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Is 13 the New 18

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Teenagers-drinking-alcoho-001.jpg ““A consumerist, urban animal living in a cocooned society that is busy eating McDonald’s burgers, freaking out with pals and chasing the original American dream of making it big.”
I read this somewhere, and it made me think about a very predominant social change that is encompassing India, especially the metros. It is the way a child is being groomed and nurtured. It is the sheer loss of innocence in a child, at a much early age than it used to be say a decade ago.
This is what mirrors the modern youth. The young ones today are like a rudderless ship without direction. They might have fastened their seat belts but they have nowhere to go. But the question here is that what is it that has changed the psychology of this new age teenager to this extent?
Over the past decade the country has gone through social, economical, technological and cultural changes. Some of them being favorable & some refutable. Change: you can love it or you can hate it, but you certainly can’t ignore it. And as they say, “Change is the only constant”. Change is a cause that has to be succeeded by an effect: good or bad. A culmination of various factors has been responsible for the change in the scenario of Indian society and shaping up of the new millennium 13- year old.
It is very much evident that there is a combination of factors that influence the average Indian teenager. And the influence has been profound on the psychological development of a child. Influence of the west and impact of the media have made such deep inroads in our society that they have shaken the very roots of our culture. Broadly there are 5 prominent reasons for the birth of all-new adolescents with a broader & bigger vision of life but at the same time a very materialistic and unhealthy generation of youth.
# Media in all its forms: TV, Internet, Lifestyle Magazines, Much hyped Page3 journalism, Advertising, Video games has been largely responsible. The Internet is the most essential component of new literacy with its endless library of resources. But the dangers inherent in this relatively uncontrolled ‘wired’ world are many and varied. A wise parent should aim at protecting children while allowing them to reap the rich benefits in a safe environment. TV has become one of the most popular medium of entertainment in every home. But certain programs may encourage irresponsible sexual behaviour. Instead TV should act as a powerful teacher imparting lessons on various issues. If a program talks about pre-marital sex it must talk about STDs and harms of teenage pregnancies. Furthermore the popularity of child reality shows distracts them from academics by luring them to instant fame.
# Improved Economic status of families: Since most families in metros have means, they over pamper their children financially and emotionally, making them fearless enough to do wrongs with courage.
# Peer pressure: This factor has always existed but in the recent times the competition has taken an ugly face where winning and to be “in” with the crowd is what all matters. Alcohol, drugs and sex, teens do it all under the influence of friends.
# Cultural and social changes: Indian society as a whole has gone through a renaissance of sorts. We are more candid about issues that were earlier considered taboo. Although it has made us more progressive but the mind of a 13- year old is not mature enough to take certain things in their stride. Influence of the west might have made us more contemporary and practical but it should be ensured that young children don’t get taken away by the ills of the west.
# Technological advancements: Increased crime, the craze to show off latest gizmos have all been the result of new scientific technology. We must ensure that technology should be used for betterment and not as a yardstick to measure who has the “coolest gadget” amongst adolescents.
The new generation has no role models to look up to. And the new age parent has no time to foster certain values in their children and they assuage the guilt by material gifts. Every one is too busy chasing a dream that will take them nowhere. Compassion and commitment have no meaning in today’s India.The new millennium teens have all that it takes to be a successful and  globalized Indian but what they lack is the direction in which their energies should be diverted in order to have a constructive and fruitful end for the individual as well the nation. But for this to happen the media will have to be socially responsible, parents need to spend time and nurture their children with love and proper guidance. Technology should land in the hands of who can make the best of it and peers should work together for the good of all. Youth is the most important resource of a nation and its overwhelming to see that our youth has high spirits, but parents, teachers and media needs to make sure that their spirits yield a beautiful and bright tomorrow for the country.
Think about it and come up with your views till I login again :-)

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Is this really bad??

I must agree with you that innocence is being lost fast with kids, but the world is being modernized and we don't want Indian kids to lag behind when they grow up, I think parents must allow this, but with cautious control.

