Lack of Attentiveness in Kids Today

Nandina

Member
I teach English Comp I, II, creative writing, and advanced placement literature at a high school. These students have amazing and sometimes gifted abilities, but their problem is they can’t handle boredom. They are easily bored and have to have constant stimulation because they just lose interest in everything they have to do. These students don’t know how to handle boredom, so they get themselves into trouble because it’s more entertaining to do something risky than to follow the rules of life. It’s not always ADHD. These students just cannot keep themselves entertained about anything.

I don’t know what the solution is, but I’ve seen it happen so many times to brilliant students and athletes who could have the world as their oyster.

The above was started on another thread and I would like to discuss more in-depth here.

Crayola, I think the prominence of video games has a lot to do with it. The speed, the graphics, the rush that the user feels playing them. This is so evident in a lot of what we see on television and in the media. Even the tv commercials nowadays flash in front of you like a blur!

The shows on television have become extremely graphic in their violence—I can barely watch some of them! I think this gratuitous violence is required just to keep the younger generation engaged because they are so used to seeing it on those life-like video games and anything less won’t hold their attention. In addition, more young people are producing these shows and this is the norm for them.

Even the sex is more than I care to watch on many shows appearing on Netflix, Peacock, etc. Do I need to watch the entire sex act? A little subtlety works for me…I can get the idea.

Cell phones are actually designed to become addictive and today’s kids (and lots of adults) are addicted to them, checking every few minutes for Facebook updates, Snapchat posts or whatever… I don’t really know, because I’m not addicted to mine. But whatever it is, has certainly gotten their attention.

My daughter’s boyfriend, about age 32, is addicted to his phone. He’s also a heavy gamer. They come over and we can barely get a conversation going because he is constantly checking it. I find it disrespectful to be in someone’s home visiting but engaging with your phone! I don’t feel it is my place to tell him to put it away but it irritates the ****out if me!! My son does the same thing when he visits, though not as much. I tell him to put it away, though, since I’m still his mom, lol. Seriously, I just find it rude!

I think the prevalence of all this is creating the issues you are seeing, Crayola. It has got to be hard to hold these kids’ attention. How can you possibly compete with all the stuff they are deluged with on practically a minute-by-minute basis?

I also worry about parents who stick a computer screen or phone in front of their baby‘s face before they can even walk. How does that help the child develop? Or not? Perhaps fine motor skills? But what does it do for attention, relating to others, etc.?

Something else about today’s kids I found interesting—I recently had an elementary teacher tell me that she finds today’s kids cannot handle ANY frustration. That they just lose it over every little thing and fall apart. I have some thoughts on that as well, but I think I’ve ranted on long enough. I’ll save that for another day, lol.

Thoughts or comments on any of this? Pro or con? I’d love to hear it. Thank you Crayola, for bringing up this topic. As you can probably tell, it is one of my pet peeves!
 

Crayola13

Well-Known Member
Technology has become a necessary evil. In the beginning, it was great. Then, it began to rule everyone’s lives.

The washing machines and dryers at this resort are hooked up to a Wi-Fi network instead of just pushing a button to pour in detergent and do a simple load of laundry. You set up a password, account, credit card, app, etc. simply to do a load of laundry. I’m not kidding. What used to be easy is now a nightmare.

Before fast food and video games came along, kids and adult’s struggled with boredom back then, too. The difference is that before all this fast technology line video games, internet, phones, etc. we’re invented, the majority of kids and adults knew how to handle boredom without having a nuclear meltdown or resorting to criminal activity. More people worked back then and knew how to occupy themselves. Because of the increase in population, more people meant more bad behavior.
 

Blighty

Member
I'm convinced screens account for the majority of these now commonplace problems. It makes me so mad. We are sleep walking into disaster. I feel that we are living in The Matrix.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates banned their kids from having digital devices because they knew of the likely effects. Ironic. We now know they had a point.

The way the brain develops through childhood is affected by using digital media. There is research on this.

There is information to help parents at Screenstrong
Link here: You are being redirected...
 

