OPINION: I played, they iPlay

How millennial parenting affects the new generation of children
(Kids on the iPad by Thijs Knaap is licensed under CC BY 2.0.)
(“Kids on the iPad” by Thijs Knaap is licensed under CC BY 2.0.)

The products of children raised by millennial parents have been branded with the term “iPad Kids.” They come into restaurants with their device on full volume leaving customers’ conversations with remnants of hearing Cocomelon in the background. This left me wondering, how did this even happen? 

After observing parental behavior, It is clear that parents are undermining the importance of healthy growth of their toddlers. The first five years of a child’s life is when the brain develops faster than at any other time in their lives. 

With this being said, having your 3-year-old walk around all day with an iPad attached to their hand does not fit into healthy development. Only being entertained by constant technological devices has major effects on a child’s physical, mental and social health. As for children today, their main source of entertainment is not coming from outside, instead, it is coming from the high volume devices in their hands.  We live in a day and age where we as a society rarely see a bunch of children on playgrounds. Instead we are stuck with “ipad kids”.

“Compared to the 1970s, children now spend 50% less time in unstructured outdoor activities,” according to Alliance for Childhood. 

Over the past couple of years as technology has developed, kids spend a lot more time on their devices in the comfort of their home. Rather than being outside and getting real life experience, they are tucked away with unlimited screen time. 

In order for a child to have healthy growth, they have to do more with their lives than just being  technologically stimulated. Being outside, playing with peers and having exercise is supposed to be normal for children today. 

Instead, we have couch potatoes who help America get further in our obesity crisis.  

“Roughly one in six youth have obesity, according to the newest available data. The data, from the National Survey of Children’s Health, show that in 2021-2022, 17.0% of youth ages 10 to 17 had obesity,” according to the State of Childhood Obesity.

Based on the statistics, it is quite evident that physical activity is no longer prioritized  for child needs. This also contributes to the increasing crisis of obesity in America today. Spending more time on screens means spending less time doing physical activity. If children spent the amount of time that they use their devices to do healthy activities, we would have hope for the next generation. Eating healthy food is already a problem in our society, the last thing people need to entertain is an unhealthy amount of screen time. 

Instead, we resort to giving them a quick fix of the flashing tablet to stop their tantrums in the middle of Walmart. When we encounter situations like this, It is easy to dismiss the problems that it will cause in the future. Letting children be completely overtaken by technology affects their body and brains in a destructive way. Students are now behind when it comes to the level of academic accomplishment they should have. 

Photo Illustration of an example of using tablets/ipads/chromebooks (Rebekah Bushmire)

“A study of middle school struggling readers reveals that 47% have difficulty with word identification. Of the 47%, nearly all of them also struggle with fluency and/or comprehension. Also, 84% struggle with comprehension either in isolation or in combination with other reading skills. (Cirino et al., 2013),” according to The Iris Center.

In today’s society about half of children in middle school are not able to perform at their required grade level. This proves that there is a high lack of understanding when it comes to instructional time in classes. Perhaps If students were less occupied with their devices, we would  see an improvement of their academic, and psycho-social health. All of these things may play a major role in our future society.

According to Very Well Family, “A lack of discipline, however, can be a serious problem. And while it may be tempting to make excuses for your child’s behavior, limits and consequences are important.”

Due to the absence of structure, the next generation has a serious lack of discipline that seems to be encouraged by millennial parents. Based on the way that kids today act, I could give a good guess of how consequential this will be in the future. 

As for the academic aspect, there is a lot Children no longer have academic hobbies because we reward them in excess for doing the bare minimum. As a child I used to love reading and writing and could finish a lengthy book within a couple of hours. These days, we are in a crisis because of the lack of literacy we see in children today.

Some of these students struggle because they have not had instruction about how to break down the word into pronounceable chunks,” according to Iris Center. 

Unfortunately, what millennial parents fail to realize is that their lack of knowledge about how much time children spend on their devices will have a negative impact on them in the future. Social media is not just made up of fun apps. Without monitoring the child’s activity, there is a really good chance that your child is going to fall into an uncomfortable situation. As a society, it is important that we teach the new generation to not be chronically online all the time. It’s important that we teach the next generation to indulge in the beauty that technology, However, there should be a balance between our now virtual aspect of life and reality.


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About the Contributor
Celine Jean
Celine Jean, Staff
Celine Jean is a junior serving in her first year as a staff member at the McIntosh Trail. Her passion for reading and writing had been ignited since elementary school when Jean was a part of the Poetry Club. In middle school, Jean’s interest in short stories and political ideologies took an intensive path after two years of participating in the Yale Splash program in Connecticut. Ever since 2021, Jean has volunteered with People of Impact and the Haitian American Caucus to assist the underserved community. Her involvement commenced with serving at soup kitchens and joining park cleaning events in urban and neglected areas in New York. Soon, Jean began to organize volunteering and fundraising events for domestic violence and family shelters. Jean joined God’s Love We Deliver, a non-profit that focuses on feeding hospice cancer and AIDS patients on holidays. In 9th grade, during a socially and politically sensitive climate, Jean became a founding leader of Uncommon Ground, a student group that partners with administration to learn concerns and bridge the gap of the BIPOC students. During her sophomore year at McIntosh, Jean joined the Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO), the Debate Team and the Spanish Club. Celine is excited about embarking on this new journey as an official staff member of the McIntosh Trail.
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