Teachers are quitting in droves. Some attribute it to burnout, others, because of "rising school violence." Still, for many who are commenting on this phenomenon on social media, it primarily has to do with awful behavior.
Something that a TikToker named Andra (@hopeyoufindyourdad) says she has extensive experience dealing with during her time as a nanny.
She posted her argument in a viral clip where she delineated why "iPad Kids" are such a terror — and how to help them.
Andra begins her video highlighting a snippet of a rant from another TikTok user who is imploring viewers to not be the type of people who allow their children to effectively be "raised" by iPads, turning them into the oft-maligned Gen Alpha, "iPad Kid"generation.
Distractify has recently covered the gentleman's arguments against iPad use in early childhood development, stating that children who have been exposed to these touch screen devices, the ad nauseam doom scrolling, instant gratification videos, or constantly tabbing through games is a surefire way to psychologically ruin them.
There are other dangers that come with unsupervised/unfettered iPad usage in children as well: they could become exposed to content that they probably shouldn't be viewed at a young age or predatory individuals who try and scope out children and dupe them into giving out personal information.
Andra goes on to say in her clip that there's another consequence of the iPad generation that's having a devastating effect on the state of education in America: teachers are quitting the profession en masse because the students entering their classrooms are so poorly behaved that they find instructing them to do anything to be a herculean task.
She called the generation of students "an absolute terrifying nightmare to deal with," and conceded that while every generation makes broad generalizations of a derisive nature geared towards the generation of youngsters to come after them, there is something uniquely troubling about "iPad kids."
She cites the fact that teachers who have been lifelong educators, we're talking battle-hardened veterans, who are deciding to tap out due to the hopelessness of this generation. Andra went on to say that while a lack of intriguing benefits and relatively low pay are certainly contributing factors to teachers leaving their jobs, that instructors, when polled, cited Gen Alpha's overall awfulness as their reason for quitting.
So what's making them just so terrible? Andra says that in her experience nannying it all boils down to screen time: kids who had their screen times limited didn't suffer from horrible behavioral issues, but those who did? Were terrors to deal with.
And these aren't just anecdotal claims either: there have been legitimate studies conducted on the devastating effects early onset screen time indulgence has on a child's mental health. Kids will often display an inability to manage their emotions, stay focused on a singular task, or retain new vocabulary words and suffer speech delays.
Andra went on to say that many folks are using iPads as a substitute for "parenting" or "babysitting," and the results of these choices are clearly culminating in legions of deranged children.
She also attributed these historic levels of individual screen time with an increase in ADHD diagnosis across the country.
What's probably the most troubling bit of information is that children are becoming less imaginative and creative, perhaps because they're able to get a quick dopamine rush from opening some brain-death inducing YouTube surprise egg unwrapping compilation instead of being bored for a bit and then coming up with something to help cure their boredom.
Andra remarked that in her experience babysitting, kids seemed less excited about coloring and building things and more in just tapping away at applications on their iPads or watching Netflix.
She went on to say that the worst cases were of the parents who gave their children "unregulated" access to iPads — the kids would be on them all day.
They wouldn't go outside, they were awful and "imaginative play" they had zero interest with physical toys: screen was life.
Another issue Andra came across: parents who had no idea how to tell their kids "no," and ineffectively set up boundaries for them.
"If you try and take an iPad out of an iPad kid's hand not only will they throw a tantrum so large but they will start physically hitting you."
She said that the "first few times" she experienced this as a nanny she was "amazed" at this behavior. "Who allows their kid to behave like this?"
Andra recalled being a child as well and said that even while she was throwing temper tantrums herself, she knew in the back of her mind that putting her hands on someone in an aggressive manner was simply out of the question — the situation never got to that point.
Andra says that she ended up establishing a great relationship with the parents of particularly heinous iPad kids as she would slide her parenting style into their lives. Citing the example of one family with 7 and 5 year old children, who didn't really have homework, she was ensure that every day when they came back home from school she would put away all of their electronics.
This would result in a predictable tantrum, but she would stay the course and calmly tell the kids to "let out" whatever they wanted to during these tantrums. If it was a nice day, she'd bring the children outside and have them play with a bunch of outdoor toys that "went untouched" and if it was cold, they had a playroom filled with toys they never interacted with.
She then said that any iPad time or movie nights needed to be earned like, as she says, the majority of children who were raised in the 90s or early 2000s. How would they earn them? By performing chores and helping out around the house, not because they stamped their feet and screamed bloody murder.
She said that when parents would see a marked difference in the behavior of their children they would ask Andra what she was doing to enact such a positive change. She replied (probably not directly to the parents in this way) that she was "basically raising [their] kids" and teaching them about actions and consequences along with how to manage their emotions.
The TikToker added that she isn't entirely "anti-iPad" and believes that there is a time and place for it: like if you're trying to have lunch with your friends at a restaurant and you want to keep the kids occupied so they aren't squirming in their seats.
She capped off her video by stating that while it may be easy to blame the iPad for Gen Alpha being as insufferable as they are, that ultimately it boils down to how parents choose to raise their children and it starts with recognizing that the device isn't a 24/7 baby sitter.