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What happened to childhood?

What was your best pre-teen birthday present?  How about a car?

Ridiculous– but that may be where we’re heading as parents provide younger and younger children with technology way beyond their years.

Before, kids were concerned with Barbies and baseball, now it’s all about the latest social network and technology.

The kids nowadays look and act–in a sense–more grown up than grown -ups do.

Blame the parents?  Maybe.

Solve the problem.

That’s up to us.

Digital natives—those of us for whom the Internet and the digital world have always existed—have to set the boundaries of appropriate technology, especially for children.  We have to be the role models.

Yes kids are growing up way too fast, but maybe it’s partially the environment we allow them to be exposed to.

It’s mind-blowing that 11- and 12-year-old kids are asking their parents to buy iPhones, iPads, Macbooks and expensive game stations. Give me a break.

In other words–monkey see, monkey do

Why?—because everyone else is doing the same thing, so of course they want to fit in. They want to be like their big brothers and sisters that they see on college campuses with their cool new phone, and constantly -updated Facebook status.

Parents are playing the role of enablers. Parents– people that are supposed to set a good example for their children and steer them away from the material things in life, are sitting back and letting these things happen.

And it gets worse. This isn’t just a passing trend–this is a nationwide epidemic.

 According to a report from the National Consumer League, cell phones aren’t just for teenagers anymore. Nearly 6 out of 10 parents of children between 8- 12, have provided their children with cell phones. This is incredible–incredibly sad.

If you’re 10-years-old, why do you need a cell phone? Who do you need to call that you can’t from a house phone? Go draw a picture or something.

It doesn’t stop there. Why are kids that have JUST completed junior high school able to create Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages?

 Facebook, which was originally created for college students and older adults, is for reconnecting and staying up-to-date with a group, or person that you’ve met in your life-span. When you’re that young, who could you possibly have met that you can’t just call? Sorry,  but if you’re under 16, you have no business with a data plan.

If kids really want to grow up—do it in another way. Get a life, not an iPhone.

What’s it got to do with us?  It’s up to us to set the example for how to make a digital life meaningful.

That’s why it’s more important than ever for college students to set good examples for this younger generation.

It’s up to us to show our younger siblings that technology is a tool, not a goal.  To do that, we must use it responsibly.

So the next time you get a chance, take a kid to the park.  Leave the iPad at home.

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