The nightmare of everyone who reproduced in the 80s and 90s has finally become reality: Their kids are no longer capable of keeping themselves busy and entertained without a vast variety of different auxiliary means. For ages, those parents fought the ungrateful fight of prohibiting TV shows, unlimited internet access or an excessive range of computer games (usually provided by well-meaning, yet myopic relatives) with their kids. Instead, they gave them books to read, a yard to play outside, pets and maybe even siblings to create their own phantasy-world. And despite all fighting and begging for more, those kids seemed happy and fulfilled when playing their self-fabricated games.
And yet, progress in technology, decreasing prices for entertainment systems, and growing independence has ever been the omnipresent enemy that, at last, seems to have taken over. Now here we are, the Generation Spoiled: we don’t know anymore how to survive without video streaming, Xbox, Playstation or our smartphone! Eventually, we might still touch a book, if we haven’t forgotten where to get those or how to flip a page manually. Exaggeration, you might think? Well, I certainly tend to use this stylistic device with pleasure – but why don’t you decide for yourself this time?
Take the following situation: A weekend in the forest, in the middle of nowhere, no running water, no other conveniences of “civilization”, and not even phone reception. Yes, that also means no internet. To this scenario you may now add a bunch of people, let’s say around 50, a beautiful lake and nature, a (wooden!) sauna, bonfire places and rowing boats, and, of course, because the destination was known before, food and drinks en masse. Yes, those kinds of drinks.
Anything else to bring falls to your own responsibility. For your convenience, a bunch of those people, let’s say 5, volunteered to take care of the overall organization: booking bus and cottage, taking snacks for bonfires, bringing outdoor games, organizing a joint breakfast. Suggestions to bring whatever more makes you happy were uttered. I, for instance, would take a nice book. Or, if I happened to be the slightest bit musical at all, maybe a guitar for the bonfire.
Here is what really happened: No one brought anything. Instead, the 5 volunteers were confused with a professional travel agency and experienced animators. Taking care of wooden fireplaces and sauna was not enough, neither the hiking trip (too short!) nor the extended hiking trip (too long!). And when the bus did not come at 2 to take them all back to civilization, but two and a half hours later at 5, a bonfire and outdoor games such as frisbee and mölkky were disregarded as being “planless” and “unorganized”.
What has happened to our generation that we are no longer capable of entertaining ourselves? Isn’t it scary that we expect someone to entertain us 24/7 (with what, by the way, in the middle of the forest – a traveling circus?), even if the purpose of a trip is to relax and enjoy nature? One might not even wanna imagine the consequential implications for a trip that promises more than that!
When we were young, we could keep ourselves busy for hours with something as simple as a plain piece of gravel. Now we need blinking lights, at least three different screens and two different noise-sources, and maybe 9Gag in the background to keep us interested in life. If a kid has that many options, malfunctions such as ADHD might be supported – for us it’s simply normal to not be able to focus longer than 8 seconds anymore. Facebook disease, we joke about it.
Anyways, whether you might want to find it alarming or just normal, never forget the most important rule in life: if you expect too much, you will be disappointed. Expecting 24/7 entertainment just as much as expecting Generation-Spoiled-people being able to take care of themselves inevitably leads to bare frustration. True story.