Kids and Original Opinions: A Wee Shame Nowadays that Never the Twain Does Meet

School Gates

What I’d give to go back to the days of the serious affairs of the playground debate. A bunch of 10 years olds wanting to get their two pence worth in on each other at break time was a sport worth participating in, and no place for the meek.

In the 80’s, there was less for pubescents to talk about, yet always more for them to say. In contrast to nowadays, kid’s heads weren’t as overwhelmed with information and social media opinion. On Friday mornings, we’d clash and push and mould our reasoning as to who’d given the best performance on Top of the Pops the night before. We made our own minds up before reaching the school gates, as to whether Going Live! was better than its predecessor Saturday Superstore. When the times they came a changing, we were in charge of our own original thought.

Young ones now can spend an evening trawling through Facebook, Twitter and any other social media I’m not up on. There, boom, gone. Another school night chalked off. But are they more, or less savvy, by morning from what’s been poured into their heads? Does what they’ve swept their eyes over before bed help them to form an embryonic opinion, give rise to debate, or create a talking point? Say a real life bullying vid goes viral, does the rounds on You Tube, and gets shared by thousands within hours of being posted. By the time Johnny or Jenny Come Lately jumps on to watch it, hundreds of views and spews have been made in the array of comment’s boxes. What does Johnny do? He scrolls down to get the consensus – often written by older teenagers and adults – never allowing himself to take a step back to consider what he really thinks about the issue. If he decides to chip in, it’s often a repeat or rewording of the five previous similar comments. If some moron has a laugh at the bullied one’s expense, a few morons will follow. Decency descends in real time, common sense kicks back in, and Johnny counts the polling votes of yays for bullying and nays for nae bullying.

East Milton Playground 1
My old school playground: Hotbed of topical debate

Kids, nowadays as ever, still have a form of educating one another, and even policing each other when it comes to rights and wrongs in extremes of things. The only problem is that those formsare so diluted by the time they are passed on. Paying information and opinion forward has turned into mass crescendos of Chinese whispers. Enough to deafen the senses in fact. Today, by the time you get a youngster to the playground, his or her mind has been so bombarded digitally that sadly their very assessment of matters big and small don’t often pass go at the school gates. And that in itself is wholly as sad as no Top of the Pops appearances to get bolshy about.

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