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Old 11-27-2006, 08:16 AM   #16
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Isn't there an actual marketing term KGOY -Kids Getting Older Younger? I think much of the change is down to marketing and advertising agencies specifically targeting the pre teen group with clothing, mobile phones, IPODs etc. There was an outcry here not long ago when some stores were heavily criticized for trying to sell scanty underwear to girls as young as around 8. With such advertising and peer pressure, it's more difficult for parents to say no when their kids want the same things that all their friends seem to have.
My son is nearly 11 and is already showing some signs of development (including typical teenage grumpiness ),whilst some of the girls in his class have already started their periods. He wants more independence and has been asking for a mobile and IPOD for a while, mainly I think because some of his friends have them, but we've refused. We think he's too young and so far it's not been a big issue thankfully. It seems worse in some ways for girls though. They're targeted to look upon the likes of Britney, Paris and co as role models and it's all too easy for them to copy the looks.
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Old 11-27-2006, 08:37 AM   #17
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I don't see how things like computers, cell phones, game systems, and iPods are intrinsically bad for kids as long as they are properly monitored. Our rule growing up was, you can have it if YOU can afford it. That meant if I wanted a Discman at 14, I had to find a way to make and save money to get one. We never had computers as kids, or video games, mp3 players, cell phones, cars.... I'm 22 and just got my first cell phone because it's through work and I don't have to pay. If parents are just giving out these gadgets to their young kids, then they should stop complaining about the damage they can do as far as being brainwashed playing video games all day or girls being stalked on MySpace by 40 year old men. You can't have it both ways.

IMO, the most important things teenagers can learn are respect, responsibility, and accountability. They can't do it on their own - parents need to set a good example and provide reasonable boundaries. If a 12 year old kid thinks she's old enough for a 700 minute cell phone plan, then I say she's old enough to get a babysitting job and help pay for it.

Like others have pointed out, I see kids demanding access to "toys" that are really geared towards adults. Really, why does a 12 year old need a cell phone? If you want to know where your kid is, make her tell you where she's going and with whom before she goes.

I guess I don't really see kids growing up any faster these days, I see kids pretending to be adults but actually acting less mature and less responsible.
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Old 11-27-2006, 10:05 AM   #18
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Besides society's influence, does anyone in their 20s notice that kids of 10-15 are bloody huge compared to when we were the same age not so long ago?

Is it like this outside North America, because I notice it especially in the US. Maybe all the growth hormones that are in the beef. I don't mean fat, I just mean larger in general. It's a bit weird.
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Old 11-27-2006, 10:15 AM   #19
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I've always thought American kids looked huge in comparison to us in Europe, they have always looked more physically mature to me.
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Old 11-27-2006, 10:18 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Canadiens1160
Besides society's influence, does anyone in their 20s notice that kids of 10-15 are bloody huge compared to when we were the same age not so long ago?

Is it like this outside North America, because I notice it especially in the US. Maybe all the growth hormones that are in the beef. I don't mean fat, I just mean larger in general. It's a bit weird.
I have kind of a biased view since I grew up in a Dutch community and the Dutch are actually the tallest people in the world, but if it's true, I'd guess that it's mainly to do with less physical exercise and more access to junk food. It seems like more kids get allowances or money, and now that kids eat at school rather than going home for lunch, they just eat out of a vending machine. Not to mention many schools have contracts for their vending machines. My high school had about two dozen Pepsi vending machines and I think only one or two had water and juices. Combine this with schools cutting requirements for PE classes and kids spending more and more time indoors and you get some BIG kids!
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Old 11-27-2006, 11:32 AM   #21
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I wonder if there is any relationship with the Flynn effect, in any case I am not sure that these trends are a bad thing; society doesn't dramatically alter biology that rapidly - it is physical environmental factors.

For all the carping many indicators show taht this generation as a whole may be better; safer sex, less drugs, more intelligent etc.
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Old 11-27-2006, 12:07 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
For all the carping many indicators show taht this generation as a whole may be better; safer sex, less drugs, more intelligent etc.


in many ways, this is spot-on.

i think it's easy to get caught up in easy nostalgia, childhood as a romantic, carefree time, and it was for many, at least some of the time. how lucky we are that much of the awfulness seems to melt away over time and we're left not with memories of hurt feelings, awkward birthday parties, petty humiliations, forgotten lines in the school play, and bad teachers, but we remember riding bikes to the playground, elaborate games of pretend, climbing trees, and school successes. we all do it, but probably because we all forget so quickly.

