In many of his books, Dr. Tim Elmore argues that this emerging generation is different in many ways from previous generations due to a range of factors. He was on my radio program recently to talk about his book Artificial Maturity and explained why this generation is different.
Education is one reason. As students have been pressed into age-graded groups, they now interact mostly with peers. “The church followed suit with its programming. Social silos were the result. The downward spiral of emotional intelligence began.”
Parenting styles also have their influence. “We’ve made our kids our trophies—we hover over, emulate, serve, and congratulate them.” In previous commentaries I have talked about helicopter parents (who hover) and snowplow parents (who plow the way for their kids).
Tim Elmore also talks about chemical reasons for the difference in this generation. For example, BPA and other chemicals in plastics entered our bodies. “It wreaks havoc on kids’ bodies” since it mimics estrogen, the female hormone. Nearly 90 percent of kids today have BPA in them.
And let’s not forget the overuse of prescription drugs. Some kids may indeed need drugs for hyperactivity and depression. But consider this fact: the United States represents 5 percent of the world’s population but consumes 90 percent of prescription drugs.
Finally, we need to mention the impact of media on this generation. Male teens spend an average of thirteen and a half hours a week playing video games. They spend countless hours watching TV, updating their Facebook pages, uploading and watching YouTube videos.
Tim Elmore believes that these and other factors create artificial maturity rather than authentic maturity. This emerging generation may look more mature than they really are because they are surrounded by technology, but they are in need of real life experiences to match with their knowledge and virtual experiences.