We should never force our kid’s future to look like our past.

Just watched “Hard-Hitting Nature Valley Ad Shows The Terrifying Side Of Kids Addicted To Technology” at https://www.mostwatchedtoday.com/nature-valley-rediscover-nature/.  Regarding kids and technology, I don’t really find anything alarming or even concerning in the video much less a “Terrifying Side Of Kids Addicted To Technology”.  What I do see is a for-profit company playing on emotion to sell a product. Nature Valley is not the first company to ever do this nor will it be the last.  However, the title associated with the ad clip on this site is highly misleading and, in my professional opinion, irresponsible. There is no real evidence to support a “Terrifying Side” or any kind of addiction to technology by kids today.  What you do find is a great deal of articles written that express confirmation bias and purport to point out causal relationships between kids, technology and events when in fact what we are seeing is really a correlational relationship, if any at all.  Few mainstream media articles focus on the benefits of technology in the lives of today’s kids.

And frankly, every generation thinks the next generation is “doing it wrong”.  My parents thought that about my generation on a number of levels and I have no doubt my grandparents thought that about my parent’s generation. But we cannot stop society’s evolutionary progress…nor should we try.  Rather, let’s prepare our kids to thrive in the world that they will inevitably inherit. There will never be a future world that is less digitally connected than the world we have today.  

I highly recommend Dr. Jordan Shapiro’s book, “The New Childhood – Raising Kids To Thrive in a Connected World”.  In the book, Dr. Shapiro talks about how “sandboxes” (or similarly the forts the mother in the commercial talks about) are where kids of past generations learned social skills.  Today, those sandboxes are digital but they serve the same purpose. He says, “Don’t deny your kids the necessary opportunities to learn connected social skills in hands-on, experiential, and creative ways.”  Kids who are denied these opportunities may be less prepared for their future.

We should never force our kid’s future to look like our past…yes, Nature Valley, I am talking to you now as opposed to the site with the title given to your ad.  Nor should we, Nature Valley, exploit children for financial gain which, when you post up children and infer their existence is flawed or actually say their world is sad or scary, is what is happening in the ad.  It’s irresponsible at best.  And should we be capturing on camera parent’s and grandparent’s emotional reaction to comments that kids are making without helping the adults understand the world as it is and will be?  I don’t think so.

Now I don’t have an issue with kids playing outdoors…all the kids I’m around play outside every day.  But equally, I have no issue with kids playing in digital communities…it’s what most adults do on a daily basis, we just call it “work”. 

I do, however, have an issue with irresponsible tech shaming…and worse, kid shaming…and for profit nonetheless.  Kid’s lives are hard enough, we don’t need corporate advertisements making them feel ashamed of living in the present and enjoying it.  Or feeling wrong because they aren’t living exactly as their parents and grandparents did.  

How about this parents and grandparents, enjoy your Nature Valley granola bars AND help your kids learn to navigate their digital futures.  Be present in the lives of your kids, engage with them, work with them to understand their world and help them make sense of it…it’s really not all that different.  Please don’t end up like the adults in this Nature Valley ad video, victims of a corporate ad campaign which was allowed to portray them as disconnected parents, seemingly shocked by the responses of their own kids.  

And businesses looking to sell more product, don’t kid-shame your way to higher earnings per share…they deserve better.

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