Nandina

Member
I appreciate your thoughts, Blighty. I don’t think this is probably the most popular topic because so many of us and our kids are glued to our phones, gaming devices, etc. and it’s hard to be objective when one is in the midst of it.

What adults do is one thing, but it can’t possibly be healthy for young children whose brains are still developing to constantly be engaged and interacting with an inanimate device. And yes, they do serve their purpose—after all, the kids will be using computers in school eventually so having a general knowledge is helpful.

But even more helpful to a child’s developing brain is communicating verbally with others, working with manipulatives like puzzles, blocks, and Legos, and imaginary play. And of course, reading.

What ever happened to playing outside? Do kids even do that anymore other than their 20 minutes of recess at school? It’s no wonder we have an obesity epidemic among our youth. Most of the exercise they‘re getting is with their fingers on a hand-held device. And try to take that away from them and you have a fight on your hands!

I probably sound old fashioned and stodgy—maybe I am, but I can’t help but think that we‘re short-changing our children by starting them too early with devices and not interacting with face-to-face communication and toys that inspire creativity and brain development. And that in my opinion, decrease boredom.

This doesn’t even address the most devastating aspect of the cell phone, social media phenomenon that‘s damaging our kids; the use of social media to judge and spew hate towards others. The fact that our kids today have to live with this hurts my soul.

I don’t know what the answer is. Technology is inevitable. We need it. But we need more of a balance and I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
 

Crayola13

Well-Known Member
Technology is a necessary evil. Kids have to be very tech savvy for academic reasons, so they definitely have to know how to use technology. They’ll have to use it in the workplace if they eventually get to that point in life. On the other hand, it’s ridiculous that some people can’t just turn on a light switch. They have to tell their Alexa speaker or phone to unlock a door or turn on a lamp.
 

Nandina

Member
Agreed! Call me suspicious, but I don’t trust those Alexa and Siri systems. I’ve heard too many horror stories about private conversations being overheard and transmitted—to who knows where?
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
And yet millions of kids use phones and watch TV and are college graduates with good jobs. And I dont remember being bored back then. We had a good old time driving through neighborhoods, picking up cute boy hitch hikers, buying drugs and partying. My group were richer kids with Dads car and money. I recall my group never being home to be bored. Those are nostalgic days for me...1970s. Hippies. Greasers who were nothing like the Fonz, drugs, drugs. Drugs. Pot was a FELONY then, but they risked it. Newfound free sex was huge. I knew no virgin other than me. Juvu hall was well visited. The rich kids parents usually got them out so they got into trouble again. Nothing to do? Boredom? Kids find things to do. Don't be fooled about" the good old days." NO cell phones. I tied on the landlines for hours. Finally my dad got a second line because the phone was always busy. Or we'd drive around talking to each other looking for cute boy hitch hikers. Luckily I had the sense not to do drugs so I didn't get arrested. But my friends often did.

2022 is about OUR kids. Crayola, your kid is still young. It remains to be seen how he will do adulting. Well, I hope. But it's risky for all. Being a good teen doesn't make one a responsible adult. Many of our kids list it in the 20s.

Technology is a good bash for why our particular kids go off the rails. Our own grand parents believed that TV would do us all in. I remember. Well. The older generation always thinks the younger generation's new gadgets will ruin them. Yet most kids do fine. OUR kids dont. Most...do...fine!

The problem is om our kids. Period. Putting the blame on things that most adults have use of yet still do well, may make us feel better but it's not the reason why OUR kids don't function well. It's a copout. It's been a cop out foe every older generation with wayward kids. Always has been.


Some kids in the boomer generation, in fact many, were lazy drug abusers and this was before computers. In our school it was common for kids to have drug overdoses. Although many were lower middle class, next in line were the rich,rich kids who were active in sports and other clubs. They also got into drugs and often their loves disintegrated. They loved to shoplift with their parent's visa cards in their pockets. My friends did. Why I'd ask.? For the thrill of it.

My school was not full of kids who sat around with nothing to do. Both Bart Conners ,(Olympic Gymnastic Star) and Merrick Garland, (yes the DOJ) went to my school. Merrick was a year ahead of me. In remember him well.

