desire, just like that with no questions asked. In my opinion this kind of behavior teaches kids nothing about appreciation. In many cases kids even resort to throwing temper tantrums because they did not receive that new iPad for his birthday. We all see little ones and even sometimes older children embarrassing their parents at restaurants and stores, wining and crying because they do not get their way. Eventually the parents will give into the insubordination of their own children. Too many times I have heard and seen the moms that I work with say things like “I have to pick up all these extra shifts because Christmas is right around the corner and my daughter wants the new iPod touch and an iTunes gift card.” This type of scenario occurs more frequently around the holidays, there always seems to be such pressure on buying so many presents for all the children as if they have not received enough presents throughout the year as it is.
This whole “everyone else has one, why can’t i?” predicament with kids today is greatly influenced by the media. Kids television shows like previously mentioned iCarly and Victorious influence kids decisions and wants greatly. Nearly $20 Billion are spent on advertising that targets youths and is beginning to aim for younger and younger kids (Bromfield). It seems all kids can do is I want, I need, everyone else has it, etc. Parents are often left with guilt and remorse if they do not give into their children’s demands; believing that somehow they are the bad guys and are being bad parents for not providing for their children. This is not true, I believe parents should be advocators and educators instead of enablers and facilitators. Parenting means unconditionally loving ones kids and disciplining in a healthy way demonstrating respect for what is appropriate (Starr).
“When children are overindulged they develop unrealistic expectations which do not serve them as they grow” (Webb, Starr). Growing, in a big family you learn to be conscience about saving money and being content with whatever you can get, there was absolutely no spoiling what so ever; you learn to appreciate luxuries on a beatified way. In my opinion children today do not know the worth and value of earning ones own valuables. When I was a kid I read a book by Laura Numeroff called If you give a mouse a cookie, this short children’s book holds so much truth regarding today’s kids. The books morale states one event can lead to another and another creating a never-ending circle. Kids these days are the same way, if they receive an iPod, they will be expecting it to come with a $100 iTunes gift card; and possible an upgrade when the new model comes out. In a poll, 57 percent of parents of spoiled children sensed that their children had failed to adequately learn how to work for their money and the value of it (Bromfield).
Starting to spoil and overindulge kids at a very young age can lead to debt in a young adults life. A survey done by the Schwab Foundation found that 32 percent of teens owe up to $230 and a 14 percent owe more than $1,000 with no means of how to repay these debts (Bromfield). Overindulging children to maintain them satisfied and content is not the answer, this only creates long term predicaments that when addressed may have gotten out of hand, leading to bankruptcy and young adults moving back home with parents due to not being able to afford to live on their own.
I ask, why not teach kids a lesson of learning and to not always take the easy way out, children need to learn at a early age that not everything in life comes as easily as to just wine a little, demand, and obtain what your little heart desires. Parents need to put their foot down and not spend so much money on super expensive Christmas presents. Often I have heard parents going broke during Christmas time because they have spent up to their last dime on all those shine, expensive presents for their two children. As a child I was blissfully content with receiving a Barbie or a coloring book for Christmas, in return I think these life lessons have taught me to be more money conscience. I believe that for my age I am at a good place in my life, with a place of my own, a car title on my name and no high debt from credit cards to keep me awake at night. This no thanks to being spoiled as a young child. Overindulging children will not make them love you any more or less than they already do, teaching them a life learned lesson like earning their ones money and working hard for what one wants will accompany them for the rest of their lives.
Bromfield, R. (2010). How to Unspoil Your Child Fast. Naperville, Il: Sourcebooks, Inc. Starr, M. (2010, July 28). Overindulgence in kids leads to problems. Bunscuick News, The (GA).