Well, I in no way intend to

Well, I in no way intend to say that Indian kids should lack behind. But too much of everything is bad.. As you said its the cautious control thats required. You drink or smoke thats your choice, but doing so at the age of 14-15, well I am sure you would agree that you are not mature enough to decide whether thats right or wrong at that age.
I guess there needs to be a balance... ofcourse, its difficult to protect the kids in this era of internet and 24 hour television... And some amount of exposure is essential to keep them at pace with the changing and growing times. But yet it is essential to draw the line... There needs to be guidance which is becoming absent in the times where both parents are working and they are not able to supervise their children while they are in their vulnerable phase/age..

Namita Kohli
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American dream, fast money,

American dream, fast money, generation yawn culture - it's not necessarily bad. The urban teens know about everything except their future - that's bad indeed. Kids are growing up faster mentally and physically unlike yesteryears. They are pampered by their parents and cuddled by their partners – that’s bad. They are killing innocent people with their toys (BMW, Mercs). They are making MMS (DPS), they are doing what not – that’s bad. Well, I am no one to stop them; I am no one to guide them too. I think every urban teenager is different. Some stays cool while some tries to be uber kewl. It’s a new breed – fast and active!

They appreciate smiles, they hate stories with morals. They are born like that - they say with pride. I think we are also a part of this generation – that’s bad indeed.

Nicely written article. Keep up the good work!

Whilst i agree wholeheartedly

Whilst i agree wholeheartedly about the ills of consumerism and its effect on the thirteen year olds i also feel this is the age when one is at his most vulnerable and i dont think one shoulod dismiss them at all.

Role models are just constructs. Who will they look up to? Sharukh Khan, Sourav Ganguly or Amartya Sen. Having a role model will put the added pressure of having to be like them and the mounting parental pressure.

I do agree compassion and commitment have no place in today's globalised India. In its attempt to be a global power of reckoning it has forgotten what humanity is

Thats what I intend to say,

Thats what I intend to say, todays teenagers dont know the meaning of humanity. And somewhere its the parents who need to take responsibility for that. The parents in many cases lack in spending the kind of time and share guidance, that is needed for a 13 year old. I hope we realise that "human" growth is as important as economic growth and learn to balance it out.

Namita Kohli
Reach me at:

This is sad truth

aks2008's picture

There is nothing left for me to say. This writing is true to its words. This is a sad reality today. And if you are asking me the reasons for the same, there are many, endless reasons. And I will put my fingers on the electronic media. I think it is the single biggest reason for this changed mindset. TV and internet both have contributed to the loss of societal values. Internet has destroyed social life to a great extent. TV has been promoting large than life characters, which is being imitated by the modern youth thus leading to the loss of values and relationships. Its high time, we take some drastic measures to get our present and future generations freed from this so called culture shock !


Very thought provoking..

Esp for someone with an 11 year old daughter ! While you are right of course, however these kids of today are slightly more grounded than we were at their age and are less likely to commit the same deadly blunders we (at least I)did @ 13.

Good job.

Ouch! A little too exaggerated!!

"The young ones today are like a rudderless ship without direction"

The twinge of sarcasm is so endearing dear. Change is the only constant. Times have changed and you sound like a grand-mom.

There was a time when women not covering their heads was taboo. India has come a long way and the 'Indigo children' will take it further. The doings of a generation increase/decrease the consciousness levels. It is this level-jumps of consciousness which has set humans apart from other animals!

And today the 'Indigo Children' are born bright. We were born with knowledge our forefathers gathered after a lifetime of experience.We today do things our grand-parents hadn't even dreamt of at the age of 23. Our generations to come will do things we can't even dream of and the difference is rather starkly visible now.

If you sit and notice the decade gone by, there is an increased interest of children as young as 5 to perform and become a celebrity. It is the hunger to succeed. To perform which will drive the country forward. How else will we ever be able to explain the Afsha Musani Little champ trend which has India in its throes???

Humans are very reasonable indeed and "Peer pressure", "changing value systems", "Media" etal are all the reasons we give to explain the phenomenon we are unable to accept! There is a need to sit-up and accept that our children are smarter and focused than we are, or rather were.

The bahvior can be broadly classified into four stages:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Depression
  4. Acceptance

Ahoy! Rise and accept the new generation! The generation of "THE INDIGO CHILDREN"
--I recommend you read "The Indigo Children" by Lee Carroll or visit the website Indigo Children before commenting on the power of tomorrow!

The "rudderless" ship is what will give this world a sense of direction!

My comment

The american teens know about everything except their future. That's why most of these teens are in the wrong path in their lives. 

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