Obviously Bart and Merrick did nor ruin their lives. Not everyone did. Being a druggie was just an option, just like it is today. Blame your kid, like I blame mine. Our kids refuse to take advantage of their advantages. And they have sure been given those advantages! Them turning out bad is on them. It would have happened without phones. Our kids are rebels and lazy and addicted. All kids have technology. Few are like our kids.

Not to rain on the parade but they are what they are and would have found other bad ways to behave in the 70s. There was ample opportunity.

Hugs and love.
 
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Nandina

Member
Thanks for the memories, Busy! Lol. I did a lot of crazy things in my youth too, which I’d rather not admit to. Just for the record here, I don’t think we’re necessarily talking about “our kids,”—they are a rare breed, indeed with lots of different reasons why they behave like they do, or maybe unknown reasons. In these posts, I’m just talking about kids in general, not necessarily badly behaved kids. And yeah, I get that I’m beginning to sound like the “older generation,” of which I am now a member, lol. Thanks for your input (and the true confessions!)
 
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Copabanana

Well-Known Member
I read a few years ago that in the works cell phone-type devices were soon to be implanted in the head. The idea was convenience???!!! I was horrified and I still am. If you think about it, how far off are we really, with digital watches, cell phones, earbuds, etc. becoming extensions of the body and often monitoring bodily functions?

My vice is internet shopping. I know I am being controlled. So I don't think these problems are confined to the young.

I am horrified to see pictures of the Amazon Warehouses, that I support, which look like death to me. Worse than industrial prisons. Or as bad. And the workers are similarly confined inside. How different is this from the industrial conditions in 3rd world countries, whose exploitation I support by buying throw-away clothes and things with built-in obsolescence? To me, all of this is a piece. I disgust myself.

We are consumption machines. It is almost as if we can't sit quietly without consuming something. Through ears, mouths, eyes. What Crayola wrote about, is the love of producing, by writing or mathematics or study. The opposite of mindless consumption.

Have young people lost the idea of producing themselves? Of writing their own life stories whether through education or building a business or recovering from drugs or creating art? If this is the case what in the world is to become of us?

My own son for whatever reason (mental illness, probably) cannot or will not see himself as capable of producing anything at all. Not a day's work, not a balanced budget for the month. He goes from month to month from the large metro back to here, based on how much money he has. He will speak about doing something, but it is manipulation, like splashing water. My son does write beautifully. And he reads incessantly. But he can't or won't make or do anything that has any worth for himself or anybody else.

The things that give me real pleasure are the same things I enjoyed in childhood: reading library books, drawing, painting, walking, and dancing.
 
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Nandina

Member
Hi Copa,
I read a few years ago that in the works cell phone-type devices were soon to be implanted in the head. The idea was convenience???!!! I was horrified and I still am. If you think about it, how far off are we really, with digital watches, cell phones, earbuds, etc. becoming extensions of the body and often monitoring bodily functions?
I have this crazy science-fictiony thought sometimes about the future of our human race. Evolution being what it is, where certain body parts become less necessary or change over time, thumbs will become longer and stronger, and become our main source of communication, where once our voices were. Meanwhile, our mouths will get smaller and smaller, and eventually just a little hole because they’re not used to communicate like they once were—our fingers have taken over that role with inanimate devices. (yeah, I know—crazy! But I have an active imagination! Lol)

