The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

iPads are ruining Generation Alpha

Illustration by Lisa Connell

It’s no secret that technology has taken off in the last couple of years and rooted itself into most young children’s minds. Almost everyone has a little sibling who religiously watches “Skibidi Toilet” or “Get Ready with Me” videos of 10 year-olds using a ton of Sephora products on their face. We believe that younger generations, specifically gen alpha and younger Gen Z are missing out on their childhood because of technology, and are feeling the need to grow up too fast.

According to a video essay by Raymundo 2112 parents should be cautious about the content their children consume on platforms like YouTube because much of it is harmful and has no educational or moral value. We see this when children are exposed to content that may seem innocent, but is purposely promoted to younger audiences, exposing them to inappropriate videos.

A well-known YouTube channel is getting busted for promoting inappropriate content to kids is 5-Minute Crafts. They use click bait thumbnails, urging children to watch the video. What may seem like an innocent hack is actually inappropriate content. It’s something so subtle that a child would never notice, but adults are becoming increasingly concerned, and so are we.

Another popular theme is Elsagate. Elsagate is a term defined as “a controversy surrounding videos on YouTube and YouTube Kids that were categorized as ‘child-friendly,’ but contain themes inappropriate for children. These videos often feature fictional characters from family-oriented media, sometimes via crossovers, used without legal permission. These videos are not only on YouTube, but all over YouTube kids, which is supposed to be safe media for children to watch. They make suggestive videos with popular characters that appeal to younger audiences. When children are exposed to this, it negatively affects their relationship with boundaries and increases their risk of victimization. It also forces kids to feel the need to grow up fast, losing their sense of self and becoming a version of someone they saw online.

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If children continue to grow up with an iPad in their faces all of the time, there are a lot of negative consequences in store for their future. Some of this we are already seeing today. According to an article written by Lexi Lonas from The Hill newspaper, “The NAEP report released at the end of June revealed reading scores for the average 13-year-old dropped to their lowest point since 2004. Among the lowest-performing students, reading scores were thrown back to levels not seen since before 1971.” 

Students’ attention spans are greatly decreasing because they are so addicted to scrolling through TikTok or YouTube shorts. Most are no longer interested in reading or completing schoolwork. We can only predict that the excessive use of technology by younger generations will only hurt their education more over the years.

In addition to lower reading levels and a decrease in attention span, children are also missing out on time with their family. Family is arguably the one of the most important aspects of a child’s life. According to National Institutes of Health, along with this issue, excessive screen usage among kids is proven to lead to problems in social-emotional development, including obesity, sleep disturbances, depression, and anxiety.

An easy, low cost solution to this problem that we think would be beneficial is to limit the amount and type of media your children consume. There are so many different ways to keep children entertained. Children should play outside, hang out with friends, use their imagination to make up stories and play with toys, be more present in the real world and less online, keep their families close, and live their childhood to the fullest.

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