In an over-connected world?
I recently had the privilege of being an overnight chaperon at a Rotary Club high school leadership camp. It was, needless to say, a very unique and eye-opening experience to be in a 24-man bunkroom filled with teenage boys.
The first thing I discovered was they still talk about the same stupid stuff we did at their ages. But the second thing I learned kind of shocked me a little but did not surprise me. When I was their age I would have spent as much of my time as I could being around the other boys, face-to-face, talking or playing games/cards or something. Instead I witnessed how teenagers today interact. They were all in their beds on their smartphones!
While occasionally talking with the other boys in the room (without eye contact) they were multi-tasking and carrying on multiple conversations on their smartphones. The biggest concern of the evening was when many started panicking because their phone batteries were getting low!
This is the only world our children have ever known. They think it has always been this way. While the internet and social media were meant to make us more “connected”, many experts feel it is doing the opposite.
The Livingston Council for Youth recently conducted a county wide survey of 7th, 9th and 11th grade students. Its finding revealed:
The Power of Community is Everything
Youth Need to be Involved to Feel a Sense of Purpose
Every Person Has the Power to Connect and Encourage Youth
Even as Youth Grow More Independent, Adults Need to Stay Engaged.
So, listen closely to what our youth are telling us. While the world around us is changing at an accelerating rate, we as humans are still the same. We are still highly social animals that need to connect with each other and belong to strong tribes. In our technologically over connected world our teens are telling us they need real, one-on-one, face-to-face personal connection more than ever!
But, it is not all doom and gloom. We also need to celebrate. We have a wonderful community with amazing youth. Our mission at Ohana Karate is to create then nurture our children in the strong “tribe” they need to grow into successful and happy young adults.
Are you ready to do your part?
Yours for stronger kids,