i do think that kids seem a bit older, and i do think, based upon my experience, that 11 or 12 seems to be a bit young for proper dating, but i think A_W is right -- research indicates that kids today do less drugs, smoke less, get pregnant less, and generally do better on some meausres of achievement (standardized tests, which are a poor measure, but what else have you?) both academically, athletically, and in whatever other areas of interest (music, theater, etc.) than kids did even 15 years ago.

there are nuances to this, i suppose. we could get up in arms about the popularity of, say, oral sex amongst high school students, but isn't that better than the teen pregnancy rates of the 1980s? it's a series of trade offs -- kids with more information are possibly better able to protect themselves, be it safer sexual practices or perhaps engaging in entirely controlled recreational uses of drugs, even if they are now more likely to engage in these activities. are we really to say which is better and which is worse?

i suppose i'm less concerned about a 12 year old acting like a 15 year old chatting on a cell phone and talking about "hot" girls than i am about a 7th grade teacher who can't spend the last 20 minutes of English reading, say, A Separate Peace outloud to her class of 13 year olds and instead has to cram for yet another state test.
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Old 11-27-2006, 03:06 PM   #23
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Supposedly the hormones in food are a major factor in early menstruation, I think it's "freaky" that girls are starting that at such an early age. It's bad enough to deal with it when you are 12 or 13 or whatever age. It's just a normal natural bodily function, but I would never have wanted it in elementary school-it can be so painful and uncomfortable, depending upon the individual girl.

I don't know, I loved being a relatively really carefree and innocent kid and hate the thought that kids might eventually only be a kid up until kindergarten or something And I don't think group or real dating should start until 13 or 14 at the earliest. My personal preference would be 16 or 17 for individual real dates, I guess that makes me incredibly out of touch and old fashioned.

I do think the early sexualization of kids is a critically important issue.
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Old 11-27-2006, 03:21 PM   #24
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but were we as innocent and carefree as we now think we are?

i really don't know the answer, i suppose i'm just wondering if we're all prone to too much nostalgia. when i really think back to elementary school, i'm actually almost sickened at how cruel kids could be to other kids, the fat kids, the weird kids, the socially maladroit kids, the little things that would happen and you'd never socially live them down, and based upon my experiences with this same age group (3rd-6th grade) kids are every bit as mean to each other as they were in the late-80s when i was that age.

as for the sexualization of kids, this i agree with. but not only does it sell, it sells for the same reason that things like cigarettes have sold to kids -- it makes you look older/cooler/more like a teenager. i fear that girls get a weird mixed message, that what might be deemed "sluttiness" (or the trappings of sluttiness) is equated with sexual power and control. they are not (usually) the same thing, or they are only the same thing in the hands of a self-confident woman, not a 14 year old.

as for the dating thing, i generally agree with you -- a driver's license earns one the right to start to date in the traditional sense, up until then, groups are better (and way less pressure).
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Old 11-27-2006, 05:06 PM   #25
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Well by innocent I generally mean the sexual issue and the technologically driven sophistication that can be dangerous and expose you to all kinds of weirdos and weird situations, and just situations that you're not emotionally prepared for as a kid-in many ways I think people who were kids without computers, cell phones and all that were more innocent in a unique way.

I for one never thought about looking hot or sexy or anything like that or wearing those kinds of clothes any age under 16 or so, and I never went on dates before then either. I don't think I was allowed to wear makeup before I was 15 (maybe 14 at the earliest, I don't quite remember).

I certainly agree that kids could always be just as cruel, the only difference now is the methods by which that is done.
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Old 11-28-2006, 02:28 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by Canadiens1160
does anyone in their 20s notice that kids of 10-15 are bloody huge compared to when we were the same age not so long ago?
Yeah, absolutely, my hubby and i were actually talking about it after the U2 show here in Adelaide - he's 5ft11 - average height i always thought, but he said he felt so short and skinny compared to alot of the younger guys around him. I'm also finding alot of the younger (like 21-22 yr old) girls at my work are towering over me!!
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Old 11-28-2006, 05:28 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
but were we as innocent and carefree as we now think we are?
Look at it this way; if you were given the choice of raising your children how you were (providing you look back fondly) or how it is now, which would you choose? My answer lies in that I would love my kids to grow up how I did, but that is just not possible. It is not safe to run the streets, to go into the bush for 4 hours at a time, to just play freely. You can barely find a street quiet enough for a good game of street cricket these days.
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Old 11-28-2006, 05:50 AM   #28
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Just because a girl is getting her period at 8 or 9 does not mean she is emotionally ready for "maturity" she might not even be physically even though she is ovulating.

