Parents, wake up! Your children are being taken from you without you realizing.
Think for a second about the last family dinner you had with your son or daughter. What were they doing? Were they present in the conversation, enjoying the meal with you? Or were their heads stuck in their phones, giggling every now and then? My guess is that it is probably the latter.
Our youth today are addicted to their phones and technology. Apps like TikTok have poisoned the brains of our future generation. The Wall Street Journal recently did an investigation on the app's algorithm, trying to figure out the effect it has on children. What they found was staggering. After setting up hundreds of accounts as 13-year-olds, they were shown heinous videos of sexual behavior, drugs, eating disorders and other clips that should not be seen by children. What is worse is that our children are watching these videos for hours and hours per day.
Last month, I had an interesting feeling. I was sitting in $5,000 club seats at the U.S. Open women's final, surrounded by entrepreneurs and celebrities – this after having traveled in first class to New York and being served free food. The thought that came to me was, "Wow, this is the life." But then something strange happened. I looked around and all I saw was kids under the age of 21. They were living the life. Except for the fact that they were all sitting there on their phones. All I could wonder is who was paying for this and what were the kids thinking.
I used to believe that the stimulus package and other government handouts were causing people not to work. I was wrong; it is our phones. Our children just want a ticket to freedom with unlimited cash so they can sit around doing nothing. Their ideal life is not running a successful company or having a great job, but rather it is traveling on the weekends, drinking, doing drugs and sleeping past noon every day. This is not reality.
I know many parents who tell me of their young children's addiction to video games as well. All they want to do is play games where violence is promoted, such as Fortnite and Call of Duty. They are sitting behind their screens for five or more hours per night playing these games.
China recently introduced a new law that I actually agree with. Children in China are banned from playing video games during the weekdays and are limited to just three hours on weekends. While it may be draconian, they are attempting to save their youth. Children should not be playing video games for 40 hours per week; that is not real life. While it would be difficult for the U.S. government to mandate this, companies like Microsoft and Sony should implement time limits into their consoles to ensure kids are not living their entire lives in video games.
What is the future of this country? What kind of lives will our children be living in 15 or 25 years? I am not optimistic. Truthfully, I am very sad. The fact is, children do not have the capacity to make such decisions as limiting their technology use. That job is on parents, and our parents are failing. Parents, do you feel that you have control over your kids? Many kids today feel so entitled because they have everything at their fingertips; credit cards, phones... anything they want. Our children are too naive to realize what they are doing to themselves. We must help them.
You would be hard-pressed to find many avid readers among our youth. Without knowledge, our children have no power. Reading books is at the core of this, not Wikipedia or other websites. Information is right on our phones, yet it is passing by us. We must instill the idea that reading is a good thing and a better way to learn. More so, rather than playing video games or using their phones, children should go out and play sports, hang out with their friends and enjoy the real world around them. They will wake up as 30-year-olds and realize that they have done nothing with their lives. They will be sad and depressed and wondering where their lives went away. What will also happen when they run out of money? With no skills or knowledge, they will be left for dust, and the countries around us who prioritize the livelihoods of their kids will leap ahead of us.
America is at a crossroads, and we are failing. We have lost control of our children and our ways, and we will suffer from it. We are focused on nuances instead of our flagging youth. President Joe Biden has a real responsibility to set the stage for the coming years. I pray for his success and the success of our youth.