Imagine being a child in today’s world, compared with the childhood you had.
As a child I shared a bedroom with three others. We had one bathroom. My Mom made a lot of our clothes, and we owned school shoes, casual shoes, and runners. We had no playroom, and a limited stock of toys. For most of my childhood we had one car which was gone all day. We walked or cycled where ever we wanted to go.
We had one television, black and white, and were lucky enough to have four channels. Those living outside Dublin had just two! We didn’t get a video recorder until I was almost seventeen. There were no mobile phones, computers, laptops or games consuls.
Yet I never knew of anyone who took their own life.
Reading the statistics I am stunned. What has changed? Were this number of teenagers unhappy when I was growing up? Was I just oblivious to it? I can’t help but wonder despite our better lifestyles are our children living in a poorer world?
With all this technology we are able to communicate 24/7 but have we stopped actually speaking with each other? We have all gone into restaurants and watched families sit at a table and not speak, as they are too busy online. Is it easier than making conversation?
As I look through my facebook feed I see happiness everywhere. Enough to make me feel I’m missing out. What would the awkward, angry, teenage Tric have felt at fifteen, if she had to look at so many others living in a perfect world.
I didn’t have all that my children have, but I also didn’t have other things in my life that are part of my children’s lives. I never felt exam pressure and the need to get grinds in order to get good results. I didn’t see the perfect lives others were living. I didn’t have to have branded clothes, and update my wardrobe regularly. I didn’t have to have a million facebook friends or learn to cope with cyber bullying. I’d never heard of cosmetic surgery, and there was very little talk of foods being good or bad for you. I read magazines, but they weren’t focused on body image. There were real celebrities, those who had actually achieved fame through their musical or acting ability. Society seemed less fake. I didn’t believe everyone else was living a better life than I was.
I cannot help but wonder, what are we missing? In a world where parents seem to put more time, energy and money than ever before into their children, where are we going wrong?
We need to listen to our children’s silent cries. They are trying to tell us something. It’s time for us to ask them, ‘Why are you not happy?’.