I do look back fondly on my childhood, having freedom, sleeping outside on the grass all night in the front yard, riding on my bie off in the bush for hours, getting lifts from people i recognised att he shops home etc... and i do believe there is more violence and the world today is pretty screwed up with things that happen, compared to the past and i think that saddens me more

Truth be told, i drank alcohol and smoked cigarettes at 11 and 12 (not much, but at a aprty) and two kids in year 8 had sex and it was a BIG thing, but it wasn't the norm in my school...

i just think todays world is catered for getting it now NOW NOW stress and pressure etc etc
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Old 11-28-2006, 08:21 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by mandy1973

Yeah, absolutely, my hubby and i were actually talking about it after the U2 show here in Adelaide - he's 5ft11 - average height i always thought, but he said he felt so short and skinny compared to alot of the younger guys around him. I'm also finding alot of the younger (like 21-22 yr old) girls at my work are towering over me!!
21-22 is the age when they are full-grown.
But that's nothing new. Over the centuries, but most over the past decades people became taller. Average height in the 1960's for example was less than it is today, and 1.90m and above was considered huge. Now 1.90m is normal height for men. I am 1.88m, and my brother is 1.94m.
In a few years I think 2.02m will be very normal, or even above.

That is thanks to the food that has improved and also caused by less physical work.

A the moment I think we should be more scared about the enormous popularity of fast food between children. In America and also here in Europe more and more children have overweight, and still their no. 1 food is fast food.

In England children refuse to eat healthier food in school kantine's and go to the next fries station. I even read about one case where the mothers supplied their children with fries and burgers every day so their children could boycott the healthier food in the kantine.

The mother who lead this sick movement even said having seen the move Supersize Me nobody can go on and eat fast food every day, still supplying her own child with the very same food very day.

On the other hand sport becomes less and less important and in the US the government even reduced the weekly sport sessions in school to a minimum.
I think there is also the problem that only children get supported in doing their sport who are really talented. And other children miss out.

I know from friends of mine who used to be in a soccer team since they were about six, that even in the earliest years only those kids got to play who were best.

The coaches only were interested in winning matches. They didn't taught the kids the principles of team play or social behaviour doing sport, but only filtered out the best players to win matches.
I think this should start later, but in the first years the fun and the experience of team play should be the main objective.

I think that's partly a reason why not so good kids decide to stop, or at least reduce time being spent, doing sport. Together with the popularity of fast food that's a very unhealthy coalition.

I don't know if kids really start to develop early. If we try to think back a bit longer than only the Seventies or Eighties we'll see that it was only a very short time where a kid could be a kid for so long, and enjoy being a teenager for so long. The term teenager e.g. only came up in the 1950's. 100 years ago children still had to support their families at an early age. During the 1900's 8-years were normal coal-miners, and many girls became pregnant at about 15 years old.

Only in the decades after WWII children really had a childhood and could grow up careless until they became 18 or even 21.

But because parents were more strict many children didn't seem to have developed so early I think.

Now it has become easier for children to express their thoughts and so they do.
Many companies have recognized it and reacted to that by simple marketing. So children started to want to have cell phones, iPods and video games. And some parents gave in, so that others couldn't go on and say no to their kids because they feared their kids could become outsiders. And this also happens.

And girls can be way more mean than boys. So I think the pressure on girls is very big.

I think we should consider that we had some rather unnormal decades since the 1950's when we speak about the different behaviour of children compared to our youth.

And like it is said in the article, parents shouldn't behave as good pals, but also know when to say no.
And some parents should start to care about their children again. Because you see many kids doing what they want and parents just don't care.
But if you decide on getting a human being, you also have to take some responsibility in the development of this child.
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Old 11-28-2006, 09:55 AM   #30
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Look at it this way; if you were given the choice of raising your children how you were (providing you look back fondly) or how it is now, which would you choose? My answer lies in that I would love my kids to grow up how I did, but that is just not possible. It is not safe to run the streets, to go into the bush for 4 hours at a time, to just play freely. You can barely find a street quiet enough for a good game of street cricket these days.


do i want to raise them how i actually was raised, how how i think i remember how i was raised?

i'm just suspicious of nostalgia, that's all.

i think we both agree, though, on the value of having large amounts of unstructured time for kids to play. that's very important, imho, it's how kids learn and socialize themselves, though i think that can be achieved anywhere from one's own room to an unfinished basement to out in the bush. the important thing is not to have such overscheduled children that all the joy in life -- the joy you discover exists by making your own childhood discoveries -- is sucked away.
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