Already, a lot of folks would rather text a communication than talk on the phone. I think kids today are becoming inadequate at interpersonal skills, engaging in meaningful conversation, learning how to debate, etc. because it’s so much easier just to engage those thumbs and text it. It then becomes so much easier to “say” things that one wouldn’t say in person, because there is no face-to-face interaction. Thus, we end up with all the hate and judgment that is so prevalent in social media today. I think it’s tragic.
We are consumption machines. It is almost as if we can't sit quietly without consuming something. Through ears, mouths, eyes.
I agree. And we are always looking outside ourselves for our stimulation—getting it from looking at Facebook, Tik-Tok videos or Snapchat. It’s all getting faster and faster—we have become such an instant gratification society! But life doesn’t provide that same instant gratification. Sometimes you have to wait for things to happen, be patient, work your way to the top and pay your dues, so to speak. I think for a lot of young people today, that is missing—they expect to get out of college for instance, and immediately earn six figures. I’ve seen this somewhat in one of my own kids (not the one that brought me here.) It’s unrealistic.
The things that give me real pleasure are the same things I enjoyed in childhood: reading library books, drawing, painting, walking, and dancing.
Amen!
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
Sometimes you have to wait for things to happen, be patient, work your way to the top and pay your dues, so to speak.
This sentence really captured me, Nandina. This is the underlying story of my life. And one way I do not understand my son. I waited and expected for him to act more like me, which is to say purposeful and motivated, and it didn't happen. He has said it. "I'm not you Mom." Well, of course, if I accept that he is seriously mentally ill, that explains everything, but I fight it.

For this to happen, what you write about, you really have to have the capacity to "hurry up and wait." Our kids can be impulse-driven, or they can be slugs and veg, but they can't integrate the two. They can't harness their energy towards an incremental or complex goal. It seems like our kids can't "settle" themselves on purpose, with discipline. Based on my observations of my own son, he has a hard time regulating himself at all.

I would want him to go on medication. And what would medication do? Institute some sort of regulatory ability to harness himself. And when I write it like that, it just makes me feel sad.

I am wondering if technology helps these types of people both calm their impulses and organize what is fractured. I am wondering if worst of all it guides them and motivates them. (Scary in these times of political polarization. My son is captured by these wild ideas.)

There have been injuries and omissions in my son's life that can explain his missing pieces. But how could there be a generation of similarly affected people? There are people at 28 and 33 who are surgeons, pilots, gifted artists, etc. who do not conform to the scary model that I am describing. Is it us who have been warped, by looking at our children and generalizing, and me, after 7 years on this board, have my views been shaped by what I have seen? I don't know.
 

mindinggaps

New Member
For this to happen, what you write about, you really have to have the capacity to "hurry up and wait." Our kids can be impulse-driven, or they can be slugs and veg, but they can't integrate the two. They can't harness their energy towards an incremental or complex goal. It seems like our kids can't "settle" themselves on purpose, with discipline. Based on my observations of my own son, he has a hard time regulating himself at all.

I would want him to go on medication. And what would medication do? Institute some sort of regulatory ability to harness himself. And when I write it like that, it just makes me feel sad.
@Copabanana What you write here is interesting and I think is at least worth looking at from another perspective. I suppose in some ways, I bear similarities to your son - in an unmedicated state I have very poor ability to regulate myself and cannot harness any ability to reach my potential or contribute to society in a meaningful way.

But, I have been medicated since 5 years old and have an understand that medication is required for me to function. In particular, after a recent short stint off medication, it became clear to me that I will need to be on it for life. In some sense this may make those around me sad, however, I do think acceptance and treatment leads to better outcomes and shouldn't be something to be ashamed about.

With proper medication I have been able to enact complex goals and life a fulfilling life - I have a career in a difficult field which required extensive education, a stable relationship and many hobbies. And yes, medication institutes some regulatory ability to harness myself, but that is okay and much better than the alternative.

In no way do I want to oversimplify the situation with your son because I am sure it is complex, but I do challenge the way to think about needing medication.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
Hi

My son shows symptoms of what could be worst case schizophrenia. There is no 💊 i know of without serious side effects to motivation, thinking, emotions and physically. That’s different from your situation. That said, I agree with everything you write.
 

mindinggaps

New Member
Hi

My son shows symptoms of what could be worst case schizophrenia. There is no 💊 i know of without serious side effects to motivation, thinking, emotions and physically. That’s different from your situation. That said, I agree with everything you write.
Dear @Copabanana thank you for this message. You are right that medications do not work well for all situations. I can tell that you are a kind person wanting the best for your son and are managing the best in a challenging case.

I think it is important context to remember that in many ways those in situations that can be helped with medication are somewhat fortunate.
 
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