This shift actually has been slowly evolving throughout the 20th century. There has been a perfect storm of elements that have contributed to the state of our current culture that we, as leaders, must understand if we’re to respond well. Allow me to provide a handful of reasons why we see what we do today.
1. The Invention of High School
By the 1920s, students were pressed into age-graded groups and began to interact mostly with peers. The church followed suit with her programming. Social silos. The downward spiral of EQ began. We get lazy when connecting only with others like us.
2. Video Games
All the legitimate research shows the more time spent with a video game, the poorer kids do in school. Male teens spend 13.5 hours a week in gaming; this delays their readiness for life. The adult world ambushes them. Stanford will no longer accept “gamers” into their med school.
3. Prescription Drugs
The U.S. represents 5% of the world’s population, but we consume 90% of the prescription drugs given to kids (e.g. ADHD, depression, etc.). Sadly, long after the meds are gone, personalities have been altered. Adults have become lazy when dealing with energetic kids.
4. Parenting Styles
Along with a new generation of kids, we have a new generation of parents today. They’ve made their kids their trophies — they hover, emulate, serve, and erupt over them. They don’t mother, they smother. Kids have a difficult time growing up if their parents have not done so first.
5. Endocrine Disruptors
BPA and other chemicals in plastics have entered our human systems. BPA mimics estrogen, the female hormone. It wreaks havoc on student’s bodies and delays a clear sense of identity. It’s a gender bender. Testosterone levels are dropping in boys as 90% of students today have BPA inside them.
6. Teaching Methods
Students today are right-brained, upload kids forced to attend left-brained, download schools. The gap between adult and students styles causes a disconnect; they’re passing but not learning. Adults are not teaching the way kids learn best. Most teachers are heroes, but the school systems are failing.
7. Niche Marketing
Decades ago, retailers and marketers picked up on youth as a target market. Success came as they preyed on adolescent insecurities and desires, creating hunger to look and stay young. Marketers are better at this than ever — prolonging adolescence. 60% of students move back home after college.
8. Media and Technology
We all love them, but television, YouTube, Google, Twitter, Facebook, iPhones, and Hulu provide instant gratification and results. If it takes too long or isn’t fun, students can delete, stop, block, or log off. This is nothing like the real world.
So what do we do? In my next blog, I’ll begin to dig in to some solutions to this worldwide phenomenon.
Before I do… What are your thoughts? Do you see what I see? Are you doing anything about it that works?