Let Me Be: Teenagers Are Worried By Your Desire to Protect Them
After reading the Atlantic’s article on how colleges were “coddling the American mind,” I was curious to see how my teenage students responded to the culture they were growing up in. What did they think about the atmosphere they would soon be entering in college? What did they think about the way in which we were trying to guide them forward?
Here are the thoughts some of those 10th graders expressed after reading the article.
Influence of the media
“I do believe that society is changing in a way that is starting to be too protective for me. This might sound cliché, but I believe that it is because of the media, whether it is social networks, the newspapers or television. In 2015 an average American can’t go a day without hearing news about something around the world and having to react to it. I feel like, now that the whole world is way more connected through all of the above and more, we live in constant fear, and this fear makes us want to be protected and protect the people around us. For example, a boy around my age got kidnapped somewhere in New York City at 12pm, my mom got an AMBER alert or saw it on the news, etc. She will then connect the boy to me and become worried and too protective.”
“Our everyday lives are ‘invaded’ with fear of what could happen, like ISIS, or thinking that your child has been kidnapped, etc… but I feel that the example of the AMBER alert works with and against the argument. The AMBER alert is used, not for scaring people, but for the general safety of them, and to try to find a way to help the ones in need. I think that media does scare certain people, but I don’t think that it makes us overprotective. We have to stay connected and up to date with our surroundings, or else, we would be clueless about what could potentially make a difference in our lives.
” [The media] highlights every single crime and bad thing that happens, which makes us worry much more than we did before. It is always good to be safe and protective, but I believe that now our society is becoming overprotective and is reluctant to see us grow and do things on our own, scared something bad will happen to us as they saw on the news.”
When the radio became an everyday thing people thought it was something great. However there were skeptics. People thought that information was getting spread too easily. Now we look back at it and it seems like a great thing. The same goes for television when it was invented. People in the future will look back at our time and think social media is something genius. Yet there are many who think it makes us feel too “protected”.
The Effect of Parents
“The media sends a really negative image of the outside world, which I agree is good for us to know to be able to be more careful, but since all they talk about is this, it makes our parents paranoid and all they think about is what might happen to us if we’re alone at night in the street. I totally understand that they are being protective because they don’t want anything to happen to us, but we are growing up and we want to do things on our own so they should try to trust us and realize that not everything that happened in the news will happen to us and try to let us go, even though we still have to be really careful and not do stupid things.”
“[Parents] obviously want the best for their children; however, they aren’t making it easier for anyone. In this case, children need to be prepared for the “real world”; the day they’ll be on their own, and parents need to understand that and make peace with it.”
“I am a child of parents in their 50s who have forgotten how much they roamed the streets and how much they learned from doing so. That’s why it’s so important to be exposed to dangerous or generally bad things. I don’t think we really learn until we get burned by the fire we were playing with. However, books are a great way of “experiencing” things in one’s imagination, and, therefore, learning from other people’s mistakes. That’s partly what’s so stupid with the college kids’ invention of trigger warnings or removals of certain pieces of literature. No matter the amount of education and advice we get, there are certain things we’ll never comprehend until we experience them for ourselves.”
Culture of Over-Protection
“Society cannot shield them from those difficult concepts all of their lives. You cannot simply overindulge minds in what is pleasant. At a time where students have matured and can handle the burden of a discussion that could potentially make them fell uneasy, is the best time for learning about those subjects. Pushing that boundary will help them grow mentally as well as emotionally. The world isn’t all butterflies and rainbows, nor full equality in terms or race or gender.”
“How are we supposed to say what we think if we are also supposed to avoid saying anything that might offend someone, somewhere in the world? Whatever you say is always going to offend someone, but that means that that someone should respect your thoughts, and then expose his or her ideas, to try to convince you that there is another side to the story.”
“WHO DO THESE KIDS THINK THEY ARE? I had never heard of the problem before reading the report about it. THIS IS ABSURD, CRAZY, INSENSIBLE. The people who demand these trigger warnings must be really spoiled and live easy lives. If hearing the word “violate” is one’s biggest concern in life, one must really have everything given to him/herself… There are so many people who have actual, REAL problems in their lives. Maybe the college kids are bored, or something, and they find excitement for themselves by having their professors fear them. This concept is so pathetic, pitiful, and unreal.”
“What will it be in 20 years ? Will the world stop talking? Will we just keep things to ourselves? I feel like freedom of speech is being too restricted and people abuse their right to say they feel like people are being insensitive to them. And, to be very honest, I am terrified, anxious, and concerned about what this might lead to in the future.”