Is Your Teen Spoiled? Just Say No to Keeping up with the Joneses
Today’s youth are bombarded with an abundance of devices and distractions that didn’t exist when prior generations were growing up. For example, many teens have their own computers, iPods, cell phones, and televisions.
The question many parents are asking themselves is this: Are young people who have all of these things spoiled, or is this simply a new standard for the children of the information age? According to the experts, it could be a little of both.
A Cost Beyond Money
While there are increasingly more high-ticket items available to teens, there are also more parents than ever before who are willing to pull out the credit cards and go into debt in an effort to fund their children’s electronic lifestyles.
In fact, according to a feature on the Business Week website, parents seem to be more likely to charge items on their credit card for their children than for themselves. And whether the objects of their children’s desires are expensive clothes or high-priced gaming systems, parents who give in to pressure to keep up with the youthful Joneses could be causing problems in the long run.
Pulling the Plug: Teen Video Game Obsessions
Is it a myth or a reality? Can one really become “addicted” or “obsessed” with video games? Some say yes.
One group, “MAVAV” (Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence) definitely feels this way. They say that “MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) severely affect a person’s mental and physical well being: increased anxiety and irritability, argumentative, paranoia, sudden gain or loss in appetite and weight, ‘raiding’ behavior, impaired judgment, sadness and depression, loss of interest in appearance, and sleeplessness.” They are on a mission to educate parents about the “dangers” of too much gaming.
Some medical professionals agree, and are even pushing for video game obsession to be recognized as an “official” disorder that could be treated by psychiatric care and covered by health insurance. In fact, the AMA’s Council on Science and Public Health has recently stated that dependence on such activities as excessive video gaming are more likely to develop in children who start playing them at young ages. How young is too young? How much is too much? When do you pull the plug?
Moderation Is the Key
It is possible to get too much of a good thing. If allowed, many children would happily eat an entire carton of Ho-Hos, stay up all hours of the night, watch cartoons for a week, and go for days without brushing their teeth or changing their underwear. This is part of what makes a child a child. They do not know how to moderate their choices and their behaviors, and it is our job as their parents to instruct them.