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Child Behavior Today and Ten Years Ago Qualitative Research Essay

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Updated: Jan 23rd, 2020

Introduction: Same Old Story

Complaints about the spoilt children of the next generation have been around since the beginning of time. Even though it might seem that the concerns about the spoilt generation have started to appear since the beginning of the XX century, every single generation is no stranger to the fear for children developing the wrong habits.

As Socrates said in 400s BC (sic!), “Children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they allow disrespect and love chatter in place of exercise. Children now are tyrants…” (Beck & Wade, 2006, 1).

Thesis statement: because of the rapid changes that the world has gone through from 2000s to 2010s, as well as the increased effects of modern popular media, present-day children differ considerably from the ones from a decade ago; however, it would be wrong to claim that children’s behavior has become worse – it simply became different, with different values and different goals to strive for, whereas the nature of children themselves remains the same.

In fact, the problem of children having behavioral issues that the adults are having hard times tackling is not new. It can be assumed that the given problem is recurrent, and that every generation experiences it at some point.

Even though one might have thought that the problem of children becoming more out-of-hand and less driven than their parents presumably were as children has appeared comparatively recently, the issue is extremely old.

Therefore, it is worth checking whether the kids of today are truly worse than the ones of the previous decade, or whether the claims about the “spoil kids” are merely grumble of the generation that has suddenly started feeling unpleasantly old.

A Comparative Analysis: 2000s vs. 2010s

Despite the fact that the problem of children behavior and its changes over years has always been topical, weirdly enough, there are very few researches on the issue. Perhaps, the given fact can be explained by researchers looking for various factors inducing changes in children’s behavior instead of merely comparing the older generation to the younger one.

As a matter of fact, the aforementioned approach seems quite reasonable. Since media shapes people’s perception of reality to a considerable extent, it is logical to suggest that the changes in child behavior are induced by outside factor, the influence of mass media being the key one.

However, certain data concerning the changes in child behavior within a decade can be found. For example, the children of the 2010s have become much more dependable on media and tend to be losing touch with their parents much faster than the kids of 2010s, mostly due to the fact that modern parents are much more focused on their careers than they are on their families.

Negative Changes and the Factors Inducing Them

According to the existing research, the key negative change in children’s behavior that happened since 2000s is the lack of family bonding and the resulting unwillingness to consider their parents as an authority.

Indeed, when taking a closer look at the way in which modern parents set their priorities, one will inevitably figure out that in most families, both parents tend to focus on their career and leave relatively little family quality time to spare with their kids. As a result, it becomes harder for parents to control their children.

According to the existing researches, family background is the key to a child’s behavioral patterns: “In families, these include poverty, high levels of parental depression, and low levels of parental efficacy” (O’Connor, Rodriguez, Capella, Morris & McClowry, 2012, 556).

In addition, it should also be mentioned that the impact of mass media has become more tangible than ever. Foisting their shallow values on older children and teenagers, the people who are at the helm of popular media shape children’s behavior by encouraging selfishness and arrogance (Pauv & Petegem, 2011).

What Has Stayed the Same

It is necessary to stress, however, that the basic behavioral patterns have remained the same. As the recent researches say, the kids of 2010s are just as much subdued to the impact of media as they used to be ten years ago. For instance, fashion fads, as well as trends in popular music, still define the social hierarchy of children and teenagers.

Improvements: A Couple of Honorable Mentions

It would be unfair, however, to claim that the generation of the 2010s has acquired only negative features due to the impact of media. Apart from the disadvantages of modern kids, which have been listed above, there are a couple of positive changes. For example, compared to the 2000s kids, children of 2010s are more confident about their own opinion and vision of the world, as well as more creative (Mayesky, 2010).

Results: O Tempora, O Mores

To sum up, the child nature did not change a bit – kids still are inquisitive, willing to be accepted among their peers, eager to fall for the current trends in music, fashion, lifestyle, etc., and rebellious when it comes to their personal freedom and the freedom of choice.

While it is necessary to admit that the present-day media affects children negatively in that they prefer engaging in social networking rather than trying live communication, it is wrong to assume that children’s behavior has grown worse. True, there are many instances of children delinquency; however, such cases were also common earlier (Siegel & Welsh, 2010).

Conclusion: When Good Children Go Bad

It would be wrong to assume that modern children behave in the same way as the children of the 2000s. However, it is necessary to keep in mind that these changes in behavior are not necessarily bad. Instead, these changes should be considered as the process of adaptation to the changing environment.

Seeing how the world of the 2010s is different from the one of the 2000s, it would be absurd to assume that people in general and children in particular should retain their behavioral patterns.

In addition, it is necessary to admit that in most cases, it is the adult world that shapes the minds of children. The latter are especially vulnerable to the impact of media, which dictates the rules of behavior in the present-day world. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that adults are responsible for the changes in children’s behavior.

With that being said, the children of the 2010s cannot be considered as less well-behaved than the ones of the 2000s. Instead, it should be viewed as simply a different one and the one that is being shaped by different factors and media. The basic values that children are taught with the help of the aforementioned media, however, remains the same, which is why there seems to be no obvious reason for concern.

What has to be kept in mind, though, is that media cannot substitute parents and that, even with Internet for entertainment and Wikipedia for answering all of their questions, children of the 2010s need their parents’ care and attention just as much as the kids of 2000s did.

Self-Evaluation of the Draft

Although the ideas in the given paper seem reasonable, there are a few minor ditches in the overall valid arguments. Despite the fact that there are only a few fallacies in the given paper, they are worth studying to avoid them in the future. First, the basic argument of the given paper should be mentioned. Considering the structure of the argument, one must admit that it follows the traditional pattern of a formal fallacy:

If P then Q. 2. Q. 3. Therefore, P.

Applied to the aforementioned issue concerning the new generation getting out of hand, or, to be more exact, to the fact that the given idea has been occurring to people for ages since the dawn of time, one will see that the argument of the essay has the following pattern:

  1. If there is a gap between two generations, they start conflicting.
  2. There are tangible conflicts between the children of a new generation and their parents.
  3. Therefore, the age gap between the two generations is to blame.

The given argument is partially a fallacy, since the reason for the conflicts between the two generations may vary and do not necessarily stem from the differences in upbringing and the idea of norms and values.

Reference List

Beck, J. C. & Wade, M. (2006). The kids are alright: How the gamer generation is changing the workplace. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.

Mayesky, M. (2010). Creative activities for young children (10th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

O’Connor, E., Rodriguez, E., Capella, E., Morris, J. & McClowry, S. (2012,). Child disruptive behavior and parenting efficacy: A comparison of the effects of two models of insights. Journal of Community Psychology, 40(5), 555–572.

Pauv, J. B.-d. & Petegem, P. V. (2011). A cross-cultural study of environmental values and their effect on environmental behavior of children. Environment and Behavior, 459(5), 551–583.

Siegel, L. J., & Welsh, B. C. (2010). Juvenile delinquency: The core. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning

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