Folks blaming technology for children's behavior is a tale as old as time. Once, there existed the concept of kids being "raised by TV" when parents would put their children in front of TV shows that would influence their developing minds. As video games became more prevalent, people began blaming them for violent tendencies in children. And in the early days of social media, Facebook and Twitter were blamed for irrecoverably altering our social interactions.
While some of these things can be chalked up to "old man yelling at cloud" fear-mongering, some of these negatively perceived parental techniques have rightfully earned some of that backlash. And that trend only continues today. Only this time, the argument comes from the younger generation rather than the older one. And boy oh boy, do they have receipts.
iPads may be ruining our children, and the younger generation wants to call us to action.
One particularly viral argument comes from @gabesco on TikTok. In his video posted in early November 2023, this 21-year-old Gen Z member urges people from his own generation not to raise their kids by placing them in front of iPads for hours on end.
He was apparently reacting to a video he'd seen in which a millennial was trying to clap back at Gen Z kids by claiming that they were raising the next generation (currently called Generation Alpha) to take over eventually.
OP's response was pretty succinct. He retorted, "Y'all bred iPad children!"
He goes on to say that today's children are "bizarre and terribly behaved," and directly blames parents who don't enforce boundaries on their screen time and essentially let iPads do all the parenting for them.
"You've been shoving media and screens in these kids' faces since birth," OP argues. "They probably have no imagination because their brains haven't actually been forced to come up with any original thought.
He then makes a passionate plea for Gen Z adults who plan on becoming parents to not do the same thing with their kids. He wants new parents to converse with their children and give them more to do than just watch a touchscreen all day.
He's not alone in this worry either. Gen Z member Andra B on TikTok (@hopeyoufindyourdad) has worked closely with today's kids both as a nanny and within the childcare industry at large. She calls Gen Alpha "an absolute nightmare to deal with" and is doing everything she can to help these kids make a break from iPad parenting.
She claims that kids are using screens at a historically high rate and that this has led to children growing up with "extreme social issues."
Not only does Gen Alpha have a shorter attention span than other generations, but they also reportedly exhibit poor social skills and even aggressive physical tendencies when deprived of their technology. To that end, Andra tries to limit the screen time for the kids she watches. She even claimed that those same kids have had their behavior improved by Andra's subtle techniques of making sure they don't have 24/7 iPad exposure.
Gen Z is already incredibly passionate about making sure their own kids don't turn out the same way as Gen Alpha, especially as people begin noticing the shift in their education. Teachers have already pointed out how different children behave in class and how difficult it's become to teach them anything on a consistent basis. Subsequently, teachers in higher grades are reporting that their new students are "way behind" in their reading and math skills.
You know that something is wrong when the younger generation has just as many complaints about something as older generations. Gen Z is hoping that today's parents can act now before we as a society dive headfirst into an Idiocracy situation.