I’ve just attended a few PR events for the past few weeks and here’s what I realized: the people who get invited to these events seem to get younger and younger. That said, it is undeniable that these kids nowadays are the newest influencers and they have a huge chunk of decision making that they have to do no matter how young they are, and, quite alarmingly, no matter how much it takes.
For example, I closely observe my teenage sister nowadays and I notice that she easily sulks when she doesn’t get what she want. I mean, of course we are guilty of this one time or another. You cannot expect maturity to come downloadable. But this time, it’s really different. This sulking even lasts longer than how I usually do it when I was at her age. She also is grumpier and more difficult to please than my other sister, Del (who is now 20), when the latter was in her early teenage years. My dad told me this behavior was alarming, so I began to observe Teensie more closely.
I saw that when she wakes up, the first thing that she does after eating is to go online. Then she goes online for hours. Sometimes, she watches DVDs (mainly to catch up with the people she talks to online) and sometimes she reads a book. See, I’m still relieved that she finds time to read books. I think it’s the biggest thing that tells me that there is still some order in the universe. Then she keeps on texting and tweeting on her phone. Then she does the normal “human being” stuff: take a bath, take naps and breathe. I asked her nonchalantly how her friends are doing. She says that they do pretty much the same thing (with their lives).
I have this theory that maybe, she has low attention span because of all the time she spends on zero actual human interaction. This makes her emotional intelligence dive because she’s living a different world online. And it’s a better one. I remind myself that it is summer vacation. Maybe she has no other choice but to sulk and try to entertain herself at home. But you see, this still doesn’t solve her “little emperor” problem.
I remember reading in one of my Marketing books in college that in China, kids are being spent on more than their parents. Usually, they have more expensive clothes, more expensive gadgets and the most expensive vacations. They were called “little emperors”. They usually get what they want by virtue of being kids. Meaning, I am a kid and I can screw your life by throwing a wicked tantrum. So, linking that to the other emperors that I see during events and the little empress that I have at home, it’s not a secret that kids really do a huge bulk of decision making nowadays. They can dress however they want, eat whatever they want, and parents seem to have diminishing power these days.
Is this a problem of discipline? As major influencer, what does media have to do with it? And what can we do about it? Is it too late? I’ll read up some more then I’ll get back to you next week.
Let me know what you think. 🙂